Over-ear headphones of the highest caliber are the Apple AirPods Max Wireless. They offer an active noise cancelling (ANC) feature that significantly reduces background noise, like as office gossip. Their balanced mid-range and pleasant sound profile make them suitable for a variety of audio content.
They also enable spatial audio, a feature that can enhance the immersiveness of your music. Despite their excellent construction, they are heavy, which may eventually cause discomfort. The headphones are not protected by the carrying case either. Even so, the majority should be satisfied with their more than 21 hours of playback time.
The Apple AirPods Max are suitable for both travel and commuting. They perform a decent job of minimizing low-frequency noise like that from bus or airplane engines after updating to firmware 4E71, and their 21-hour battery life should be sufficient for lengthy journeys. They are heavy, though, and some users can find it tiring to wear them over time. The headphones’ carrying case, which only covers the ear cups and leaves the headband exposed, does not shield them from harm either. you will learn from our article on Apple AirPods Max review.
The design of the AirPods Max is likely one factor in their high price. These cans have premium materials and the bold, clean lines that we expect from Apple-designed products. It has a unique, eccentric design quirk to balance off the minimalist sophistication. When you first open the box for the AirPods Max, you’ll notice that the earcups are tucked inside a soft-touch rubberized Smart Case, giving the headphones the appearance of a strange clutch bag. Even the Lightning port’s small divot on the cover is present. A magnet used to close the Smart Case interacts with the earcaps to put the headphones into a low-power resting state.
Prepare to “ooh” and “ahh” after you remove the case from the AirPods Max. The headphones are jam-packed with high-quality components. The extenders are made of silver stainless steel, while the earcaps are made of shimmering anodized aluminum. The headband is made of stainless steel wrapped in the same rubberized material as the case rather than leather or leather-like materials.
The earcups’ memory-foam counterparts are modelled after the knit mesh that makes up the majority of the band. When the headphones aren’t on your head, an integrated optical sensor in each earcup notices this and stops the music until you’re ready to put them back on. Those fabric earcups will undoubtedly become a little dingy over time. If this occurs, you can purchase replacements for $69 per pair or choose a different colour to give your cans a little more personality. There are several intriguing connectors, buttons, and ports on the headphones.
Although there is a mesh-lined opening on the top of each earcap, the right earcap is where the top-mounted digital crown and noise control controls are located. We had hoped that Apple would finally see the light and give us a USB Type-C port, but the bottom port shows that the firm is still committed to using Lightning for charging. While the design of the headphones is quite stylish, it’s the colours that catch people’s attention. The Sky Blue cans we are testing have caught our attention because they resemble a vintage iMac. However, Pink and Green AirPods Max are also available. Additionally, Black and Space Gray are available if you want something a little more subtle.
Apple AirPods Max review: Comfort
There is no questioning the superiority of the materials and construction of the Apple AirPods Max, despite the fact that the styling may not be to everyone’s taste. They will easily believe there is a sizable price difference between them if you hand someone a pair of them and a pair of Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones.
In contrast to the Apples, which have pristinely machined, single-piece anodized aluminium ear cups joined by a stainless-steel headband, the Sonys appear and feel practically cheap. Memory-foam cushions between the cups and your head easily enclose even the largest ears, forming a seal that is gentle and surprisingly successful at physically obstructing sound.
The AirPods Max are substantially heavier than many other wireless headphones you might be considering due to the use of premium materials; at 385g, they weigh 135g more than the Sony XM5, for instance. But because of how well the weight-distribution system works, they don’t actually feel heavy on the head, and there aren’t any obvious pressure areas. Since we have been using the AirPods Max for almost two years, we have regularly engaged in lengthy listening sessions without interruption, and we have never experienced any discomfort or fatigue.
Thankfully, Apple has not completely abandoned the use of hands when designing the AirPods Max and has avoided the impulse to incorporate touch controls. Instead, there are two physical controls on the top of the right-hand cup: a dial modelled after the Apple Watch’s digital crown, and a straightforward button for changing between noise-cancelling settings.
As Bluetooth 5 is used for connectivity, pairing is quick and reliable, and you shouldn’t experience any connection drops as you move away from your source device (as long as you don’t put more than 800 feet/420 metres or a few solid walls in the way between the AirPods Max and your phone).
While the AirPods Max will work with both Android and Windows devices, you won’t be able to use Spatial Audio or Automatic Switching without one of the aforementioned Apple devices. Apple says the AirPods Max require Apple devices running iOS 14.3 or later, iPadOS 14.3 or later, macOS Big Sur 11.1 or later, watchOS 7.2 or later, or tvOS 14.3 or later. you will read our article on Apple AirPods Max review.
The AirPods Max had better feature A1 noise cancellation for approximately $600. Nine microphones are included in the headphones, eight of which are meant to block out background noise while the other one is used to pick up voice calls or activate Siri.
How do the AirPods Max compare then? Quite well, in fact. We pressed the Noise Cancelling button, and although they aren’t strong enough to completely block out the noise of New York City, the city seemed to magically disappear, leaving only the faint whispers.
Without any music playing, the AirPods Max’s noise cancellation significantly reduced the construction noise coming from a nearby Con-Ed vehicle during our daily stroll. There was already a little rumble, but listening to Gallant’s “Comeback.” at 40% volume drowned it out totally.
A passing ambulance experienced the same effect, making its blaring siren appear to be several city blocks away. With the cans we had at home, we discovered that the ANC fully turned off our LG TV when the volume was at 16, which was a little worse than what the Bose and Sony did, which both do at 17.
However, there are times when you genuinely need or want to hear what’s going on around you. You can use the Transparency mode in those situations. When turned on, the microphones let in a respectable amount of background noise. That meant that as we crossed the street while resisting the urge to drop it low and change into a different outfit, the sound of the approaching traffic formed an uneasy alliance with Erica Banks’ “Buss It.” Although there is a way to completely disable ANC, we highly doubt you’ll ever use it if you live in a busy city like we do.
Apple AirPods Max review: Audio performance
The Apple AirPods Max provide just excellent audio quality. They have a large, well-balanced soundstage that gives each instrument plenty of room to sing, and when you add in some cool extras like Spatial Audio and automatically pausing your music when you take off the headphones, you have yourself a very special set of headphones. When listening to Phoebe Bridgers’ Garden Song, the AirPods Max faithfully reproduced every nuance of her delicate voice. With a great sense of rhythm and stereo separation, the glitchy picked guitar had a lovely, rich quality to it.
The glockenspiel in The Psychedelic Furs’ “Love our Way” sounded vivid and bright, and the tightly-controlled bass provided a strong foundation for the guitar and vocals. We didn’t notice any distortion as we increased the volume, in part because of the neodymium ring magnet motor inside the headphones that drives its 40mm speakers. Whether you enjoy glitzy pop with powerful voices or hip-hop with snappy basslines, the AirPods Max are wonderful for listening to music.
And unlike the AirPods Pro, they can also handle classical music. The noisy start of Mozart’s Jupiter sounded opulent and decadent, while the flute’s gentler portions were handled with accuracy and precision. Despite the AirPods Max’s high price, only Apple’s own Apple Digital Masters tracks—which are only accessible through Apple Music—support Hi-Res Audio files.
Again, this gives the impression that we are being underserved because at this price, we would anticipate comprehensive codec support; additionally, the absence of lossless streaming support is regrettable now that Apple Music offers Lossless Audio.
We have placed quite a few calls using the AirPods Max, and most of our callers had no idea we were using them—unless we were outside and an ambulance or police car was passing by while sounding its siren. The majority of our callers reported strong, clear sound in all except those rare instances. Even when we were outside, the majority of people couldn’t even tell that we were wearing headphones.
That typical wind resistance wasn’t present. With the exception of a small ANC-induced muffling on our end, our callers’ voices were audible and distinct. We frequently heard a lot of background sounds, including our niece talking to our granny, because the volume was loud enough. also you will check our article on Apple AirPods Max review.
Battery and charging
Apple claims that 20 hours of listening (with ANC on) can be obtained, and that a five-minute charge can provide 90 minutes of use. As with other Apple devices, charging is accomplished via a Lightning to USB-C cable (included in the box).
The battery life has been good so far, but we have made sure to put these headphones back in their case when not in use. This is crucial because if you don’t, the low power mode won’t activate, and you might discover that the power has been used more than you anticipated when you return.
Price and availability
The Apple AirPods Max went on sale for $549, £549, or $899 on December 15, 2020. The Apple AirPods Max are significantly more expensive than the majority of the top over-ear headphones available now at that price. They cost $399 / £380 / AU$649, which is still expensive but a lot less than the AirPods Max.
Our review of the Philips PH805 wireless headphones, which cost $199 or £160, is where you can learn more about the best over-ear headphones for a reasonable price. The Apple AirPods Max are without a doubt quite costly. Even if Apple does develop a less expensive, sports-friendly version of the AirPods Max, you can still expect to pay a hefty price for them.
Apple AirPods Max review: Conclusion
Like many other features of the Apple AirPods Max, spatial audio is really excellent. It’s incredibly convincing, and when combined with the excellent noise cancellation, transparency mode, and overall audio quality of the headphones, it makes for an excellent overall experience. In addition, the AirPods Max are the most opulent, stylish, and well-made headphones I’ve ever encountered.
They have a headband that distributes weight evenly across your head, making them comfortable for extended listening sessions. However, there are also weak points. Insufficient protection from the case, limited support for spatial audio, and most importantly a loose fit between the ear cups and the headband on the side of your head make it easier for individuals with smaller faces and more angular jawlines to breach the noise-cancelling seal.