48hrs with the Airpods Max

So after unexpectedly getting my hands on a pair of Airpods Max the other day, I’ve been putting them through their paces.

I’ll be honest: it’s a mixed bag.

The sound quality is excellent. Even at high volumes, there’s no distortion. The noise-cancelling is fantastic and I can easily (for example) listen to a podcast in the TV room while the news is on at full blast – and not hear a thing.

The Airpods Max are very comfortable, even when worn for a long time. They’re noticeably heavier than my old Bose QuietComfort headphones, but the latter are primarily plastic – so no surprises there. The headband design seems to minimise a lot of the heaviness while wearing them, but you really get a sense of relief when you take them off after an hour of listening.

Controlling them just takes moments to learn and get comfortable with. I for one don’t miss any touch sensitive controls. The button and dial combination on the right AirPod are just fine for me.

That said…

I’m already a little concerned about the colour. I’ve read quite a few reports of stains on the white materials just from everyday use. And you can’t exactly drop these into the dishwasher for a quick rinse.

There’s no water-proofing – not even sweat-proofing – so keeping them indoors and away from the UK’s legendary inclement weather is a must. They’re actually a peculiar mix of very sturdy and very easy to damage. The metal gives them a sense of heft, but I’m paranoid about damaging the soft materials or even accidentally leaving a stain from sweat!

Not even the case will protect them from the elements, as it’s really a glorified sheath, rather than anything sturdy.

And on that note, there’s definitely a huge market for third party case makers here. Something like the cases supplied with comparable Bose and Sony models. A case I’d be happy to through into a tote bag along with some books or a phone charger.

So after a couple of days of use, I’m still on the fence. I have time to notify Apple I’d like to return them for a full refund. They haven’t won me over…yet.

About MacPsych

An Irish psychologist, now based in London. Loves coffee, travel, beer and Apple gadgets. Fanatical about Japan.

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