Do Microsoft Surface Earbuds have noise cancellation (ANC)?

Surface Earbuds
Surface Earbuds (Image credit: Microsoft)

Surface Earbuds Hero Box

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Do Microsoft Surface Earbuds have noise cancellation (ANC)?

Microsoft Surface Earbuds with noise cancellation

Surface Earbuds expand Microsoft's flagship hardware line via truly wireless in-ear audio. Positioned with premium sound and accompanying productivity features, they join the existing Microsoft Surface Headphones with added portability for mobile and PC. Boasting "all-day comfort" and up to 24 hours of battery life, Surface Earbuds set out as a daily companion for work and entertainment.

Microsoft Surface Earbuds don't support active noise cancellation, distanced from the isolative capabilities of earlier Surface Headphones. While first unveiled amid low adoption from rivals in the wireless earbud space, its absence falls behind some premium alternatives today. Beyond pure implementation, bringing ANC will compromise battery life and raise the already high price. Microsoft does tout "noise reduction," although only to clear up your speech over the dual-microphone setup.

While ANC doesn't ship with Surface Earbuds, it doesn't mean you're not getting an exceptional audio experience. Our initial time with Surface Earbuds has demonstrated considerable comfort, offering a snug insert-and-twist fit. It helps the Surface Earbuds sit effortlessly in-ear while avoiding full isolation from the outside world.

Surface Earbuds are scheduled for May 12, priced at $199, launching at a reduced price compared to the original $249 unveiling. Microsoft has now kicked off preorders, available exclusively in the "glacier" white colorway.

Best Surface Earbuds alternatives with active noise cancellation

Sony WF-1000XM3

Source: Daniel Bader | Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader | Windows Central)

Amid a push to cut down headphone jacks, truly wireless earbuds are on the rise. Convenience comes with cutting the cable, ideal for use on both mobile and PC. Wireless audio can now pack a ton of features into a compact package, making ANC a valuable tool for travelers. If the Surface Earbuds don't cut it, the Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds are among the leaders today.

The Sony WF-1000XM3 boasts impressive audio with an in-ear design, aided by noise cancellation. They'll cut the background noise and elevate your listening experience, even if falling short of bulky over-ear alternatives. Pair that with a streamlined look, comfort, and features primed for audiophiles – you've got some of the best earbuds to buy.

While among the high-end, the Sony WF-1000XM3 retails only just above the Microsoft Surface Earbuds launch price. You'll miss out on some signature cloud-backed productivity, but gain capable ANC.

Staying within the same hardware family, the Surface Headphones 2 are Microsoft's Surface Earbuds alternative. The weighty over-ear design cuts out the world and keeps you focused, although sacrificing portability in the process. They offer average ANC but stand out with 13 different ambient sound levels, adjustable via a dial on the left ear. That flexibility is especially valuable when phasing in and out activities. Oh, and they now come in black, unlike the Earbuds.

The Surface Headphones 2 don't slack in performance, with first-rate soundscapes and comfort, onboard digital assistant integration, and touch gestures. If it's a style for you, give them a try.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.