Apple AirPods Max vs. Sony: What Over-Ear Headphones Are Best?

Sony WH-1000XM5 Vs. Jabra Evolve2 75

Apple AirPods Max vs. Sony: What Over-Ear Headphones Are Best?

Apple and Sony are popular players in the headphone market. This is especially true among gamers and music enthusiasts who appreciate the comfort of over-ear headphones for long listening sessions. Both brands feature a robust lineup of high-quality headphones with advanced technology, such as noise cancelling, adjustable headbands, soft and breathable cups, wide connectivity options, and inbuilt controls.

Apple AirPods Max and Sony WH-1000XM5 are top competitors in the active noise canceling technology. In this Apple AirPods Max vs. Sony comparison, we’ll take a deep dive into the features and specs of both headphones to help you determine which one best fits your needs. From sound quality to noise cancellation, design, and battery life, we’ll compare and contrast the two brands to help you make an informed decision.

Apple AirPods Max vs. Sony: Side-By-Side Comparison

FeatureApple AirPods MaxSony WH-1000XM5
Release DateDecember 15, 2020May 20, 2022
Colors AvailableSilver, Green, Space Gray, Pink, Sky BlueSilver, Black
Battery LifeUp to 20 hoursUp to 30 hours
Noise CancellationActiveActive
Special Features      Siri integration, spatial audio, Adaptive EQ  Speak-to-Chat, 360 Reality Audio on select apps, Adaptive Sound Control, LDAC high-quality audio support (Android only)
Voice AssistantSiriGoogle Assistant or Amazon Alexa
ChargingLightning cableUSB-C cable
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 5.0
Weight385 grams249 grams
Wired SupportNoYes
Best for Apple Users/ Over-Ear
Apple AirPods Max (Space Gray)
  • Apple-designed dynamic driver for high-fidelity audio
  • Active Noise Cancellation
  • Transparency mode
  • Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
  • Designed with a knit-mesh canopy and memory foam ear cushions
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09/28/2023 12:08 pm GMT

Apple AirPods Max vs. Sony: What’s the Difference?

Both headphones have amazing features, performance, and comfort, making them ideal for long listening sessions. However, they each possess certain unique qualities that set them apart. For example, one model might offer superior sound quality while the other may provide a more comfortable fit.

Additionally, one may be better suited to specific music or environments, while the other could offer a wider range of features and capabilities. Ultimately, these differences can help determine which headphones best suit your needs and preferences. So let’s explore deeply the different features that distinguish the two headphones — Apple AirPods Max vs. Sony.


Apple AirPods Max and Sony headphones have sleek, attractive, modern designs. AirPods Max have a minimalist design with a stainless steel frame and breathable knit mesh canopy. This gives them an edge over Sony’s headphones with their plastic frame that gives an impression of being cheap.

In terms of colors, Apple AirPods Max offers a wide color selection, including space gray, silver, sky blue, green, and pink. Sony’s headphones are only limited to black and silver colors. Therefore, buyers will not have a wide selection of options. If you appreciate variety, Apple AirPods Max is the better option.

Sony WH-1000XM5
The Sony WH-1000XM5 come in three color variants.


Controls are another design feature that sets the two headphones apart. AirPods Max’s earcups feature a Digital Crown that allows you to control volume, playback, and Siri. You can easily adjust volume, playback, receive calls, and switch sound modes. On the other hand, Sony has touch controls on the right earcup, allowing you to control playback and volume and activate voice assistants.

AirPods Max earcups rotate to fit comfortably on your head and fold flat for easy storage in their included Smart Case. Although they are slightly weighty, at 385 grams against the Sony WH-1000XM5 at 249 grams, they are compact enough and portable for carrying in your backpack during travel.

Sony’s ear cups swivel for a comfortable fit and fold up for easy storage in the included carrying case. The earcups are coated with faux leather, making them softer and more comfortable for longer use.

Sound Quality

The Apple AirPods Max and Sony over-ear headphones are known for their high-quality sound performance. However, some differences in their sound profiles may influence your decision. The Apple AirPods Max delivers rich and exceptional bass response and clarity thanks to its 40mm dynamic drivers and H1 chip that optimizes sound processing.

The headphones also feature Adaptive EQ, which adjusts the sound to fit your ear shape for a personalized listening experience. It also features spatial audio support, which creates a more immersive 3D soundstage for movies and TV shows. You can also personalize the spatial audio for your unique needs, creating a more immersive experience.

Sony WH-1000XM5
The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones have a sensitivity of 102 dB/mW.


The Sony WH-1000XM5 offers a powerful bass, clear mid-range, and treble. This is due to its 40mm drivers and DSEE Extreme audio upscaling technology, which uses AI to enhance sound quality. The headphones also have LDAC support, allowing high-resolution audio streaming over Bluetooth.

The WH-1000XM5 has a dedicated companion app that lets you customize the sound profile and access a range of audio presets. This helps users to tune in to the best sound profile for what they are listening to.

Both headphones are excellent performers in terms of sound quality, but the AirPods Max may appeal more to those who prioritize bass response and spatial audio. At the same time, the Sony WH-1000XM5 may be a better choice for those who prefer a more balanced sound profile with customizable audio presets.

Battery Life

Both headphones offer an impressive battery life. The Apple AirPods Max provide up to 20 hours of battery life with noise cancellation turned on, but this may vary with noise cancellation turned off. They also feature a quick charge function that gives you 1.5 hours of listening time with just 5 minutes of charging.

Sony WH-1000XM5
The Sony WH-1000XM5 provide 40 hours of battery life with ANC off.


On the other hand, the Sony headphones offer up to 30 hours of battery life with noise cancellation turned on, or more with noise cancellation turned off. They also feature a quick charge function that gives you 5 hours of listening time with just 10 minutes of charging. It uses a standard USB-C cable to charge, while Airpods use a lightning cable.


The AirPods Max seamlessly pairs and connects with Apple devices such as iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and Apple TVs. Once the AirPods Max is set up, they automatically connect to any nearby Apple device signed in to the same iCloud account. This means that you can easily switch between devices without having to connect each time manually. Additionally, the AirPods Max supports Bluetooth 5.0  for connectivity with non-Apple devices.

Sony WH-1000XM5
The WH-1000XM5 headphones feature Bluetooth 5.2, but are compatible with all Bluetooth devices.


Sony headphones use Bluetooth connectivity for wireless pairing with any Android device. They support Bluetooth 5.2, which provides a stable and fast connection with compatible devices. The Sony headphones also support NFC pairing, which allows you to quickly and easily connect to a compatible device by simply touching the headphones. These headphones also have a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a cable if you need a wired connection.

Regarding multi-device connectivity, you can pair the AirPods Max with multiple Apple devices and switch between them seamlessly. However, they cannot connect to multiple devices simultaneously. Sony headphones also allow for multi-device connectivity and can be paired with up to eight devices. They can also be connected to two devices simultaneously, allowing you to switch between them without disconnecting and reconnecting.


If you are on a budget and have to choose between the Sony WH-1000XM5 and AirPods, you can save nearly $100 by opting for the former. However, you should also consider your preferences before making a final decision. Generally, AirPods come with a higher price tag, even when discounted.

This may be a worthy expense for those with larger budgets, or for Apple devotees looking to complete their technology set. If one intends to use smart features, the AirPods become the more sensible choice. Furthermore, their superior sound quality makes them a great option for those who don’t prioritize cost.

Active Noise Cancellation

Over-ear headphones are designed to block mid and high frequencies. However, they do not fully isolate low frequency, which necessitates active noise canceling. Both the Airpods Max and Sony headphones offer impressive noise canceling and isolation.

The earcups are large enough to create a physical barrier between your ears and the outside world. Sony’s Active noise cancellation reduces low-frequency noise like trains to almost an eighth of the original noise, making them ideal for commuters and people who want to isolate themselves completely from noisy crowds.

Sony WH-1000XM5
The WH-1000XM5 support Sony’s 360 Reality Audio.


The Apple AirPods Max boasts impressive active noise cancellation (ANC) capabilities that create an immersive and uninterrupted listening experience by blocking out noise up to 2kHz. However, the AirPods Max fall short compared to Sony headphones regarding isolation performance at higher frequencies.

When comparing the two headsets, it is notable that both excel in canceling low-frequency noise to below 100Hz, making them great choices for eliminating droning sounds. However, there are differences in their performance across different frequency ranges. The Apple AirPods Max outperform the Sony WH-1000XM5 in the mid-range. Still, the Sony headphones are more effective due to their superior isolation capabilities when it comes to high-range sounds.

Apple AirPods Max vs. Sony: 6 Must-Know Facts

  • The AirPods Max offer up to 20 hours of battery life with active noise cancellation enabled, while the Sony WH-1000XM5 provides up to 30 hours of battery.
  • Both headphones offer touch controls, voice assistant support, and customizable equalizer settings.
  • The AirPods Max also include spatial audio technology for a more immersive listening experience.
  • Apple AirPods Max are more costly than Sony’s headphones.
  • The AirPods are heavier than Sony’s headphones.
  • AirPods come in five colors, while Sony headphones come in two.

Apple AirPods Max vs. Sony: Which is Better?

The choice between the Apple AirPods Max and Sony headphones depends on individual preferences. The AirPods Max offer high-quality sound, seamless connectivity with Apple devices, and unique features like transparency mode and spatial audio technology. On the other hand, Sony headphones have superior noise cancellation performance, longer battery life, and a more affordable price. Overall, both headphones are great options, and the decision comes down to which features are most important to you.

  1. Apple AirPods Max (Space Gray)
  2. Apple AirPods Max (Space Gray)
    • Apple-designed dynamic driver for high-fidelity audio
    • Active Noise Cancellation
    • Transparency mode
    • Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
    • Designed with a knit-mesh canopy and memory foam ear cushions
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    09/28/2023 12:08 pm GMT
  3. Sony WH-1000XM5
  4. Sony WH-1000XM5
    • Two processors control 8 microphones
    • Auto NC Optimizer
    • The new Sony V1 Integrated Processor
    • Hands-free calling with 4 beamforming microphones
    • Up to 30-hour battery life with quick charging
    • Ultra-comfortable, lightweight design with soft-fit leather
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    09/28/2023 11:22 am GMT

Apple AirPods Max vs. Sony: What Over-Ear Headphones Are Best? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is Apple AirPods better than Sony?

Airpods have a sleek design and a robust build. They offer slightly better sound quality, fantastic active noise canceling, intuitive controls, and impressive spatial audio and transparency mode features. On the other hand, Sony headphones are lighter, cheaper, and offer impressive noise canceling longer battery life, and a set of perks for Android users.




Is AirPods Max good for PS5?

To use the AirPods Max with the DualSense controller on PS5, you can connect them via a wired connection using Apple’s Lightning to 3.5mm cable, which allows you to plug the cable into the 3.5mm jack on the DualSense controller.

Why is AirPods Max better?

AirPods Max delivers an unmatched listening experience by combining high-fidelity music with industry-leading Active Noise Cancellation. Each component of their custom-built driver works together to generate sound with extremely minimal distortion throughout the audible range.

Is Sony WH-1000XM5 good with iPhone?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 has innovative features, including Adaptive Sound Control, Speak-to-Chat, and support for Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format. Most are compatible with iOS and Android devices (only LDAC support is limited to Android devices).


Does Sony or Apple have better noise-canceling?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 has some of the best noise-cancellation capabilities available. It also isolates effectively, thanks to its modified ear cups and headband.

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