Tik Tech: We tested Apple's Airpods Max -

20 Minutes

  • With its first noise-canceling headphones called AirPods Max, Apple wants to distinguish itself in a market dominated by Sony and Bose.

  • Sold for 629 euros against much cheaper competitors, the AirPods Max surprises with its listening quality as well as its noise reduction, undoubtedly the best on the market.

  • But it is not free from flaws, including the absence of passive listening, a narrow autonomy and a carrying case of questionable usefulness.

There will have been no traditional keynote.

Just a press release in which Apple announced the launch of its AirPods Max Bluetooth headphones a little before the holidays.

At 629 euros, its price detonates in a world where the prices of high-end headphones are closer to 350 to 400 euros as with the WH-1000XM4 from Sony or the Bose NCH 700. But the AirPods Max wants to make the difference through performance superior to those of its competitors.

It complements Apple's audio line where

True Wireless

AirPods and AirPods Pro


remain bestsellers.

Resolutely high-end

By the way, should we say LE or THE AirPods Max?

Apple uses the plural to refer to AUX AirPods and AirPods Pro, its in-ear headphones.

Easier, perhaps, to say (in any case to write) the AirPods Max, being a headphone… It is in any case the first launched by the firm with the apple under its stamp.

Remember that the brand is also the owner of Beats Audio, but the two entities remain separate.

A design that innovates and ticks the luxury boxes.


Immediately, the AirPods Max marks its ground with a high-end approach.

This helmet marks its singularity with its design that goes off the beaten track: anodized aluminum for the shells, so-called "mesh" mesh fabrics for the ear cups and the headband (thus offering the skull a great possibility of breathing), impeccable finishes ... We like , or not, but Apple has taken care of its copy.

From the outset, we notice that the AirPods Max, which recharges with a Lighning cable (supplied, but the power supply is not), does not include the mini-jack.

This is not necessarily a problem in itself… except that once the 20-hour battery has run out, it is impossible to use the headset in passive mode.

Fortunately, its recharging is fast.

It allows it to regain 90 minutes of listening in 5 minutes of charging.

2h15 are necessary for a full charge.

It is heavy

Another immediate observation: the AirPods Max is a fairly heavy headphone.

From the height of its 385 grams, it is singularly heavier than conventional headphones whose weight is rather around 250 grams.

Apple takes the principle of the Digital Crown of the Apple Watch and transforms it into a settings button.


Finally, we notice the virtual absence of buttons.

First, no ON / OFF button on board.

Then, only two buttons remain: one for the volume which uses the principle of the

Digital Crown

of the Apple Watch, and another which will either activate the Transparency mode or launch the active noise reduction.

A long press on this same button finally launches the Bluetooth pairing process for audio players under Android or computers under Windows 10. Yes, Apple opens up to worlds that are not its own (but the headset will nevertheless lose some functionality. ).

If you have an iPhone, iPad or Mac, AirPods Max is automatically spotted without having to perform any manipulation.

Anyone who's ever used AirPods headphones will find themselves in familiar territory.

Perfectly controlled sound

The hearing experience, however, has nothing to do with what we know.

Controlled by Apple's H1 chip (the same as the AirPods Pro), the Max's 40mm speakers know the music.

This is not Hi-Res audio: only SBC and AAC codes are compatible.

We are therefore dealing with CD quality.

The open-hearted AirPods Max.


Tested with countless pieces, the headphones nevertheless surprise with their excellent performance regardless of the musical register listened to.

The bass is massive without being bulky, the highs chiseled and the mids totally controlled.

And well done for the voices.

Admittedly, there is no equalizer to adjust these settings, but the balance is perfectly maintained.

More surprisingly, it is possible to crank up the volume fully using the

Digital Crown

without the audio quality having to suffer.

Beware of your eardrums, however ...

The AirPods Max packs 40mm speakers.


Surprise: Apple has implemented its “Audio Spatial” process.

Tested with

USS Greyhound

, the film starring Tom Hanks on the Battle of the Atlantic (Apple TV +), this system literally amazes with its ability to spatialize sound, but also to produce a real 360 ° soundstage.

Thus, the AirPods Max can respond to content compatible with 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos.

On iPad or iPhone, the

Head Tracking


is even disturbing: it adapts the sound to the movements of the head, giving the impression that one can move within a scene.

Gadget, yes, but impressive all the same.

Top transparency and insulation

Pressing the dedicated button and here is Transparent mode activated.

Another support and it is noise reduction that is implemented.

Again, no adjustment possible ... but the surprise lurks around the corner.

The "Transparency" mode is surprisingly clear.

Very practical in the city in order to maintain full awareness of the urban environment, it is just as useful for holding a conversation while listening to music.

It's quite simple: you can hear yourself speak quite normally when you have the headphones on.

Even the passive (physical) isolation of the product seems to disappear.

Transparency mode and active noise reduction are two big successes of the AirPods Max.


As for the active noise reduction, it surprises just as much.

Without canceling any ambient noise, it isolates the user in a bubble that few sounds manage to pierce.

Where most noise-canceling headphones manage to lessen the effect of the outer bass and midrange (but more rarely the treble that manages to slip through the cracks), the AirPods Max does its job on the whole. frequencies with the same rigor.

Roughly, you could say that 80% of noise disappears like this.

In addition to the algorithms developed by Apple, six external microphones are used to achieve these unanimously acclaimed performances.

The Smart Case of Apple's AirPods Max headphones is not unanimous.


Initially designed for Bluetooth use, as comfortable on the move as in sedentary mode for home theater, gaming or music, the AirPods Max blows a new wind in the world of noise-canceling headphones where Sony and Bose beat the beat.

Max threatens them.

And now, a new reference writes its name.

If Apple takes control of its competitors in terms of performance, the maximum price of its Max innovation will unfortunately remain far too high for the vast majority of consumers.

High Tech

Apple: the brand's first foldable smartphone could be released in 2023

High Tech

True Wireless Headphones: How Much Should You Invest to Guarantee the Best Sound?

AirPods Max, mini case

Difficult to adhere to the concept of the storage pouch that Apple offers for its AirPods Max.

This "Smart Case" remains one of the weak points of the helmet.

It only partially protects it (a rigid box would have been preferable to protect the device from shocks that could be caused in a backpack, for example).

We fear for the fabric under the hoop that we are afraid of tearing.

It is also impossible to fit the charging cable in this case.

Unique virtue of the accessory: instantly switch the AirPods Max to low consumption mode.

If the headset is not housed there, it switches to low consumption mode by itself after 5 minutes ...

  • High Tech

  • 20 minutes video

  • Tik Tech

  • Music

  • Streaming

  • Apple