There’s a lot we like about the AirPods Max, which offer superb sound, excellent active noise cancellation and seamless connectivity with all of your Apple products. And while we’d typically only recommend Apple’s premium over-ear headphones for folks with unlimited money, they just got a big Black Friday price cut that actually makes them worth considering for everyone else.
The AirPods Max are currently at their lowest-ever price of $429 on Amazon. That’s certainly not cheap, but it does take a cool $120 off of the cans’ full retail cost of $549. This price applies to the space grey and sky blue models; the silver headphones are currently a bit more at $439, while the pink and green options will run you $479. Either way, if you’ve been waiting for a price drop on these expensive cans, this is the biggest one we’ve seen yet.
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The AirPods Max offer great sound and noise cancelation within a slick design, and their high price is much easier to swallow with this big discount.
Once we got past the sticker shock, we really enjoyed our time with the AirPods Max when we first reviewed them. These premium headphones look great and were comfortable to wear for hours on end, and have magnetically attached earcups that are easy to remove and clean. They also impressed on the audio quality front, standing up well to our favorite over-ear headphones in the Sony WH-1000MX4.
You’ll get a bit more bass on the Sony cans, though we found Apple’s headphones to offer a wider soundstage that allowed us to hear individual parts of a track more clearly. The AirPods Max also support Apple’s Spatial Audio tech, allowing for immersive 360-degree sound on supported music, movies and shows. And because these are a pair of Apple-made headphones, they’ll pair instantly to your iPhone, iPad or Mac and support features such as Find My tracking and hands-free Hey Siri support for controlling the AirPods Max with your voice.
The AirPods Max’s active noise cancellation is among the best we’ve tried on a pair of headphones, as it did a great job drowning out the racket of a daily commute. They also stand out with Transparency mode, which, like on the AirPods Pro, will amplify the sounds around you to help keep you aware of nearby cars and pedestrians while you’re jamming out on a walk.
That said, there are a few drawbacks here. Apple’s cans got us around 20 hours of battery life, which is solid enough for a few days of typical use but doesn’t quite match the epic 30 hours that the Sony WH-1000XM4 gave us. We’re also not a huge fan of the AirPods Max’s case which only really protects the outer earcups and leaves the rest of the headphones exposed.
We also must mention that the Sony WH-1000XM4, our pick for the best headphones overall, are on sale for nearly half the price of the AirPods Max at $248. If you just want a pair of great-sounding cans with excellent sound, noise cancellation and battery life, these are the way to go. But if you’ve been entranced by the AirPods Max’s attractive design and want something that plays especially nice in the Apple ecosystem, this is probably as cheap as they’ll get for a while.