Apple AirPods Max is the company’s first in-ear headphones in the AirPods series, with active noise cancellation (ANC) and many of the same technologies as in-ear AirPods Pro.
However, given the super competitive market in the field of ear-hook headphones by companies such as Sony and Bose, can Apple achieve the success that the AirPods series has already achieved?
We have been using Apple in-ear headphones in various environments and situations to understand whether the high asking price is reasonable.
The high asking price will make the in-ear AirPods a luxury rather than a mass-market product, which is shameful because of its excellent sound quality and active noise cancellation (ANC)-but in many competing products, such features are cash-cutting.
- Great sound and active noise-canceling (ANC)
- Spatial Audio delivers convincing three-dimensional audio
- Ease of setting up and running
- No plastics
- Spatial Audio not for Apple TV
- Very expensive
- No 3.5mm jack
- Weighty due to metal
- Not foldable
- Carry case could be more robust
AirPods Max Design
AirPods and AirPods Pro are both about the white plastic teardrops in your ears, but this is definitely not the case with Max. Since the white material was removed from Max’s design, there is no white plastic-or any other plastic. Instead, you will find two stainless steel ear cups and a silicone-coated stainless steel headband.
AirPods Max is available in five different colors, beyond the usual black or silver in many markets.
Metallic colors get subtle hues from the color of your choice just like the design of the iPad Air-and the silicone covering on the headband and fabric mesh brings a real color impact. The detachable soft fabric earmuffs also match the “L” and “R” colors woven into the fabric.
The picture shows the sky blue variant. It has a high-end appearance, but it is definitely not cheap. The color selection is also echoed in the accompanying suitcase.
- Color options: Space Gray, Silver, Sky Blue, Green, Pink
- No 3.5mm headphone connection
- Stainless steel design, 384g weight
The earphone is designed to fit various sizes of heads and hair, and inside the headband is a retractable rod that is stiff enough to be fixed in place when extended without ratchets or grooves.
The buttons are kept to a minimum and imitate Apple Watch in terms of operability-there is a “noise control” button to switch between noise reduction modes (on, off, transparent), and a larger version of the digital crown can Control the volume and give you play/pause function.
We find ourselves pressing the noise control button from time to time with the headset on our heads, which can be annoying over time. If you don’t like buttons, you can also talk to Siri.
Although there are not many buttons, there are many holes in the metal casing, which can be used as part of the ANC system, allowing the eight microphones to hear what is happening and eliminate noise accordingly.
AirPods Max scales are heavier than most scales, so of course, we have noticed the weight. The weight is 384 grams, which is not enough to spoil the experience, but compared to the pair that is mainly made of plastic, you may notice “downforce”.
Sitting on a sofa, on a desk, or an airplane should be fine-but you do feel that when you move around, it can be a different experience compared to something like the excellent Beats Studio 3.
It is worth noting that these holes are not 3.5mm headphone jacks-these headphones only have Lightning connections.
If you wish to connect these earbuds to the infotainment system of the aircraft, you must purchase a Lightning-to-headphone adapter, otherwise, you will use Bluetooth.
It will be interesting to see how the metal surface finishes survive over time and whether they are easily scratched. We really like the function of removing the earmuffs for cleaning, and the larger rectangular design does fit our ears well, but for other designs (such as Apple’s own Beats Studio 3), this is not always possible Said.
Concerns about the enthusiasm of AirPods Max over time seem to have not been realized. We wear these earplugs throughout the day of work, and apart from the weight, we have not noticed that the earmuffs we wear are warmer than we expected.
AirPods Max Sound
There is no doubt that the sound quality of AirPods Max is outstanding, and as you would expect, its price is high. All the sounds we have heard sound great, they sound natural, not too light or too heavy.
There is no distortion at a high level, just like AirPods Pro which we have used every day since its release, the active noise reduction function is great. When you hit and explode, you really won’t be able to hear the sounds around you.
Max is equipped with two of Apple’s H1 processors to process all ongoing computing audio. Of course, there is a simple connection between your Apple devices, which is also famous for other AirPods.
There are many virtualization tricks on AirPods Pro, including spatial audio with dynamic head tracking (if available), which means you can move your head without moving the sound field, aiming to provide you with a more theater-like Experience-learn more about this spatial audio.
It is very smart and works very well, especially when you watch content on the iPad in 5.1, 7.1, or Dobly Atmos. In fact, you will want to know how you have dealt with it before, and may even start to question your main TV settings, so, unfortunately, Apple TV does not support it. We can only hope to add it in a future update.
AirPods Max Price
This will become the biggest sticking point for many people. The launch price of AirPods Max is US$549/£549. This is almost the same price as the PlayStation 5, which means that Apple expects customers to pay a higher premium than other headset products that Sony, Bose, and other companies have already sold on the market.
It is fair to say that you have to pay the famous “Apple Tax” here, but we suspect that once people sitting in the front of the plane are often found wearing Max, it will not prevent people from buying or at least obsessing with Max. A pair.
AirPods Max Battery Life
Apple promises 20 hours of listening time (with ANC enabled), and can get 90 minutes of talk time from 5 minutes of charging time.
So far, we have a long battery life, but we make sure to put these headphones back in the box when not in use. This is important because if you don’t do this, the low-power mode will not start, and you may find that when you come back, the power supply consumes more power than you expected.
Charging is done via a Lightning to USB-C cable (included in the box), but like other Apple devices, there is no plug-in in the box.
AirPods Max sounds great, the active noise reduction (ANC) quality is high, and the Spatial Audio function (especially when watching movies or TV shows on the iPad) is very suitable for theater-like three-dimensional sound.
The biggest question is whether the premium is reasonable? If Apple can add Spatial Audio support to Apple TV, these cans will become an excellent pair of home headphones that can be used for late-night listening in the lounge.
But at present, this is a very luxurious purchase. In the current environment, many people think that the price is too high, which means that it attracts a few people, not the general public.