Quick Thoughts On Apple Airpods Max…Is This A Joke?

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Apple recently released the Airpods Max with an eye-watering $549 price tag.

I’m a huge fan of Bose QuietComfort 35 noise cancelling headphones. I prefer them to the newer Bose 700 Noise Cancelling headphones as I explained in this post.

I find the Bose 35s to be more comfortable, which for me is the most critically important feature on headphones. I can wear them awake or asleep for hours without discomfort. They’re amazing for everything from work to sleeping on a plane.

Could the Apple Airpods Max have them beat? I had to try.

  • These things are heavy! The metal ear cups feel very premium in your hands, but the mesh headband just looks cheap and out of place to me:

 

  • These things are incredibly heavy on your ears! I personally found them extremely uncomfortable to wear, with far too much pressure on my head.
  • The noise cancelling on the Airpods Max is very impressive, a clear step up from the Bose 35s. But is it too much? I found my ears ringing after I tried my sleep test in them. That doesn’t happen when I wear my Bose 35s. I also was unable to find any way to control the level of noise cancellation, though I use an Android device and there does not appear to be any Android app.
  • The music sounds excellent, Apple really excels here.
  • The volume control dial is excellent, and allows for more granular volume levels than the phone does by itself. The physical buttons to skip tracks and adjust volume are much better than the gestures on the Bose 700s.
  • The bluetooth setup on my Android phone was seamless.
  • There is no power switch, you need to put them into the case to turn them off, which is beyond ridiculous.
  • The case is absurd, offering no protection for the pricey headphones.
  • While the Bose 35s fold to be compact in the case, the bulky Airpods Max don’t fold.
  • The Bose 35s have a audio line-in that you can use to connect to wired devices or the in-flight entertainment system on a plane. No such accessory comes included with the Airpods Max, so you’ll need to shell out some $30 to have that functionality.
  • While I can push my Bose 35s back behind my ears or wear them around my neck, I couldn’t do either of those comfortably on the Airpods Max.
  • At least on my Android, I couldn’t figure out any way to check the battery life remaining on the Airpods Max.

Now to be fair, some of these complaints may be due to not having an iPhone. But overall, I would not trade my Bose 35s for Airpods Max at the same price, let alone at more than double the price.

The price has to be a joke, right?

Of course the weight may not bother everyone and if you wear them enough I’m sure you can get used to it and the noise cancellation level. But unless you really need to eke out the marginally better sound quality and noise cancellation, or you just need to have everything Apple, this seems ridiculously overpriced to me.

Also, what in the world was Apple thinking with this ridiculous case (which is also required if you want to turn the power off or stop your phone’s audio from going to the Airpods Max)?

Agree? Disagree? Are there other products that you’d like me to review? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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129 Comments On "Quick Thoughts On Apple Airpods Max…Is This A Joke?"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

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SA

Nothing like a nice bra to hold your head phones.

Worldly Bachur

What’s that?

yeshivish bochur

something for yeshivah bochorim ha!

Cee

Hard pass

A.G.

So you bought them.

BB

So you bought those overpriced gadgets or are just reviewing them for us? Honest question…

Jacob

Why do you prefer bose 35 vs 700?

michael

I recently went through a round of selecting a good headphones. Tried bose qc 35ii, sony wh-1000xm4, microsoft surface 2 headphones, sennheiser momentum 3 wireless and bowers& wilkins px7.

Surprisingly, bose qc35ii has the worst sound quality (and overall feels old in terms of functionality). The sound is “flat”, hard to explain, but you can feel it if you compare with others. It’s not bad overall, it’s even rather good with rich mid and high range, untill you try something else from that list.

Also worth mentioning, the sound quality is different when you connect them to windows laptop via bluetooth vs aux cable (and this is not a problem with the correct profile: headphones vs headset, something different, there are a lot of complains on a bose forums). The sound is richer via aux, but the noise cancellation doesn’t work as soon as you plug in aux wire.

Many reviews have noted that bose 700 has the same sound quality as qc35ii, so I have decided not to buy 700 to compare.

As for functionality, microphones are not good at picking a voice, the worst from the list I’ve tried.

Doesn’t have type-c charger (others have and type-c can be used in a wired mode with phones lacking aux port).

Also, qc35 ii doesn’t have transpare mode. It’s when headphones amplifies external sound so you can hear everything clearly without a need to take them off to talk to somebody.

However, qc35 are the most comfortable headphones.

Regarding other models: sony is the winner here (except microphones – not best if you are going to use them as headset all the time): best battery life (up to 25-27 hours) gestues support, type-c, transparent mode, best noise cancellation. It may not the most comfortable one (and I personally find it rather uncomfortable), in the middle between others.

My personal choise – sennheiser. 2nd (after bose) in terms of comfort, great sound quality, better microphones for headset usage. 2 cons: 17 hours battery life and average noise cancellation.

Kovy

I have the mpow h17s. The noise cancellation sucks, but they are comfortable, have great sound, and cost 45 bucks. Perfect! Why the heck would i spend $400?

Eli

Same. I agree. Very weak in the noice cancellation but great sound and amazing price point.

Work-for-ur-muny

“There is no power switch, you need to put them into the case to turn them off, which is beyond ridiculous.”

I find the same with the AirPods Max. Unless I’m missing a functionality? Would love to know that.

S

Find the same with the Airpods Max? That’s what he’s referring to…

Work-for-ur-muny

Sorry, meant the Pro. Thanks for pointing out.

S

Oh. That may be the case there too, but since this is a bigger gadget (that won’t get lost) and it comes with such a terrible case, it’s more likely people would have liked to avoid the case here.

Ari

I don’t have the Airpods pro, but with the regular airpods they connect and disconnect from my phone when they go in and out of my ear. I believe they may still be on if they aren’t in the case, but at least they aren’t connected to your phone. This does encourage people to put them back in the case and not lose them.

Work-for-ur-muny

Regarding disconnecting upon removal from the ear, it’s the same as the Pro. But sometimes I leave them out of the case purposely, in order not overcharge them. (Or in the middle of my sleep when I just drop them on my night-table, not wanting to search for the case.) Either way, I want them to turn off so that the battery doesn’t drain completely when not in use.

S

Theyre designed to be left in the case. I wouldn’t worry about overcharge. They have technologies to prevent that on new devices, especially on something like this that is designed to remain in the case.

p

steve jobs would have had it perfected without these flaws its clear proof that cook is calling the shots and not the age old argument that jobs left a clear path on how the technology should develop theres far to many flaws in this overall product that you pointed out

dave

steve jobs would have maintained that none of the “features” are flaws, they are all well thought out as apple knows better than the customer what they want!

Dan jibbleton

Its obviously a high up person that introduced that ridiculous design.

Ari

Steve Jobs died 9 years ago. I think its a little much to think that his grand plans he would have left behind would have dictated how to make the Airpods max.

Mike

Crapple

Anon

Say what you will, Steve Jobs ain’t eva given me a blue screen of death.

Work-for-ur-muny

But he was given the black angel of death…

Cool JUUL

Will you return them?

Avi

I agree the QC35s are great but as DW and I found out Bose customer service is a joke. If that little hex screw falls out they will refuse to sell you another one. We got lucky and found ours and basically tighten them every time we use them. The only option if you lose the screw is send the entire set back and get a (very) modest discount towards a new pair: https://community.bose.com/t5/Around-On-Ear-Headphones/Missing-broken-hex-screw-on-quiet-comfort-35-ii/td-p/208257

Gevald

Great review! How come I find myself sometimes hoping Apple fails? Apple needs to be more realistic and get off their high horse

Work-for-ur-muny

They have a crazy enough, large enough “base” of consumers who live blindly in the Apple “Eco-system” and will basically not touch anything else. As long as this is true, they will not only not fail, but thrive.

guy

could replace the word Apple with LIBERALS

Ploiny

Or conservatives, or trump supporters…

Kovy

Its not really peoples’ faults, Apples products are designed to make it hard to have an apple device and a die type @ the same time, and to make it a major kreech to switch from apple.

Dan jibbleton

Watch unbox therapy’s unboxing and review.

Seth Levy

I have been incredibly impressed with the AirPod Pro quality, especially for earbuds. I have been hoping to see an over the ear model that lives up to the standard set there. Looks like I may have to wait a generation or two. To be fair, the first couple versions of the AirPods weren’t all that great either.

yuneeq

Big disagree on the 2nd half. While the AirPod Pro is a marked improvement, AirPods were an amazing product from the first version, perhaps Apple’s best 1st generation release.

Work-for-ur-muny

I have this product:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011IH5ZHG/?tag=cl03f-20&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
and I couldn’t have been happier. Superior sound (I generally don’t need the noise cancelling, as for that I have the QC25s) and, most importantly extremely comfortable! I can wear it for 48 hrs straight sleeping and all and not even know it’s there. Another great upside is that it can be pulled and won’t fall out of my ear easily. Only downside is that it is wired, and I like to go to sleep with it when the wires make it kinda impractical. I WISH there would have been a proper version for the wireless with the exact same tips like these have. That would have had the best of both worlds.

Before splurging for the AirPods Pro, one of my main concerns was that I’ll feel like I’m under water with the tips that fill my ears, however a friend confirmed that the transparency mode addresses that issue. Upon trying it I saw that, indeed, it does not feel like I’m talking with “popped” ears, but the downside is that it an active transparecizing (if that is even a word…) that uses battery. Hence, I have the issue with the battery draining even when not in use, if I don’t return them to the case.

Another upside to the Pro is that I am able to sleep on my side/ear, and it won’t bother me, but it is still a far cry from the Bose linked above.

Overall, as mentioned, for me the perfect product would be the features of the AirPod Pro, with the hardware of the Bose (which technically doesn’t need transparency mode).

Ariella

I don’t know if this is the case with all headphones, but with the relatively cheap headset I have, I can see the battery level on the bluetooth screen that shows the devices. I have a Samsung s20 FE.

Yitz

in a nutshell: Ridiculous, Ridiculous, Ridiculous, Ridiculous, Ridiculous, Ridiculous 🙂

Anon

Everyone has to start somewhere.

Ya Yee

I think it was a bet from within Apple to see how stupid consumers are

Malibumiler

Good feedback. Apple, with the largest market cap in the world. Its 99% psychological buying for a product like this. Price is simply a number… the brand is the product.

Charles

Hey Dan great job. Is there going to be more product reviews in the future? It can be great for the readers and u

Mogul

Why did you return them? They’re selling on eBay for more then they cost new, since it’s sold out till March. Could of sold them for profit.

Chayim

I would not rush to buy headphones which are actually manufactured by Apple themselves. The popular AirPods are made by a company called Foxconn. With these Apple claims to have manufactured them themselves. It’s not clear how accurate this is yet. Who knows, maybe the people at Apple owned Beats were behind it, but it’s not likely.

Mark

Um … Apple doesn’t manufacture “anything” … they get all their product from contract manufacturers.

(they actually do manufacture some stuff, but the vast majority is from contract places)

Kovy

Foxcon is controvesial bc they pretty much use slave labour, nothing to do with who makes what. And btw, they make like all apple products.

Yandmk

Could the $600 price tag (after tax) have something to do with the $600 stimulus checks….?
(To psychologically get people to connect the 2, and be like, “where can I spent the $600 I just got…?)

Kovy

What came 1st, the chicken or the egg?

Kishke

clearly the chicken coop was first

Android user

@dan another way of looking at it is, Apple is a fashion brand like Burberry, they also include technology in there items, with Bose you get technology practicality and quality.

Eli Blumenthal

Hey, any thoughts on the Sony XM4 vs bose?

Kovy

Watch unbox therapy’s review of the maxes

varun

Did you do a comparison with Sony 1000MX4? I am confused between them.

Ruvy

It still amazes me how people will pay any amount just to have the apple logo on their device.

Kovy

It actually doesn’t have the logo… Its just the mere fact it is being sold by them.

S

Great summary.
I think most of the Airpods Max consumers will be those that “just need to have everything Apple”.

simcha

or “if Apple makes it then it must be good”.

Zac

It is always that way with the first version. Expensive with lots of downsides. People will finance it for the fad. They will learn what they need to change. The next versions will improve based on articles like yours Dan… and eventually they will get it right. When they do… people will buy like crazy and it will be cheaper for them to manufacture and they will right size the price to value to maximize sales while keeping profits up.

YY

To be fair, this is a real bargain compared to some other products Apple sells, like https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MX572ZM/A/apple-mac-pro-wheels-kit .

Ergel

https://fave.co/3payQGC

$7.99, not $30

Kovy

Its 30 bucks, only apple’s lightning-to-aux works.

Ns

It looks old. I feel like the design is from the 1990s

Nathan Weiss

this will boost sales of the smaller headphones. apple strategy. i cant afford the best item but i can afford some of the other luxury items you sell. many companies do it. they will randomly make a super expensive item and then it boosts the sale of lower priced items.

R

Bose QC 20s are the best. nice and small, fit on your pocket and you don’t look like a wannabe rapper with those huge things on your head

BigIssy

no need to post but have you ever thought of having a review corner on dansdeals? companies already pay you to advertise. maybe they will pay you guys to review their products and let people know about your feelings on their products.

Eli

Dan thank you for a good unbiased review the most popular review for it on YouTube by MKBHD plays like a ad I knew something was off. I would love to see a review on the AirPods Pro I know it’s not a new product but it’s the most common ones these days anywhere.

Levi

MKBHD always discloses when the brand has sponsored the review or given him the product for free. His video highlights the pros and cons, one of his main points being that these headphones should only be considered if you are already in the Apple eco-system. You lose out on its most significant feature – spatial audio when not listening from an apple device—not going to lie. These are silly expensive, but testing them out using an android device was always doomed to fail. You should have borrowed an iPhone or iPad for the review.

ZT

So Dan now we just wait for the 2024 Tesla vs Apple EV comparison & review….
Any thoughts how that’ll go? Also first few generations will just be missing the ability to cut n paste / drive or brake…

Yisroel

I regards to the pro I have the AirPods and liked the fits a lot they are a winner on in ear fit. Got the pro for me it was horrible going back to Costco

David

Side question, how do I use the search engine to show me post based on Tags?

Pad18

Questions is @dan will you return then to Apple ?

yoyo

Great review Dan! ( I think everyone is silently just happy that you are allowed to NOT like an apple product) Btw it sounds like even without the strange “smart case” the headphones would go to sleep after 5 min, so there’s really not much to complain about. They just needed a feature to make it “Smart”.

Dan jibbleton

There is a way to turn it off without putting it in the case; i think the youtube chanel ‘afterclips’ has a video on it. Also, i think it automatically powers off after 5 minutes. And about the sound, its really just good for pop-style music, not other genres, because the sound enhancements are a bit over-engineered, and they can make pop sound crazy good (tho some people don’t like because you don’t know what the music ACTUALLY sounds like because its so enhanced), but any other genre sounds wierd.

Jack

You’re paying for the name.

Anon

I am sticking to Bose (but not buying any new headphones from Bose) until Apple refines the physical dimensions and comfortability of the headphone.

Abe

Dan, is bose good to use as a mic to make phone calls? I currently use a plantronics device that connects to my computer, office phone and cellphone. People complain many time they can’t hear me well and I need to adjust the headset.

What to you use to make phone calls in your office?

EJB

Love the keyboard!!!

Bob

If you think 549 dollars is too much, you can buy them in Britain for 549 pounds. I haven’t checked the price in euros, but I can guess.

Rafi

Dedicated Bose frequent flyer. Noise reduction is excellent of course on the 35s. Quality for me for a very long time. I have never had any encounter nor need for customer assistance so I cannot speak to it. I just know they make looooong plane rides more tolerable.

David Weiss

what about this: JBL E55BT Wireless Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones?

Maifriend

You brought some legit concerns: the lack of a power switch, can’t fold them and no case to protect them.

When you spend that amount of money, the headphone should work with android, iphone and any bluetooth devices like a receiver unless Apple plans on releasing an android version or think someone is going to buy an iphone to match with the headphone.

I guess the airpods max are for the elite.

I pass as I’m a Sony WH-1000XM fan.

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