Apple has three AirPods to select from and should you’re deciding between the higher-end choices, the $249 (£249, AU$399)and $549 (£549, AU$899) , there’s extra to think about simply value alone. For starters, one is a pair of in-ear wi-fi earbuds whereas the opposite is an over-ear, additionally wi-fi, closed-back headphone.
However regardless of their apparent bodily variations, they’ve extra in frequent than you would possibly suppose. Each have lively noise cancelation, a transparency mode to let in sound from the surface world, plus spatial audio. I have been utilizing each units of AirPods for a number of months that will help you resolve which is the higher purchase for you.
Apple’s AirPods Professional are the jack-of-all-trades of wi-fi earbuds: They’re good for listening to music or podcasts and making calls they usually’re snug to put on all through the day. You too can use one earbud independently, whereas the opposite one expenses within the case. They’re the one AirPods which have an IP score so that they’ll stand up to splashes or sweat.
Learn the AirPods Professional evaluation.
These are the best-sounding AirPods, arms down. You get every thing discovered on the AirPods Professional, together with noise cancelation and spatial audio, plus a long-lasting battery. In addition they look good because of a chrome steel and aluminum end. However they may be too heavy for some wearers.
Learn the AirPods Max evaluation.
The primary determination: Earbuds vs. headphones
The AirPods Professional are a lot smaller and lighter than the AirPods Max seeing as they’re in-ear wi-fi earbuds. The AirPods Professional comes with interchangeable ideas so you may customise how the buds slot in your ear. I discover them snug to put on all through the day, though I’ve swapped out the default silicone ideas for third-party foam tips as these have a tendency to remain in my ears higher once I’m shifting round or understanding.
The AirPods Max have telescopic arms that develop and contract to accommodate your head form, in addition to cups that pivot to offer a snug match round your ears. There’s foam padding round every of the cups that gives some sound insulation, plus a mesh headband to assist distribute the load throughout your head. However the AirPods Max are a lot heavier than many different noise canceling headphones I’ve used at 13.6 ounces (384 grams), thanks partially to their aluminum and stainless-steel building. I discovered I might solely put on them for an hour or two at a time earlier than I wanted to offer my head a break.
You may additionally be capable to put on the AirPods Professional in all types of climate circumstances or whereas understanding as they’re IPX4 rated, which suggests they will be capable to stand up to sweat or gentle splashes from rain. The AirPods Max haven’t got an IP score, so I’d keep away from utilizing them in any state of affairs the place you would possibly get them moist.
Every of the AirPods fashions comes with a case, both a tough plastic case for the AirPods Professional that holds further cost, or a mushy case for the AirPods Max. Sadly the AirPods Max case would not maintain any further cost, nor does it present a lot added safety for the headphones. Each recharge by way of Lightning, or you may wirelessly cost the AirPods Professional case.
Sound high quality and noise canceling is a transparent win for AirPods Max
It is no shock the AirPods Max sound higher than the AirPods Professional. I’ve listened to a wide range of completely different genres of music throughout completely different apps and hold coming again to the AirPods Max for listening to music. They’ve a stronger bass response and wonderful definition throughout all frequencies. One of the simplest ways I’ve discovered to explain the sound is that it is clear. Even at increased volumes I’ve by no means seen any muddiness or distortion.
The AirPods Professional additionally sounds good, nevertheless it’s much less dynamic and thrilling to take heed to than the AirPods Max. This truly works to its benefit should you’re leaping between completely different duties comparable to listening to music, taking calls or tuning right into a podcast. Each AirPods have an adaptive equalizer that modifications the sound dynamically, though you may change the equalizer independently in numerous music apps, from Spotify to Apple Music.
Noise canceling can also be clearly superior on the AirPods Max. I arrange a loud, overhead fan and examined each the Max and Professional, with the headphones virtually utterly drowning out the white noise. That stated, the AirPods Professional has wonderful noise-canceling options and is the one pair I’ve used on a airplane (earlier than the pandemic), nevertheless it’s not on the identical degree because the AirPods Max.
Apple’s transparency mode is great on each and gives a pure listening expertise once you wish to let in some exterior sound to concentrate on your environment.
You’ll be able to hear microphone samples from each AirPods fashions within the video on this web page.
Each share comparable options and controls
Aside from noise cancelation and transparency mode, each of the AirPods even have spatial audio. This implies supported TV exhibits and flicks in sure apps can ship a digital encompass sound expertise when listening on both pair of AirPods.
The AirPods Professional have clickable stem controls to vary tracks, activate noise cancelation or to reply calls, whereas the AirPods Max have a digital crown and aspect button. When you have an Apple Watch ($199 at Best Buy), these controls might be acquainted: Use the crown to vary quantity, swap tracks or take calls, whereas the button switches between noise canceling and transparency modes. Each units of AirPods help Hey Siri, to allow them to pay attention in your voice prompts and may also learn textual content messages aloud in your ears.
Each additionally share the identical H1 chip for quick connectivity to the iPhone ($900 at Boost Mobile) and you may also rapidly swap between units should you’re signed into the identical Apple ID. As they’re Bluetooth headphones, you should utilize each the AirPods Professional or AirPods Max on Android, or a Home windows PC, however you miss out on iOS-specific issues like spatial audio or having the ability to customise the controls.
AirPods Max have higher battery life for all-day listening
AirPods Professional have round 4.5 hours of listening time with noise canceling lively, regardless that you may generally edge nearer to five hours. The case holds further cost, so all up you get 24 hours of listening time. As talked about earlier, the AirPods Max case would not maintain any further cost, however the headphones themselves final for simply over 20 hours straight at regular quantity.
AirPods Max or AirPods Professional?
After virtually three months of utilizing each the headphones in my each day workflow, I gravitate in direction of the AirPods Professional extra because of their flexibility and luxury. If I am leaping between calls and listening to music at work, to taking a stroll after hours, they’re probably the most versatile set of AirPods for my use. However once I wish to take heed to music with one of the best sound high quality, I swap to the AirPods Max. I additionally count on to make use of the AirPods Max extra as soon as journey restrictions ease, as they’ve the simplest noise canceling.
AirPods Max vs. AirPods Professional spec comparability
|AirPods Max||AirPods Professional|
|Weight||13.6 oz (384.8g)||0.19 oz (5.4g) every earbud|
|Weight (case)||4.74 oz (124.5g)||1.61 oz (45.6g)|
|Lively Noise Cancelation||Sure||Sure|
|Sensors||Optical sensor in every cup, place sensor, case-detect sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope||Twin optical sensors, motion-detecting accelerometer. speech-detecting accelerometer, power sensor|
|Microphones||eight microphones for Lively Noise Cancellation, three microphones for voice pickup (2 shared with Lively Noise Cancellation and 1 further microphone)||Twin beamforming microphones, inward-facing microphone|
|Chip||H1 (every cup)||H1|
|Conectivity||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Battery||As much as 20 hours||As much as 4.5 hours (ANC on) or 5 hours (ANC off), plus 24 hours whole cost in case|
|Value||$549, £549, AU$899||$249, £249, AU$399|