This week, rumors emerged that Microsoft was working on a second pair of Surface headphones, in the form of wireless earbuds, to compete alongside Google's Pixel Buds, Samsung's Galaxy Buds, and Apple's AirPods. Dubbed “Surface Buds,” these new headphones from Microsoft would be much smaller than the Surface Headphones, designed primarily for use when out and about, and they'd be small enough to fit in a pocket.
When the Surface Headphones were first announced, my initial reaction was one of slight confusion. This was a weird product for Microsoft to be shipping with no mobile counterpart. But there is a Microsoft angle to the Surface Headphones, in that they are a productivity enhancer thanks to the unique ambient sound capabilities and Cortana integration.
I can see the Surface Headphones being very popular for businesspeople who travel frequently on planes or work in loud offices. But I don't see the Surface Headphones being something “consumer-y people” think about when they think of audio peripherals. Perhaps that's why Microsoft is working on the Surface earbuds, a headphone form factor that's somewhat more popular and approachable to the average consumer.
In-ear or over-ear?
Surface Headphones cost $349, which is expensive for most people. Apple's new AirPods are $199, which is considerably less. Of course, these two headphones are of different categories, one being over-ear and the other being in-ear. But I think in-ear headphones are more popular and are preferred by most thanks to their small size, lower price, and ease of use. I own a pair of Surface Headphones, but I rarely go outside with them, as I feel like they're too big.
Surface earbuds, on the other hand, would be my go-to headphones for going out and about, because they'd be much more discrete and easier to carry around. Surface Headphones make sense for long-haul travel, but if you're just going out to the park for the day, or to and from work, the earbud form factor is much more preferred. When I'm just going out for a bit, I bring with me the Google Pixel Buds, because they're small and comfortable, even though the Surface Headphones are better overall.
Depending on how much the Surface earbuds cost, I think they could be a real contender in the wireless earbuds space, as I believe there's a difference between the wireless earbuds market and the wireless headphones market. Surface Headphones compete alongside the likes of Bose, Beats, and Sony over-ear headphones. Surface earbuds would compete alongside AirPods, Pixel Buds, Galaxy Buds, and the many other wireless buds accessories on the market today.
I'm curious to see if there's any “productivity” focus for the Surface earbuds, or if Microsoft plans to market these are straight up AirPods and Pixel Buds competitors. Can Microsoft gain traction in an already crowded wireless audio accessory market, especially considering it doesn't have any mobile platform? In the meantime, would you buy wireless Surface earbuds? Partake in our poll and let us know exactly what you think in the comments.
Our favorite Surface accessories from Microsoft
Every one of these valuable Surface accessories is Windows Central Approved and guaranteed to please.
Surface Precision Mouse
($77 at Amazon)
The Surface Precision Mouse is not only one of favorite Surface accessories, it's one of our favorite mice for any PC. It's packed with valuable features and customizable buttons. Its scrolling and tracking are seamless and spot-on. And it's rechargeable so you never have to buy new batteries for it.
(From $72 at Amazon)
Every Surface owner needs this Pen. Period. It supports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, tilt support for shading density, and enjoys supremely low latency. When paired with a Surface PC, the potential is endless. And it comes in a bunch of cool colors.
($136 at Amazon)
With two Mini DisplayPorts, four USB-A 3.0 ports, an Ethernet port, and a 3.5mm audio jack, this dock gives you the ports you need to stay connected to all your favorite devices. Plus, it easily turns your Surface into a desktop power hub. We highly recommend it.
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