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Official Apple AirPods Max: active noise reduction, Dolby Atmos, 20 hours of battery life, € 629

After several missed appointments, Apple finally presents its first nomadic headset. Named by rumors AirPods Studio, the accessory is finally called AirPods Max. Based on a circum-aural design, the headphones have all the advantages expected in a high-end product, including active noise reduction and Dolby Atmos compatibility. With 20 hours of autonomy announced, it is sold for 629 euros.

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TheAirPods Studio is a nomadic headset (understand wireless) that rumors have been talking about for many months. We were already talking about this last spring, when there was some indication that Apple would launch a high-end headphones. We thought Apple would take one of these three fall keynotes (the first for iPads and Watch Series 6s, the second for iPhones, and the last for Macs) to launch the product. It was not the case.

Read also – Apple Watch: the company would put batteries in the bracelet to boost autonomy

It is without warning that the Cupertino company has decided to launch its audio accessory. The latter is therefore not called AirPods Studio, but AirPods Max, taking up to a certain extent the nomenclature of iPhone names (iPhone 12 Pro Max, for example). It may lack originality, but it brings a certain homogeneity.

A helmet much more expensive than the competition

Apart from the name, there is no big surprise in this headset, apart from its price, very “Apple”. Indeed, the AirPods Max is sold at 629 euros. That’s priced well above the more expensive headphones on the market, way beyond the price segment of Bose, Sony, Shure, or Seinnheiser. There is therefore, in a way, interest in the product keeping these promises.

What exactly are these promises? First, the comfort. The design, very inspired by AKG or Bang & Olufsen for example, is circumaural. Understand that the headphones are placed on your head by surrounding the ears (they do not rest on the ears). Its pads are in mesh fabric (understand mesh) that allow the skin to breathe while ensuring good sound insulation.

Each earpiece is connected to the central arch by telescopic branches. The structure is made in stainless steel. The upper part (the one that touches the head) is covered with a material resembling silicone and a layer of mesh fabric. The whole weighs almost 385 grams still.

Eight microphones for active noise reduction

Let’s talk a little more about headphones. Each one measures 40 mm. Their power has not been announced by Apple, the firm preferring to dwell on the rich sound of its product, whether in the bass, treble or mids. It promises less than 1% harmonic distortion for maximum fidelity. The headphones, compatible with spatial sound, support 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos. Perfect for movie fans.

Of course, the headphones offer active noise reduction. There is nine microphones distributed in the two headphones. Eight are involved in active noise reduction, while one is dedicated to voice capture for voice calls. Two of the microphones have two functions: reduce ambient noise and improve voice detection.

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As with AirPods and AirPods Pro, AirPods Max incorporates many interesting technologies. First, connectivity is provided by the chip Apple h1. This is the latest generation of SoC dedicated to audio devices that you find in AirPods Pro, for example. There are two: one with each earbud. This means that the smartphone considers the AirPods Max like the AirPods Pro: two independent headphones. It’s an interesting approach.

The H1 chip is mainly used to connect the headset to an Apple device with which it will communicate better. A great classic. However, you can also connect the headset to an Android or Windows device thanks to standard support. Bluetooth, here in version 5.0. This is the minimum to obtain quality stereo sound with True Wireless headphones. This is also the case here.

Sound that adapts to the head

Each earpiece is also equipped with an optical sensor, position sensor, accelerometer and gyroscope. Most of these sensors are present to reach or turn on the helmet depending on whether it is worn or not. They are also used to modulate the spatial sound according to the position of the ear inside the earpiece space, but also depending on the orientation of the head …

On the controls side, the headset is inspired by Apple Watch with a digital crown and a more classic button on the edge of one of the headphones. The digital crown is the main control interface: sound volume, play and pause, skip a song or go back, as well as activating Siri. The button is dedicated to active noise reduction.

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The helmet comes with a storage case ” interactive “. Understand that the helmet is able to detect when it is stored in it. It then activates a ” ultra energy saving To preserve the batteries. Finally, Apple ships with the AirPods Max a Lightning to USB type-C charging cable (the same as the one offered with the iPhone). No power adapter, like AirPods.

20 hours of autonomy announced

Finally, let’s talk about autonomy. We do not know what the capacity of the battery is and if it is doubled (one battery with each earbud), but Apple promises a good autonomy: 20 hours on a single charge with active noise reduction. It also claims that the battery life reaches 20 hours talk time or 20 hours video playback with space sound activated. In addition, 5 minutes of charging would get 90 minutes autonomy.

The headset comes with an “interactive” storage case. Understand that the helmet is able to detect when it is stored in it. It then activates a ” ultra energy saving To preserve the batteries. Finally, Apple ships with the AirPods Max a Lightning to USB type-C charging cable (the same as the one offered with the iPhone). No power adapter, like AirPods.

AirPods Max comes in five colors: black, blue, red, white and green. Colors that blend nicely with other Apple products, such as the iPhone and the Watch Series 6. The product will be available on December 15, just fine for a chance to be under the tree. Please note, only the blue model can still arrive on time, according to delivery forecasts from Apple’s French site.