AirPods Max vs. AirPods Pro: Which Device Gives A Bigger Bang For Your Buck?

Each year, the world marvels at Apple’s new electronic creations; it’s become a tradition in the technological world. Apple’s latest release of the AirPods Max has raised many eyebrows. Retailing at $550, it’s the most expensive headphone they have made. The Airpods Pro retailed at $250 however, the two devices are drastically different; but are the Airpods Max worth the purchase? 


The Airpods Max has an unorthodox design, they’re not actually pods. They feature an overhead design, similar to studio headphones. The AirPods Max combine sleek stainless steel ear cups with a curvy mesh headband, and while they do look a bit chunkier, they’re still roughly modern in aesthetic. The AirPods Pro are plastic instead of metal and have a significant advantage over the AirPods Max in terms of design. They’re water resistant, more compact, and improved by adding silicon eartips and shorter stems. In addition, the AirPods Pro have an IPX4 rating, meaning they can withstand light splashes and can be wiped with a damp cloth. The AirPods Max however, have no IP rating, and therefore cannot be near water. 

Audio Quality

Apple did their best to match the sounds of the AirPods Max and Pro, which is not something easy to do. The Pros are earphones and the Maxs are headphones, your ears will naturally hear music differently when listening. The AirPods Pro are a bit more bass-forward and brighter whereas the AirPod Max sounds a little more natural and less sculpted, not a drastic difference though. A heavy bass song might have a little more low-end push through the AirPods Pro, but just barely. Both devices include spatial audio, which is an immersive feature that enhances audio to make it sound like there are speakers surrounding you, like in a movie theater. With the power of dual H1 chips and an integrated gyroscope and accelerometer, the AirPods Max produces a phenomenal surround sound effect. The headphones adapt and change the sound as you move your head.  


One of the most unique features of the AirPod max is the digital crown which Apple borrowed from previous Apple Watches. This allows for precise volume control, track skipping, call response, and Siri activation all from the crown. The AirPod Pros rely on touch controls, which can be annoying as it is too easy to accidentally tap the stem which triggers an action. The AirPods Pro positions its Force sensor in the stream to avoid misfired taps.

Battery Life and Charging

The Airpods Max can provide a total of 20 hours listening time on a full battery charge. By comparison, the AirPod Pro’s charging case can give more than 24 hours total before the case runs dry, in addition to the 5 hours of listening time each earphone provides. However, this isn’t a major issue for the AirPods Max as the recharge rate is still quite efficient. The AirPods Max use a Lightning to USB-C cable for charging, and don’t ship with a power adapter for outlets.You’ll need to purchase an adapter if you don’t already have one. 

Noise Cancellation

Both devices feature active noise cancelling. The introduction of noise cancelling to the AirPods Pro was revolutionary for Apple. It spiked sales and gave people a reason to upgrade from their first generation AirPods. The AirPods Max takes noise cancellation to the next level. Each ear cup has its own Apple H1 chip which dynamically changes the level of noise cancelling and analyzes your head movements. It also has a better seal than in ear headphones and has eight mics for noise cancelling compared to only two on the AirPods Pro. 


The charging case on the AirPods Pro is fairly simple and similar to the first generation AirPod only they’re a bit wider. The box comes with a lightning to USB-C Cable and three sizes of replacement ear tips. The AirPods Max also comes with the same charger and Apple’s questionably designed “Smart Case”, which doesn’t look like your typical pair of wireless headphones. The headphones do not compact, the headband is exposed making it resemble a purse. 

What Does An Android User Think?

While Apple products are extremely popular among the entire world, so is Android and their arsenal of technological devices. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Elvyn Perez who is a technology teacher at Thomas Edison High School, and an android user. His insight on these products provide an outsider’s perspective as he isn’t an Apple user. 

Q: Which Airpod model would you purchase and why?

A “Personally I wouldn’t purchase any AirPod models, as I do not like the way they feel in my ear and their functionality is not compatible with the mobile phone that I currently have.”

Q: What is your opinion on the overhead design of the Airpods Max? 

A: “I love the design of these new headphones. They look great, the stainless steel frame will be sturdy and the weight that is required on a device that you expect to last for some time. I am curious to see how it would behave on a drop test or scratch test as you put it in your bags with keys and coins and other metals. The metal cup for the speaker is a premium selection as it creates a solid air barrier for the speaker to function properly. It is also a noise cancelling barrier. I am concerned with the breathability of our ears; if we are working out or sweating, would it be comfortable to wear these?”

Q: Do you feel that the Airpods Max is worth an extra $300?

A: “After researching the product, investigating that it has multiple microphones, and the electronics it has on board as well as the upgraded materials, it is without a doubt that the unit can indeed be  more expensive than the Airpod Pros. However is it worth the extra $300?, I don’t think so – after all, when wearing headphones you are looking to hear and be heard, there are other products that allow for these 2 things to happen that are half that cost.”

Q; Which product do you think is more suitable for everyday use? 

A: “Being in public with these units can make you a target for a criminal act, it would also isolate you from the rest of the world which can also be a safety concern. However, if you are in a studio or a noisy environment that you are looking to keep out of your head these units can do the trick.” 

The Verdict

The AirPods Pro are the best Apple headphones for those who want noise cancelling on a budget. They’re compact and are water resistant so they are suitable for working out and sweating. The Pro model sounds incredible and the noise cancellation works seamlessly with your favorite movies, songs, podcasts, and tv shows. However, the AirPods Max could be the option for those who want to splurge on pristine audio quality, superior noise cancellation, and overall comfort. They definitely outmatch the AirPods Pro if you’re looking for the best noise cancelling headphone; because the Max is definitely up there. Although for $300 less, the AirPods Pro provides functionality, amazing audio, and convenience, it’s a device you won’t regret buying. 

Tameesh Girdharri

My name is Tameesh Girdharri, and I write for the technology department of The Edison Light. I am hard-working and very goal oriented, I enjoy competitive activities that push my capabilities. I also am a big fan of technology and I’m constantly amazed by the rapid innovations being made to it. I’d describe myself as organized, detail oriented, and determined. Our world today revolves around technology and it is extraordinary to think of all the incredible things that technology can benefit the world with.