AirPods Max Unboxing & Review: The pinnacle of preposterous pricing

I’ve been utilizing AirPods Max all week, and I’ve obtained loads of ideas. My greatest takeaway is that these headphones are overpriced. I like them loads for numerous causes, however they’re 100% overpriced. The explanations you’d purchase this pair of headphones may very well be fairly just like the identical causes somebody buys a $500+ pair of footwear — it’s simply since you like what you want. And whereas $550 is loads to command, the overwhelming majority of shoppers these headphones are being marketed to are completely going to get pleasure from these headphones. Right here’s why.

Design

These headphones are a perfectly-Apple product so far as design. I’m far more inquisitive about how nicely the design’s sturdiness will maintain up over time with continued utilization. However I don’t thoughts the aesthetic decisions Apple made. I particularly assume the Sky Blue and Pink colours look very distinctive and pleasing to the attention.

Subscribe to 9to5mac on YouTube for extra movies!

The headphones, normally, present a pleasant sense of sturdiness. However I really feel as if these shouldn’t be within the arms of toddlers or small lively kids. The hinge feels sturdy, however simply primarily based on my expertise utilizing these usually, I wouldn’t belief AirPods Max round kids who’re probably tough with tech.

Consolation is the extra attention-grabbing side of those headphones. Due to the headphones utilizing chrome steel and aluminum supplies for the construct, it’s a bit heavier than a few of its greatest opponents from Sony and Bose. They don’t really feel heavy on the pinnacle, per se — extra so simply very agency. That weight holds the headphones in your head very firmly, so there’s been little to no match or slippage points. To realize the very best private consolation degree, I needed to prolong the arms out all the way in which, however I’m certain this can range per person. 

The Max makes use of a mesh materials for the ear cups, which I’m detached about. For my part, it doesn’t really feel higher on the ears than a soft-leather materials that headphones on this price-bracket are recognized to have. I believe the potential brilliant aspect right here is that the ear cups are simply detachable through magnets. I believe this can make these headphones higher for long-term utilization. And hopefully, a third-party accent maker can produce magnetic ear cups utilizing leather-based to substitute these with. That may be superior. 

Noise Canceling

Coming from AirPods Professional, the noise canceling is far more efficient right here on Max. I’m certain the bigger drivers and over-ear design have an element to play in that. Nevertheless it’s considerably extra isolating than AirPods Professional. You get a slight hiss from that noise canceling, however general, it really works very nicely. And one thing Max does significantly better than AirPods Professional is sustaining a clear sound when ANC is on and fighting-off atmosphere noise like wind or a transferring practice. There’s considerably much less audio distortion in noise-canceling mode, which might be my greatest long run criticism of the AirPods Professional. Is the noise canceling in AirPods Max considerably extra highly effective than the ANC in over-ear headphones half the value? No, however it’s undoubtedly an improved expertise from AirPods Professional.

Transparency Mode

Transparency mode on Max might be probably the most spectacular side of those headphones. The 9 microphones positioned on the ear cups are extraordinarily efficient in delivering a very clear audio expertise. I can have music taking part in at 75% quantity with transparency mode on, and I’ll nonetheless have the ability to clearly hear my keyboard as I typed on it or my voice as I spoke usually. The nearer the sound to the microphone, the clearer it sounds, clearly, however it’s a really good expertise.

Wired Mode Efficiency

I’ll say that the wired expertise utilizing these headphones isn’t as limiting as I believed it will be. Firstly, in wired mode, transparency and noise-canceling mode work simply high-quality. And the digital crown can nonetheless be used to regulate quantity, however nothing else. You’re unable to skip or pause tracks, and clearly, there’s no Siri performance. The pinnacle detection and auto-pause performance nonetheless work in wired mode, although, which I didn’t anticipate to work in wired mode, however it’s good that it does.

The truth that these headphones use the lighting port, whereas not stunning, is certainly a missed alternative. Apple might have used USB-C to make these headphones higher. Some type of USB-C Hello-Fi mode might have been a cool function not just for customers to expertise however for Apple to market.

This $35 Lightning to three.5mm cable is what Apple expects you to make use of with these headphones for the wired expertise. For $35, that is down-right pitiful. It’s too brief, it’s very flimsy, and I’m just one unintended snag away from having to purchase one other one. Everyone knows Apple equipment aren’t meant to final, however for $550, they may have undoubtedly included a prolonged, color-matching, braided cable to make use of with AirPods Max. That may make the wired expertise loads higher personally.

Battery Life

Battery life on AirPods Max is sweet however assuringly not the battery champion in comparison with different headphones with ANC in numerous worth brackets. I’ve sub-$200 Audio Technica headphones (with ANC) that may simply outperform Max within the battery division. The AirPods Max float across the 15-20 hour vary so far as battery life from my testing.

In case you’re utilizing AirPods Max continuous all-day with noise canceling on; you’ll be able to undoubtedly get near killing them. In case you’re the kind of person who solely makes use of headphones for an hour within the day, then these will certainly final you all week or longer relying in your utilization. However these are undoubtedly not the very best battery-wise for $550 and even $300. I believe they’re ok to be dependable to make use of on and off all through the workweek.

Sensible Case

There’s completely nothing good about this case within the sense that we all know the phrase “good” for use in product naming. This can be a flimsy cowl with magnets in it. There’s no charging port or battery inside. Apple might have made the case for these headphones a spotlight function. The case is supposed to place the headphones in a low-power mode to stop idle battery drain, however it’s been confirmed by Apple that the headphones will do that on their very own after 5 minutes of being idle… So this case actually is purposeless.

They may have applied a battery to increase the battery life or offered connectivity to AirPods Max in a manner that gives sooner charging functionality. However as an alternative, Apple gave us this joke. And whereas I don’t just like the case, I believe it nonetheless matches the AirPods Max very nicely aesthetically.

Sound High quality

Flat out, these don’t sound like $550 headphones. I believe AirPods Max do an incredible job of delivering a clear sound general in each wired and wi-fi mode. They will get extraordinarily loud; it is best to hardly ever have to put these at over 80% quantity. And I really feel as if all the frequencies have a persistently clear presence. Are you getting the insane high-fidelity element you get from Tesla-powered headphones and different audiophile centric merchandise? Completely not. However particularly given the way in which most AirPods customers eat audio, they ship a satisfying listening expertise general. At volumes under 50%, the sound expertise remains to be clear, however very boring. You don’t get almost that very same vibrance and presence from different headphones on this worth vary. 

The mids and highs are extraordinarily current and reasonably clear however don’t fairly have that readability and sharpness that headphones on this worth level have. The low finish is very boring at decrease volumes, however at 80% quantity and better, the bass will actually trigger the headphones to start out rumbling relying on the monitor you’ve obtained taking part in. At these increased volumes, the bass distortion is admittedly minimal, which is one thing that pleasantly shocked me. I attempted utilizing Max with some extraordinarily bass-heavy tracks, and I used to be totally shocked with the bass response.

The wired mode takes this expertise a bit additional. Relying on what sort of gadget you’re related to, you’ll be able to undoubtedly obtain the next most quantity with these headphones in wired mode. The bass response is certainly improved in wired mode, and I can hear all the little nuances in sure tracks just a bit bit clearer. It’s not higher to the purpose of me feeling just like the wi-fi expertise lacks as compared, however the sound is objectively higher in wired mode. General, for music listening, these are very fulfilling for me. The sound high quality alone doesn’t warrant a $550 buy, in my view, however they sound excellent.

Video/Film Expertise & Spatial Audio

I believe these are among the most succesful wi-fi headphones I’ve ever used for basic media consumption. Numerous that’s because of the spatial audio function. That is one thing discovered on the opposite AirPods fashions. It primarily offers you that surround-sound really feel when watching movies and films, even content material with out official Dolby Atmos assist. I watched a bunch of Dolby Atmos content material and a few movies with 8D audio. The expertise for that sort of content material is admittedly stable. Watching content material with spatial audio enabled could make the expertise noticeably extra immersive than with out. This function together with the lively noise canceling makes these almost good headphones to observe an airplane film on.

9to5Mac’s Take

These headphones are priced like headphones made for audiophiles, however they’re removed from it. From my expertise, these have best-in-class noise-canceling and transparency modes. However apart from that, AirPods Max aren’t essentially the very best at something particularly. However while you mix all the options these headphones have to supply: from the superb transparency mode to spatial audio, you’ve obtained a really compelling package deal for Apple customers general.

Is it an expertise that’s value $550? For my part, no. I believe these can be far more justifiable at $400 or $450. However I personally don’t see myself utilizing every other over-ear headphones for almost all of issues I do now that I’ve obtained them in-hand. I like utilizing these general, and I believe anybody who’s already invested within the Apple ecosystem ought to totally benefit from the expertise these headphones present. What are your ideas on AirPods Max? Sound of within the feedback under!

FTC: We use earnings incomes auto affiliate hyperlinks. Extra.


Take a look at 9to5Mac on YouTube for extra Apple information: