Microsoft’s Surface Headphones sport auto play/pause, hands-free Cortana, and more

Not too long ago the popularity of over- and on-ear headphones began to significantly increase. More and more people began taking notice of the more immersive audio experience that these designs offer. One could argue that Beats’ headphones significantly contributed to this by bringing stylish options to market that consumers have enjoyed showing off. With a plethora of offerings on the market, it can be hard for brands to make a convincing argument why their new pair of headphones is better than the rest. That doesn’t appear to faze Microsoft though, as the company announced a pair of Surface-branded headphones last week and provided a release date for the headset earlier today.

Audio gear has received a lot of attention over the past few years. With Sonos pushing out new speakers, Apple releasing AirPods and HomePod, and Google offering its Home Max, tech companies are pouring tons of money into this product category.

While you can likely count on Microsoft’s Surface Headphones to sport great audio, it is made apparent in the product’s intro video that Microsoft has been heavily focused on implementing features that make the user experience both simple and convenient. The video is quick to tout that features like adjustable noise-cancellation, auto play/pause, and hands-free Cortana activation will be appreciated by the folks using Microsoft’s voice assistant on a regular basis.

One of my favorite parts of the Surface Headphones has to be easily adjustable noise-cancellation. While I enjoy blocking out noise so that I can focus, I have found some headphones to be uncomfortable during long sessions due to the default noise-cancellation settings. With a simple twist of a dial on the left ear-cup, users can tweak noise-cancellation and find the perfect setting.

Taking a page out of Apple’s playbook, Microsoft borrowed the familiar auto play/pause feature from AirPods. This is a welcome addition though as it is one of my favorite things about AirPods. For those unfamiliar with what this means, when a user takes Surface Headphones off of their head, the headset will halt playback until they put them back on.

If you find the feature set and design of the Microsoft Surface Headphones to be appealing, they will be available for pre-order starting November 15th with shipping taking place as soon as November 19th. Be prepared to part with a fair amount of money since the price tag for the company’s new offering is set at $349.

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