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AirPods Max 2 reviews: What do the critics think?

October 25, 2023

The first wireless over-ear headphones from Apple are the AirPods Max Wireless. They have an aluminium frame with knit cushioning that is available in a variety of colours, unlike other headphones from Apple like the sleek, white plastic Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, which only come in one colour. Despite this, you can still count on a high-end design and an effective noise-cancelling (ANC) experience.

Additionally, they have an adaptive EQ that automatically adjusts the sound of the headphones to the particular shape of your ears, and their H1 chip makes pairing with all of your iOS and iPad devices a breeze. Sadly, there have been a few consumer complaints about the construction quality. Additionally, the headphones cannot be turned off. For additional information, see our battery test.

How does the Apple AirPods Max feel to use?

How does the Apple AirPods Max feel to use?

It’s not always easy to use the AirPods Max. In some circumstances, this headset shines, but when you want to utilise the AirPods Max in a way that Apple didn’t anticipate, things become strange. For instance, even merely becoming wired entails a number of hurdles.

If you wish to use anything other than a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone with the AirPods Max, you’re out of luck unless you pay $35 USD for an Apple Lightning-to-3.5mm audio cable. You will require an additional $9 USD dongle if your chosen handset lacks a headphone jack (like Apple’s own iPhones). Nevertheless, as long as you stay in Bluetooth territory, there shouldn’t be any issues.

With the push of a button, the AirPods Max’s excellent noise cancellation and transparency mode lets you hear what’s going on around you. The unbelievably smooth digital crown located at the top of the right ear cup is used to regulate volume and playback. I occasionally find myself unintentionally changing the headphones’ position while adjusting the volume. When you remove the headphones, tiny sensors on the inside of the ear cups also automatically pause the music. All it takes to resume playback is to put the headphones back on.

To turn the headset on or off, there is no power button. Instead, it goes into a low-power mode when you put it in the case, and when you pull it out again, it’s ready to use. Although convenient, this is only helpful if you use the case. When the AirPods Max aren’t in the case, they stay on for several hours before turning off and draining the battery.

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

‘Space Grey’, ‘Sky Blue’, ‘Pink’, ‘Green’, and ‘Silver’ are some of the colour options available for the Apple AirPods Max. Here is the label for the Space Grey variation that we tested. Each colour variation is anticipated to function similarly to our model. However, the company also sells replacement ear cushions in the aforementioned colours if you want to switch up the appearance of your headphones.

Please let us know about any other variants you find in the comments so we can update our evaluation.

How do the AirPods Max’s design and Build compare?

How do the AirPods Max's design and Build compare?

The AirPods Max excels at portraying high-end headphones. I don’t feel like the aluminium ear cups and stainless steel headbands will break if I throw them in my backpack. The AirPods Max weigh 385 grammes, which is very substantial considering all the metal they are made of. You may sense this is substantially heavier than the other top noise-cancelling headphones we tested. However, that doesn’t imply that they aren’t at ease. The headband is precisely crafted to distribute the weight evenly.

The headband made of soft cotton with cushy cushioning feels wonderful. The headset’s ear cups are without a doubt my favourite component because of how wonderful they feel. They are cosy, and you can quickly remove the cushioning to swap them out as necessary. This gives you the option to mix and match colours, but doing so will cost you an additional $69 USD.

The fact that the ear cups are fairly deep is very crucial. Giving yourself plenty of space around your ears has many advantages, including better weight distribution and simpler noise isolation. We’ll show you a little later, but wider ear cups imply more things going right for more people, even though it might seem like a trivial thing to enthuse about.

The absence of any folding hinges is a noteworthy drawback in this situation. Although they don’t fold down like other headphones do, the rotating ear cups are convenient when you want to tuck them into your luggage. The metal headband can be adjusted for fit by sliding it; however, it cannot be folded to conserve space.

Compared to other headphones

Compared to other headphones

High-end headphones with a luxury look, the Apple AirPods Max, are available now. The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, one of the best noise-cancelling headphones we’ve tested, can’t compete with its excellent noise-cancelling feature. They can modify their sound to fit and seal on your head thanks to their adaptive EQ. They have a warm sound profile with a hint of additional bass as a result, but it’s still neutral enough for the majority of audio content. To some customers’ dismay, they don’t actually shut off when you place them in their carrying case; instead, they just enter a very low-power mode.

What Bluetooth codecs do the AirPods Max support?

What Bluetooth codecs do the AirPods Max support?

The H1 chip is responsible for the typically good connection with the AirPods Max. This employs Bluetooth 5.0 with the AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs, just like the smaller AirPods Pro. An employee of SoundGuys reports sporadic issues when using Spotify on an iPhone SE2, as well as odd behaviour where podcast audio isn’t sent to the AirPods Max despite a working Bluetooth connection.

For those who are unfamiliar, a Bluetooth codec is how two Bluetooth devices communicate with one another. The common SBC codec is used by all Bluetooth audio devices to transmit and receive sound. Although AAC, which is used by the AirPods Max, is superior, it occasionally has compatibility issues with some Android phones (through no fault of its own).

Be careful that even if your Android phone supports higher-quality codecs like aptX or LDAC, they won’t be much help in this situation. You shouldn’t be concerned if you use an iOS device because AAC is the default audio format for iOS devices. Due to Bluetooth’s limits, you won’t be able to fully enjoy the quality that high-quality streaming services like Qobuz or Deezer have to offer if you intend to play lossless files or use them.

How long does the AirPod Max battery last?

How long does the AirPod Max battery last?

With active noise cancellation activated, Apple promises that the AirPods Max will last for about 20 hours of continuous playback. We discovered that we could really get closer to 21 hours with an iPhone or an Android smartphone, or just over 21 hours with ANC disabled, with our normal test of continuous music playback peaking at 75 dB (SPL).

In my experience, the headphones do a wonderful job of consuming battery, which is fortunate given that you can’t actually turn them off! Naturally, we’ll always be critical of headphones that choose to use too much power, especially in light of how detrimental it is to the long-term viability of the technology. The batteries in the AirPods Max are difficult to replace, so make sure to look after them as much as you can.

When the AirPods Max is in their case, a low-power mode is activated; if you leave the case out, it will wait for a few hours before turning off automatically. This seems a little bit excessively long, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Apple released an update in the future that shortened it.


Apple AirPods Max Wireless is Apple’s first pair of wireless over-ear headphones, featuring an aluminium frame with knit padding in various colours. They offer a premium design, a powerful noise-cancelling (ANC) experience, and an adaptive EQ that adjusts sound based on the unique shape of the user’s ears. The H1 chip is great for easy pairing with iOS and iPad devices.

Using the AirPods Max is a mixed bag, as it requires wired connections and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The headphones have top-notch noise-cancelling and a transparency mode, with volume and playback controls assigned to the digital crown at the top of the right ear cup. Tiny sensors on the inside of the ear cups also auto-pause playback when you take off the headphones.

The AirPods Max comes in several colour variants, including Space Grey, Sky Blue, Pink, Green, and Silver. The build quality and design of the AirPods Max are high-end, with a sturdy stainless steel headband and aluminium ear cups. They weigh 385 grammes and are heavy but comfortable.

The AirPods Max supports Bluetooth 5.0 with the AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs, but occasional glitches and strange behaviour may occur when listening to Spotify from an iPhone SE2. The headphones do not turn off or stay in low-power mode when not in the case.

The AirPods Max battery lasts around 20 hours of constant playback with active noise cancellation turned on, but users may encounter issues with higher-quality codecs like aptX or LDAC. The headphones do a great job at sipping battery in their time with them, but they may not be suitable for all users.


Are the Apple AirPods Max really worth it?

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and the Sony WH-1000XM4 are two other headphones featuring ANC, although some reviewers claimed that the AirPods Max offer superior noise cancellation. The weight of the AirPods Max, which is heavier than most other headphone alternatives, was generally brought up in reviews.

What is so special about the AirPod Max?

The AirPods Max offers an unrivalled listening experience thanks to their combination of high-fidelity audio and industry-leading active noise reduction. Together, the parts of their specifically developed driver produce sound with exceptionally low distortion across the whole audible range.

What are the weaknesses of AirPods?

Many customers have complained about how soft earbuds are, noting that they are dangerous when inserted into the ears, break quickly, and are difficult to remove from their container. If they fall, you should be prepared to buy a new pair if they are damaged.

Are AirPods Max better than AirPods?

The AirPods Max have a more upscale look, additional colour options, and a substantially longer continuous battery life on a single charge. The AirPods Max offers much superior audio quality than the AirPods Pro due to its over-ear design and significantly larger drivers.