Apple’s AirPods Max: Ears-On Review

AirPods Max headphones are very hard to find despite huge price tag.

I have been looking forward to Apple’s new wireless over-the-ear headphones for the past few years but was really turned off when finding out Apple is charging $549 for the new AirPods Max. I finally was able to experience them for a short period this past Monday. Does the price match the quality? Read on…


The design of the AirPods Max definitely blows me away. They kind of looked plain in pictures, but they are anything but boring in person. The aluminum earcups are well designed and tinted to match the color of the headband.

Speaking of the metal headband, it looks like it may crush your head. But once you put the headphones on, they help equalize the weight (which is a lot) of the entire headset. Still, the AirPods Max is the most comfortable set of headphones I have worn in years.

The AirPods Max are very comfortable.


Those who prefer a lot of extra bass may want to look at the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones, which cost a lot less. However, for natural sound, the AirPods Max win, and the adaptive EQ does what it’s supposed to. For a pair of wireless headphones, Apple offers fantastic sound quality.

The AirPods Max cans, just like the AirPods Pro, offer spatial audio that sounds as realistic as headphones can get. However, the content you are watching must be recorded in Dolby 5.1, Dolby  7.1, or Dolby Atmos. Unfortunately, the spatial audio only works with an iPhone or iPad right now.

Noise Cancellation

If you thought the noise cancellation was good on the AirPods Pro, wait until you use it on the AirPods Max. The NC on these cans cuts a lot of noise on all frequency levels. It’s about equal with both Sony and Bose’s latest offerings, but the Transparency Mode actually works better. When this mode is on, it really sounds like your headphones are off and you are listening with your natural hearing.

Voice Quality

The AirPods Max cans make great calls and reduce a great amount of background noise. However, I find that the AirPods Pro or Bose NC700 work better for calls with a lot of wind. Still, like the best headphones out there, the AirPods Max put you in your own private conference room when making calls.

Worth the Price?

If Apple’s high-end headphones ran at $450, I would have absolutely no problem recommending them. At $550, they are hard to recommend unless you are an absolute Apple enthusiast. There is hardly anything wrong with them, and even though the AirPods Max have some excellent features, no wireless headphones are worth $550 this day and age.

About Daryl

Daryl Deino has been a technology enthusiast since 1995 and has written for several newspapers and technology sites. Please reach him at [email protected]
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