Best AirPods Max Alternatives iMore 2021
With the AirPods Max being quite expensive, you may be wondering what else is out there. Lucky for you, there are a bunch of great AirPods Max alternatives on the market. Wireless over-the-ear headphones that have active noise-canceling (ANC) are super popular for all sorts of applications. Whether you're listening to music, gaming, or even editing video, a premium pair of cans will improve your experience. Here are the best AirPods Max alternatives.
- Top-notch ANC: Sony WH-1000XM4
- Super Comfortable: Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700
- Fantastic sound quality: Bowers & Wilkins PX
- Great battery life: Jabra Elite 85h
- All that H1 chip functionality: AirPods Pro
- Beautifully designed: Master & Dynamic MW65
- ANC on a budget: TaoTronics Hybrid Active Noise Canceling Headphones
Top-notch ANC: Sony WH-1000XM4Staff Pick
With impressive active noise-canceling performance, the Sony WH-1000XM4 are really the best all-around headphones on the market right now. They sound superb, and the bass is warm and dark, which gives the cans their signature sound. You'll get 30-hours of playback time, which is about ten hours more than the AirPods Max, and the WH-1000XM4 supports most major audio codecs, giving you the best sound no matter where you are listening to music.
Super Comfortable: Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700
Bose has been in the headphone game for a long time, and their top-of-the-line NCH 700 are fantastic. The ANC is second only to Sony, but they are remarkably more comfortable to wear over long periods of time. While their 20 hours of battery is the same as the AirPods Max, you can use them while charging. Bose is known for having a very balanced sound, and the NCH 700 will sound amazing regardless of which genre of music you like.
Fantastic sound quality: Bowers & Wilkins PX
The Bowers & Wilkins PX really shines when it comes to sound quality. With an overall V-shaped sound signature that many will enjoy, the bass is powerful and warm, while the treble is very clear and distinct. The sound quality comes with some trade-offs. The ANC is only decent, and they could be a little more comfortable.
Great battery life: Jabra Elite 85h
Charging your headphones can be annoying, but with the 35-jour battery life on the Jabra Elite 85h, you'll be charging a lot less. The cans are pretty comfortable, not putting too much strain on your head while you have them on, and you can enjoy playback while you're charging. While the default sound out of the box is a little underwhelming, you can play around with the EQ in the Jabra app, meaning you can find a sound that you'll like.
All that H1 chip functionality: AirPods Pro
We know the AirPods Pro are earbuds and not over-the-ear headphones, but in terms of features, you'll never get anything closer to the AirPods Max. Equipped with the same H1 chip, the AirPods Pro can invoke Siri, seamless pair between your apple devices, and use all sorts of neat Apple-specific features like Announce Messages. Plus, they still offer ANC and don't sound too shabby either.
Beautifully designed: Master & Dynamic MW65
The leather and metal construction of the Master & Dynamic MW65 ANC headphones are absolutely stunning. You pay for the premium materials, but with 24-hours of battery life, two different ANC modes, and the ability to charge 50% in 15 minutes, there's a lot to love about the Master & Dynamic MW65.
ANC on a budget: TaoTronics Hybrid Active Noise Canceling Headphones
If you're really tight on money and you're just looking for a pair of headphones with ANC, the TaoTronics Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones aren't bad. The ANC and sound quality are much worse than headphones triple the price, but with 30-hours of battery life and dual large-aperture 40 mm drivers, you'll get a lot of mileage of these headphones if you aren't too picky.
Wireless ANC headphones don't just come from Apple
The AirPods Max does offer some unique benefits to people with other Apple products — like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac —but in general, the wireless ANC headphones market is a wide and vast one. That means there are a ton of great AirPods Max alternatives you can pick up today. Plus, some of the best AirPods Max alternatives are the best noise-canceling headphones hands down.
When it comes to ANC, it's tough to beat the Sony WH-1000XM4. It's the best ANC I've ever heard in wireless over-the-ear headphones, and its 30-hour battery life is 10 hours more than the AirPods Max.
I stand by my recommendation of the AirPods Pro as an AirPods Max alternative because they offer all those Apple-specific features you may want. If you want that seamless pairing between devices and access to Siri all the time, then the AirPods Pro are your best choice.
Lastly, I have a soft spot for the Jabra Elite 85h. The 35-hour battery life means they last for what seems like forever, plus the Jabra app is a really great way to customize the sound profile to your liking.
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