At 6.6 by 7.4 inches and weighing 13.6 ounces, Apple AirPods Max headphones are heavier and larger than many competitors, but even at that size, the soft cushions over the ears put their surface area to good use by supporting the headphones for long-lasting comfort.
Many of these design advantages stem from the milled aluminum casing, which consists of soft mesh ear padding wrapped around a metal headband, creating a refined feeling that surpasses that of its more expensive competitors. I was impressed with the headphones’ overall quality and feel; plus, the AirPods’ replaceable magnetic ear cups are easy to obtain and remount without having to buy a whole new unit, should they ever fail.
Even Silence Sounds Terrific with Good Headphones
The best headphones offer solid sound and effective noise cancellation. The AirPods Max do this with amazing highs and a tight bass that supports natural midtones. No matter what timbre of voice users have, the AirPods will make sure that every word is clear.
The AirPods were reviewed for three weeks with hundreds of online and phone meetings. Never once did the sound quality suffer, and no time was lost due to technical difficulties; I could always hear what everyone in the virtual room was saying.
Just as impressive, however, was what I didn’t hear. Working at home with three kids, two dogs, a cat and nowhere to hide is a recipe for disaster when hosting conference calls. Yet the smaller, second button on the headset — right next to the wheel on the right earpiece — activates noise cancellation that shuts out the outside world.
Apple also offers an EQ setting within the Music settings that provides additional options to improve the sound specifically for calls. These slight modifications go a long way to improving the sound profile.
Another game changer is the spatial audio feature. Along with what Apple calls “dynamic head tracking,” spatial audio provides theaterlike sound in a 360-degree space that makes you feel like you are in the room with your colleagues. It’s a neat experience to hear such quality in an online meeting.
When working from home, one of the most frequent features I used was Transparency Mode. The same button that initiates noise cancellation also triggers a mode that lets you hear most things around you, while the sound from the headphones remains clear. It’s a brilliant tool for making sure your children are behaving while you’re in your virtual meeting.
Easy to Control Volume From Earphone
I also liked the placement of the volume knob, which is located on the top of the right earphone. It’s a convenient spot that makes adjustments easy and intuitive without having to use a remote control device.
The knob is designed as a wheel for volume adjustment, but it can also be pressed like a button to answer or disconnect calls.
Working from home or in less-than-ideal conditions may be the new normal for federal workers. The new AirPods Max can help make those spaces a little more comfortable and a lot more professional.
PCONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.0
POUTPUT MODE: Stereo
PSOUND EFFECTS: Adaptive EQ
PMAGNET MATERIAL: Neodymium
PCOMPATIBILITY: Apple devices with most recent OS
PRUN TIME: 20 hours