They were rumored earlier in 2019, but we honestly thought they wouldn’t surface (ahem). But at its Surface Hardware event in New York, the Seattle tech giant announced the Surface Earbuds true wireless, joining the likes of the Apple AirPods (2019), the Powerbeats Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3 in the wireless earbud market.
Codenamed Morrison (apparently after The Doors’ Jim Morrison), the Surface Earbuds will feature omnisonic sound, 24-hour battery life, a charging case (naturally) and touch controls.
Microsoft surprise announcement didn’t go into too much detail, but here’s everything we absorbed from the brief appearance of the Surface Earbuds.
Surface Earbuds design — What features do they have and what do they look like?
The design is, how shall we say… interesting. When plugged in the ear, the Earbuds look like sizeable cylinders. We get the impression that the form helps noise isolation, but they do look ungainly. Microsoft says the design helps maintain stability when in the ear, but we have to reiterate that it looks odd.
The Surface Earbuds were built with productivity in mind, so there’s Cortana, Office 365 integration, Spotify integration and two microphones in each bud to improved call quality. With the Office 365 integration, users will be able to dictate words to Office documents and there’s a translation feature, which sounds as if they will translate language on the fly.
No mention was made of what Bluetooth codec they’ll be carrying, but Microsoft did confirm that battery life is 24 hours (we assume that’s including the charging case) and that it’s built for “all-day” comfort, with the video accompanying the announcement showing people doing various activities, including gym workouts.
Touch and swipe gestures are included and on Android devices, Microsoft said that you can directly access Spotify without having to take out your smartphone, and has also mentioned omnisonic sound.
And as we suspected, the Surface Earbuds adhere to the grey colour tone of Microsoft’s audio products.
Related: Apple AirPod (2019) review
Surface Earbuds price — How much do they cost?
The Surface Earbuds will go on sale for $249. That’s about £200, which would put them above the Apple AirPods (2019) and Libratone Track Air+, but below Sony’s WF-1000XM3, which we consider to be the best pair of wireless earbuds around.
Surface Earbuds release date — When are they going on sale?
Microsoft said they’d be available “later this year”. If it’s anything like the Surface Headphones last year, we’d say a November release date is on the cards.