Apple Airpods Max Review: The Best Wireless Headphones Yet

The Apple Airpods Max is the Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones Yet.

This image shows the Apple Airpods Max.

Pros & Cons

  • Nice design and build quality
  • Awesome active noise cancellation
  • Great sound quality
  • Easy & comfortable headband
  • Fabolous battery life
  • Good connection strength with Bluetooth 5.0
  • Overall, an excellent performer
  • The smart case provides no protection
  • No3.5mm headphone jack

Apple’s Airpods are the most popular true wireless headphones on the market, and they’re only getting better. 

Recently, Apple revealed its new line of Airpods, the Max, which gives users 20 hours of battery life and 7 hours of listening time on one charge and comes in three colors to match your style preferences. 

You can also stream music directly from your Apple Watch without even having to use your phone if you have an Apple Watch Series 4 or newer model. But how do these new Airpods stack up against their previous version? Let’s find out!

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The Price

Though Apple’s AirPods Max is affordable at $479, they’re still nearly twice as expensive as most wireless headphones, which can run around $500.

You can save a bit of money by getting an Apple AirPods Max, which is only $479 at a discounted price. But with those, you’ll lose out on support for some of Apple’s newer features like Hey Siri and Dual-Listen in addition to added features like water resistance and longer battery life. 

The regular Apple earbuds also don’t include any storage case or Lightning connector, unlike with either generation of AirPods. 

And while they do come with Lightning EarPods, they don’t have wireless charging so you won’t be able to use them as easily when traveling without carrying around an extra set of cables.

If you’re okay with spending less, Apple’s standard earbuds have a lot to offer too. They have better audio quality than most wireless headphones and their batteries last up to eight hours. 

You’ll also get a storage case and Lightning cable with them for under $500, which is a pretty good deal for those who want high-quality audio without shelling out hundreds of dollars or jumping through hoops to use non-Apple headphones.


Apple has pushed innovative design to a whole new level with their latest creation, Apple Airpods Max. Like all of Apple’s products, they have created a sleek and stylish product that is perfect for someone looking for truly wireless headphones. 

This image shows the Apple Airpods Max.

There are many advantages to having no wires while listening to music and it is clear that Apple has considered these advantages when designing these headphones. 

No wires mean less weight around your neck, which makes them more comfortable to wear over long periods, whether you are out exercising or at work using them as noise-canceling headphones. 

They also offer better sound quality than other wireless earbuds because there is less interference between devices and each other.

Another great thing about Apple Airpods Max is their sleek design. They are very comfortable and easy to use, with a small touchpad on each earbud that allows you to change your music or make calls with simple gestures. 

They have also been designed to fit perfectly in your ears, meaning they stay in place while you exercise. If they do start falling out of your ears, there is an auto-repositioning feature that brings them back into position without interrupting your workout.

Sound quality

Whether you’re a casual listener or a serious audiophile, one thing is certain. Apple AirPods Max is an impressive step forward in wireless audio technology. 

There are very few headphones that come close to offering comparable sound anywhere near their price point. 

You’ll be hard-pressed to find any other pair of earbuds for offers such a robust mix of features, along with great performance across so many genres and styles of music. Bottom line? 

If you love great-sounding music (and who doesn’t?), Apple AirPods Max should be at or near the top of your list when it comes time to buy new headphones. Highly recommended.

To be sure, sound quality is one of Apple AirPods Max’s most appealing features. That said, they’re a far cry from being audiophile-quality earbuds, particularly when compared to high-end models from Sennheiser and others. 

That doesn’t mean they’re bad by any means – it just means that you shouldn’t expect them to compete with high-end audiophile models on sound quality alone. 

And for what it’s worth, their more bass-forward design tends to favor hip hop and EDM over classical music, at least in my opinion.

Noise Cancellation

Apple’s new set of wireless headphones seems to have hit all of their marks when it comes to performance and functionality. Specifically, users are raving about how well they cancel out external noise. 

This can be especially important in environments where loud noises might disrupt or distract you from work. 

Additionally, it should also be noted that these wireless headphones have a great battery life, offering 20 hours of continuous playback with every charge and 24 hours with an additional 15 minutes of charging time. 

In other words, even if you forget to charge them overnight, there is a good chance you’ll still get through your full day without needing another charge.

This image shows the Apple Airpods Max.

Apple’s noise cancellation technology is known to be one of its best features and these headphones are no exception. They boast an especially impressive quality, allowing users to tune out almost any external noise. 

Even in crowded environments, you can still expect to hear your music in crisp, clean clarity. Of course, being able to drown out all of that noise does come at a price. 

You might not hear sirens or other potentially important noises if you’re listening to higher volumes so it’s worth keeping an ear out for those as well. 

Still, overall Apple seems to have nailed it when it comes to their new Apple Airpods max offering and we could be looking at a future classic here!

Experience and User Interface

Apple AirPods Max is in many ways Apple’s most impressive product to date. They have a simple and iconic design, with a minimalist aesthetic that showcases Apple’s design prowess. 

Pairing is effortless and lightning-fast, due to two sets of lights on each bud that blink when connecting to your phone. An accelerometer detects when they’re removed from your ears and pauses playback accordingly—and it works perfectly every time.

Apple AirPods offer a stellar experience to match their beautiful design. The accelerometer works well, pausing your music when you remove them from your ears. 

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They’re also incredibly intuitive to use, thanks to a tap-based user interface that’s as simple as it is brilliant. 

Combined with Apple’s excellent in-box charging case—which juices up each bud four times before requiring a recharge—it makes for an almost perfect all-day experience.

Compared to their predecessors, Apple AirPods Max have a similar design, except that they’re larger and more rounded. This makes them look like regular earbuds—except with no wires.

However, in terms of functionality, there are some key differences between Apple AirPods Pro and Apple AirPods max. The W1 chip inside each bud allows it to communicate instantly with your iPhone and unlock many handy features. 

You can summon Siri just by double-tapping either bud’s surface—and she’ll talk back to you with her robotic voice—and you can swipe left or right on either bud’s surface to skip or go back a track respectively.

Also, check our full review of Apple Airpods Pro.

Spatial audio

Apple calls it Spatial audio. In layman’s terms, that means you get a genuine sense of direction. Turning your head to hear someone call your name sounds exactly like turning your head in real life to hear someone call your name. 

It’s eerie and fantastic at once. It might sound like a small thing but having used other spatial audio devices (hello, Bose), I can tell you it’s not—it truly changes everything about how you listen to music and podcasts.

And when watching videos on Netflix or YouTube, getting a real sense of where noises are coming from adds an extra level of immersion that makes your living room feel less like a TV room and more like an actual home theater.

Apple believes that spatial audio is a key differentiator and advantage over its competitors. Unlike every other headphone maker, Apple doesn’t bother to produce more than one version of its headphones. 

It just offers an upgraded version for people who care about sound quality. This might seem expensive and elitist, but I think it’s pretty brilliant marketing on Apple’s part. 

This image shows the Apple Airpods Max.

Case and Charging Case

Apple’s white charging case is back in black—and it’s essentially unchanged from last year. That’s not a bad thing though, as Apple found a good solution with its first-generation case and there’s no need to change what isn’t broken. 

Like last year, you’ll get five full charges before needing to plug in your case. Given that each Airpod lasts for about 5 hours on a charge, that’ll cover you through nearly 25 hours of use (or half of a cross-country flight). 

There are also indicators on either side of each pod to let you know how much battery life remains. But I wish they were easier to see—they’re small orange dots that often blend into whatever surface I’m looking at.

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Apple’s charging case is also, ahem, mostly unchanged. Like last year, you get a small cable inside to connect it to your computer or wall plug. Unfortunately, there’s no option for USB-C here—even though that’s slowly becoming Apple’s standard connection.

To charge your AirPods in their case, simply put them back in while they’re connected to your iPhone or iPad and select case on screen when prompted (on Macs you’ll need to set up charging manually). 

You can also use these cables with any Qi-compatible wireless charger. Apple’s new iPhones support fast charging via Qi as well and will add about two hours of listening time with just 10 minutes of charge time.

Value & Features

Apple Airpods Max is Apple’s latest generation of wireless headphones improves upon its predecessors in every way. First and foremost, Apple has added active noise cancellation (ANC) to these wired, over-ear headphones. 

This allows you to cut out more background sound than ever before—not just from your music but from your surroundings as well. 

It’s especially useful when you need to focus on one particular sound or have a lot of ambient noise around you (plane engines, for example). Also impressive is Apple’s new W1 chip, which makes pairing with Apple devices quicker and easier. What makes it so great?

Apple’s most recent upgrade to its wireless headphones is that these new ones are designed for workout-lovers. Whether you’re working out at home or in a gym, Apple has added an extra layer of water and sweat resistance. 

You can take these Apple earbuds to your local pool or class without worry—they won’t break when submerged in water or damaged by sweat!

And if you want a more secure fit during workouts, go with one of Apple’s new sport loops. They allow for greater stability than their regular EarPods counterparts without being as bulky as other earphone models on the market. 

If it isn’t clear enough why Apple’s New AirPods Max is worth it yet… I give up.

Battery Life

Apple promises 20 hours of battery life with Apple AirPods Max, and that’s what I’ve found in testing over the past few weeks. It’s a bit on the low side, but not bad given how compact and wireless they are. 

There are only so many ways to squeeze more juice out of a tiny battery like Apple’s. And unlike most wireless earbuds, you don’t have to worry about lugging around a charging case—AirPods recharge just like your iPhone does when you plug it into its Lightning port. 

One cool thing is that you can use an iPhone cable without actually connecting it to anything; just let it sit on top of your desk for an hour or two and your earbuds will be fully charged by bedtime.

They’re also charged whenever they’re in their case, which charges much faster than you might expect—I only had to charge it once in a few weeks of testing. 

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Apple’s charging case is almost as handy as a backup battery. It holds four additional charges, plus there’s enough juice to charge them both twice more when you put it into Low Power Mode. 

You’ll need to use a Lightning cable rather than USB-C—Apple will no doubt update its accessories at some point—but that’s still great given how tiny Lightning cables are.

This image shows the Apple Airpods Max.

Overall Verdict – Should You Buy It?

Apple has earned a reputation for some of its products being overpriced and not worth it. That’s not necessarily true with their latest release, however. 

The Apple Airpods Max is easily one of the best wireless headphones to come out in recent years, packing advanced technology that delivers outstanding sound quality, comfort, and extra features you would expect from a $480 pair of wireless headphones. 

They do have a few downsides, such as lack of water resistance (although they’re still water-resistant) and minor issues with sound leaks if you listen to high volumes. 

These negatives aside, there isn’t much else to complain about with these headphones and if you’re looking for an affordable pair of wireless headphones then look no further than these.

If you’re looking for a pair of wireless headphones and don’t want to spend $500 or more on Bose or Sony, Apple has you covered with their latest release. 

While there are some minor issues with their design, these headphones overall are one of the best you can buy today at an affordable price. 

If you already have a great pair of wired headphones then they may not be worth buying, but if you’re looking for something cheaper that delivers good sound quality and features then look no further than these.