Surface Headphones 2 vs. Surface Earbuds: which is a better buy?

Microsoft's latest headphones are incredibly impressive, with excellent battery life, beautiful design and sound, and built-in voice features, while significantly lowering the asking price compared to its predecessor.

$ 250 at Microsoft


  • Comfortable to wear
  • On-ear dials are great
  • New lower price
  • 13 levels of noise canceling gradations


  • They don't fold / large suitcase
  • Battery life is not leading

Microsoft is entering the world of truly wireless in-ear audio with the Surface Earbuds. Comfort and sound quality impress, but a strong reliance on productivity ignores some premium features, ultimately not justifying the price for most.

$ 200 at Microsoft


  • Comfortable
  • Good, balanced audio
  • Excellent battery life


  • Expensive
  • Don't stand out

The Surface range now extends far beyond its premium PCs, including a growing audio presentation through its accessories. Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 and Microsoft Surface Earbuds currently represent the two flagship audio flavors and offer wireless listening on Windows PCs and mobile devices. And while both are Microsoft's latest wireless audio solutions, differences in form and features clearly differ between well-defined audiences.

The primary conversation around Surface Headphones 2 and Surface Earbuds comes with its physical form factor and the benefits made possible by each category. While Microsoft's trusted over-ear headphones offer a high-quality soundscape masked by noise cancellation, truly wireless earbuds provide mobility and awareness through their compact footprint.

How the Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 compare to Microsoft Surface Earbuds

Surface Headphones 2 BlackSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Surface Headphones 2 represent Redmond & # 39; s second attempt at wireless headphones, with minor refinements and a 30 percent drop in retail costs. The rugged yet lightweight design easily keeps it on your side, supported by a padded headband and earcups to support extended use. The built-in 40mm Free Edge drivers also impress, and while undoubtedly subjective, Microsoft represents the higher end of wireless listening.

Surface Headphones 2's biggest appeal comes from Active Noise Canceling (ANC) powered by software and microphones, and Passive Noise Canceling by physical design. Microsoft's ANC-implemented preferred centers revolve around ear-mounted dials, with the option to switch between active noise cancellation or the audio boost features. The approach offers greater granularity in 13 stages, via a simple on / off switch. The other ear also has a volume rocker, while the simple touch controls keep playback and the voice assistant a few taps away.

Surface Headphones 2 Black

Surface Headphones 2 BlackSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

The improvements under the latest revision don't change the game, with refinements from an all-inclusive feature set. You will receive the same design, materials and weight of the past, combined with minor adjustments for everyday use. That includes 20 hours of battery life at 25 percent, a fancy 180 degree ear hinge, and the new matte black livery. The internal refresh also modernizes connectivity via Bluetooth 5.0, Qualcomm aptX and SBC sub-band codec with low complexity.

The Surface Headphones 2's strengths aren't hard to identify when stacked against the Surface Earbuds, mainly attributed to their hardware differences. The over-ear form factor works wonders for the sound quality, while the padded, lightweight design exceeds comfort expectations. The wide silhouette provides a more robust, isolated audio experience – especially ideal for the desk or for demanding listening on the go.

Surface headphones 2 Surface earplugs
Dimensions 8.03 "(204mm) x 7.68" (195mm) x 1.89 "(48mm) 0.98 "(25mm) x 0.78" (19.9mm)
Weight 290 g (10.2 oz) 7.2 g with ear tip (0.25 oz)
Battery life Up to 20 hours of listening pleasure per charge Up to 24 hours battery with charging case
Listen for up to eight hours per charge
10 minutes of charging provides up to one hour of battery life
Active noise reduction Yes No
Wireless charging No No
Cord USB-C to USB-A USB-C to USB-A
Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Audio codecs SBC and aptX SBC and aptX
Waterproof rating No IPX4
Exterior color Glacier, black Glacier
Service Tap, vote Tap, swipe, vote

Surface earplugs Hero Box

Surface earplugs Hero BoxSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

While Surface Headphones 2 continue with established product inputs, Surface Earbuds are Microsoft's latest experiment. The company's first truly wireless earbuds offer a more versatile solution for calls and audio playback, curtailing your listening experience all day long. It's an opposite philosophy to the over-ear alternative, best suited for commuting or boardroom presentations.

The Surface Earbuds provide the foundation of all modern wireless earbuds, including Bluetooth connectivity to Windows PCs, iOS and Android. They sit comfortably in the ear, crucial for the pursuit of all-day listening, with three optional tips to adjust the fit. They also have an impressive battery life for the category with 8 hours per charge and up to 24 hours via the included cover. You lose any kind of noise reduction by design, allowing the wearer to maintain awareness in the office environment.

Surface earplugs

Surface earplugsSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

The key differentiator with Microsoft's wireless earbuds is its striking disc-shaped construction, which provides a smooth touchpad for gestures. With tap and swipe you control the playback, adjust the volume and call your digital assistant, without having to pull out your phone. Microsoft also packs a variety of productivity-focused tools under its Microsoft 365 suite, such as dictation and live PowerPoint translation, but many are also available for other headphones.

While Microsoft labels the Surface Earbuds as an amalgamation of entertainment and productivity, they are undoubtedly focused on getting things done. The design overlooks several standardized fundamentals of many rivals while also noticing much. But if you want to experience Microsoft's vision on the go, these are the earplugs for you.

Immersive audio

Surface headphones 2

Microsoft is giving ANC headphones another shot

While the ANC and voice features are lagging behind rivals, the Surface Headphones 2 make up for it in several other areas, not least the sound quality and a much more attractive price.

Work and play

Microsoft Surface earbuds

Crystal clear sound meets productivity.

Microsoft Surface earbuds bring the first truly wireless earbuds to the premium product line, promising comfortable listening on mobile and PC. They come with touch controls and voice control, although at a high price.

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