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Microsoft managed to make the original Surface Headphone mechanics extremely obvious, but at the same time turning them on their head. The new innovation was a rolling wheel around the ear cup so you could set your desired volume along with the level of noise cancellation. I like how Chris Welch described his feelings for The Verge, “It felt instantly intuitive and so satisfying — one of those things that left you wondering how no one else had seized on the idea sooner”. And it’s true, I couldn’t find any complaints about that new mechanics, as they seemed to dig into my primal instincts to play with and roll a round thing. 

This is how the rolling element looks like. Image credit: hardwareluxx.ru
This is how the rolling element looks like. Image credit: hardwareluxx.ru

However, maybe it’s the limit of the pros and we need to move slightly to the cons of battery life and sound quality. But, the company has undertaken to give consumers a vision that the line of price tag overlaps the line of sound quality. Nevertheless, the two lines have never crossed paths. 

What we have today is the Microsoft Surface Headphone 2 pretending to be even more ground-breaking as to surpass the progress of its forebear. The designers have left the original look but they also included some more new details like the matte black color and bumpier buttons for your fingers to find them easier. And the price is more down to Earth — $250. Double Thumbs up!

The new design is approaching a minimalistic style, leaving a place for the gleaming Microsoft logo on the frame of headphones. The matte black color remains to be a symbol of classic elegance, but right now there are less recognizable details to show off than in the new Microsoft Surface’s model.

I want to shake the hand of the person who insisted on changing the rotate angle on the ear cups. It’s 180 degrees now, so you will not look awkward since there is no neck and you won’t be forced into a form of self-strangulation. However, where the plus exists — the minuses will find a place right behind it. Be sure to free up more space in your bag because the headphones don’t actually fold.

Cancelled Cortana

This world is working on a previously earned authority, and this system has touched the realm of voice assistance too. Just like Google Pixel Buds, the Microsoft Surface used to have a straight connection with Microsoft’s voice assistant Cortana with the ability to communicate without pressing a button. Due to the strong competition, or the lack of a special marketing campaign to promote Cortana, it hasn’t got as many dedicated fans as Alexa or Siri.

The new model of the Surface Headphones 2 is coming without an always-on voice assistant, though we’re not telling BB to Cortana because you can still connect with her through special mobile apps like Outlook Mobile. It’s important to leave here the fact that it will work only when you’re in the US.

Expanded battery life

My mother told me to learn from my mistakes – perhaps Microsoft listened to my ma? The original Surface Headphones were choked by the poor battery life, providing you with only 15 hours, an increase of three hours with Cortana disabled. Considering this, and noticing competitors at the same price point, it looked like daylight robbery. Premium class noise-canceling headphones used to demonstrate 25, or even up to 30 hours of stamina!

Microsoft is like a small child in this particular case, because they tried to do their best, but it is still not enough to compete with the other kids. The Surface Headphones 2 have got 20 hours on paper, with ANC turned on which is an attempt to leapfrog its predecessors.

Sound is good, but that’s all

Audio quality can raise a number of questions because not every person will notice some hints of melodic sound or a touch rough and irrelevant bass with a lack of power in it. What we can say is that the Surface Headphones 2 delivers a well-rounded sound with the help of Omnisonic sound. The sound doesn’t give us much room for criticism, no space to say it’s hushed or brassy, but it is not accurate either.

Factory settings will give you balanced highs, lows, and midranges; they’ll sound mellow and your favorite chorus will create the same pleasing goosebumps on your body. There’s still a lot of work left undone for Microsoft to catch up with higher-end headphones. But, you can boost the bass inside the app’s EQ settings. You can adjust various combinations of settings which will fit into different music genres.

Wrapping up

The change in the price tag from $350 for the original model, to $250 for the Surface Headphones 2 will lead to more soothing verdicts. Yes, this headphone set is not here to beat Sony or Bose or other top range models, but with this price and these specs it actually shouldn’t.

Image credit: windowscentral.com

The Surface Headphones 2 is a thing which won’t make you upset, because the better battery life, slightly better sound quality, and water-resistance are all more than enough for the price Microsoft offers.

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