Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images
I like to tell myself that I’m not easily influenced. I know what I do and don’t need and I can add to cart all on my own, thank you very much! Then I open TikTok and realize I apparently also like to lie to myself. Truth is, I spend most of my time taking screenshots of beauty products and hacks that my “For You” page algorithm lovingly curates for me. A big thank you to the app gods!
Do I actually buy everything? Of course not. But a girl can dream — and then, eventually, remember to delete those screenshots. But there’s one product shot I wasn’t able to get rid of: a certain pair of larger-than-life, over-the-ear headphones. Yes, the Apple AirPods Max.
They’ve become the official headphones of “hot girl walks” and TikTok rants, and it seems like everyone has traded in their teeny-tiny AirPods. Even Bella Hadid, a noted former wired-headphone user, has been spotted wearing the AirPods Max. Once Dua Lipa and Hailey Bieber were spotted wearing them too, almost everyone on my FYP followed suit. So with my AirPods Pro on their last leg, I finally caved in.
Compared to the AirPods Pro or even standard headphones, we can all agree they just look cooler These are meant to be seen and heard, not to be hidden somewhere in the depths of your bag. But I didn’t buy them just because they were pretty — even though it did help.
Beyond aesthetics, let’s get into the pros and cons:
The noise-canceling aspect was nonnegotiable. When working from home, you never know what chaotic sound is going to burst your concentration bubble, and these could handle even NYC street noise. And the overall sound, even in transparency mode, is crystal clear.
That said, I do wish the max volume was louder. I get that Apple doesn’t want me to damage my ears listening to Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul” at full volume, but sometimes you just have to.
The AirPods Max also remedy one of the biggest issues I had with the Pros: the controls. Besides only having one button to change the song or sound modes, there was also no way to control the volume from the Pros themselves. Now on the right-ear cushion of the AirPods Max, you get a sound-control button and another separate button to easily switch between noise cancellation and transparency.
As someone who frequently forgets to charge things (I only have one power adapter, thanks to Apple), I was also impressed by the battery life. They charged pretty quickly and haven’t died on me yet, even though I only charge them once a day for about 30 minutes.
Overall, this is one somewhat impulse buy I don’t regret. Trust me, if I did, I’d be thoroughly reading through Apple’s return policy, so …
Even with Amazon Prime Day and competitor sales offering a markdown on them, they are not cheap. However, if you too have been eyeing them for a while, now’s the time to finally grab them and not pay full price. (Consider them an investment where once you subtract all the times you wear them on a daily basis; the cost per wear is well worth it.)
If you don’t want to jump on the bandwagon but still want some heavily discounted headphones, consider some other reviewer favorites below:
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