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Hardware Technology Wearables

Headphone shoot out – Microsoft Surface Headphones vs Jabra Evolve range

Modern headphones are called upon to fulfil many distinct roles across personal and business needs and in multiple environments: high quality music and podcast playback, audio chat/calls, conference calls, shared workspace distraction reduction and more. This could be on a train, on a sofa, at the gym. in a personal office or a noisy shared workspace. The range of  features to meet these needs has resulted in a somewhat complex market; it’s no longer a matter of audio quality and budget; portability, connectivity, control, noise reduction and even style need to be weighed as well.

This article places 4 high quality headphones to the test, taking into account business and personal use. I review each on their technical merit and features and also provide a collective audio quality review.

Headphones on test:

  • Microsoft Surface Headphones
  • Jabra Evolve 65T earbuds
  • Jabra Evolve 75 on-ear headphones
  • Jabra Evolve 80 over-ear headphones

Surface Headphones

List Price £319 (incl. VAT)
Amazon UK: £240 (incl. VAT)

These are high quality, over-ear headphones, so no more sore earlobes from extended wear compared with on-ear designs. They are modern looking, cool grey devices that have a suitably aspirational design and brand (especially amongst techies). They have active noise cancelling as well as the inherent sound attenuation from the over-ear design; at $350 (£270 – £330 in the UK) you would expect no less.

They feature a pair of control rings on each earpiece; the right controls the volume and the left the level of noise cancellation, with additional controls, all of which feel reasonably intuitive.

Features

  • Wireless and wired, Active Noise Cancelling, over-ear, built-in microphone, hard case
  • Teams certified (works with Skype)

Ergonomics and use

I found the fit to be excellent. The band is padded and sat well on my head, there was ample earpiece adjustment. The over ear design was also very comfortable, sitting around my ears and nestling on the side of my head.

The controls are pretty straightforward (once you have removed the almost invisible transit film, which otherwise stops the rotary controls moving!), with a rotating ring on each ear for volume and for the innovative noise cancellation.

  • Single tap — Play/Pause
  • Double tap — Next track/Answer call
  • Triple tap — Previous track
  • Long press — Activate Cortana/Decline call

Automatic Noise Cancellation is both simple and remarkable. You can dial the amount of ambient noise level with the left dial; turn it forward to hear less sound around you; all the way cuts out a massive amount of background, however for street use a milder setting stops you missing important environment cues, (such as approaching vehicles). The noise cancelling is really very good – at least a match for the Bose headphones I used to covet. Where things get what’s really clever is that if you wind the dial the other way it passes through neutral and then amplifies the surroundings. I found it surprisingly useful in some situations where I was struggling to hear.

Automatic Noise Cancellation is both simple and remarkable

Bluetooth set up was completely straightforward on all the devices I tried and the headphones were equally at home with both Windows and Android devices. You can do a limited amount of management using the Surface Headphones app on windows or from the Devices settings on Android.

When you need to be tethered, perhaps to a non-BT PC or during flights that still worry about Bluetooth, then the included 3.5mm lead is perfectly adequate. Plugging in automatically disables Bluetooth.

The headphones charge quickly via USB C, around 2 hours from empty, and last a claimed 15 hours on a charge. I didn’t test this, but they easily lasted all day.

A final trick, removing the headphones, or lifting an earpiece instantly stops/mutes playback so you can easily hear what a colleague is trying to say to you, etc.

Pros

  • Excellent noise cancellation, with the ability to adjust it to let more background through when you need some awareness of your surrounding
  • Background amplification –
  • Pair to 2 devices at once
  • Auto-pause – taking the ‘phones off or lifting an earpiece stops the current playback
  • Light weight (290g)
  • Nice case (if quite large)
  • Left and right ear touch control
  • Fast to start and pair

Cons

  • No Cortana integration if you aren’t in the US (Grrrr….)
  • Oversensitive volume and ANC controls
  • Very small power and mute button
  • Audio cable connects to the right ear, often resulting in trailing cables
  • No Bluetooth dongle ‘in the box’
  • ‘Invisible’ in-the-box retention strips

Verdict

I genuinely like these headphones. They are comfortable, easy to live with, have fine sound quality and impressive features. I wouldn’t play sport in them, but I’d choose them as my go to headphones for flights, train journeys, video conferencing and general business use.

The control interface is good, battery life is plenty and they work well in both business and personal scenarios.

Specs

Charging: Full charge <2 hours via USB C
Playback: Up to 15 hours (music over Bluetooth, Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) on, Cortana on)
Idle: Up to 50 hours (idle, Bluetooth off, ANC on)
Inputs: USB-C, 3.5mm audio cable, Cortana by voice activation or touch

Links

Microsoft store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/surface-headphones/8nrm8dz2zw43
Microsoft User Guide: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4469878/surface-use-surface-headphones


Jabra Evolve 65T

List Price £318 (incl. VAT)
Amazon UK: £247 (incl. VAT)

Earbuds are the technology of the moment; every manufacturer seems to be bringing this form factor out right now and Jabra is no exception. Their effort is a smart looking matched pair of devices in an equally nifty hardcase.

Earbuds walk a fine line between being discrete and vaguely ostentatious. They certainly look the part, if someone does notice you and they look far less awkward and passé than those white things with prominent stalks that some people choose to wear!

They lack active noise cancelling, but their design is inherently good at rejecting most background noise.

They include on device controls that were simple to get to grips with once you spot the tactile studs on  the left hand device.

Features

  • Wireless. Passive noise reduction, in-ear (with different ear fittings), built-in microphone, portable hardcase charging station, preconfigured Bluetooth dongle, Alexa/voice assistant integration.
  • Teams certified (works with Skype)

Ergonomics and use

The Jabra 65Ts are yet another entry into the list of ‘earbud’ headphones, following in the footsteps of Apple, Amazon and just about everyone else. Their initial claim to fame is that they are pretty much the only such device certified for use with  Microsoft Teams, which makes them interesting given the massive rate of adoption of this collaboration technology and positions them as a business device as much as a consumer offering.

The only such device certified for use with  Microsoft Teams

Like most things that you stick in your ears, getting an optimal fit can be a challenge. I found them easy enough to insert, once I worked out how to tell left from right (the left has small ridges on the control button, the mini-mic booms sit at the bottom, facing forward), and they were much more secure than I feared; however after ~15 minutes they were starting to irritate. I eventually swapped the flexible fitting cap for a smaller set and things were instantly an order of magnitude better; far more comfortable and easier to insert. Many sessions at the gym have confirmed that they remain comfortable for an hour and show no sign of coming out during moderate exercise. They are sufficiently light at 5.8g (left) and 6.5g (right) to not be noticeable for the most part.

Controls are pretty straightforward. The ridged left bud gives you volume up and down with a short press and track forward/backward with a longer press. The single central button on the right bud provides call answer/reject (tap), power off/on (long press), Bluetooth connection (press and hold) and their HearThrough technology that passes through ambient sound (double press). Press and Hold launches your choice of voice assistant on the paired device. I used Alexa and it was fine, but has limitations. There is a good article on that here.

I really liked the hardcase. Popping the buds away in the case turns them off and instantly starts them charging from the inbuilt battery, which is good for 2 full charges. In use, they were always nicely charged whenever I used them (a 20 minute quick charge provides 1 hour of use) and the case itself was simple to recharge using a standard USB cable. Coloured LEDs let you know the current charge level of the buds and the case. Taking them out powered them up and connected them to whichever paired Bluetooth devices you had to hand. My only criticism is that opening the case was a little tricky, but at least they are not going to fall out.

The buds are smart enough to know if you are wearing just the right bud and adjusts; accordingly, they switch between stereo and mono whenever they are about the breadth of your head away from each other. Equally, taking a bud out pauses playback on your device.

Bluetooth pairing was simple and there is quite a bit of control and management, including a ‘find my earbuds’ feature in the Jabra Direct app.

They come with a Bluetooth USB dongle to enable your non-BT devices.

Pros

  • Four-microphone ambient noise-cancellation technology, covering Four-microphone ambient noise-cancellation technology. 20 Hz to 20 kHz playback
  • Comfortable, discrete, great fit (for the reviewer) and robust.
  • Clever storage case
  • Microsoft Teams Certified
  • IP55 water resistant

Cons

  • Can take a while to get the fit, orientation and left vs right sorted out – though easy once you know how
  • No cabled option

Verdict

When Jabra asked me to review their earbuds, I was ready to provide a ‘meh’ review. I’m not big on fads and fashion and I wondered if earbuds had anything to offer over other in-ear designs. I was totally wrong. These have become my go-to devices for around the house, gym, sneaky Netflix watching and all my road warrior business activities (paired to my Microsoft Surface and OnePlus Android phone. The sound quality is surprisingly good for these scenarios, the portability and ease of wear is great and the microphones are remarkably good even in noisy environments.

Specs

Charging: Full charge <2 hours via the charging case
Playback: Up to 5 hours (music over Bluetooth). You get 3 recharges from the charging case
Idle: Up to 50 hours (idle, Bluetooth off, ANC on)
Inputs: Bluetooth (5.0) only (10m range). Up to 8 paired devices and 2 simultaneous connections

Links

Jabra Product Guide: https://www.jabra.co.uk/business/office-headsets/jabra-evolve/jabra-evolve-65t
Amazon Store: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jabra-Wireless-Certified-Earbuds-Smartphone/dp/B07NW4S9PN
Alexa limitations: https://venturebeat.com/2018/03/19/jabra-elite-65t-review-alexa-in-earbuds-is-missing-key-features/


Jabra Evolve 75

List price: £289 (incl. VAT)
Amazon £185 (incl. VAT)

The Evolve 75 headphones are a smart business back, with natty red highlights, an adjustable boom microphone and a companion stand that keeps them charged via its connection to a USB source. It took me a little while to realise that this is just for charging and does not provide any audio connectivity, which is managed via a separate dedicated Bluetooth dongle.

I’m not a fan of on-ear designs. After 30 minutes or so I find any on-ear devices become uncomfortable as they press on my ears. The 75s were no better nor worse than others I have tried in this regard. However, for the many daily conference calls I make via Teams I had high hopes for these devices. I have used cabled Jabra headphones for years; the allure of a wireless design was not lost on me.

Features

  • Wireless. Active Noise Cancelling, Busy Light, on-ear, Boom microphone, desk charging station, preconfigured Bluetooth dongle, hard case.
  • Skype certified (works with Teams)

Ergonomics and use

My first impression was that these should be a great headphone device. However, I had a number of initial issues.

I was surprised that the adjustable headband needed to be almost fully closed to match the earpieces to my ears. I suspect people with smaller heads (or high ears!) may find them a little too big.

The ANC noise cancellation is fair, but not outstanding. Microphone quality and background noise rejection seemed very good, as did the HearThrough feature that feeds external sound past the ANC and acoustic damping; great for when a colleague wants to speak to you. This is activated by a nice centre button on the left earpiece; whilst the equivalent on the right provides call management and Play/pause (smartphone only).

Lifting the mic automatically mutes it, which I like a lot, especially as the mute button is quite small. Not so great, is the deep, distracting ‘bonk’ sound that they make periodically to let you know they are muted. The ANC button is easy enough to activate once you figure out where it is, it’s not quite where your left thumb naturally sits when reaching for it.

I found the other controls somewhat fiddly; volume up and down wasn’t quite as I expected, requiring a central press rather than near the upper and lower edge of the right earpiece, where I intuitively expected. The power button is surprisingly hard to activate whilst wearing the 75s.

Claimed 18 hours on a charge and 3 hour recharge time gives you a comfortable couple of days use between top ups.

At the desk, they can be a tad awkward to drop into place on their stand, half the time I had to use 2 hands to get the mini-USB connector to slide in to place. Once there, they do sit securely on the stand and are easy to remove in a hurry when calls come in.

As mentioned, I was very surprised that the substantial dock doesn’t have the Bluetooth capability built in; instead there is a separate dongle, the Link 370, which consumes another USB port (unless you use a dedicated USB charger for the stand). Why there isn’t a USB port on the doc itself for the dongle to sit in is puzzling – it seems like an obvious solution and means that you are far less likely to forget the dongle if leaving for a trip with your headset (assuming you have a separate laptop/tablet, as I do).

On the upside, they can connect to 2 devices at a time, have a good range (up to 30 meters) for those that like to pace while on calls and an innovative ‘Busylight’ on the earpieces to let your colleagues know that you are on a call – especially useful as the noise cancelling means you probably wont hear them .

When it’s working correctly, sound quality is fine, if not up to the standard of the other devices on test. However, initially I had serious issues with obtaining reliable, usable sound quality.

I found that the default setting feeds your speaker voice back into the headset, resulting in significant sibilance, which was somewhat harsh and unpleasant. After reviewing Jabra support, I discovered the Jabra Direct PC app, which is not mentioned in the Quick Start Guide. This allowed adjustment of the ‘Sidetone’ level and a useful range of other settings. After taking the feedback down by 3 decibels things improved somewhat, and 6dB reduction seemed to solve it. The sound from the ‘other side’ of calls was unaffected but this problem.

More of a challenge was that the link to the dedicated dongle was unreliable, with sporadic sound drop-outs and artefacts on all audio via the PC. A gentle background hiss was noticeable when ANC was off.  I almost gave up on the headset because of the seriousness of this problem. Bluetooth to my OnePlus phone was much better and unaffected by these problems, which suggested issues with the Link 370 technology. Eventually these problems resolved completely after what I think was a firmware update via the Jabra Direct app.

Pros

  • Liberating Bluetooth (4.0) wireless design. Up to 8 paired devices and 2 simultaneous connections
  • Good construction quality
  • Reasonable sound quality and range 150 Hz–6.8 kHz
  • Excellent microphone with great noise rejection and a clever mute feature
  • Good ANC (4-mic, 17dB), with single button pass through and ‘Busylight
  • Additional control via the Jabra Direct app (if you can find it)
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Initially unreliable audio quality with the PC
  • Requires 2 USB ports
  • Missed opportunities, ergonomically
  • No cabled option

Verdict

Once over the initial bumps I have found the 75s to be decent desk headphones. They are comfortable in business calls, though I struggle with the on ear design after about 30 minutes); sound is clear, ANC works well and the freedom from wires is as liberating as I had hoped.

I still think Jabra have missed a trick with not including the Jabra Direct technology in the stand (especially given that it costs £50) and that the ergonomics of the stand and the headphones have room for improvement. I now use them daily at my desk, but would probably have chosen the Surface headphones instead if not for the fact that I use those elsewhere.

Specs

Charging: Full charge <2 hours via USB or charging stand
Playback: Up to 15 hours (music over Bluetooth, Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) on, Cortana on)
Idle: Up to 30 hours (ANC on)
Inputs: Bluetooth (4.0) only (30m range). Up to 8 paired devices and 2 simultaneous connections

Links

Jabra Product Guide: https://www.jabra.co.uk/business/office-headsets/jabra-evolve/jabra-evolve-75
Amazon Store: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jabra-Evolve-Bluetooth-Headset-Smartphone-BLACK/dp/B078SYJ133


Jabra Evolve 80

List Price £339 (incl. VAT)
Amazon UK: £200 (incl. VAT)

Like the Surface headphones, these are high quality, over-ear headphones. They are fairly conventional in appearance and form, with a super comfortable headband, a similar business-friendly finish as the Jabra 75s and both passive and active noise cancellation. They weigh in at a reassuring 324g.

Unlike the other devices tested, these are wired only. The sound quality and comfort are both stand out features.

Features

  • Wired, Active Noise Cancelling, Passive noise reduction, Busy Light, Over ear, Boom microphone, USB connection with desk control, 3.5mm (1/8”) audio jack, soft case.
  • Skype certified (works with Teams)

Ergonomics and use

Light weight and very comfortable, these are the most comfortable of all the headphones for extended wear. They sit well on the head, with a very nicely padded headband, good range of adjustment and supremely comfortable earpads that seal well around the ears. The microphone folds up into a groove on the headband when not needed, raising the mic enables mute (as with the Jabra 75). The earpieces fold flat and can be easily placed in the included travel bag.

As a pair of desktop business headphones, they provide all-day wear-time, easy control from the desktop puck (which is quicker and easier to use than fiddling with on ear controls). The microphone quality is right up there with the best and easily adjustable to suit you preferred mouth position. The captive audio cable is plenty long enough at for desk use at about 1.2 m when coupled with the desk control puck which adds a further 0.9m. The Jabra Direct application lets you set up call control with one or more softphones

The noise cancellation is excellent, passive and active modes combine effectively to really isolate the wearer from even noisy office environments. The microphone does an excellent job of rejecting background sound, so people at the other end enjoy the same quiet. As with the other Jabra devices a useful HearThrough function that instantly lets you hear ambient sounds, plus the useful ‘busy light’ on the earpiece to let your colleagues know that you are on a call – the ANC noise cancelling means you really won’t hear them talking to you. You can turn it on manually when you need focus time.

The audio quality is really very good. Into HiFi territory. I explore this in the audio comparison section below.

The desktop controller puck gives you very easy access to volume, call management and Busylight functions without guessing what you are pressing; it’s great for call centre staff and very active Unified Communications staff, certainly more convenient than any of the other devices on test. The corollary is that there aren’t any controls on the headphones, other than an ANC switch and related HearThrough button.

The downside, of course, is that the Jabra 80s are tethered. In many circumstances, this is fine, but it does make you a desk-slave and is no help for those of us that need to pace while taking calls. When combined with the lack of volume controls etc on the headphones themselves, it limits them with a mobile phone or tablet; you could plug them in, but you probably won’t, despite the vaunted intelligent call transfer from PC to smartphone for ongoing calls.

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Excellent sound quality from both HiFi grade speakers (40mm Dynamic PureSound, speakers), 20 Hz – 20 kHz frequency range
  • Quality noise cancelling microphone  with clever mute feature
  • Very good noise reduction (up to 98%)
  • Left and Right clearly marked
  • Busylight
  • USB and 3.5 mm jack connectivity
  • Intelligent call transfer between PC and mobile device
  • No set up required

Cons

  • No Bluetooth
  • Not yet Teams Certified
  • No on-device controls

Verdict

As a pair of audio headphones there is much to like (see the audio head-to-head section). The Evolve 80s are easy to wear for extended time periods, provide great sound quality and effective reduction of background noise even in passive mode. For long term desk use they are about as good as it gets, as long as you can live with the cable/lack of wireless.

They also do a credible job of being HiFI headphones, edging ahead of the Surface Headphones for sound quality.

The downside is the lack of Bluetooth, which limits their business appeal and their personal appeal. Great at a desk or connected to your HiFI (if you get an extension lead). I’d choose them for long flights too. They aren’t going to find their way into my travel bag if I’m not flying, nor live on my desk; but they are doing great service in my listening room.

Specs

Charging: Full charge ~2 hours via USB or when connected to the desk control puck
Playback: Unlimited without ANC. 24 hours with ANC
Idle: Unlimited without ANC. With ANC not specified
Inputs: USB, 3.5mm audio cable

Links

Jabra Product Guide: https://www.jabra.co.uk/business/office-headsets/jabra-evolve/jabra-evolve-80
Amazon Store: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jabra-cancelling-headset-optimised-communications/dp/B00ODRSQKW


Audio Head-to-head

While the above considers the functions of our test devices, especially for business use and as travelling companions, I felt it only fair to also look at their pure music playback strengths.

For this I selected several tracks and assessed them using my Linn CD Player and pre-amp where possible – since the Evolve 65 and 75 models do not have a wired option I used FLAC and 320Mbps MP3 files streamed over Bluetooth from phone and PC.

Test track one was Donald Fagan’s I.G.Y. (the opening track on The Nightly), a HiFi classic due to the remarkable production and complexity of the arrangement.
The second track was Dedicato, the title track from Antonio Forcione’s 1996 album. This Naim Audio CD is a great recording that captures the energy and the technique of this world class guitarist.
The classic Led Zeppelin IV When the Levee Breaks was chosen as the 3rd track for its driving drumming and brittle vocals.

I initially tested with ANC on and off on the Surface and Jabra 80 headphones. The effect the electronics had on the sound It was quickly apparent. With ANC turned on, the sound from the Surface initially felt a bit smoother, seemingly more rounded. However, when the headphones are turned off and used in pure passive mode it’s immediately clear that the dynamic range is wider and the sound more assertive. The same was true of the 75s and 80s. It’s likely that there is some compression taking place in active mode; it’s not intrusive, but it’s there. This is  useful for calls etc. and maybe handy with music and films that are competing with background noise (trains planes and automobiles), but I’m not keen on it with for HiFi use. As such the sound quality assessment was done with ANC off.

I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of detail available from the Surface Headphones. I.G.Y. felt crisp, the bass is resonant and the high hat and snare remained taught. The Jabra Evolve 80s were equally convincing, never losing sight of the melody, but revealing Donald Fagan’s engineered subtleties. In this company, the Evolve 75s were sadly outmatched, lacking the pace, punch or musicality of the previous pair. There is no shame in this, as the 75s are first and foremost a set of business headphones, but their relative performance served to remind me why we have different tools for different jobs. The surprise was the effort put in by the Evolve 65 earbuds; in this company I had low expectations, however they exhibited plenty of range, a decent amount of low end and a pleasing absence of quirks. They certainly preserved the pace of the piece and didn’t exhibit the harshness or frequency limitations I was anticipating. 

Firing up Dedicato and the Surface Headphones continued to provide plenty of punch throughout the range, with clear resonant bass. The sound was responsive and very revealing; perhaps overly so. It was never quite harsh, but the punch and precision were coupled with less warmth than I prefer. The Jabra Evolve 80s, on the other hand, felt more laid back. Where they lacked the clinical precision of the Microsoft headphones, they carried the emotion of the performance more convincingly; I literally felt a shudder listening to the vocals at around the 2 minute mark and again with the guitar a minute later; a sensation the Surface Headphones, the 65 and 75 all models failed to evoke. As with the previous track, the 75s were an also-ran, sonically; while the 65s provided another creditable performance, if somewhat lacking in emotion.

With Led Zeppelin unleashed on them, the Surface Headphones showed their metal, easily keeping up with the dynamics and pace and proving the equal of the Evolve 80s in the absence of gentlemanly behaviour from the music. The Evolve 65s remained surprisingly credible. I’m rather afraid to admit that I had largely given up on the 75s at this point, offering them no more than a perfunctory opportunity to turn the tables , which they sadly didn’t take advantage of.

Musicality Verdict

Overall winner was unquestionably the Jabra Evolve 80 headphones. They are lush and detailed, with the ability to handle everything I throw at them, from the test tracks to much more from my collection; with more subtle music they unashamedly pass on the artist’s emotion to the listener, they remain unflustered with heftier selections. I genuinely enjoy listening with them and can happily spend hours cossetted in their embrace.

The Surface Headphones are surprisingly competent. They don’t lack for detail or range and they frequently are as musical as the 80s with high impact pieces. On more introspective tracks they feel as if they are trying just a little too hard, polishing some of the life out of the music. Overall, they make for a thoroughly entertaining listen and do very well at providing quality in a wide range of environments, as well as across music and movies.

By now it’s clear that the Evolve 75s struggle in this company for music reproduction. The on-ear design, narrower frequency range etc. just doesn’t cut it. They are certainly not without merit and many people will find them to be jolly good compared with the horrors they apply to their ears, but this part of the review was all about high fidelity and the consensus is that they are best left in the office where they do rather well.

And then there are the earbuds. The Evolve 65s are very competent. While they lack a lot that the two over-ear designs bring to the listening experience, they put in a lively showing with plenty of energy from such tiny things. Coupled with the sheer convenience of their form factor, they have become a firm favourite of mine for day to day listening and especially for watching shows on my mobile devices while at the gym.


Conclusions

Earlier in this extensive review, I commented that it’s important to pick the right tool for the job. As I reach the end, I am all the more conscious of how very true that is. Every one of these devices does well at some things; none excel at them all.

Let me start with the Jabra Evolve 75 headset. Despite a rocky start and a number of lasting reservations, these are the headphones I now use the most. They sit at my right hand, metaphorically and literally, at my office desk, delivering on the daily needs for audio conferencing. Wireless connectivity is as compelling as I had imagined, sound quality and reliability are fully up to this task and their ‘grabability’ for incoming calls is just what I need. They are not perfect; but two or three enhancements would easily set them above competitive products I have used.

The Jabra Evolve 65t earbuds are the ones that I have been most surprised by; they meet my needs for music and movie soundtracks on the go and happily switch to the business communications role when I am out of my home office. They are musical enough not to offend my delicate ears (!), in design and function they are ergonomically impressive, they feel like they never need recharging due to the symbiotic relationship with their hardcase and they are small enough to be with me almost everywhere.

The Microsoft Surface Headphones are responsible for this extended article, I had coveted them for over a year before they landed in my bag. The design is excellent; they can hold their head high for sound quality and are an excellent business tool. I had anticipated that they would be both my business and personal headphones, however the lack of Bluetooth on my desktop workstation means I found myself partnering them with my Surface Pro for business use instead, except that I mostly use the Jabra Evolve 65t earbuds since they are more portable. They will be accompanying me on my forthcoming transatlantic flight and I look forward to the quality sound from personal & in-flight entertainment, as well as the welcome respite from the noise they will offer. They are really very good all-rounders; they would be in near constant use if not for my now having several more targeted tools at my disposal.

They are really very good all-rounders

Ah, and the Jabra Evolve 80s… they ought to be also ran, old-school throwbacks; tethered to past product designs at a time when earbuds and wireless are must-have features. Yet they sound so lovely and sit so well that I cannot but love them. They may get used the least, but when something sounds this sweet it cannot be ignored nor forgotten.

By Simon Hudson

Interests: Knowledge management; Information Architecture; Flexible working technologies

Passions: Physics, music, classic cars

Aspirations: To drive a V8 Vantage to the Amalfi Coast; to play guitar to a crowd of 1000+; to ski more than once a year; to make a difference

Background: From teaching to quality assurance, technical development to international marketing and from business development to business start-ups, Simon has flitted, butterfly like, learning from each experience and bringing that breadth to his client facing and business development activities. Simon is articulate, opinionated, understanding and suffers from an insatiable curiosity.

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