Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 Review

Microsoft achieved something very impressive with the original Surface Headphones: the company was able to leapfrog veterans of the noise-canceling headphone market (like Bose and Sony) with an ingenious method for controlling them. With a twist of the smooth-turning dial on either ear cup, you could adjust volume and the level of active noise cancellation.

The Surface Headphones 2 retain the understated design of their predecessors. Except for a glossy Windows logo on each side of the headband, there’s no branding to be found. The matte black model is very classy — albeit less recognizable than the light gray color.

Everything else feels very familiar. Except for the dials along the perimeter, the entire surface area of either ear cup can be tapped to pause or play music, skip tracks, and answer calls. In leaving volume and noise cancellation to the dials and separating them from the touch controls. Microsoft makes everything feel more focused and easy to remember.

Noise Canceling

Microsoft’s noise canceling isn’t quite as effective as what Bose or Sony can achieve. But the Surface Headphones 2 are perfectly capable of quieting the types of ambient noise and constant hums that can grow irksome when you’re trying to focus. I do struggle to understand why anyone would need 13 levels of noise cancellation to switch between, though.

Battery Life

Microsoft has boosted battery life to 20 hours with noise cancellation enabled. That’s at par with the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 but well under Sony’s 30 hours. Still, 20 hours means you’ll likely only have to charge these once — maybe twice if you’re using them constantly. When you power the headphones on, a voice tells you how many hours of battery life are remaining.

Microsoft Surface Duo Leaks – Underwhelming Specs

Microsoft is busy testing the upcoming Surface Duo internally, a device that has two screens on two equal sides, with a 360-degree hinge between them. So while neither display panel is foldable, that hinge gives you plenty of use case flexibility.

At its event last year, Microsoft had only revealed the device would have two 5.6-inch screens (with 1800×1350 pixel resolution on each) held together on a hinge—rather than a flexible screen, as is the case with the Galaxy Fold. Other than photos, the company didn’t expand much on what to expect in terms of hardware and performance.

The chipset at the helm is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 from last year, which is a very odd choice. The reason for this move apparently has to do with the fact that Microsoft had finalized the Surface Duo’s internal design way before the Snapdragon 865 was a thing. There’s simply no room inside for the X55 5G modem that Qualcomm requires companies use in tandem with the 865.

The device has 6GB of RAM, which may still be okay for Google, but is mid-ranger level in the very competitive Android smartphone market, where flagships now start at 8GB and go up to 16GB. Anyway, there will be 256GB of storage too, and it’s not expandable.

The camera (singular) will be an 11 MP f/2.0 snapper with 1.12um pixel size, which once again feels like a blast from the past (aside from the odd resolution).