First look: Microsoft's new Surface noise-cancelling headphones

By David Flynn, October 3 2018
First look: Microsoft's new Surface noise-cancelling headphones

The latest member of Microsoft's steadily-growing Surface family is a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, predictably christened Surface Headphones and rolling together everything the Windows colossus can squeeze over your ears in these admittedly chunky muff-like cans.

This starts with Bluetooth for a cordless tangle-free experience – including Microsoft's Swift Pair for connection to Windows 10 devices – although there's also a conventional audio jack.

The degree of noise-cancellation is variable, with a turn of a seamless dial on the earcup swinging between 13 levels to blot out as much ambient sound as you desire, rather than the usual on/off setting.

Slipping off the headphones automatically pauses music playback or mutes your phone call, with things picking up again once you put the cans back on.

Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant is baked in, while a pair of beam-forming microphones on each earcup should make for a sharp phone calls and Skype sessions.

Battery life is rated at 15 hours if you're streaming music via Bluetooth, running noise cancellation and using Cortana, with more time per tank if you dial back any of those features.

The battery can be fully charged in two hours over USB-C, with Microsoft promising that even five minutes' of fast-charging will deliver an hour of listening.

Microsoft's Surface Headphones will be released in the US before Christmas at US$349, but aren't expected to hit Australian shelves until sometime in 2019.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2015

Total posts 51

Some nice features but they are a seriously unattractive set of cans...

04 May 2015

Total posts 261

Looks like somebody got a smoke detector and whacked a Microsoft headband on the top...

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 273

It's their first entry, so good specs to boot - and they can work on the design for v2, because yea - not great. I would have liked at least 2 or 3 color options rather than just grey.

I think it’s a great start but the bulky size looses it for me. I look forward to v2.0

Malaysia Airlines - Enrich

01 Jun 2015

Total posts 28

A good start, why not. It's their first entry. Nobody make it perfectly good on their first try anyway.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Aug 2016

Total posts 13

Very unattractive headphones but not surprising with Microsoft. I am a huge fan of their products from a performance point of view. However, their designs/colours or lack thereof are usually inferior to their competitors.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 192

They shoud call this model, Princess Leia aka star wars

07 Jan 2016

Total posts 36

They look like they'd take up half of the space in my carry-on bag...

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