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Microsoft's Surface ANC headphones are on sale for $469 less than Apple AirPods Max

Originally $350, Microsoft's fancy headphones can be yours right now for $80. That's a historic low.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

The Surface Headphones come in a non-ridiculous case that didn't inspire countless memes. These are the black variety; the deal is for the gray ones.

David Carnoy/CNET

Late last year, Apple unveiled the ludicrously overpriced AirPods Max over-the-ear headphones. I think it goes without saying that few folks are going to spend $549 when there are perfectly good alternatives for less.

In some cases, way less: Today only, and while supplies last, Woot has the Microsoft Surface Headphones (gray) for $80 -- the lowest price on record. (Last time around, they were $111 -- and sold out pretty quickly.) You could literally buy seven of them for the same price as one AirPods Max. (Here are some other things you could buy instead.)

The Surface Headphones debuted at $350 and aimed to compete with the likes of Bose and Sony models in that same range. How did they fare? According to CNET's David Carnoy, sound quality and battery life weren't quite on par, but overall he found them "almost great." Read his Surface Headphones review to learn more. (Also note that they've since been replaced by the slightly better, slightly cheaper Surface Headphones 2.)

A few things to consider: These have touch controls, on-ear dials for adjusting volume and active noise-cancellation levels, an always-on voice assistant (Cortana), USB-C charging and automatic pause/resume when you take the headphones off and put them back on.

In other words, they're easy to use. All too many headphones seem to saddle you with hard-to-find or hard-to-operate controls. Auto-pause in particular is one of my favorite features.

So if you're shopping for a premium headphone and don't have hundreds of dollars to spare, give this a look.

Your thoughts?

Read more: Best noise-canceling headphones for 2021

Watch this: Microsoft Surface Headphones: The surprise noise-canceling contender

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