Apple’s latest expansion of the AirPods brand is a set of large over-the-ear wireless headphones. The AirPods Max look great, sound great, and are quite comfortable despite their heavy weight. They’re also $549, a difficult price to justify when the competition (primarily the Sony WH-1000XM4 and the Bose 700) are around $200 to $250 less.
In some ways, the AirPod Max give you what you pay for. Build quality is unmatched at any price, and there are some clever design flourishes. But there are also a few compromises worth noting, like a “Smart Case” that is anything but.