In March 2014, I was notified of a project on Kickstarter that caught my attention, it’s called “Ears for Surface tablets” and it’s used to amplify the sound on your Microsoft Surface tablet.
It’s not that the sound from the Surface tablets is inadequate for a tablet, although some of the previous models could be a little louder (original Surface RT), I thought it was a fun idea and wanted to support somebody that was making an effort to bring an accessory to the Surface (pun intended) ;-).
Before I give you my first impressions, here are ways in which donations were given towards this idea and what each donation gave back:
- Pledge $1 or more: Thank you! We appreciate the support as we are trying to reach our goals
- Pledge $5 or more: Early Bird. Thank you for having the confidence in us early! You get either the Surface RT/2 or Pro/2 Ears in any of the Surface keyboard colors.
- Pledge $10 or more: You will receive the Ears in any Surface keyboard color for either the Surface RT/2 or Pro/2.
- Pledge $15 or more: Kickstarter SE Green. You will receive the Ears for either the RT/2 or Pro/2 in the Special Edition Kickstarter Green.
- Pledge $20 or more: You will receive 2 sets of Ears in any Surface keyboard color. One set is for the Surface RT/2 and the other is for the Surface Pro/Pro 2.
- Pledge $30 or more: You choose any color for any tablet. Plus we will give you one of the 6 pairs of 3D printed prototypes. This were the first rough versions. Two have very rough prototype packaging. First come first serve. Only 6 available
This project was successfully funded on April 8 2014, and just four days later they were able to start production with almost double the money this project needed to proceed, the estimated delivery time for my Surface Ears was June 2014.
Of course the project starter Brandon Schaap had to go through the production process, as well as legal issues, quality markers and besides that, until the company designed the right packaging and shipping processes, my “Surface Ears” were slightly delayed. No harm done though, as the end result is more important than rushing a product and making it “half baked”.
I received the Ears about a week ago and would like to share my impressions.
First of all, I gotta say that they look really cute on my Surface 2 (her name is Mickey now) :-).
When it comes to the actual performance, Brandon predicted the sound will be increased by 10db, and after conducting my own tests, the results at 50% volume were 60db without the Surface Ears and 66db with the Surface Ears. With the volume at a 100% my Surface 2 outputs 59db on its own and with the Ears it managed to reach 70db, which is an 18.5% increase. Brandon’s estimates were pretty accurate.
I also noticed that the sound was much clearer and had a stronger bass with the Surface Ears – it made a pretty significant difference.
The Ears actually come and match all of the Surface keyboard colors, they’re also made out of silicone and feel almost indestructible. There are two different models, one for Surface RT devices and one for Surface Pro devices. Unfortunately they won’t work with the Surface Pro 3 due to the different placement of the speaker, but they work great with every other Surface model.
I would definitely recommend this product to people who like to spice things up a bit and are looking for a cheap way to increase the volume output on your Surface device. It does look pretty funky having Mikey Mouse ears on your Surface, but they actually work quite well. A 10db is a pretty good increase in volume, and the clearer sound makes a big difference.
(PLEASE NOTE: at this moment Brandon Schaap is not taking in orders outside of the United States because he is working with Amazon to find the best way to bring the Ears to the international market. He will keep you and us posted when they are available internationally @Amazon). Howerever, if you want the Ears now and live in the United States you can contact Brandon at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out Brandon’s video below for more information.