It’s been a long time coming, but Apple finally released its very own over-ear headphones. We pretty much knew everything about the AirPods Max before they were even announced. Though some rumors weren’t right, including the name “AirPods Studio,” most rumors were pretty accurate.
We’ve been waiting for these headphones for a long time, but did they meet our expectations?
They’ve lingered in people’s minds because of how they look, how they sound, and especially, how expensive they are. After all this time, are the AirPods Max worth $549, or should you pass until we see the next generation? Here’s what you need to know.
Fantastic Design and Build Quality
There’s no denying that the AirPods Max are astonishingly beautiful. Even in a market where pretty much all over-ear headphones are the same, Apple managed to stand out from the crowd with the AirPods Max’s stunning design.
At the top, there’s a soft headband made from knit mesh. Some people say it looks like the back of an office chair, and while that might be true, it’s really soft, flexible, and breathable. Of course, it needs to be this way because of the aluminum cups. Even though they’re pretty and durable, they add extra weight to your head. This means that if you’re moving too much or wearing the AirPods Max for a long time, you might become tired and sore.
It’s something to keep in mind if you plan to use the AirPods Max while working or working out. Not that you should use them to exercise, though, since they aren’t water or sweat-resistant.
And on top of one of the cups, you’ll find a Digital Crown and a single button. As you’d expect from Apple, this keeps the overall design as minimal as possible, which makes it look clean. You’ll use the Digital Crown to raise or lower the volume, activate Siri, or change songs.
The button, on the other hand, is for the noise-cancellation feature. You can press it to turn Noise Cancellation on or to activate Transparency Mode to hear your surroundings.
When it comes to design, the AirPods Max are the way to go for over-ear headphones. With the exception of the Smart Case, which isn’t pretty at all, but we’ll get into that later.
If a clean look is all that you’re shopping for, you should definitely get these.
Battery Life: It’s Good, But…
The battery life on the AirPods Max is as great as you’d expect it to be. Apple claims these over-ear AirPods will give you up to 20 hours of battery life. Not only that but you can also get 1.5 hours of battery life just by charging them for only 5 minutes.
That’s the impressive part, but sadly there is some bad news. You can’t really turn the AirPods Max off. Yes, you read that right; you can’t turn them off.
There’s no power-off button, so once they’re on, they’ll always be on. Instead, the AirPods Max go into an ultra-low-power mode which helps the battery last when you’re not using them. The only problem is that they only go into ultra-low-power mode when they’re inside a compatible magnetic smart case.
Sure, there are other cases or accessories for your AirPods Max that you can order, but that’s extra money that you’ll have to spend if you don’t want to use the Smart Case — Apple’s ugliest product.
So basically, you can’t really leave your AirPods Max caseless unless you want to deal with a low battery when you actually need them.
How Do the AirPods Max Sound?
When it comes to sound, the AirPods Max are perfect for most of us. Just like the AirPods or AirPods Pro, you’ll get great sound quality from the AirPods Max. Plus, the cushions on each cup, combined with the Noise-Cancelling feature give you an amazing experience to hear your favorite tunes, podcasts, or movies.
If you’re a bit more of an audiophile or you’re looking for more technical control over sounds, these AirPods might not be for you. Similar to other Apple products, the AirPods Max are simple to use but they don’t offer a wide variety of options when it comes to personalization.
Last But Not Least: The Price
Now, one of the most important factors for most of us: the price. We already knew these headphones would be expensive, but Apple took it even further.
For the price of $549, you’ll get the AirPods Pro Max, the Smart Case, and a Lightning-to-USB-C cable in the box.
Also, they come in more colors than ever before. You can buy them in Silver, Space Gray, Sky Blue, Green, or Pink. Hopefully, this becomes the norm for all the next-generation AirPods.
There isn’t much to say about the price than what you’re already thinking. These headphones are quite expensive for most of us, and if you’re on a budget, you’re better off looking for alternatives.
So, Are AirPods Max Worth It?
Usually, I recommend that if you have the money to spend, and you have your eye on a specific product, you should get it. But this time, even if you have the money to spend, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying the AirPods Max.
Don’t get me wrong; the seamless and minimal design combined with great audio quality and noise cancellation would make the AirPods Max one of the best headphones on the market. Sadly, they come with compromises.
- The first compromise is how uncomfortable they might be for some people after using them for an extended period of time.
- Second, you can’t use them to work out and they aren’t water-resistant. For such expensive headphones, they should be.
- And finally, the biggest drawback, at least besides the price, is the battery. Not being able to turn the AirPods Max off, and the fact that you’re stuck with the Smart Case is probably the worst part of it all.
Overall, AirPods Max headphones are like the first-generation Apple Pencil. It was good and it got the job done, but it still had some drawbacks, which were ultimately fixed in the next generation.
I feel like the AirPods Max will definitely be a worthwhile product in a future generation. For now, though, you’re probably better off sticking with your regular AirPods.