AirPods Max officially launched This week, we are releasing preliminary practical coverage to give us a first look at the first premium over-ear headphones under the Apple brand. Sound quality overall appears to be strong, it is “very comfortable” with great and robust build quality, and the Digital Crown delivers a physical control experience familiar to Apple users.
We’ve had a number of initial reviews for the AirPods Max and generally they’re mostly praise for the new headphones, but with some questions and concerns about things like the odd condition Apple listed here, the weight of the headphones, the lack of accessories, and how they stand up to the competition.
Here’s how the edge Describes the sound quality:
Acoustically speaking, I have enjoyed listening to AirPods Max for a few hours – they’re crisp and bright, with a wider sound range than my Sony headphones, and there’s absolutely no distortion, even at maximum volume. We’ll have a full review soon, including spatial audio tests and Apple’s claim to support Atmos surround sound, so stay tuned. But for now, rest assured that the AirPods Max is more than good enough to compete with other high-end headphones.
CNBC Highlight their comfort, cutting-edge finishes, and an appreciation for the Digital Crown’s physical control:
I wore AirPods Max for several hours on Wednesday and they felt very comfortable. There is a breathable mesh tape on the top that felt light on my head and didn’t sweat or heat up. I also love the ear cups, they are wide and fit my ears rather than sitting on them.
There are plenty of high-end touches, like aluminum mugs and a steel frame, rather than the plastic parts you might find in competing headphones. I also etch the digital crown that Apple brought from the Apple Watch. It feels solid and easily turns to adjust the volume. Lots of competing high-end headphones use touch controls for volume, which aren’t as accurate as the physical control.
CNET He says the noise cancellation on the AirPods Max is top notch and the microphone setting is impressive:
Moreover, noise canceling is arguably the best I have tested, slightly outperforming the noise canceling both the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose’s Noise Canceling Headphones 700 (I haven’t compared them closely yet to Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds, which offer the best cancellation) Noise reduction for true wireless earbuds). They don’t completely silence the world around you, but I was on the streets of New York, and they did a resounding job of silencing the noise – I could hardly hear the traffic around me. Finally, it works well as headphones for taking calls and is especially good at reducing wind noise. It’s also worth noting: when on headphone mode, you can hear your voice in headphones so you can modulate your voice and you don’t end up screaming. They are similar to the AirPods Pro in this respect.
TechCrunch It highlights just how powerful and beautiful the AirPod Max is:
First, they are amazing. The earcups are beautiful. The band is incredibly powerful. The grid looks like an upscale piece of furniture. The shanks are insane, with a precise pull mechanism that functions like a handcrafted car piston.
However, there is a downside to that …
There’s a trade-off here that I feel I should mention even in this early review, though: This stuff is heavy. If you don’t like heavy headphones, don’t buy the AirPod Max. They are intense, and they definitely require being listened to while sitting up straight or leaning back (if you are actively wandering around the house picking up baby clothes and toys from the floor, for example, they tend to move forward from their clothes weighing). This watch weighs 386 grams – and it’s 100 grams heavier than a pair of beats above the two ears. If you have high-end headphones, you’d probably expect that kind of weight, and I think most people won’t. More on this as I keep using it and trying tweaks.
All early reviews pretty much point to how weird the AirPods Max case and this doesn’t offer much functionality. The Verge also notes that they have a funny smell, like “an unconventional smell of a new car smell.” But she says they were told “it will fade with time.”
And as we previously covered, Apple doesn’t include a charger or things like a 3.5mm to Lightning adapter / cable.
Another interesting tip is the lack of a power button, AirPods Max automatically wake and sleep (but as MKBHD notes, they keep draining the battery until you put them in the Smart Case). What looks like the power button is to control the noise canceling mode.
Check out more great coverage from MKBHD, UrAvgConsumer, iJustine and more below:
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