The end of April through most of May, Lee and I were traveling for almost the entire time – successfully surpassing the number of consecutive trips we've ever taken. We flew for all of them and just before leaving on our first trip, decided to do the research and both purchase a pair of quality, over the ear headphones to make travel and working while traveling more enjoyable.
This is a review of the Apple AirPods Max headphones – specifically a review of how they hold up during travel. If you've been interested in purchasing a pair, need a good quality headphone for travel or work, or even have never heard of these before, keep reading to get my thoughts on:
- first impressions
- how we made our decision
- where to purchase
- how they held up
- favorite features
- care and cleaning
Let me start by saying Lee and I had ruled out purchasing these headphones. Completely took them off our list for purchasing. With not a lot of knowledge about them, we chalked them up to another expensive Apple product that was just marketed super well.
But before a larger purchase, if we can, we like to see and experience the products firsthand, so we went to Best Buy to try on and interact with four different over the ear headphones by Bose, Sony, Beats, etc. They were fine. Not great. Just fine.
I have a pretty small head and small ears ( one of the reasons regular AirPods don't work for me) and the other brands of OTE headphones just didn't fit quite right. On a whim we walked to the Apple display and tried on the AirPods Max and knew immediately we wanted them.
Knee jerk reactions were:
- they fit more securely on my head than other headphones
- the noise canceling feature was unparalleled
- the sound quality was amazing
- they felt like a quality product
Our Decision and Purchase
We left the store really trying to justify why the Sony product could be better than the Apple product. We were trying really hard not to like the AirPods Max, but after sleeping on it, we knew the next morning those were the headphones for us both.
A little bit of research and we actually found that Amazon was selling them for the best price around with free one day shipping. After that, it was game over for us. We pulled the trigger on two pairs – Space Grey for Lee and Silver for me. They came the next day in the brand new Apple packaging and truly, honestly, after the past 2 months with them I cannot imagine not having them, especially for travel.
Price Breakdown of Where to Purchase (due to change):
- Amazon – current price $479 *free one day shipping with Prime
- Apple – current price $549 *free engraving from Apple
- Target – current price $499 *4-5 day shipping
- Best Buy – current price $499 *6 months free of Apple Music
Putting Them To The Test
I am not an early adaptor of tech. I like what I like and I don't love trying to learn new features or processes with my tech. So, I was really pleased when, from the moment I took them out of the box, they synched with my iPhone and the three buttons did exactly what I expected them to do.
About a week later we boarded our first flight to New York. It was a small Delta plane and as luck would have it we were sitting in the very last row of the plane.
I've never traveled with noise cancelling headphones before, so when I put my AirPods on, clicked play on my chill beats playlist, and turned on noise cancelling, the world literally fell away.
I was shocked. I'm not a super nervous flyer, but take off always gives me a little moment of anxiety so to be able to zone out and not hear the creak and grumble of the plane during take off was a GIFT. It also made every flight just absolutely fly by (no pun intended).
Favorite Features of the AirPods Max
Let's start out with a little list:
- noise cancelling. Most over the ear headphones are noise cancelling, but the technology to take out the low decibels of noise in the Apple product is noticeable. It's obviously not 100% noise cancelling. Like I'm sitting in a coffee shop at the moment with the noise cancelling on and I can still hear people talking, but they're very muffled, I can't hear the cars just outside, or the grind of the espresso machine. Like I said, on the plane they were able to remove the engine noise during the flight which now I realize is very exhausting to hear.
- they fit my head. Due to the adjustable mesh band over the top of the headphone and pretty impressive adjustable width I have a feeling they would fit any head shape or size. Every other pair of OTE headphones I tried on felt like I were sitting on my ears or sat very low on my jaw line – the Apple ones fit snuggly over my ears and seal around them to truly block out the noise.
- they're very lightweight. I was expecting them to be heavier and start to feel like they were squeezing my head after a while, but there wasn't any of that. I did have a few days of a "transition" period where I had to get used to their placement on my head, but that was just due to the fact that I've never worn those type of headphones before.
- they're low profile. I don't feel like I'm wearing huge hulking headphones when I wear them. I also think they look really sleek and classy and love the different colors that Apple made them in. Although I got the silver, the green is very pretty too.
Care and Cleaning
Another feature I love is that the ear pads on these headphones easily snap on and off and are attached via a magnet so you can easily clean the ear pads.
I did find after a few trips and several weeks I had some makeup build up on the ear pads because it obviously reaches down to your jaw line and covers your cheek. But I just used a couple Laundress products:
- Delicate detergent in a little bit of water
- Stain brush to gentle scrub the ear pad
- a soft cloth to wipe away any excess water
They cleaned up very well. There is one small foundation spot that's faded now, but I think I'm going to do a gentle clean a little more often so makeup doesn't get built up again.
If you're in the market for over the ear headphones or are just looking for a couple products to make your travel days less exhausting, I could not recommend these more. They were absolutely game changing for me and I didn't even realize how much they would be helpful until I had them.