The headphone market is filled with a plethora of choices. From entry level ones, to pro audio and even niche markets like “Gaming”. For a lot of music lovers out there in the market now though, there are 2 wireless models that are the go to choices for really good quality audio with great noise cancelling, great battery life and more! These are the Sony WH-1000MX3 and the Bose QuietComfort 35 II . Microsoft sees the opportunity in this market and has set out to compete with Sony and Bose with their own – The Microsoft Surface Headphones. Today, we’re going to take a quick look at it, see what’s inside the box and determine if it’s worth looking at over the Sony and Bose.
Here’s our unboxing video of the device but if you prefer to read, skip on to know more about our impressions:
The retail box is quite simple. It’s a square box with a view of the left side of the device and just the model name and logo on the top right side.
The sides are plain then at the back you get the usual information but not the detailed specifications of the device. All that’s listed is the selling points and features like Cortana.
The inside of the box is straight up and simple as well. All you’ll get are the documentations aside from the carrying case which houses the device itself and the cables and instructions.
Here’s a full list of what’s inside the box:
Quick start guide
Safety and warranty documents
Warranty 1-year limited hardware warranty
Before we go further, here are the specifications:
|Dimensions Length:||8.03” (204 mm)|
|Width:||7.68” (195 mm)|
|Depth:||1.89” (48 mm)|
|Exterior Color:||Light Gray|
|Features||Noise cancellation Up to 30 dB for active noise cancellation|
|Up to 40 dB for passive noise cancellation|
|Speaker 40 mm Free Edge driver|
|Sound pressure level output Up to 115 dB (1kHz, 1Vrms via cable connector with power on)|
|Up to 115 dB (1kHz, 0dBFS over Bluetooth connection)|
|Battery||Charging Full charge in less than 2 hours|
|Battery life Up to 15 hours (with music playback over Bluetooth, ANC on, hands-free Cortana2 enabled)|
Design and Build
The device is very clean and looks very premium. It’s consistent with the Surface line of products in terms of color scheme and once you hold it in your hands, you already know that you paid good money for it.
The cushions of the earcups are memory foam like and are really comfortable in your ears. The material doesn’t feel warm over extended hours of use.
The head band is made of the same material and the extenders are made of metal. There’s really not much plastic going around the headset except for the controls itself.
Both sides of the headset have scroll wheels which you can use to adjust the volume (right side) and adjust the active noise cancelling (right side).
On the right earcup, you get the on/off button, the mic mute button, a type C port and a 3.5mm jack for wired mode. There’s nothing on the left hand side.
Over-all, the build quality is great and can definitely match the BOSE and SONY in terms of premium feel and durability.
Functions and Features
The carrying case holds an instruction page on the functions of the ear cups. You can basically tap to play or pause, double tap for next or triple tap for previous song. If there’s an incoming call, you can double tap to answer or hold to cancel. If you hold it when there is no call, you get to activate cortana for some instructions.
For audio quality, you’re getting 40mm free-edge speaker drivers on both earcups and might i say, they sound really good.
Battery life is rated up to 15 hours with active nosie cancelling and you can charge it up to 100% in less than 2 hours. If you use it on wired mode, you can get over 30 hours.
Our favourite is really the noise cancelling. There are multiple levels of noise cancelling here so you can adjust depending on your feel. You can turn it up to Maximum to block all kinds of noise or go halfway and block ambient sounds, or all the way down so you can hear some voices when you need to. You won’t need to turn it down though as you can just pull down the headset and your music automatically stops for you.
To check out the other features, check out Microsoft’s product video:
The Microsoft Surface headphones has been our daily driver for about 4 weeks now and we’re very impressed. There’s not much to dislike about it although i have to say that the Sony WH-1000MX3 still sounds better. We love the comfort of the device but it not being able to fold like other devices in the market make it hard to carry around.
You’ll have to lug around the huge case if you want to keep the surface in your bag and protect it from being crushed or scratched.
Fortunately, the case offers advantages like being able to carry your cables along with you plus other small stuff if you like.
Over-all though, it’s definitely a product that can compete with BOSE and SONY’s offerings even though we are also certain that it’s not the best product out there in the market. At 349$, we still think that the SONY WH-1000MX3 is the best Active Noise Cancelling Wireless headphones available in the market and at the time of writing, you can even get it at 299$ via various promotion sales. We have yet to see the Microsoft Surface headphones go on sale.
Nevertheless, this is Microsoft’s first try in the Wireless Active Noise Cancelling headphone game and it’s definitely a good try. Sony and Bose have had years to perfect theirs and we’re pretty sure that Microsoft can definitely catch up!