When Apple launched the AirPods Max at the back-end of last year for a whopping £549, eyebrows were certainly raised. Surely they’d be DOA given the number of high quality rivals available for around £200 less?
However, a new teardown from the destructive folks at iFixit might go a little way towards explaining where Apple lovers’ extra cash goes.
After cracking open the over-hear headphones, iFixit came away hugely impressed with the quality of the engineering, claiming it was “more understanding” of the high price as a result. Tellingly, the screwdriver-happy technicians said the craftsmanship makes the competition “look like toys.”
In its report, iFixit wrote: “And after tearing down some of the competition, we’re more understanding of that $550 price tag. Sony and Bose both charge less, but internally, the AirPods Max’s obsessive craftsmanship makes those other extremely capable devices look like toys by comparison.”
The site goes on to say: “With all their intricate, precision-engineered parts, AirPods Max remind us more of a mechanical watch than of any pair of headphones.”
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Apple’s take on over-ear headphones is certainly one of the more refreshing we’ve seen in recent times. For a start, there’s a stainless steel frame, with a flexible headband made from breathable net mesh. There’s also the anodised aluminium cups, compared to the usual plastic we see from headphone makers. There have been a few isolate complaints that the cups cause condensation intake the body, but none causing any issue with the audio. The AirPods Max also bring the H1 chip, Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode and Spatial Audio.
Interestingly, iFixit also pointed out that the headphones are more repairable than expected. Affording the AirPods Max 6/10 for repairability, the site wrote says “we’re excited to award the first-ever non-zero repair score to an AirPods device…”