Microsoft puts Cortana in your ear with Surface Headphones

Microsoft’s Surface lineup has taken an unexpected turn. The company just teased an upcoming “Surface Headphones,” product, a reveal that came as a surprise during a press event for the company’s new lineup of Surface devices.

The Surface Headphones mark a first for the company. To date, Microsoft has never made a Surface-branded audio product.

The tech-infused headphones are a bit like Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s AirPods or Google’s PixelBuds in that they come with Cortana built-right in and are optimized for Surface devices (though they’ll pair with any bluetooth device). But unlike those companies’ earbuds, the Surface Headphones are over-ear, noise canceling headphones.

The headphones look a bit bulkier than other over-ear cans, but there’s a lot packed into them, according to Microsoft. In addition to Cortana, they’re equipped with four beam-forming mics and four noice-canceling mics, and support 13 levels of noise cancellation.

You can control volume levels and noise cancellation via on-ear dials, so you can adjust the sound precisely to your environment.

Microsoft didn’t reveal many details about the headphones at its event, only but the company shared a bit more with CNET, who got an early look at them ahead of the Surface event. Microsoft told the publication the headphones charge via USB-C and will get up to 15 hours of battery life in bluetooth and 50 hours in “wired mode.”

In addition to the on-ear volume dials, you’ll also be able to adjust the sound via a smartphone app.

Put all that together and the Surface Headphones sound like an intriguing product, though one that will have a hard time competing with Apple’s Beats, Bose, and other competitors, which have been making noise-cancelling headphones for years. So it’s not surprising, then, that Microsoft is reportedly planning a limited release for the Surface Headphones.

The Surface Headphones will go on sale at Microsoft Stores in the U.S. later this fall for $350, according to CNET.

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