- The AirPods Max has received mixed reactions since its release, with some users expressing disappointment with the high price tag and comfort of the headphones.
- The AirPods Max offers unique features like 20-hour battery life, active noise cancellation, and spatial audio, but lacks customization options compared to other premium headphones.
- The Sony WH-CH720N and Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones are two alternatives to the AirPods Max that offer lightweight comfort, long battery life, and compatibility with voice assistants.
Over the years, Apple has been setting standards for wireless earbuds. While many were excited to try out the premium over-ear headphones, there have been mixed reactions since its release in December 2020. Some users expressed disappointment with various aspects of the AirPods Max, from the cost to the comfort of the headphones.
Let’s explore some of the complaints about the AirPods Max.
High Price Tag
It’s not a surprise most Apple products come at a hefty price. Like most people, you might find that the AirPods Max is more expensive than other headphones with similar features. For instance, the Srhythm NC35 Noise Cancelling Headphones cost under $100, a price way lower than the AirPods Max, which cost over $500.
Some people might argue, though, some features, like the ergonomic knit mesh design on the headphones, contribute to the high cost. Plus, technology has been incorporated into the headphones to give the best sound possible. For instance, personalized spatial audio technology gives the illusion that sound is coming from around you.
Uncomfortable and Stinky
Most people who gave AirPods Max a low rating said they sometimes overheat. The ear cushions are made from an acoustic material that is good at conducting sound but doesn’t allow air. And as charge flows from the battery to power the speakers, the wires’ current flow brings heat to the headphones. In the long run, the sweat build-up makes them look dirty and it produces foul odors. Eventually, they become uncomfortable to wear due to their foul smell.
Again, the high clamping force aimed at improving noise cancellation coupled with the heavy stainless steel on the headphones may cause pressure on your ears, resulting in pain.
Android Users Miss Out on Some Features
Some features that sell out the AirPods Max are only accessible to the Apple ecosystem. While they still pair with non-Apple Bluetooth devices, Android users still miss out on the full capabilities of the headphones. You might not be in luck if you’re an Android user and want to enjoy the spatial audio technology that gives the surround sound effect. The hardware on Android devices isn’t compatible with Apple’s H1 and H2 chips, so spatial audio technology isn’t available.
With the AirPods Max, you can automatically switch from listening to music on a MacBook to receiving calls on an iPhone. However, this functionality does not apply to Android devices.
Again, you might have difficulty with the ear detection feature on your Android. The ear detection feature automatically pauses your headset once you remove them, and the music resumes after you put them back on. However, you can install the Android Beats app and turn on this feature.
The Smartcase is Not Smart After All
Before we get into the functionalities, the AirPods Max design looks awful. What’s more, magnetic accessories, such as keys, keep getting attached to the magnetic flap of the smart case.
While most headphone cases offer maximum protection from damage, this isn’t the case with the AirPods Max case. The AirPods Max case only protects against minor scratches since it doesn’t cover the headphones. It’s worth noting, though, that the case puts the headphones into ultra-low power mode, which helps save battery power.
Limited Customization Options
Sometimes, we like to set audio based on our preferences. While the AirPods Max offers customization options through the accompanying app, they fall short compared to other premium headphones. For instance, you cannot adjust the EQ manually. This lack of customization is disappointing if you like having more control over your listening experience.
Are the AirPods Max Worth Buying?
Despite their shortcomings, the AirPods Max offers unique aspects that outshine the flaws. Their 20-hour battery life is ideal for heavy headphone users. Another impressive thing is the active noise cancellation that stops at nothing to give you undisrupted listening time. They offer a perfect seal, enhancing ANC that blocks out all external noises.
On top of that, spatial audio provides an immersive sound experience. You can give commands through voice assistants, such as setting reminders and responding to text messages.
The 2 Best Alternatives to AirPods Max
If you can’t look past the flaws of the AirPods Max, we’ve selected the best headphones alternatives to AirPods Max that would be a great fit.
Let’s explore each of these products in detail.
- Over-the-ear headset
- With microphone
- Alexa built-in
Durable yet lightweight, the Sony WH-CH720N is our top pick as the best alternative to AirPods Max.
At 3.52 ounces (0.09 kg), the Sony WH-CH720N is light — you can wear them all day without causing ear exhaustion or soreness. Still, it is long-lasting and well-padded, making it comfortable for traveling or long flights. Thanks to the two noise sensors and the noise cancellation V1 processor, they minimize external noise by blocking it out. Alternatively, you can listen to your soundtracks while hearing sounds around you thanks to the Ambient Sound Mode, which has a 20-level setting.
With up to 35 hours of battery life, you have enough juice to take you through a few movies. And you’d still have enough charge left to listen to your favorite tracks. What’s more, a quick 3-minute charge can give you up to 1 hour of playback time.
Through the in-built Alexa, you can give commands. Siri and Google Assistant are also compatible with the Sony WH-CH720N if you don’t want to use Alexa. Thanks to the on-head detectors, they pause music when you take them off and continue playing when you put them back on.
Then again, you might experience weak Bluetooth signals and audio dropout when using the headphones.
|An adjustable ambient mode helps you set the level of external noises you want to hear||Weak Bluetooth technology leads to audio dropouts|
|Long-lasting battery life that can give you up to 35 hours of usage|
|Fast charging capabilities|
|Compatible with voice assistants (Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant)|
|Lightweight (3.52 ounces) and less likely to cause fatigue|
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
- 11 levels of active noise cancelation
- Built-in beamforming microphone that adapts to noisy and windy environments
- Lightweight headband (stainless steel) and tilted earcups
- battery life: 20 hrs
With the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones, you’ll experience the best noise cancellation that lets you enjoy undisrupted listening wherever you go.
Thanks to Alexa and Google Assistant, you can go from answering and making calls to responding to text messages. The voice assistants are accessible via voice and touch controls on the headphones’ ear cups. However, the buttons can easily be pressed accidentally while adjusting the headphones.
Enjoy clear sound quality with minimal distractions when listening to music and on calls. Your voice is appropriately transmitted thanks to the unparalleled voice pick-up technology that adapts to noisy environments and ensures it only captures your voice delivering it in the most precise form possible.
A unique feature of these headphones is that they have the Bose Simple Sync technology that enables you to synchronize your Bose soundbar audio with the Bose headphones. You might want to blast your ears with music while the others in the room don’t want the noise. Through the independent volume controls, you can increase the volume on the headphones and reduce the soundbar volume when the two are in synchronization.
|Bose Simple Sync technology enables you to connect the headphones to a Bose soundbar, and the volume for each can be adjusted independently||You can accidentally press the touch controls when adjusting the headphones|
|Microphones adjust to your surroundings, blocking out unnecessary noises and only picking up your voice|
|Cheaper than the AirPods Max|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Hadrian/Shutterstock.com.