Apple’s first over-ear headphones – the AirPods Max – have finally arrived. So far, the overall consensus within the tech community is that they sound nice. Really nice. In my own brief personal experience, I concur with that feeling. They sound terrific and offer a great noise-canceling experience. And oh, they look fantastic, but they are a tad heavy too. However, the biggest test for buyers is their eye-watering price tag of $549, and ecosystem limitations. In case the Apple cans don’t cut it for you, these are the best AirPods Max alternatives at all price points:
The top class
Of course, the Sony WH-1000XM4 are at the top of our recommendation list, and for a good reason. They sound terrific, offer a best-in-class noise cancelling experience, and come with a host of useful features and tricks that make them a default choice for buyers.
Best of Bose
A personal favorite of ours, thanks to their stunning aesthetics, compact size and how light they are. If you are avoiding the AirPods Max for their heft and bulk, these are the ones to get. Plus, they offer one of the best audio experience you can get on wireless headphones.
Armed with Active Noise Cancellation, the proprietary SmartSound technology and fast charging support, the Jabra Elite 85H appear to be a great alternative for less than half the price of AirPods Max. But the best part is that they offer water-resistance, a rare trait in the segment.
The luxurious one
Want to counter the luxury aspect of the aspect of the AirPods Max with something equally high-end? The Mont Blanc MB 01 are just that. These have been hailed for their luxurious looks, punchy sound and comfort aspect, but they do miss out on some audiophile perks.
Loaded with tricks
The Surface Headphones 2 by Microsoft are surprisingly head. What they lack in pure sound quality compared to Sony and Bose, they more than make up for it with intuitive touch controls, decent noise cancellation, fast pairing, great battery life and superior comfort.
A lasting legacy
Among the most well-known noise-canceling headphones out there, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are a favorite of many, and for good reasons. Their noise cancellation is among the best out there, and it is complemented by a comfortable design and a terrific audio output that is in a class of its own.
The best from Beats
Tailor-made for Apple devices, thanks to the W1 chip inside, these are the best that Beats has to offer. They have received praise for their design, comfort aspect, thumping bass output and decent noise cancellation, but raw audio quality is not the best for its price.
Vying for attention
Lauded for their bass depth, high clarity, comfortable design and good Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), the Sennheiser Momentum 3 wireless headphones shine bright in a crowded space. But they are relatively expensive compared to rivals.
High on comfort
One of the most comfortable noise-canceling headphones out there, the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 cans offer a good noise suppression, wide soundstage, and long battery life, but they are not as refined in terms of sound quality and not the best value either.
A great option
A tad lesser-known option in a sea of Sony and Bose headphones, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 offer an audio output with rich bass, good noise cancellation with multiple tiers to choose from, and great battery life, but their flat folding design is not everyone’s cup of tea.
The Master & Dynamic MW65 headphones rank higher than the AirPods Max when it comes to pricing, but they are actually good. These cans have been exalted for their beautiful design, balanced audio output with high clarity and rich bass, and high comfort value.
Not just for gamers
A great budget option with active noise cancellation, the THX-certified Razer Opus wireless headphones come have been praised for their clean design, good noise cancellation, balanced audio output, and high clarity, but the lack of manual EQ tweaks is a sore point.
For the budget-conscious buyers, the Sennheiser HD 450BT offer arguably the best value for their price tag. They offer a satisfying noise cancellation output alongside an immersive sound output and adjustable EQ, but they are not the most comfortable option out there.
Solid budget option
Among the best budget headphones in terms of raw sound quality, don’t make many sacrifices. They are comfortable to wear, offer a great battery life, and offer adjustable EQ settings as well, But they miss out on a headphone jack, aptX and active noise cancellation.
If you are super tight on your budget but still desire a noise cancellation, the best option for you is the Anker SoundCore Life 20 headphones. Of course, the ANC output is not the best out there, but they are quite comfortable, offer a good battery and sound output is decent too.
So, these were our top picks for the best AirPods Max alternatives for all price points. If you desire the best sound quality and noise cancellation experience, the Sony WH-1000XM4 are the best you got. Plus, you also get a host of useful features such as speak-to-chat for automatically pausing music and letting ambient sound through to let users have a conversation as soon as it detects them speaking, always-on assistant, and multi-device support with seamless switching.
For less than half the price of AirPods Max, you get the Surface Headphones 2 from Microsoft 2. They rock a minimal design, offer a good noise cancellation experience with ambient sound level adjustments, good multi-point connectivity, and rank high on the comfort aspect as well. Sound quality is balanced too, if not too bass-heavy, and the intuitive dial controls are simply best-in-class. However, battery life is not the best and their folding design is not the best either.