Recently, Apple released a new headset called the Apple Airpods Max that’s designed for use with your music, videos and calls.
The question I want to ask in this blog is if the Apple Airpods Max are suitable for use on business calls. This can be for Softphone calls or maybe calls using Zoom, Teams, Meet etc.
In order to help answer this question, I’m going to run the Airpods Max through a few tests. I’ll show you how it sounds in a quiet room, a room with your typical office noise, and finally I’ll ratchet that up a notch by stacking the Airpods Max up against our signature blender test (watch the video to hear yourself).
-9 microphones total
-Noise control betwen ANC and transparency mode
- Active noise cancellation with spatial audio
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Reasons To Buy
+ You love everything about Apple
+ Great for music and movies
+ Flexible colorway options for more personalization
+ Unique design that doesn't look like the rest
Reasons To Avoid
- Horrendous microphone quality
- Not comfortable for all day use
- Charge case looks like a bra
- Steep price in comparison to other options in its class
Airpods Max Microphone Quality Video & Review
Still reading? Great! Let’s check out this new pair of headphones from Apple, and see how it sounds. But before I get into that, I’d like to share a few Airpods Max specifications. This way, you’ll have a little more information about these headphones.
This is pretty standard for Bluetooth enabled headsets being released at this time. No surprise here, and pretty much what I would have expected.
The Airpods Max tip the scales at 13.6 ounces which just happens to be the heaviest headphones we’ve ever tested. So, Apple earns a place of distinction here at Headset Advisor, though I’m sure it’s not the kind of achievement they’d covet.
To help give you an idea how this 13.6 ounces compares to other headsets in the industry, here’s how it compares to the newly released Orosound Tilde Pro. It weighs in at 9.2 ounces.
Putting these two weight differences into common household terms looks this way:
13.6 ounces is about the same weight as a can of soup
9.2 ounces is about the same weight as 6 sheets of paper
Yes, there is a difference, and yes, the Apple Airpods Max are heavy. Having said that, are they uncomfortable? For short periods of time I’d say not.
However, if you want to wear the Airpods Max all day long for example, these might not be your best headset choice. Small details matter, and for long term wearing, weight does play an important role.
The Apple Airpods Max gives you 20 hours of listening time. For most people, 20 hours should be an adequate amount of time for listening to music, watching videos or spending some time chatting it up with your closest friends.
For an expensive, premium branded headset, like the Airpods Max, 20 hours is on the low side of available battery life. For example, the Orosound Tilde Pro gives you 28 hours, and other brands give you even more.
So, in spite of the fact that 20 hours of battery life is acceptable, one could question whether or not it’s acceptable given the rich price tag that comes with the Airpods Max.
Wireless use only
Today, more and more headset brands are providing the feature where the headset can be used wirelessly, as well as with a cable. This feature allows you to continue using the headset when the battery is in need of recharging.
Unfortunately, the Apple Airpods Max can’t be used when plugging in the included Lightning to USB cable. When the battery needs recharging, the headphones won’t be available for use during the recharge period.
To me, I see this as an unexpected limitation of the Airpods Max. The $549.00 price places it at the top of the headset economic food chain, and for that, one would expect to receive the latest premium features.
Though we couldn’t find any range estimates in the Apple literature, we did reach out to Apple directly in order to find out how much range the Airpods Max are designed to provide.
In our discussion, we learned that it should give about 131 feet (about 40 meters) of wireless range. We put that estimate to the test, which can be found in my video. Essentially, it gave about 85 feet before the signal broke up making the conversation unusable.
Overall I’d say that the range on the Apple Airpods Max is decent. In fact, in my test, it provided a bit more range compared to most other models we’ve tested.
Those models generally began to break up at around the 50 foot (15 meter) point. Having more wireless range is always a good thing, so you should expect to get more from the Airpods Max.
Unique travel case
The Apple Airpods Max comes with a travel case that’s uniquely designed. Other cases typically fully house the headset in a padded case with a zipper. Apple went against traditional design here with a case that covers the ear cups only. And, when placed in the case, the headphones go into a deep sleep state which helps to preserve battery life.
I’m divided on how I feel about this unique travel case design. Visually, it looks a bit odd to me because once the headphones are placed into the case, the headband sort of looks like a handle.
I can’t imagine most people would travel with the headset and carry it that way. Instead, they’d place it in luggage which does leave the headband and fabric canopy exposed to the elements.
I’m not saying that this is a bad travel case, but because of its one-of-a-kind design, it may take some time for me to fully accept and appreciate it.
Quality materials throughout
As one might expect from an Apple product, there’s a generous amount of quality materials used in the Airpods Max. The headband, for example, is made of steel (which contributes to it’s chunky weight). This steel headband is beautifully wrapped in a mesh fabric material that not only gives it an elegant look, but the canopy across the top of the headband provides functionality with comfort being the focus.
The ear cups are sturdy, and can be independently adjusted through a quality feeling, telescoping mechanism. The earpads themselves are constructed of memory foam that is nicely wrapped in a mesh fabric. Not only are these earpads comfortable, but they simply look nice too (as earpads go anyway).
The Apple Airpods Max are expensive by headset standards. Still, in the area of fit, finish, and materials, it delivers. Wonderful attention to detail, and a sense of high tech merging with minimalism. The results? Class, elegance and sophistication all wrapped in an audio device for work and play.
A theater for your ears
The Apple Airpods Max are a treat for your ears. It’s like taking the concert hall, or surround sound cinema and dropping them into your headphones. In my opinion, I think you’d be hard pressed to find another brand of headphones to rival
what you’ll experience listening with the Airpods Max. You get a great range of sound from the sharp highs, pleasing mid-ranges, and bumping bass. And movie watching using these headphones will make you feel immersed into the action. Awesome audio is a simple way of describing the sound, but without a doubt, doesn’t do it justice.
Multiple microphones to manage the audio
Apple engineered multiple microphones for voice pickup, and background noise suppression into the Airpods Max. They’ve employed the use of eight microphones, some shared, to eliminate unwanted noise from your work environment, and to pick up your voice loud and clear.
To see how good of a job these microphones performed, we did some tests which can be seen in my video. We put it through the paces which included having it face some fairly noisy typical office sounds (people talking, office equipment noise etc), as well as our signature blender test.
Yes, people don’t typically use blenders in their workplace, but you have to admit that having a blender running full speed a short three feet away can create a significant challenge for any headset.
So how did the Apple Airpods Max do?
All in all, I’d say that they did pretty well to pick up my voice, not only in the office, but outside as well. There wasn’t any noticeable distortion or anything that would lead me to conclude it was of poor quality. Instead, I thought it sounded loud and clear enough, though not as good as a headset with a boom microphone.
Removing background noise
As mentioned above, I ran this headset up against office noise as well as our obnoxious blender. Unlike with voice pickup, the Apple Airpods Max flopped when it came to removing unwanted noise.
In both of my noise tests, the Airpods Max didn’t do a good job at all to remove the noise. Office sounds could still be heard, and when I fired up the blender, there was very little of that noise being filtered out.
Other headsets that are designed for business applications typically have a microphone that’s capable of filtering out a lot of noise common to a work environment.
That’s not the case with the Airpods Max. If you care about call quality, and don’t want your callers to hear sounds going on around you, the Airpods Max aren’t the answer.
Do I like the Apple Airpods Max? For sure! They’re a well crafted, high quality product typical to anything that carries the Apple badge. Though heavy, it wears lighter than its actual weight, and the ear cups that encircle the ears are comfortable and allow for a great listening experience for entertainment or for calls. I like the look, quality feel and the fact that premium materials were used throughout.
One thing I’m not crazy about is the price tag. For an entertainment/business light headset, the $549.00 price is a bit on the steep side in spite of the fact that Apple loyalists would no doubt be willing to pay that and more.
I think this isn’t your solution if you need a headset for business applications such as Softphone calls, Zoom/Teams video meetings etc.
The weight of this headset would likely prove uncomfortable for long periods of use, and it’s inability to remove background noise simply makes it a poor choice for anyone who works in a typical office or home office.
Office noise can vary from people talking, office equipment sounds, babies crying, dogs barking, doorbells ringing and the list goes on. Unfortunately, Apple overlooked the noise cancellation feature on this headset, which makes it a bad fit for anyone using this for a business application.
On the other hand, if your need is mostly media with little business use, then the Airpods Max might be a good option to consider. It really comes down to your needs, and what you’re willing to accept in terms of audio quality for your calls, and what you can accept in terms of your budget.