Apple AirPods Max (3)

Tech Review – Apple AirPods Max

Now that Apple is committed to Spatial Audio, what’s the easiest way for Apple Music subscribers to enjoy all that additional resolution? Check out our review on the Apple AirPods Max to see if they fit the bill.
By Ben Jacklin

Apple users tend to be a loyal customer base, and with Apple Music’s recent move to lossless audio for all of their streaming, it’s easy to see why so many of the Apple fanatics are thinking about the best possible hardware to listen to their favorite bands and artists. Do the AirPods Max fit the bill?

To look at these cans, you may not realize that the AirPods Max is made by Apple, a brand that has been going big on headphones and earbuds since 2014 when they purchased Beats. Get them out of the box, and you’ll soon see that these have Apple users in mind.

The Features

For the hefty price, you would expect the features to be impressive. On paper, there is a lot to like about the AirPods Max.

  • Active Noise Cancellation, perfect for listening in noisy environments such as public transport.
  • Spatial audio support from Apple’s H1 chip.
  • Knit-mesh and foam cushions to fit your head with ease.
  • Makes it easy to connect to multiple devices.
  • Slim “Smart Case” to allow you to store in a low-power mode.
  • 20 hours of use per charge, even with spatial audio and noise canceling.
  • Powerful Apple driver for clear and loud audio.
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As you can see, there is a lot to like about this set of headphones. In the interest of balance, though…

The Downsides

It’s only fair that we present some of the downsides of the AirPods Max. Don’t get us wrong, they are a fantastic set of cans with incredibly clear audio, but there are some negatives that may or may not affect you.

The “Smart Case” is not up to much. It provides virtually no protection for the headphones and while it stores the headphones in a way that can save battery, you wouldn’t back them to protect if you happen to drop the headphones.

On top of that, the connection is designed with Apple devices in mind. Bluetooth connection is pretty straightforward, and the headphones boast Bluetooth 5.0 technology. However, there’s no 3.5mm connection for linking to audio systems. You may not even be able to connect to your laptop without an adapter.

In another “Apple only” ploy, the voice assistant activation only works with Apple devices, not Android.

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Best-in-Class Audio?

These headphones are costly for a reason. They truly provide exceptional clarity, with a flat frequency response and superb active noise canceling. At any price range, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better set of headphones for canceling out external noise.

Spatial audio is becoming the norm, with technology like Dolby Atmos becoming mainstream. The AirPods Max offers Apple’s own spatial audio on a 3D soundstage.

Conclusion

There’s no denying that some Android users find these headphones a bit prohibitive due to the fact that they are lacking in connectivity and won’t let you use your voice assistants.

That said, if you’re already an Apple user, the AirPods Max are a solution for enjoying spectacularly good audio, best-in-class noise canceling, and battery life to rival any set of headphones on the market.

About the Author

Ben is a writer and musician from the UK with a background in music technology. He writes about engineering and production, musicianship and music equipment for a number of publications including his own site, subreel.com