Tech specs: Form factor: Over-ear, closed-back | Wireless protocol(s): Bluetooth 5.0 | Charging options(s): Lightning | Battery life: 20 hours (1.5 hours on a 5-minute charge) | Frequency response: 10 Hz-20,000 Hz (estimated)
Before the AirPods Max came around, Apple's small, plastic earbuds targeted a very general audience. The Apple AirPods Max are over-ear headphones with a mostly metal construction. They feature a control scheme borrowed, rather unexpectedly, from the Apple Watch, and a collection of internals that Apple believed would justify a price several times higher than standard AirPods.
While the debate rages over whether or not wireless audio is even worth considering, the AirPods Max has found a vocal, niche fanbase. Many enthusiasts point to the fact that the AirPods Max combine exceptional sound with the same benefits Apple device owners have enjoyed for years in the AirPods line. This includes instant connectivity, multi-device switching, and the ability to tweak settings and see charge levels via another Apple device, including iPhones, iPads, and more.
Read the review: AirPods Max review
The AirPods Max is not without haters, who usually point out the weight, widely panned case (which our own Jason Cipriani called "a joke"), and the unusual control scheme. However, these complaints are largely drowned out by the relative chorus of praise for the sound quality. Some consider the AirPods Max not only the best of any Apple headphones today, but also one of the best wireless headphones period.
Combine this with a level of ANC that meets or exceeds what's currently offered by leaders like Sony and Bose, and you've got an entry that justifies its price tag for some users.