Microsoft's Surface Earbuds were announced last October, but the launch of the new device was delayed until earlier this month. Now the new in-ear Apple AirPod competitors are available, consumers are reporting some issues with sound. Microsoft says it is investigating the issue.
Surface Earbuds promise market-leading sound driven by Microsoft's immersive “Surface Omnisonic” audio technology. However, early adopters of the product are not getting an ideal first impression.
Reports of a popping or hissing sound when listening to the Earbuds are gathering momentum. This sound is said to be in the background all the time. Regardless of task (calls, music) or the connected device (phone, laptop), the hissing is persistent, say affected users.
However, most admit the sound can be ignored when music is playing.
“I've noticed that all I need to do to trigger it is to have the phone unlocked and press the home button – then pop-hiss x 4 seconds-pop, then all back to quiet,” one user said.
It seems the problem is not isolated to a few users, with dozens jumping on board the Microsoft Answers page. One of the company's employees acknowledged the issue and said a fix is in the works:
“We apologize for the troubles you have to go through with the pop/hiss sound on your Surface Earbuds. We have raised this to our team internally. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and we will get back to you as soon as we get updates on this”.
If Microsoft is promising a fix, that suggests the issue is related to software and not the Surface Earbuds hardware. That's a small relief for owners and indeed for Microsoft.
The Surface Earbuds are a follow up to Microsoft's surprisingly successful over-ear headphones. They feature a fully wireless design and a strange circular pad sticking out of your ear which can be used to touch gestures.
There are promises of all-day battery life, an ‘ultra-comfortable' design, and the ability to control and type in Office 365 with your voice. As for audio, Microsoft is billing a 13.6mm driver with support for SBC and aptX for reduced Bluetooth latency. This is combined with an ‘Omnisonic' sound experience and two microphones per bud.