Apple’s AirPods Max: The Reviews Are In...
Over the past week, reviews have begun to appear, and most have praised the AirPods Max’s functionality while grumbling about that unusually high price.
Earlier this month, Apple announced its last big hardware product of the year, the AirPods Max headphones. The $549 headphones, which join AirPods and AirPods Pro, were described by Apple at the launch as “innovative wireless headphones that bring the magic of AirPods to an over-ear design with high-fidelity sound.” The release shook up the higher-end headphone market, although there was some mockery of the case offered along with the headphones.
Opening for preorders shortly after the announcement in early December, the AirPods Max hit the market on Dec. 15. Over the past week, reviews have begun to appear, and most have praised the AirPods Max’s functionality while grumbling about that unusually high price.
CNET’s review gave the AirPods Max a score of 8.9 out of 10, praising the headphones for their “impressive sound and build quality,” the “top-notch” adaptive noise-cancelling, good headset performance, and that they are “surprisingly comfortable for their weight.” Negative points included the price, the “smart case,” the lack of a cable for wired use, and that some sound leaks.
“If you are looking for a high-end experience, the AirPods Max delivers one. Say what you will about the price, at least they’re different, and stand out in a very crowded field of wireless headphones,” the review continued.
The Guardian, in their review, gave the AirPods Max four stars out of five, citing the “stunning sound” but the “painful price.”
“The Apple AirPods Max are big, expensive and flashy noise cancelling-headphones that manage to stand out in a crowded market. They sound fantastic with most genres of music, brilliant with movies including some fancy virtual surround tech, plus superb noise cancelling that matches the best in the business,” the review concluded. “But they cost £200 more than some exceedingly good headphones and I do not think they do much to justify the difference.”
Meanwhile, What Hi Fi gave the AirPods Max five stars out of five, and called them “hands-down the best wireless noise-cancellers you can buy.” The review praised their “suburb sound and noise-cancelling,” as well as the build quality and “cinematic spatial audio,” while its only points against were the case (which it called “near-pointless”), the lack of an audio cable, and that it is “practically Apple-only.”
“Assuming you are a keen Apple user, the AirPods Max are the best wireless headphones you can buy—and not by a small margin,” the site said in conclusion. “Their authenticity, detail, crispness and spaciousness elevate them so far above the previous best in the wireless noise-cancelling class that the comparison starts to become a little redundant and you instead begin to consider them alongside proper hi-fi products.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for the National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.