Apple AirPods Max Review: Exceptional Audio Performance, Top Class ANC and Transparency Mode, Expensive

AirPods Max are great noise-cancelling headphones with a gorgeous design, sophisticated soundstage, and smart features. But it’s hard to ignore the $899 price tag and unconventional case.

This article is updated for the Australian market regularly to include price changes and product updates.

Apple AirPods Max: $899 at →

Apple AirPods Max Review
Apple AirPods Max Review

Apple AirPods Max and the rumors for the future updates

The Apple AirPods Max launched in late 2020, but have been the subject of rumors and speculation for years. With the huge success of the Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro, expectations for Apple’s first over-ear headphones have grown.

Did they live up to the hype? yes and no. Rumor has it that the AirPods Max will be the most advanced wireless headphones ever, with futuristic features like air gestures. If the Apple AirPods Max came with these groundbreaking specs, the $899 price tag might have been easily justified. But that’s not the case yet.

That said, for those already committed to the Apple ecosystem, it has features with excellent audio quality and a great quality of life.

PRO: Audio performance

  • AirPods Max sound starts with custom-built 40mm dynamic drivers in each shell, designed to deliver deep bass, crisp mids and clean highs. Moreover, the dual neodymium ring magnet motor helps reduce harmonic distortion to less than 1% at maximum volume.
  • H1 chip in each ear – Each chip has 10 audio cores capable of 9 billion operations per second and supports Adaptive EQ for tailored listening and on-the-fly sound adjustments.
  • Spatial audio – Essentially surround sound, but for headsets. It supports 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos video content and uses built-in head tracking means to generate sounds related to what you see on the screen when watching videos on your iPhone or iPad.

PRO: ANC and Transparency mode

  • AirPods Max features best-in-class noise cancellation and Transparent Mode, so you can hear your surroundings with just a click.

CON: Smart case

  • Smart case provides no protection.
Apple AirPods Max Review
Apple AirPods Max Review

CON: Price and switch

  • No on/off switch
  • Expensive

Where to buy the Apple AirPods Max in Australia

The AirPods Max are Apple’s best headphones, so it’s a shame they don’t come at a more affordable price point. The combination of comfort, excellent audio quality, and great features like spatial audio is great.

On the contrary, the Bose 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are not only more compatible with Android users, they are hundreds of dollars cheaper and offer comparable noise cancellation. Both have practical cases, a headphone jack and an on/off switch.

If you can get past these limitations and have the money to spend, the AirPods Max are your ticket to hearing luxury.


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Posted by Nicholas Webb

Nicholas Webb is a Queensland-based Consumer Technology Editor at Techbest focused on connected home and streaming products.