What are Surface Earbuds and How Do They Work?

The Scoop on Microsoft's Buds and How They Stack Up

Microsoft is readying truly wireless earbuds that are ready for music and podcasts, but also a great companion accessory for Microsoft 365/MicrosoftOffice.

What are Surface Earbuds?

Surface Earbuds are Bluetooth enabled earbuds that have no wire connecting each earbud together (a first for Microsoft). Microsoft says they are engineered to deliver great audio thanks to noise cancelling technology, additional microphones, and are designed to have a comfortable fit.

How Do Surface Earbuds Work?

Microsoft's Surface Earbuds outside of case on a table.

Microsoft has enabled touch surfaces so you can use gestures to interact with the earbuds. So you can tap, touch, and swipe, you can adjust the volume, make calls, and open programs like Spotify on Android without looking at a screen.

The Wi-Fi feature allows them to work seamlessly with Microsoft apps, and you can dictate to-dos, read and reply to emails, add things to your calendar. Additionally, you can add real-time captions to Powerpoint presentations and move through slides without ever touching your device. Using Bluetooth, you can connect to your Android phone, Microsoft device, or iPhone. From there, you can make and receive phone calls, listen to music, and execute command entirely with your voice.

By holding your finger flat on the surface of the earbud, you engage a virtual assistant. Surface Earbuds work with both Cortana (on the Microsoft platform) and Google Assistant on Android.

For the best fit, Microsoft recommends putting them in your ears with the bud facing down and then turning them counterclockwise to lock them in.

Technical Details to Know

Microsoft promises 24 hours of battery life when stored with the charging case. You can expect 8 hours of continuous playtime and then another (2) 8-hour charges from the case. A 10-minute charge adds an additional hour of battery life. 

The Surface Earbuds have an IPX4 waterproof rating, meaning they are water-resistant, not waterproof. Microsoft includes three pairs of silicone ear tips (sizes: S/M/L) to help you get a solid fit. The charging case uses USB-C (the box will include the charging case uses a USB-C to USB-A cable).

Microsoft’s Surface Earbuds are compatible with Windows 10, Android 8.1 down to 4.4, iPhone 11, X, 8, 7, 6 & 5, iOS 13 down to version 9, and Bluetooth 4.1/4.2.

Alternative Products to Surface Earbuds

The top competitors for these new earbuds are Apple's AirPods/AirPods Pro and Amazon Echo Buds. All three, offer noise cancellation and very good music quality.

Where to Find Surface Earbuds

Initially set for release for December, 2019, Microsoft pushed back the release date to the first half of 2020. You will be able to buy them directly from Microsoft as well as retail and online tech outlets.

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