Apple Airpods Max Reviewed
The market for high-quality, noise-canceling headphones has really taken off in recent years, and Apple has finally entered the fray to take on the leaders of Bose and Sony with the Airpods Max. It’s firmly positioning itself at the luxury end to stand out from the competition, but with so many excellent products already out there, can Apple compete, and are they worth a purchase?
Pros and Cons
- Amazing sound quality with a powerful bass
- Incredibly comfortable to wear
- Loads of additional features for iOS users
- Noise cancellation is top notch
- Uses Apple’s patented Spatial Audio technology
- Hands-free access to Siri
- Very expensive
- Fewer features are available for Android users
- Carrying case isn’t great
Priced at $550, it was essential for Apple to come out with near-perfect sound quality, and luckily, the tech giant has more than delivered. The sound is incredibly crisp, has a wonderfully rich bass, and crystal clear highs. You’ll listen back to your favorite tunes and discover new tones you’d swear you’ve never heard before.
The Airpods Max delivers when it comes to noise-canceling features too, and is more than on par with the likes of the Bose 700 and Sony’s WH-1000XM4. You’ll find some slight differences between the market leaders in terms of ambient noise that can be blocked, but Apple’s flagship entry just about takes the edge in cutting out background chatter and engine noise, making it ideal for those on the daily commute.
The sound range overall is dynamic, wider than most, and the spatial mode offers immersive surround sound when watching movies. However, at the hefty price tag, there are definitely those that might plump for a cheaper option for only a small drop in sound quality.
As an Apple product, it’s totally understandable that the majority of features have been tailored to fans of the brand and the headphones work best when connecting with other Apple products. Once charged up and turned on, the Airpods will automatically sync to any other Apple product in the house and can be connected with just one click, though connecting to any other Bluetooth capable device is almost as simple.
An interesting feature we like is that it’ll automatically transfer audio from a connected device to the headset when it detects the user is wearing them. Other advanced options include a transparency mode that lets you listen to ambient noise if you want to be aware of your surroundings, a voice command link to Siri, and active noise cancellation.
While these features work seamlessly with the sound coming from any Apple connected device, you’ll notice a significant drop off in features for any third party devices. Android products are particularly hard done by and some features, like the spatial audio technology, won’t work at all.
In addition, like a lot of other Apple gadgets, you’re missing a 3.5mm audio port, so you’ll never be able to use a wired connection. So if you forget to charge the airpods, you could be left without anything to listen to your music with.
You’ll be pleased to hear the Airpods Max are incredibly comfortable. They might feel a little heavy when you first take them out of the box, but you’ll hardly notice them once they’re on. The headphones themselves feel like a premium product (as they should at this price) and feature a stainless steel headband connecting aluminum earcups. The cups are cushioned with memory foam and cover even the largest of ears.
The design falls down a little when it comes to the case. Some social media users have compared its look to a sleeping mask, or even less flatteringly, a bra. Check out the Apple promo image below to judge from yourself. The case acts as a smart charger and has an ultralow power state to help preserve the battery, but when you place the headphones in the case, the band is completely exposed, which kind of defeats the purpose of protecting the device when you’re on the move. You’ll essentially be using the headband as a carrying handle as you can see below.
We’re expecting a raft of third party carrying cases to hit the market in 2021 to rectify these issues, but this is a large oversight for the price you’ll be paying.
- Battery life - 20 hours from one full charge
- Weight - 384g/13.5 ounces
- Connectivity - Bluetooth 5.0, lighting charging cable
- Audio - Adaptive EQ and Spatial
- Drivers - 40mm
If you’re an avid fan of Apple and already own a number of the company’s other devices, then the Airpods Max comes highly recommended. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a set of headphones that come with more crisp and vibrant sound quality, and the noise-canceling options and additional features make them incredibly easy to use.
However, we know the price tag is going to put a lot of users off, and there are a lot of good alternatives you could buy too. This is especially the case if you’re an Android user, or don’t own many of Apple’s products as you simply won’t be able to take advantage of everything the Airpods have to offer.