Microsoft Unveils New Surface Headphones 2 With Improved Battery Life

Surface Gen 2 headphones are announced today along with the new Surface Book 3 and Surface Go - available in black. Like the original model, Surface 2 headphones have a $ 249 (instead of $ 349) active noise cancellation, and you can set the ANC level up or down as you wish using the headphone disc.

Microsoft Unveils New Surface Headphones 2
Microsoft New Surface Headphones 2

You can get the same 13 noise cancellation levels as the existing Surface headsets, and the disc in the other headset still handles volume control. It was an innovative system when it debuted, so I was not surprised by Microsoft's commitment to it. As before, you can press the large touchpad to control audio playback.

Microsoft Headphones

In general, there is very little that has changed on Surface Headphones 2 other than the new black option. They still have 40 mm "Free Edge" drivers and produce what Microsoft calls "universal" sound. It has been upgraded to Bluetooth 5.0 and now supports Qualcomm's aptX Bluetooth codec; only the original headphones offered SBC bare codec and could not compete with other competitors in terms of sound quality. 

Microsoft says the earphones have been refreshed to rotate 180 degrees, which is helpful if you wear headphones around your neck when taking a break from music.

The battery life on these is also extended from 15 hours to 20 hours with noise canceling enabled, and Microsoft says you can get "about an hour" of operating time with a quick charge of five minutes.

Microsoft New Surface Headphones 2
Microsoft New Surface Headphones 2

Microsoft launches new Surface Headphones 2

Microsoft has also implemented to cancel the active noise of the human voice this time. "You can define the ANC for different ranges, we've specifically tuned the human voice," said Robin Seiler, vice president of enterprise software management for Microsoft at Microsoft. "When you think of working from home and trying to drown your family, this is a great product for that."

As with Surface Buds, the company promotes the integration of Office (i.e. voice dictation) into Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint as a feature you get with Surface 2 headphones, and the company notes that Outlook for iOS can now read the email aloud. But these factors seem to affect the purchasing decision much lower than the sound quality and these intuitive controls.

The Surface Headphones 2 will start shipping on May 12th.

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