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Are AirPods Max headphones really worth Apple’s crazy-high price tag?

Published Mar 28th, 2024 11:19AM EDT
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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It should probably go without saying that AirPods Max are the most impressive headphones that Apple has ever made. That includes Apple’s AirPods earbuds as well as all of the new Beats headphones models that have been released since Apple acquired the company in 2014 (don’t miss our in-depth AirPods Max vs Beats Studio Pro comparison). But AirPods Max are also Apple’s most expensive headphones ever, which is why so many people wonder whether or not they’re actually worth the sky-high price.

AirPods Max cost a whopping $549, making them even more expensive than industry-leading rival ANC headphones from Bose and Sony. Those two brands are considered to be the market leaders, so it seems insane that Apple would charge even more money than they do. But AirPods Max actually have much better build quality than those rival brands, and they use metal instead of plastic. For Apple fans, AirPods Max might actually be worth the extra money — especially while they’re on sale for $479.

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BGR’s in-depth AirPods Max review makes two things clear.

First, AirPods Max are among the best active noise cancelling headphones that have ever been made. Period. They offer stunning sound quality that many people argue is even better than comparable headphones from Sony and Bose. And on top of that, Apple’s noise cancelling tech is first-class.

Second, AirPods Max are incredibly expensive. Despite how great they are, I personally think they’re much too expensive, and as a result, I typically recommend other models to readers.

Sony WH-1000XM5 ANC headphones retail for $398 (currently on sale for $328). Bose 700 flagship ANC headphones retail for $379, and newer Bose QuietComfort Ultra ANC headphones are listed at $429 (currently on sale for $379).

These three models make up the AirPods Max’s top competition. Some would say Apple outshines them all both in design and sound quality, but the sky-high $549 price tag makes them far less attractive.

Now is your chance if you’ve been waiting for a deep discount to get your hands on a pair of AirPods Max. The only time I recommend them over the competition is when a huge discount is available, like the one in this AirPods Max sale.

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Amazon is currently offering AirPods Max for $479, which is a $70 discount off the retail price. That’s the lowest price of the year so far.

While it’s still more than you’ll pay for rival Bose or Sony headphones, Apple fans might find that the integration with other Apple devices makes the extra money worthwhile. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, AirPods Max have premium metal construction, and the soft fabric on the headband is fantastic. Other ANC headphones in this class use plastic.

In addition to AirPods Max, several other AirPods models are also on sale right now.

Check out our guide on the best AirPods deals, and you’ll see that best-selling AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C are down to $199, and you can get entry-level AirPods for just $99. Those are both solid deals.

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Also of note, 1st-generation AirPods Pro can be had for as little as $114 renewed, and 2nd-generation AirPods Pro are down to $142 renewed, depending on what condition you want.

Maren Estrada Deals Editor

Maren Estrada has been the Editor of BGR Deals since it launched in 2013. She has more than 20 years of experience testing more than 1,500 products, and reviewing a wide range of consumer electronics including mobile devices, smart home products, computers, and home appliances.

Previously, she was a leading consultant specializing in copywriting, product development, and new product launches.