The Luxurious Reason(s) Apple’s AirPods Max Are Worth the Investment

Sangeeta Kocharekar

The best person you should ask about whether or not the $899 Apple AirPods Max are worth the investment is someone who not has the pair, but also either the Airpods or AirPods Pro. That’s me. I’ve been using AirPods for the last few years and have been a big fan.

They’re sleek, like everything else Apple does. They work seamlessly — connecting to my iPhone’s sound as soon as I open their case and stopping playing when I pull one of my ear. And their audio quality and noise-cancellation make me fully immersed in whatever I’m listening to.

Still, though, when I kept seeing Apple’s over-ear AirPods Max strapped over the head or resting around the neck of influencer after influencer, I wanted in. I reached out to Apple to try a pair and determine whether they are in fact worth their steep price tag, not to mention worth buying if you already own a pair of in-ear AirPods.

According to Apple, the Airpods Max were designed with the goal of creating the “ultimate personal listening experience”.

The two headphones are connected by a stainless-steel headband and knit mesh canopy that helps to disperse the weight over your head and to prevent sweat patches. The aluminum earcups each have memory foam that adapts to your face.

AirPods Air Max
Image: Apple

Helpfully, the earcups can turn left or right, so the headphones can sit flat in your bag (they come with a smart case, too, which surprised me — I’d assumed they didn’t have a case at all). The cups can also be pulled off the headphones for easy cleaning.

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Another key feature is the use of microphones in the headphones. They have seven different microphones that listen to the outside world and adjust noise-cancellation. One microphone inside the headphones listens specifically to what’s going on in the earcup and makes sure you’re getting the right listening experience — something called adaptive EQ.

So, with all that in mind, are the AirPods Max worth it? I’d say, if you don’t already own a pair of AirPods or AirPods Pro, get those first. The AirPods are under $200, while AirPods Pro are around the $300 mark. The sound quality, noise-cancellation, design and ease of use are big wins in my eyes.

Plus, if one of the AirPods happens to stop working, which has happened to me twice, and the pair still happens to be under warranty, you can take them into any Apple store to get looked at and, if needed, replaced.

AirPods Max
Image: Apple

If you are still keen on the AirPods Max, though, I’ve outlined three reasons they’d be worth getting. Oh, and also, if you’re wondering, I got them in Space Grey, which looks a bit like black. I had been tossing up between the Space Grey and Silver, and still, at times, regret not getting the Grey. They also come in Sky Blue, Pink and Green.

They Give You Full Immersion

After using the AirPods for about a month now, I’d say the main reason you’d invest in them is if you want a full audio immersion. Sure, the in-ear AirPods also have the Max’s Spatial Audio, which means the sound can come from anywhere around your head and dynamic head tracking that makes it so the audio changes as you turn your head.

But the AirPods Max take the “full immersion” to the next level so that barely any outside noises are allowed in. Plus, their design makes them, well, obvious, so put them on and you’ll get fewer people trying to chat with you in the office. That could be their biggest selling point.

They’re Convenient

The next reason you might want to consider buying them is for their convenience. I have been thoroughly surprised by how much more convenient they are to pause when I need to talk to someone than in-ear AirPods.

When I used to order my coffee, I’d have to pull out one earbud and hold it in my hand while I waited for my order to be called. The other option was to rustle about my bag for their little white case to store them. With the AirPods Max, I can simply move them to my neck, and back onto my ears once I’ve gotten my coffee.

AirPods Max
Image: Apple

Also, I haven’t used these buttons yet and some of the functionality is also available on AirPods, but you can press the noise control button to easily move between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode. The digital crown button also lets you adjust the volume or play, pause or answer a call. You can also skip forward or backward, or give Siri a command.

They’re Aesthetically Pleasing

Finally, this reason is probably the one that resonates with me the most and is why I, personally, got them: they’re aesthetically pleasing. They’re almost a style trend in themselves. “I’m willing to go out on a ledge, here,” writes Andre-Nacquian Wheeler for Vogue. “I predict the Apple AirPods Max could become the Starbucks cup, a la early-aughts, of 2023 off-duty celeb moments.”

Wheeler adds that they’re becoming a status symbol, proven by social media being littered with people longing for a pair, not just to listen to music, but to also feel aligned with their favourite celebrities.

“Right now, one this is for sure: The bigger and bolder, the better,” he writes. “And what’s bigger and bolder than wearing what’s essentially the Hummer of headphones?”

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