Today, we are taking a look at the brand new Microsoft Surface Earbuds which are really exciting because these were designed specifically for your workday.
Great Battery Life
Comfortable for longer listening sessions
Good Microphone Performance
Sound quality could have been better
No Noise Isolation
Although, we have so many earbuds out there. Some are designed for working out, some for commuting and some for really almost anything else you want to do.
Now, none of those are designed specifically for your workday and so considering that 80% of companies out there use Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office, it makes sense that Microsoft would come out with some earbuds that integrate so well with those.
So, in this article, we will dive into what actually they added to the Microsoft Surface Earbuds to make them integrate so well with Microsoft Office.
We will talk about Powerpoint controls, Email reading and a lot of stuff like that.
And on top of that, we will also review these wireless earbuds based on just the earbuds themselves. So, how good they sound, how good are the microphones, how good is the battery and much more.
Design - Microsoft Surface Earbuds
The Microsoft Surface Earbuds are available in two different colours namely, Light Gray (Glacier) and Dark Gray (Graphite).
Looking at the case, you see a high glass case, pretty rectilinear, a little bit round on the corners but overall it’s pretty smooth.
The case has a really nice lid to it where it kinda stays up very well and it seems to be slightly spring loaded. So, it stays sharp and open really nicely.
You have the Windows Logo on the front of the case and then on the back you have a button right there and that’s gonna be how you are pairing with different devices by pressing and holding that.
Then on the back you have the USB-C charging port. These wireless earbuds do not have Qi Wireless charging which means that you will only be charging by that port on the back.
Now, looking at the earbuds themselves, you just open the case, you have a LED in the middle that will tell you the battery level of the Microsoft Surface Earbuds.
Or if you place the earbuds incorrectly in the case, the LED will turn red.
Taking the earbuds out, you see that the Microsoft Surface Earbuds are really differently designed.
And the reason they made them slightly larger and very flat on the outside was so you can have a touchpad and unlike the touchpads we have seen on the Galaxy Buds, these allow you to swipe in different directions.
Again, looking at the earbuds you will see right underneath is a ring from essentially where your microphone is going to be hearing you.
Now, on the inside of the earbuds, you do have a little rubber silicone tip and these are different from the standard earbuds we are seeing that go in your ear canal because these actually kinda sit right outside of your ear canal.
So, they don’t seal it off which means you don’t have active noise-cancellation and really don’t even have passive noise blocking.
Instead, you can hear your surroundings with the Microsoft Surface Earbuds which is kind of a purpose of what Microsoft wanted to do.
They want you to be able to sit at your desk while at work and if somebody comes up to your desk, you can hear them and you just be able to talk to people.
Or, if you are presenting, you can hear yourself talk, if you are on a phone call you can hear yourself so you are not yelling in the office.
The Microsoft Surface Earbuds just have the open-ear design and there are three different tips small, medium and large that you can have and they come off really nicely.
Comfort and Fit - Microsoft Surface Earbuds
The comfort of the Microsoft Surface Earbuds is just amazing. You put them in your ear and just twist a little bit and they kind of grab the back of your ear in an interesting way.
We think they are very comfortable and if you shake your head, they will not come out. We would not necessarily recommend these for working out. If you went for a run, would they fall out? Probably not.
But if you are doing anything dynamic, we definitely think these would fall out. They are not meant for workout.
For an average day, they are going to be very comfortable and they are gonna stay in your ear really well and because it’s an open-ear design, your ear never gets hot or sweaty or anything like that.
The Microsoft Surface Earbuds airs out really nicely and we think it’s a very comfortable fit. They may be of all the earbuds we have worn, we could probably wear these for longest with least discomfort.
Microphones - Microsoft Surface Earbuds
The Microsoft Surface Earbuds have dual microphones on each earbud and are actually really nice.
So, you have a microphone that is focusing on your voice and then a microphone that is trying to block out your outside surroundings.
The call quality is one of the strong points of the Microsoft Surface Earbuds and we think with phone calls this will definitely get the job done.
Durability - Microsoft Surface Earbuds
Let’s talk about the durability of the Microsoft Surface Earbuds.
So, overall the case is pretty durable and we would not be worried about breaking it. The handle seems pretty strong. It’s not the thickest lid right there but you probably are not breaking it.
And then the earbuds themselves are IPX4 water resistant which means that if you are sweating or if you are at work or more like it’s raining outside, then you don’t have to worry about these earbuds.
They should be water resistant for basic stuff like that.
Now, as far as keeping the Microsoft Surface Earbuds inside the case, if you flip it upside down and shake it gently, they stay in pretty well.
But as soon as you shake it relatively hard, even just a medium shake to a slightly harder shake, they will come out so if you drop these, it’s very likely to fall out.
Sound Quality - Microsoft Surface Earbuds
So, now let’s talk about the sound. When we saw that Microsoft Surface Earbuds have 13.6 millimetre drivers, we got kind of excited.
We thought, alright, we are gonna have some really nice bass impact. We are gonna have some really nice volume out of these. We think this is gonna offer a different listening experience than some of the other earbuds.
And in a way it offers a different listening experience but that is not in a positive way. The volume in our opinion does not get really loud.
The fact that these just don’t give you a good seal in your ears. Now, we tried the different sized ear tips, you put them in and you twist them till you feel like you have a good seal.
We tried absolutely everything and nothing gave us a good seal. So, what that did was ultimately just pulled bass completely out of these wireless earbuds.
Now, you can feel a little bit of bass and that is just because there is maybe a slight vibration but there is not enough seal to just isolate the outside sound and give you more of an impact. So, for the most part, the bass feels really flat.
But the plus side is the mids and the treble have very nice clarity, very nice detail. It’s a brighter sounding earbud but it’s just not pleasing overall to listen to in our opinion.
Now, when it comes to the soundstage and the sound imaging, because of the design of these and because of that open-ear style design, you feel like they are a lot more open than most of other earbuds.
But what that does is cause a lot of bleed when it comes to sound. A lot of people around you are gonna hear what you are listening to. But you are also going to hear everything around you as well.
Connection - Microsoft Surface Earbuds
This is something that is very interesting often overlooked in a lot of earbud reviews and when you are connecting to your laptop, it actually connects very very quickly.
It’s a cool thing that they have a Swift Connect there. So, if you just open it up and take your earbuds out, and you have a Windows laptop or desktop (if you have Bluetooth on that as well), then it will just pop-up in the bottom corner for connection.
On top of that, you can pair Microsoft Surface Earbuds to Android devices, Apple devices and you can pair to anything like a normal Bluetooth.
It won’t have a Window to pop-up but it pairs very quickly. Once you open them up after the first pairing, they connect instantly to whichever device is nearest.
But if you have a Windows laptop nearby, it does prefer that connection. The Microsoft Surface Earbuds do not have multi-pairing. So, you cannot pair your phone and your laptop at the same time.
It can technically be registered with both of them but you can’t just instantly switch between them automatically.
Now, the Microsoft Surface Earbuds have something really interesting in the app that you do have on your Windows laptop and on your phone,
So, if you are on your laptop and you get a phone call, you can quickly just click on your phone on the App right there and it disconnects from your laptop and connects to your phone and you can answer that phone call using the earbuds.
It’s kind of weird work around there but it does work.
Something we do like about these is that they do have single point connection which we think is really nice as you can listen to only one earbud at a time while the other one in the case.
Controls - Microsoft Surface Earbuds
The controls on the Microsoft Surface Earbuds are interesting because we know they made the larger earbuds so you can swipe controls.
So, as far as controls goes on these wireless earbuds, if we single tap either of the earbuds, absolutely nothing happens.
Already there are 2 controls we could have right there on Microsoft Surface Earbuds. If we double tap either earbud, that plays and pauses or answers calls.
Now, that alone could have been set into two separate things. Maybe the right earbud could play and pause and the left could be something else.
If you triple tap either earbud, that opens Spotify. Again that could have been two different controls. And something else to note is you cannot customize these controls in the app.
Now, they do have the gestures on the right side, if you swipe up and down that’s your volume. Swiping forward and back does nothing.
And the left side, if you swipe forward and back, that skips songs or Powerpoint Slides and if you swipe up and down, that does nothing.
Features - Microsoft Surface Earbuds
Now, getting into the features of the Microsoft Surface Earbuds. This is something that Microsoft really tries to push to make them very different from other earbuds on the market.
The integration with Office 365 is pretty interesting. Starting off with the app on Android though, if you just tap on the middle, you can go and check paired devices.
This is what we mentioned before that they don’t have multi-pairing but you can just go in the app and quickly switch between whichever devices these are paired with.
There is an Equalizer, you can adjust to five bars and there are some presets across the top.
You have device controls, don’t get excited about that though because you can just turn touch controls on or off.
Otherwise, you really won’t be doing much in the app on the Android.
If you open the app up on Windows, you get it from the Microsoft Store, the Windows Store app on your laptop and then you can actually turn on the Office 360 integration.
For example, if you open up Microsoft Word, you can do text-to-speech or speech-to-text. So, if you are just talking, it will type the document for you.
If you open up PowerPoint, you can have the slide control and you can also have subtitles. Then on top of that you could also read your emails through Outlook as well.
So, if you are somebody that’s going to use these earbuds in that type of work environment, the Microsoft Surface Earbuds may be beneficial.
They also have a Swift Connection feature that works within surface devices. It’s kind of how Apple AirPods work within the iOS ecosystem basically where it is easy to connect within all these different devices.
So, if you have a bunch of different surface devices, the Microsoft Surface Earbuds is a nice plus.
Now, as far as Bluetooth, the Microsoft Surface Earbuds have Bluetooth 5.0 and it has aptX and SBC playback. So, the codecs are really nice here and we didn’t experience any kind of lag with watching videos, movies or even playing games.
As far as the charging cable, we are happy that they have included a USB-C cable and the battery life on these are actually impressive.
The earbuds themselves, you are going to get around 8 hours of use or with the charging case, you are going to get around 24 hours.
Also, if you happen to pick the earbuds up and they are dead, a quick 10 minute charge will get you around an hour worth of use.
Our main cons with the Microsoft Surface Earbuds mainly fall back on the fit because not having a good seal ultimately just ruins the listening experience.
We really would have liked to have seen the case be a Qi wireless charging case especially considering a lot of other earbuds in this price range offer that feature.
We really would have liked to have seen some noise-cancelling and the sensors to auto pause and auto play with taking them in and out of your ear.
So, ultimately we don’t think that we are the demographic for these. We think if your main focus is going to be on audio and listening to music, the Microsoft Surface Earbuds don’t deliver on that side.
But if you are somebody that is going to watch a lot of movies, TV shows and YouTube, the Microsoft Surface Earbuds fit that well because you are able to hear a lot of clarity and detail when it comes to that.
You are just not going to feel the impact of anything. And if you are somebody that is in a work environment that needs these for Powerpoint or other Office applications, the Microsoft Surface Earbuds maybe worth it to you