The AirPods Max are not only the company’s best sounding headphones, but are also one of the best-sounding headphones on the market — and yet they lack the little things that have been staples on other wireless headphones for decades. An under-appreciated part of Apple’s products is their sound, both on dedicated speakers and headphones, and on other devices. Though the company is known for its iPhones, iPads, and Macs, it’s earned a reputation for making great speakers and headphones. The AirPods Max is no different, but in daily use, Apple users will find that the headphones have a few flaws that need to be fixed in the next version.
There are a ton of things to love about the AirPods Max — from usability, to sound, to repairability. They support all of the fast pairing and Automatic Switching of every model of AirPods, but also have unique customization options. Additionally, the sound quality is fantastic, and supports software technology like Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos for some tracks. It’s also fairly repairable — each ear cup is attached with magnets and can be easily popped off and replaced by the end user. Underneath the ear cups, there are screws that should make repairs possible to keep $549 headphones in service for as long as possible.
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Though the AirPods Max has killer features that stack up against other dominant headphones — like the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and the Sony WH-1000XM5 — they lack the simple features found on nearly all headphones. It all starts with the power button, and the AirPods Max doesn’t have one. The headphones stay on all the time, and though they enter a low power mode when placed in a flimsy Smart Case, it drains the battery life. Leaving the AirPods Max idle outside the case will completely drain the battery life, and there’s no way to turn them off. The next generation of AirPods Max needs to ditch the Smart Case and include a traditional power button.
Another factor that inhibits the AirPods Max in daily use is the charging method — it relies on a Lightning connector for power. The entire AirPods lineup uses Lightning, but the in-ear models can utilize wireless charging instead of the Lightning port. However, the AirPods Max don’t support wireless charging. Sure, the iPhone still uses Lightning, but nearly every other device in Apple’s portfolio has USB-C support. Apple needs to embrace the standard across its entire product lineup, and that includes the next revision of the AirPods Max.
One of the main flaws with the AirPods Max is a technical specification that users probably won’t notice in a pair of headphones — unless the spec isn’t right. The AirPods Max are downright heavy, and though most users probably haven’t considered the weight of their headphones, it can be unbearable to use a heavy pair of headphones. Some fatigue results from the weight of the AirPods Max, which are heavy due to their aluminum construction. When Apple makes the next generation of AirPods Max, it should consider a lighter material to bring the overall weight of the headphones down. Though there are ton of great features inside the AirPods Max, there are also significant drawbacks that need to be revised with the next generation of AirPods Max.