AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro – Which One You Should Buy?

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AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro
(Image credit: Apple )

AirPods are the best in producing crystal clear audio quality. Including an Apple user, it works better for people who work with the hands-free options, regularly. However, a few confusions arise when Apple launched its first premium headset- AirPods Max. Now, suddenly everyone is headed to the queries of AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro. And, the Apple users who always pick AirPods for iPhone, start doubting this decision. Especially if it’s about listening to their favorite music.

Moreover, many amazing non-Apple headsets and earbuds are available in the market and equipped with amazing features. But if you only want to go with Apple and are confused about choosing between AirPods Max and the AirPods Pro, take a deep breath.

Yes, I can understand, there are a couple of differentiations between AirPods Max and AirPods Pro. Especially, if we talk about audio experience, comfortability, or active noise cancellation system. But I’ve already made a detailed comparison between AirPods Max and the AirPods Pro where I talked about various major factors of both of them. For instance, Active noise cancellation, battery life, price, fitting, etc. Therefore, I can’t guarantee you but at least it will answer your most of doubts about the query-AirPods Max vs. AirPods Pro. Also, which one you should go from both of them.

AirPods Max vs. AirPods Pro – Which One
You Should Buy?

If you will compare the price of both- AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, with non-Apple earbuds, you’ll see a huge price difference. Obviously, Apple products are expensive. Yes, Apple provides superior quality products. Still, you can buy almost likewise quality headsets at a cheaper price. Moreover, iGeekfunnel already created a list of 14 Best AirPods and AirPods Pro Alternatives. Make sure to check them if you’re interested in non-Apple wireless headsets and earphones.

Moreover, let’s start the comparison with one major aspect that an audiophile can’t afford to ignore.

1. Active Noise Cancellation

Apple launched and presented AirPods Max as a headset with a powerful ANC. but, there is a catch. It’s pretty good to eliminate the low frequencies voices such as road vehicles. But if you’re not going to move the headset. If you’d do that, you’ll experience inconsistency in this noise cancellation feature. Even a slighter movement can disrupt its functionality. Some publications mentioned that you might start hearing the cancelled voice even louder in one ear. However, you can cancel out the voice again just by shifting the earcups a little. ANC function will recalculate the frequencies again and eliminate them from the playback sound.

Active noise cancellation

We know the users who praise its sound quality, but we can’t consider this dysfunctionality a good impression. Moreover, some publications mentioned that they used AirPods Max at a public place to test out the lows, mids, and highs of AirPods Max. And, they found that AirPods Max sometimes doesn’t detect the highs. The issue wasn’t the consistent one but you can conclude, these headphones work better with lows and mids.

On the other hand, AirPods Pro doesn’t act inconsistently when you move them a little. Moreover, it fits so perfectly in an ear that it doesn’t move enough by itself. Even if you’re wearing them during a workout session. AirPods Pro works great to eliminate various lows and mids. Still, it also shows some inconsistency while eliminating high frequencies.

AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro Active Noise Cancellation

Furthermore, AirPods Max features an over-ear cup design, eight mics for noise cancellation, and an Apple H1 chip. Meanwhile, you’ll find only 2 mics in AirPods Pro for noise cancellation support. Also, due to over-ear cup design, AirPods Pro hardly competes with them for shutting down the outdoor voices. Therefore, you’ll find a better ANC in AirPods Max as compared to AirPods Pro. Both of them support Transparency mode. In AirPods Pro by long-pressing the stem for a second. Meanwhile, AirPods Max has a dedicated button to turn on the Transparency mode.

Both products work great in their targeted aspects. Still, if you want to choose one, go for the AirPods Max. Although, it creates a little inconsistency while eliminating certain frequencies but as compared to AirPods Pro’s ANC, it works quite better.

2. Audio Quality

As you’ve already guessed, AirPods Max is better than AirPods Pro. But I think this difference is clearly certain because you’ll get different audio quality when you’ll listen to the music using a headphone versus earphones. Also, AirPods Max supports Apple’s custom-made 40mm driver with a dual-neodymium ring magnet motor. The H1 chip works great with 10 audio cores. Apple said both of the AirPods Max ear cups have one H1 chip that leads you to a better audio experience by improving the computational audio performance. Meanwhile, the memory-foam over-ear cup design provides you a great sound seal around your ear.

Audio Quality

And, you won’t find these features in AirPods Pro. As a result, you’ll get a better sound experience in AirPods Max. You can also conclude, what Apple is charging more than AirPods Pro. Still, in a new iOS 14 updates, Apple added the Spatial Audio feature in AirPods Pro. This feature creates a virtual sphere whenever you play a 5.1, 7.1, or Dolby Atmos content. As a result, you will get a realistic and present at the moment experience, such as a plane just flew above your head.

Furthermore, you will find the adaptive equalizer in both of the devices. Also, Apple allows you to change equalizer independently using different music apps, such as Spotify. But none of them comes with an adjustable graphic EQ. Both of the devices produced crisp high-mids and highs. But they somehow down in boosting low. Moreover, some users mentioned that AirPods Pro sounds a little sharp as compared to AirPods Max. Although, both of them produced a clean, balanced sound and delivered various frequencies sounds, precisely. But, if you want to get a top-notch audio experience, go for AirPods Max. Almost every tech blog mentioned that you won’t get a single distortion in AirPods Max, even if you’re playing at a high volume.

Unfortunately, none of them supports the AptX feature and you’ll only find AAC and SBC Bluetooth streaming in them. Also, you won’t get a 3.5mm cable in the box of AirPods Max. Therefore, you’ve to spend extra 20-40 USD bucks to connect them with your MacBook.Though, that’s the way Apple does things. Moreover, headphones like Sony WH-1000XM4 give them great competition with half of the AirPods Max’s price and likewise advanced features.

3. Design & Fitting

Now, here you’re seeing a design comparison between a headset and earphones. Obviously, you’ll see plenty of notable differences.

AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro Design

AirPods Pro is wireless, lightweight, and comfortable to wear for listening to music, and attending calls, even while a long workout session. One piece of AirPods weighs only 5.4 grams. So you’ll carry only 10.8grams if you wear them. Most of the time you’ll forget that you’re wearing anything. Moreover, they come with telescoping arms. So you can choose a length according to your preferences. Also, you can replace the ear tips of AirPods Pro according to what fit you well.

On the other hand, AirPods Max has huge memory foam over earcups that fully covers your ear to give you a better sound experience. However, you can’t wear it anywhere. Forget about wearing it while lifting weights. Also, AirPods Max weighs 384 grams. So you won’t forget anymore that you’re wearing something on your head.

design of Airpods Max

Furthermore, AirPods Pro only available in White color which is pretty fine unless you’re looking for an eye-catchy color such as Pink, Green. Meanwhile, AirPods Max is available in five different color options — silver, space gray, sky blue, pink, and green. Also, AirPods Max’s headband allows you to adjust fitting according to your head shape and comfortability.

Also, Apple used Plastic to build AirPods Pro and also included an IPX4 rating in it. Therefore, it can easily withstand water splashes and sweat. Just clean it with a damp cloth if it hits a splash and it should be ready to use again. Meanwhile, AirPods Max hasn’t an IP rating. So make sure it wouldn’t get a water splash.

Both of the best in their aspects. For instance, if you’re attending some video calls or want to listen to music while laying on the bed, AirPods Max is best. But if you’re on public transport and want to listen to a podcast without adjusting the headset continuously then go for AirPods Pro.

4. Controls and Playback Functionality

Well, AirPods Pro is just a set of tiny earphones. And, they don’t have a larger space to install buttons here and there. So Apple added touch controls on them. You can press or hold the stems to give them various commands. For instance, Play/Pause Music, skip tracks, turn on/off ANC mode. Moreover, AirPods don’t have a volume button. You can decrease/increase the volume, either using iPhone Volume Rocker or by commanding Siri.

AirPods Pro Controls

On the flip side, Apple features Digital Crown in AirPods Max (as you saw in Apple Watch). You can use it to skip a track, to attend a call, or for the Siri activation. And, you can easily control the volume by rotating that Digital Crown. Moreover, AirPods Max has a dedicated button to switch between three modes, ANC on/off and transparency mode.

Most of the new AirPods Pro users tend to press the stems accidentally while adjusting them. Meanwhile, Apple mentioned AirPods Max is the headsets you won’t have to adjust consistency to get a proper fit. But while adjusting the AirPods Max from the top of the earcups, users could bump the Digital Crown accidentally. And, as a result, the volume could increase at its top or the song will be changed, all of a sudden. Although, everyone can get used to a device as time passes, no matter however it works. Still, a company should solve these tiny issues that are enough to irritate you in your daily life.

AirPods Controls

Both the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max support automatic pause and playback features. It means when you remove them from your ear or head they will automatically pause the song that is playing then. And, the song will start playing from where you left before when you wear them again. AirPods Pro uses optical sensors and accelerometers to operate this functionality. On the flip side, AirPods Max uses optical and position sensors on their ear cups.

5. Siri Controls

Setting up your iPhone is extremely easy on both audio devices. You don’t need a follow-up guide to set up with your iPhone. After that, you can give a couple of daily life commands to your iPhone using hands-free Siri. For example, automatic message readouts, Adaptive EQ, etc.

Moreover, both of them don’t come with any notable or new advantage related to Siri. Neither you’ll see something new while using them with your iPhone or iPad. However, you can command Siri to do basic tasks such as checking the weather. All you have to give a voice command, such as “Hey Siri” and a built-in mic will pick up your voice in a moment. Both of the devices work well with Siri and responds within seconds, most of the time. Although, you can also disable it to don’t get interrupted while doing a serious task.

Siri controls of AirPods

iOS integration is another way these models stand out. They both automatically trigger an on-screen pairing process with your iPhone or iPad when used for the first time. This really only saves you a small step of manual pairing, but it’s a cool way to start things off, and it adds a sense of luxury to the user experience, with the feeling that the products are tailor-made for one another. If you own both pairs and they’re both connected to your iPhone, your phone will detect which pair you’re wearing and switch to that one. It’s impressively quick and saves a lot of extra Bluetooth menu work. Each model also has its own settings menus in your device’s Bluetooth menu to make some basic adjustments.

6. Apple’s Device Integration

Now here is the reason why I’ll recommend you to purchase AirPods if you got an iPhone. No matter, you choose AirPods Max or AirPods Pro, both of them integrate well with other Apple’s devices. Also, you don’t have to follow a manual, such as go to the settings or turn on a particular option to integrate them with your iPhone. Although they also work with Android devices it won’t be that quickly and seamlessly as they connect with Apple’s devices.

Moreover, Apple announced the auto-switching of iOS’s latest update. Both of the devices support this feature. This feature will help you to automatically switch from one device to another by detecting the device you’re using then. Apple explained what this feature does use words:

“magically switch over between devices”

However, most users found this feature annoying. If you’re one of them, you can follow this guide to turn the auto-switching feature off.

7. Battery Life

Battery life is a basic essential aspect of a wireless headset or earphones that shouldn’t be ignored. Talk about the AirPods, both of them follow a different method to charge them up.

Moreover, Apple installed an irreplaceable 1.98Wh watch-style button cell battery inside of each AirPod. They come with a lightning to USB-C compatible charging case and last for five hours with ANC mode disabled. Moreover, when you use them with ANC mode on standby time would be reduced to half an hour. Also, you’ll get three and a half-hour of talk time with a full charge AirPods Pro. Furthermore, you can extend the listening time by more than 24 hours of talk time over 18 hours using the Wireless Charging case. Also, You can get around an hour of talk time or one hour of listening time with five minutes of charging.

Moreover, AirPods pro uses a lightning port to charge them up. Apple ships Lightning to USB-C cable with AirPods Pro for faster charging. Also, you can charge them using a Qi-based wireless charging mat. Furthermore, Apple added Battery notifications in the iOS 14 update. So you’ll be notified whenever AirPods Pro will out of battery. Plus, Apple added a new Battery Health feature for AirPods. This feature allows you to set a time limit for the charging of AirPods Pro. So you don’t have to worry if you’re out of home or have forgotten to turn off the charging. The Battery Health feature will automatically stop charging after the selected time limit. This helps to increase battery longevity.

Furthermore, AirPods Max has a standby time of 20 hours with ANC and spatial audio enabled. Also, it can deliver 1.5 hours of listening with the charging of 5 minutes. A website named iFixit did a well-detailed breakdown of AirPods Max. In the same blogpost, they told that AirPods Max has a battery consists of two cells with a total capacity of 664mAh. Furthermore, AirPods Max takes around 2 hours to charge fully. They charge 50% in 30 minutes with a max draw of 3.2 watts. After that power draw will start reducing as a down curve until AirPods Max gets fully charged. Apple-designed this functionality in AirPods Max to improve its battery life-span.

According to some users, it is a little low as compared to AirPods Pro’s battery life. However, AirPods Pro has 5 hours of battery life with extra 20 hours in the charging case. Still, comparing the battery life of 300gm heavy over-ear headphones with the battery life of tiny wireless 10gm earphones doesn’t make sense. Obviously, the small audio device will consume a lesser battery. But, overall both AirPods are doing good in their aspects.

Moreover, AirPods Max supports a low-power mode feature. It turns on automatically when you put your AirPods Max stationary for straight five minutes. Like AirPods Pro, you’ll get a Smart Case with AirPods Max. Although many users mentioned you hardly see any difference when it comes to saving battery life. That’s how iFixit shared their experience while breaking down the AirPods Max:

“When leaving the AirPods Max stationary outside the Smart Case for 12 hours, we saw a drop of 5% of displayed battery life. We also let them rest 12 hours inside the Smart Case and also saw a drop of 5%.”

AirPods Max uses a Lightning-to-USB-C cable to charge itself. Therefore, you’ll need a Lightning-to-USB-C cable alongside a 20W USB-C power adapter.

Sadly, you won’t receive a power adapter with both of the AirPods. So you would’ve to buy a separate USB-C power adapter to charge them. Well, just Apple things.

8. Price

Now, AirPods Max has double the price of AirPods Pro. You can buy AirPods at a price of $249 while AirPods Max costs you $549. It means you can literally buy two sets of AirPods at the price of a single AirPods Max. Still, you will save $49. And, that is one of its biggest downsides. Also, the smart case you’ll get with AirPods Max seems pretty useless to me. It comes with a design that doesn’t even protect AirPods from dust and getting dirty.

Moreover, Both devices come with their pros and cons. For instance, AirPods Pro is portable, wireless, and has one of the best ANC earphones available in the market. But as compared to AirPods Max, the audio quality of AirPods Pro is just fine. On the flip side, AirPods Max is comfortable to wear for long hours and gives you a better audio experience. But as you know the price.

Furthermore, I already mentioned non-Apple headsets such as Sony WH-1000XM4 costs $399 but gives you a significant audio experience. Yes, Apple is also known for its premium quality products but there are dozens of headsets available in the market that are cheap and give a closet competition to AirPods Max. Therefore, AirPods Pro comes under an ideal price segment while AirPods Max seems overpriced, more than a little.

9. Compatibility

Both of the AirPods support almost the same devices but there are some points you must consider before purchasing an AirPods. For instance, you can’t use the Audio Sharing option using AirPods Max with iPhone SE, iPhone 6s/6s Plus, or iPhone 7,7Plus. And, if you’ve one of these iPhones and Audio Sharing is important to you, I’d recommend you to upgrade your iPhone.

Moreover, you can use both the AirPods with iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, and iPods.

These are the models and generation that are compatible with AirPods Pro and AirPods Max:

  • iPhone SE 1st generation and later
  • iPad mini 4 and iPad mini 5th generation
  • iPod Touch 7th generation
  • iPad 5th generation and later
  • Apple Watch Series 1 and later
  • iPad Air 2 and later
  • iPad Pro all models

Conclusion

Now, we all know buying headphones for $549 isn’t a budget-friendly decision. But if you can afford them, would they will be worth it? Well, you can check most of the reviews on the internet and you’ll get the answer which is a big YES. AirPods Max is extremely comfortable and gives you a premium yet soothing audio experience. Some users mentioned when you wear them it doesn’t feel like you’re listening to music from an audio device. But it feels like someone is singing or playing an instrument for real only you. Moreover, it has a Hearing Health feature that you keep your listening to between 60 and 85 decibels. As a result, you won’t end up harming your hearing health.

On the other hand, if you love to listen to songs while doing cardio, or while traveling then AirPods is the best option for you. Meanwhile, if you don’t like to pull your iPhone out just to pick up calls then AirPods could help you there too. Just wear them and whenever you receive a call, listen to it with one touch.

So it’s not like which one is better? It’s just like what are your preferences and which product would be right for you, accordingly.

At last, I hope this post helped you to know the difference between both these products. Also, I think now you’ll get a clearer idea about the topic- AirPods Max vs. AirPods Pro. And, which one you should go for. Let us know your thoughts about this post and share this post with someone who is still searching queries on Google, such as AirPods Max vs. AirPods Pro.