Sony have arguably the best wireless over-ear headphones in the market. But, now that Apple has entered the game with the AirPods Max that costs almost double the price, you really have to wonder: can they really make something that’s 2x better?
For those who can’t watch the video, here’s a quick rundown:
What I liked
The build for the AirPods Max is phenomenal. Everything seems to have been machined to perfection with an excellent feel in the hand. The solid aluminium ear cups feel amazing in the hand. On top of that, the headband extension mechanism is also clickless with excellent grip.
Fit is very comfortable as well. The earcups are plush and give enough space between the drivers and your ears so they don’t press up against each other. These cups are also very big and more than spacious enough for my ears so they don’t feel very crowded.
Then there’s the fact that these cups are magnetic which makes them super easy to remove and put on. This makes replacements super easy and cleaning them a breeze too.
Despite the thin mesh headband at the top, it does a good job at supporting the headphones without putting too much pressure on the top of your head. Clamping force is supple, where it will stay firmly on your head without feeling like it will crush your skull.
The instant pairing with Apple devices is as convenient as ever. Despite not having any touch controls, the buttons are sturdy and easy to find/press without looking. Digital crown is a great way to adjust volume on the go.
It also sounds great, which I guess shouldn’t be surprising considering the price. They’ve got a clinical sound to them, which isn’t nearly as fun, but there is impressive soundstaging and great detail. But, my favourite thing is the transparency. It’s probably one of the best systems I’ve heard on a pair of closed over-ear headphones.
What I didn’t like
The case is an absolute joke. It barely protects anything, and does nothing to make the headphones more packable or carry-able. Sony gives you a proper hard case with little pockets for all your accessories. Apple gives you a loincloth with magnets.
Although comfortable, there’s no escaping the fact that these are heavy. And you can feel the weight for sure. It does a great job at managing it, but heavy headphones are heavy nonetheless.
Then, there’s the ridiculous price tag. It’s RM2,399, which is borderline absurd when you consider the competition. Is it head and shoulders above the competition? Right now, it’s hard for me to say, but I have a feeling that the answer is no.
Photography by Zachary Yoong with the Sony A7 III.