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Microsoft has announced new launch details for its latest headphone models. The new Surface Earbuds and Surface Headphones 2 are both set for release on May 12, and pre-orders will be available starting today.

The Surface Earbuds were initially revealed last year with a tentative price tag of $249.99, but Microsoft has decided to lower the asking price to $199.99. This makes sense since $199 is also the list price for Apple’s popular AirPods with charging case.

Serving as the successor to the company’s previously released Surface Headphones, the new Surface Headphones 2 are also competitively priced, coming in at $249.99. This is a full $100 cheaper than the original Surface Headphones, as well as other similar noise-cancelling headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM3 and Bose 700. 

Below, we’ve broken down all the details you need to know about these new Surface headphone models, including specifications and pre-order information.

The Surface Earbuds will be available on May 12 for $199.99. Designed to serve as Microsoft’s answer to other similar true wireless earbuds from Apple, Samsung, and Google, the Surface Earbuds feature a solid assortment of features.

The earbuds include three silicone eartips so you can choose which fit better for your needs, and the unit has been designed with four anchor points in order to provide a secure fit. How this method stacks up against the AirPods’ divisive stem-like design remains to be seen, but we’re curious if Microsoft’s approach delivers on its promise of a stable and comfortable fit. 

When it comes to battery life, the Surface Earbuds are rated for eight hours on a single charge. That’s about three hours more than the five hours Apple lists for its AirPods. A wireless charging case is also included for up to 24 hours of total use.

Gesture controls are supported on the earbuds themselves, and you can even triple tap to quickly launch Spotify when paired with an Android phone. The earbuds have also been designed for seamless pairing and integration with Surface PCs, and they’re compatible with iOS 9 or later. You can even use the earbuds to dictate documents rather than type them when paired with Windows 10 programs like Word and Outlook. 

Of course, all these features are meaningless if the earbuds aren’t designed to actually sound good. To help optimize the earbuds audio performance, Microsoft has included what it calls its Omnisonic sound profile with custom 13.6mm drivers and special tuning. And, while the earbuds don’t include an active noise cancellation feature, they do utilize two integrated microphones to help optimize your voice during calls. 

We’ll need to get hands-on with the Surface Earbuds to see if these elements really deliver the performance that Microsoft boasts of on paper, but compared to similar alternatives from Apple, the Surface Earbuds’ specifications look solid. With that said, the $199.99 price tag does make them more expensive than competing models from Google and Samsung.  Pre-orders for the Surface Earbuds are available now through Microsoft’s website. We’ll update this page with additional retailer options as more pre-order listings are added. 

Microsoft’s Surface Headphones 2 will be available on May 12 for $249.99 in light gray or matte black color options. The premium over-ear headphones serve as the successor to the company’s original Surface Headphones, and promise improved battery life, better sound quality, and a new rotatable earcup design.

The Surface Headphones 2 include support for noise cancellation with 13 levels of adjustment that can be accessed via a dial on the earcup. Touch controls are included for playback and activating hands-free assistance. Like the Surface Earbuds, you can use the headphones to dictate documents rather than type when paired with certain Windows 10 apps. 

Battery life is rated for up to 20 hours of use via Bluetooth with noise cancellation activated. Microsoft says that five minutes of charging can net you up to an hour of playback, and a full charge can be completed in less than two hours.

The headphones use 40mm Free Edge speakers and include Microsoft’s Omnisonic sound. We were a bit underwhelmed by the original Surface Headphones’ audio performance when we reviewed them back in 2018, so we’re hoping that the latest model follows through with its promise of improved sound quality. If audio performance ends up being up to par, the Surface Headphones 2 could be a very attractive alternative to more expensive noise-cancelling models from Bose and Sony.

Pre-orders for the Surface Headphones 2 will be available starting today through Microsoft’s website. We’ll update this page with more retailer links as additional pre-order listings pop up. 

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Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-surface-headphones-price-release-date

World news – GB – Microsoft’s new Surface headphones and earbuds are up for pre-order now — here’s how much they cost

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