Samsung Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy S21 series, headphones and more are on sale

We keep on getting amazing deals from Amazon.com, where we find the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series, the latest AirPods Max, and more on sale

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B&H has tons of Apple products, headphones and more on sale

Today's best deals come from B&H, where we find several Apple products on sale, including the latest M1 Macs and more devices on sale

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AirPods Max getting a $50 discount, Philips Hue Smart Lights and more are on sale

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We have currently found the latest Apple AirPods Max getting a massive $50 discount, plus the AirPods Pro and more devices on sale

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Apple AirPods Max, a traveler’s perspective: great audio isn’t everything (video)

Anton D. Nagy contributed to this post.

I don’t even know how to say this politely, so I’ll just start from the beginning. Apple’s AirPods Max is the most frustrating piece of hardware that I’ve ever wanted to almost love… There, I got it off my chest.

Let me explain: I travel a lot, 150,000 miles a year kind of a lot. It’s been the story of my life since I was 3, and for the past 20 years, it’s a sort of requirement I’ve set before taking any job. I’ve always been kind of like that George Clooney character in Up In The Air, where I only buy toiletries in small packages, I spend insane amounts of money on specific kinds of luggage just because they’re easier to drag, and I use Peak Design bags and tripods almost exclusively because of the amount of thought that’s put into making them compact.

Point is, I value ergonomics, practicality, and thoughtfulness before buying any product, and I’m willing to spend more on it. Obviously, with this pandemic, we all had to take a break from travel, but it’s the main reason I felt the only way to finalize the review of these Max correctly, was to wait until I could fly again with them. The sound should be one of the most important reasons for you to buy a pair of headphones, but for anyone willing to spend so much money, it’s not everything.

Thoughtfulness, as a noun, is the consideration for the needs of other people. Let’s be real, Apple hasn’t always been famous for this. Remember the excessive obsession over thin and light at the expense of battery life? Remember the only two USB ports stuck so next to each other that one was pretty much useless on the old MacBooks. Or fine, just one USB-C port for everything on the MacBook? Sure, this is the company that put a thousand songs in your pocket, but it also killed the headphone jack against user feedback. 

So, AirPods Max. Let me start with basic a disclaimer. This is not an audiophile review, and I’m sure the Internet is full of them. I even battle with the idea of such an analysis for wireless headphones. At the moment, Bluetooth hasn’t really reached what most would consider as High Fidelity territory, even if Apple disputes it in their marketing. You either choose the convenience of a wireless connection at the expense of quality or the other way around at the expense of money, cause yeah, it can get thousands of dollars more expensive.

Disclaimers

That said, for Bluetooth, the AirPods Max is NOT at all affordable. At this price, *any* pair of headphones should sound amazing, and these do but bear with me. Let me begin with the things I like before you get the impression that this is a bashing piece. What we have here is a different approach through computational audio, where the H1 chip detects everything from the music you hear to the fit in your ears in order to balance the EQ dynamically, and I can tell. I actually do appreciate the aluminum design, but for reasons that contradict the purpose.

I seriously think Apple chose the materials more to boost the audio experience than the build quality. See, probably what I like most about these headphones, is that I’ve never heard a broader soundstage from Bluetooth Headphones. I’m talking instrument separation, and crisp bass, if there is such a thing. I’m trying to find a word to describe how I can actually feel it without providing any sort of distortion. The aluminum actually seems to contribute to creating this sort of rumble all around that I can’t say I’ve experienced before. 

AirPods Max on head

Now, disclaimer number 2. I have no scientific way to prove this, but I’ve only experienced this soundstage on Apple Music. Yes, I know this is the same exact AAC codec that Spotify uses, which I also download at maximum quality. Thing is, for whatever reason that should seriously be obvious, Instrument separation and audio quality on Spotify is good, but I consider it better on Apple Music.

I say obvious because this is a very Apple thing to do. If you want to take maximum advantage of what these headphones can do, you have to be in their ecosystem. Pair them to one, and then they’re smart enough to switch between the rest of your Apple devices. Spatial Audio capabilities exist depending on the content supporting it, and all you have to do is say Hey Siri to get them to play whatever music you want… on Apple Music, of course. The concept of having this Apple Watch-style digital crown for audio and music playback is a smarter approach to capacitive controls, but I think my favorite feature is the button next to it.

AirPods Max noise cancelation

See, Noise cancelation on these headphones isn’t just great, but different. The biggest problem with most other offerings is the sort of suction they produce, which can make anyone feel uneasy for an extended period of time. By contrast, the choice in hardware and materials help these balance out the feel so well that you’ll notice the noise dissipate without added discomfort.

That said, what I like about these AirPods Max most is their Ambient Mode. Like on AirPods Pro, these headphones can also balance the inner feal and outside noise so well that you can barely tell you’re covering your ears, which is quite convenient in cold New York winters, even if it throws people off because they think you can’t hear them. Match this with a pretty good set of microphones, and yes, I have no problem recommending them for phone calls.

AirPods Max

I also appreciate the mesh used in the earcups, which does a far better job at not making your head sweat than the faux leather on other offerings. The fact that they’re easily replaceable guarantees they’ll look good for longer.

The not so good

So yes, they sound great, they cancel noise or invite it better than most. So, what’s wrong? Well, I wish that the same amount of thought that was put into their audio experience was ported to the practicality of their design. This is the company that forced every competitor to make smaller cases for their earbuds, and yet somehow failed at it here.

First, they’re large, which is fine while you’re wearing them, it comes with the territory, but the problem is when you don’t. They don’t collapse in any way, which makes carrying them an exercise in frustration. People make fun of the case, I don’t since it barely adds to the footprint. The problem is that it makes you flip the muffs sideways, which only makes them even less compact, which then leads to the problem that if they don’t fit in your bag you’ll do what I do and carry them on the side, which is then more of a problem since they’re not water-resistant nor protected by the case, which means. Figure out how to make them fit, or just don’t take them off, or just don’t travel with the damn things at all.

AirPods Max

Second, don’t carry them in this extended position or let alone drop them without the case. As it is, the aluminum finish collides with itself, meaning you’ll end up scratching them quicker than you think, which is more visible on every color except silver.

The third is that if you have a large head as I do, you’re not gonna like to wear them for extended periods of time. They’re heavier than average, and really the light canopy at the top seems to just serve as a way to join them together as the stainless steel bar mechanism is really what’s clamping them to your head. As a result, that continuous force you’re receiving can make wearing anything else on your face uncomfortable, whether it’s eyeglasses depending on how thick they are, but I even feel this way about face masks. And then you’d think the solution for that is to take them off and carry them around your neck every now and then, but since the stems aren’t long, the force of that clamping mechanism on your neck is also uncomfortable. I know! It’s like if your head doesn’t get a break unless you fully take them off, and we already know carrying them is a nightmare.

Last but not least, there’s Lightning. Like, what year is this? This is a cable that Apple has been phasing out. I charge my Mac and iPad with USB-C and my iPhone and AirPods Pro through MagSafe. Now I have to carry an extra cable because there’s also the problem that there’s no way to turn these off without the case. The 20 hours of battery life is quite accurate if you keep in mind that at least a little power is constantly drained by them, meaning a week-long trip might require you to charge them once or twice. But then my other problem is the need for Apple’s expensive lightning to headphone jack cable if I’m editing a video. Sadly even with all the advancements on these Max, you will jump into the eventual latency issues on Final Cut Pro that every other headphone brings unless you use a wire. So yeah, two cables to carry, and a carrying case that can’t fit them.

AirPods Max: conclusion

To conclude, I think you know where I’m going with this review. Apple’s AirPods Max are the best sounding pair of Bluetooth headphones that I’ve ever used, so long as I’m using Apple Music, or if I’m listening to Spatial Audio from content that supports it, only on an iPhone or iPad, so long as I’m not having to carry them anywhere.

This makes, and doesn’t make sense. At this price, we want amazing audio without compromise in basics like how to carry them around. This only reminds me of how much I hated the first AirPods, but for opposite reasons. Those were great for calls, and carrying them was effortless, but the fit was so bad that it made the audio quality forgettable. We needed AirPods Pro to fix the fit problem in order for the entire experience of using them to be worth the money.

Same problem here. The AirPods Max is clearly a fantastic idea that suffers from the curse of a first-generation product. Unless your bag has enough space, I struggle to recommend them for a frequent traveler, or who wants them for the daily commute on the train. The weight and lack of an IP rating also mean they’re not for fitness. Really I’d call these more a good pair of headphones for the couch, which kind of defeats the purpose of their wireless connection or longevity.

If you’re looking for amazing sound quality from a pair of Bluetooth headphones and the price is not a problem, then sure, buy the AirPods Max. But know what you’re in for. If your plan is to use these to replace all the convenience of say, a pair of Bose QC35s, or 700s, the Sony Mark Fours, or the Jabra Elite 85H which are my favorite, you might want to wait for generation 2. All of them sound great, cost a lot less, and can collapse into something smaller when you’re done. You know, logical things can only be achieved when thoughtful design considers that audio is just part of the experience.

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Netflix might soon add support for Spatial Audio feature on AirPods Max and Pro

One of the most interesting audio tricks offered by the AirPods Pro and the new AirPods Max headphones is Spatial Audio. It relies on head-tracking to offer a cinema-like surround sound audio output for a more immersive experience. And soon, content on Netflix might be able to take advantage of Spatial Audio while you binge-watch your favorite series wearing the AirPods Pro or the luxurious $549 AirPods Max. 

Spatial audio support on Netflix might arrive in Spring 2021

As per a report by French website iPhonesoft that cites an insider in Netflix’s development team, the streaming giant has been working on adding Spatial Audio support since December last year. And if all things fall into place, Netflix’s content library will enable Spatial Audio support on the AirPods Pro (likely their rumored successor arriving later this year as well) and the AirPods Max in the spring season this year. 

Needless to say, Spatial Audio will make the movie-watching experience even more enjoyable, as Apple promises that the feature will make users feel as if the sound is coming from all directions even if they move their heads. Do keep in mind that Spatial Audio has to be enabled manually from the Bluetooth section in the Settings app. Also, you’ll need a compatible audio product (read: AirPods Pro and Max) paired with a supported device running iOS 14 (and iPadOs 14) or a newer build.

Netflix might limit Spatial Audio support to its pricier plans

However, it remains to be seen whether Spatial Audio is enabled across the entire Netflix library, or only for select titles. Also, it is quite likely that Spatial Audio support will be exclusive to the pricier subscription tiers of the streaming service. Netflix already offers a similar audio-centric perk in the form of Dolby Atmos support. However, Dolby Atmos compatibility is available only for select few titles. And to enjoy its benefits, you need a Netflix plan that supports streaming in Ultra HD quality.

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Everything you need to know about the new Airpods Max

“I’ll buy them just for that sweet design.” This was my earlier reaction when I first saw the AirPods Max during the online launch event. However, the joy was short-lived, as Apple announced the exorbitant $549 price tag soon after. Now, I do spend more than I should on headphones, but the price commanded by Apple’s first over-the-ear headphones is a bit too high. Now, early reviews have lauded their audio performance, but there is more to these headphones than meets the eye. Here’s everything you need to know about the AirPods Max.

Design: A key selling point of the AirPods Max

Hands down one of the best aspects of the AirPods Max. The design is unlike any other headphones out there, and the build quality is terrific too. Apple has used anodized aluminum for the earcups, while the headband frame is made out of stainless steel. The upper canopy, on the other hand, is made out of breathable knit mesh to reduce the bulk and pressure on your cranium. However, the canopy is not real fabric, and will likely last longer than natural fabric.

AirPods Max come in Silver, Space Gray, Sky Blue, Pink and Green colors. (Image: Apple)

Say what you want, but this design is really something!

But these do not fold in the same way as a lot of other headphones you might have seen. Instead, they have clean telescopic arms for adjustment, and they are really flexible. So, if you got a larger-than-average head, you don’t have to worry about an uncomfortably tight fit. As for the color options, Apple offers you a choice between Silver, Space Gray, Sky Blue, Pink, and Green trims.

For additional comfort, Apple has gone with acoustic memory foam with a breathable mesh layer on top, something that not only ranks high on comfort value but will also handle sweat well in hot weather. But do keep in mind that the AirPods Max is not water-resistant. Notably, you can swap the earcups for new ones rather easily, as they attach magnetically and cost $69 a pair. Just like the Apple Watch, there’s a crown for volume controls and a dedicated button for enabling noise cancellation controls. 

AirPods Max miss out on water resistance. (Image: Apple)

You're definitely going to feel the bulk of AirPods Max

The biggest issue with the AirPods Max is that they weigh 385 grams, which means you’re definitely going to feel their bulk while on your head or wrapped around your neck. And this is something that you should seriously consider if you plan on wearing them for a long flight or just want to blaze past an assignment that is going to take a better part of your day. But the approach they take to fit around your head might not be the best solution. The AirPods Max clamp your head instead of relying on the canopy, which is good for a snug fit, but bad if you wear glasses with a thick frame.

Another aspect that has me worried is the weird case. Actually, this bra-butt hybrid case is one of the worst designs I’ve ever seen for headphones. The half-open approach taken by Apple doesn’t instill much confidence when it comes to protecting the headphones against scratches and other forms of mechanical damage either, especially the canopy. Another huge problem is that it serves no purpose other than to place them on stand by. It can’t carry wires or anything else, which further puts its usefulness into question.

This is one of the worst designs I’ve ever seen for a headphone case. (Image: Apple)

I can't stress how much this case design irks me!

Take a look at rival Sony, which ships its high-end cans in a sturdy case that also looks the part. It must also be noted here that Apple doesn’t ship a cable with the AirPods Max for wired listening. You have to spend extra cash to buy one that can be connected with your iPhone or other Apple device. Yeah, all that expense after paying the soul-crushing amount of $549 on a pair of headphones.

There are a total of nine mics on the AirPods Max, eight of which are used for ANC, while voice pickup ends up using three of them. Inside each earcup sits the in-house Apple H1 chip that brings computational audio smarts to the table. Overall, the AirPods Max is designed to look premium and they’ll soon be a fashion statement, just the way the AirPods became a sensation on their own.

AirPods Max – Internals and features

AirPods Max come equipped with the 10-core Apple H1 chip. (Image: Apple)

The AirPods come equipped with a custom-built 40mm dynamic driver that provides an excellent sound output with a tight bass and fantastic clarity. Even without spatial audio, the soundstage is so good that the headphones vibrate to the beat in a way that doesn’t deter from the music or video watching experience. I’d actually call this more immersive. They are backed by what Apple calls a dual neodymium ring magnet motor that is claimed to keep the levels of total harmonic distortion below 1%, ensuring that users get the best audio output without any tearing or other issues even at peak volume.

Transparency mode is the biggest victory for AirPods Max

The 10-core Apple H1 chip brings to life features such as Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency Mode, and spatial audio. Now, these happen to be the standout features of the AirPods Max, but there are a few other tricks up its sleeves such as automatic device switching, audio sharing, and always-on Siri among others. Each earcup also comes equipped with an optical sensor, position sensor, case detect sensor, and accelerometer. The gyroscope is only present in the left earcup.

AirPods Max excel at noise cancellation and the transparency mode is outstanding as well. (Image: Apple)

Starting with spatial audio, it is Apple’s own take on the 3D surround sound gimmick that relies on head-tracking via gyroscopes and accelerometers to deliver a theater-like music listening experience. It comes to life by using all the motion data it collects from these sensors and then adjusts the sound field with respect to the device accordingly. Apple says that Spatial Audio will work with content recorded in 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos.

The noise cancellation experience here is simply top notch

Active Noise Cancellation is part of the package as well, and in my brief experience, it is right among the best out there. Another useful feature is adaptive EQ, which takes into account how well the AirPods Max has been fitted and accordingly tweaks the audio signal, offering a more personalized music listening experience by doing all these changes in real-time. Apple says that Adaptive EQ ‘adjusts the low and mid-frequencies in real-time — bringing rich audio that captures every detail.’

AirPods Max are definitely heavy, but their build quality is outstanding (Image: Apple)

You also get transparency mode as part of the package. It is essentially an external awareness mode that allows ambient sound to pass through so that users are aware of what is happening in their surroundings. The AirPods Max has a dedicated physical button that allows users to switch between ANC and Transparency Mode with a single press of the button.

As for the actual performance, it is extremely good. “Transparency is probably the best I’ve tested, but it also brings the problem that it’s so good, that on an airplane it only maxes the noise around you,” notes my colleague Jaime Rivera of Pocketnow. And yes, the noise cancellation output is better than the AirPods Pro. In case you’re torn between the two devices, read our comparison of the AirPods Pro vs AirPods Pro comparison to find out which one better suits your needs.

AirPods Max offer a one-tap pairing experience. (Image: Apple)

The AirPods Max can also detect when users are wearing them, and if you take them off, they automatically pause the music playback to save battery. And when you place them in that horribly designed case, they enter an ultra-low-power mode. But they never turn off. And in our tests, we’ve found that they lose around 2% battery per hour.

The AirPods Max never actually turn off fully

The pairing experience is also hassle-free, as you just have to put the AirPods Max near your iPhone or iPad and tap on the on-screen connection prompt. No going through the process of entering the pairing mode and searching for a nearby device.

Talking about connectivity, the AirPods Max can be connected to multiple devices at once and they offer a seamless switching experience too. So, if you’re listening to music while connected to your Mac, the AirPods Max will automatically switch to your iPhone to attend an incoming call. On a similar note, you can share an audio stream with two AirPods from the same device, which can be an iPad, iPhone, iPod, or the Apple TV 4K.

AirPods Max have a physical button to switch between ANC and transparency mode. (Image: Apple)

Apple says that the AirPods Max can last up to 20 hours of music playback with ANC and Spatial Audio enabled, which is quite impressive. You can also enjoy movie playback and voice calling for the same amount of time on a single charge. Talking about charging, 5 minutes of being connected to a power source will provide enough juice for 1.5 hours of listening time. However, the AirPods Max stick with the Lightning port, which is almost infuriating, but not too surprising either. Also, they do NOT wireless charging, which is again disappointing given their price tag.

You can use the AirPods Max with Android devices too over Bluetooth, but the functionality will be limited. For example, you will miss out on spatial audio, which is one of the key features of Apple’s pricey headphones. Here’s a list of all the Apple devices that are compatible with the AirPods Max:

Apple Watch Series 6iPhone 12 mini iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th Gen)MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015–2017)
Apple Watch SEiPhone 12iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd Gen)MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2012–Early 2015)
Apple Watch Series 5iPhone 12 ProiPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd Gen)MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2012–2017)
Apple Watch Series 4iPhone 12 Pro MaxiPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st Gen)9MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018–2020)
Apple Watch Series 3iPhone 11iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd Gen)MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
Apple Watch Series 2iPhone 11 ProiPad Pro 11-inch (1st Gen)MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2012–Early 2015)
Apple Watch Series 1iPhone 11 Pro MaxiPad Pro 10.5-inchMacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012–Mid 2015)
iPhone XSiPad Pro 9.7-inchMacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012–2020)
Apple TV 4KiPhone XS Max iPad (8th Gen)MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2012–2019)
Apple TV 4K HDiPhone XRiPad (7th Gen)MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020, two ports)
iPhone XiPad (6th Gen)MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020, four ports)
iPod Touch 7th GeniPhone 8iPad (5th Gen)MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)
iPhone 8 PlusiPad Air (4th Gen)MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
iPhone 7iPad Air (3rd Gen)iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2012–2017)
iPhone 7 PlusiPad Air 2iMac (27-inch, Late 2012–Late 2013)
iPhone 6siPad mini (5th Gen)iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, Late 2015–2019)
iPhone 6s PlusiPad mini 4iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014–2020)
iPhone SE (2nd Gen)iMac Pro (2017)
iPhone SE (1st Gen)Mac mini (Late 2012–Late 2018)
Mac mini (M1, 2020)
Mac Pro (Late 2013–2019)

Where to buy the AirPods Max from?

The AirPods Max is currently up for grabs from the official Apple website as well as Best Buy. You can also throw in a 2-year Apple Care+ protection plan that costs $59 on top of the $549 Apple asks for the AirPods Max. If you don’t want to pay that amount upfront, you can opt for a 12-month EMI plan that costs $45.75/mo.

    AirPods Max

    AirPods Max are the culmination of a particularly long research and development process, but Apple has really delivered here. The sound output of the AirPods Max has received widespread acclaim, and their noise cancellation capability as well as excellent transparency mode has been lauded as well.

The post Everything you need to know about the new Airpods Max appeared first on Pocketnow.

AirPods Max vs Bose 700: Which should you buy?

AirPods Max launched at a surprising price point of $549. Hence, it is natural to compare them with the industry-leading pair of headphones. Here’s an AirPods Max vs Bose 700 comparison, despite the glaring price gap between the two. While the former is a recently-launched product that goes for $549, the latter is available below the $400 price tag. It mostly sells for $379 without a discount and $339 with a discount. How do both of these stack up? Is the AirPods Max worth the extra money? Let’s find out in our comparison.

AirPods Max vs Bose 700: Design

AirPods Max vs Bose 700

Both of these headphones have different aesthetics. The AirPods Max features curved rectangular cups as opposed to the oval cups found on the Bose 700. Plus, the ear cups on the Max attach magnetically, which is an easier change-process when compare to the Bose counterpart. Both have a stainless steel frame. While in the case of the AirPods Max the stems meet the top of the cans, the stems on Bose 700 bisect the plastic ear cups. Coming to the headband, the former has a mesh canopy layer, whereas the latter has a cushiony layer on top. The AirPods Max is heavier at 384.8 grams, while the Bose 700 weighs just 254 grams. That said, both of them are inconvenient since neither of them collapses.

Color

The AirPods Max offers more playful color options with Space Gray, Silver, Sky Blue, Green, and Pink, while the 700s come in Black, Luxe Silver, Soapstone, and Triple Midnight color options.

Controls

The AirPods Max doesn’t offer touch controls. Unusually, it features the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown for volume controls. The headphones have this crown and a dedicated Noise Cancelation button to switch between ANC on/off and Transparency modes. By contrast, the Bose 700 have both control buttons and a capacitive touch panel. 

Bose 700 case and in box accessories

Case

The AirPods Max comes with an unusually useless case. It is smaller than the competition, but it doesn’t serve a purpose other than to place the headphones on standby. In this case, you cannot carry any wires or other accessories. As for the Bose 700, they come included with travel accessories and the case protects the whole product.

AirPods Max vs Bose 700: Performance

Both these headphones are equipped with a wide range of features. The AirPods Max has Active Noise Cancelation, Spatial audio, top-class audio quality, and more. On the other hand, the Bose 700 is known as the king of ANC. Let’s focus on all these aspects in more detail.

Sound Quality and ANC

The AirPods Max sports 40mm drivers within the ear cups, which deliver an excellent audio experience. Apple has used a custom-designed dynamic 40mm driver for the AirPods Max. They vibrate to the beat in a way that doesn’t deter from the music or video, making the sound more immersive than the Pro. It also has a dual-neodymium ring magnet motor, which is claimed to be modeled after the ones you’d find in high-end floor speakers. The spatial audio is amazing and better than the AirPods Pro on these pair of headphones.

Bose 700 lifestyle

Coming to the Bose 700, the sound quality is on par with the Apple counterpart. They feature 8 integrated microphones to block out ambient noise without affecting audio quality. There’s a Conversation mode (transparency mode) that lets you hear what’s outside your headphones without taking them off.

Active Noise Cancelation effectively cuts out the background noise. Both these audio devices feature ANC. In the words of our own Jaime Rivera, ANC on the AirPods Max is “epic.” These come with 9 microphones, and Apple’s H1 chip for computational audio performance.

Voice Assistant

One big let down with the AirPods Max is that you are stuck with the Apple ecosystem. Hence, this is a product targeted at people who already own an Apple device like the iPhone or a Mac. The company offers Siri as a voice assistant on its pair of headphones. On the other hand, you get more freedom with the Bose 700. These can accommodate your preferred voice assistant including Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Siri.

Battery life

The AirPods Max is claimed to last up to 20 hours on a single charge with ANC and spatial audio enabled. Similarly, the Bose counterpart is slated to last up to 20 hours as well. However, you’ll have to juice up the Max with a Lightning cable as opposed to the USB Type-C found on the 700. Notably, the former doesn’t switch off and you place it in the case to have them in standby mode. Moreover, the AirPods Max lose about 2% battery life per hour, while sitting out of the case when not in use. It is not the case with Bose 700.

AirPods Max vs Bose 700: Which one to buy?

AirPods Max are priced well above the Bose 700. They offer advanced computational audio and seamless integration, and a better integration with the Apple ecosystem. However, it might or might not be enough to take on the Bose 700 with their industry-leading ANC. Both of these headphones offer similar battery life, but the 700 might last longer since there is an option to switch them go. At the end of the day, both of these products are of high-quality, and you can’t go wrong with either of them.

The post AirPods Max vs Bose 700: Which should you buy? appeared first on Pocketnow.

AirPods Max users report sweat build-up after extended usage issue

Apple launched its first-ever over-the-ear wireless headphones at a surprising price point of $549 recently. Early reviews have been positive for the device. However, AirPods Max users are now reporting condensation build-up inside the headphones. As per a user, water collected inside their AirPods Max ear cups after using the device for an extended period.

Donald Filimon from Tampa, Florida, raised his concerns on Twitter. “AirPods Max form condensation after extended use,” warned Filimon. “Warm ears and roughly 12 hours of consistent use mostly. Literally just sitting at my desk listening to music. Cold room as well which added to this.” On the other hand, Filimon mentioned the problem on Reddit as well, said it’s worrisome because “the water gets inside the drivers and has caused ear detection problems.” “Have experienced this too,” replied Reddit user koocachoo. “Not to this extent, but have seen some condensation when I take the ear cup off.”

Condensation is not an uncommon phenomenon for devices with metal earcups, coupled with a tight fit. These could be the reasons for the increased amount of water. That said, the premium design could potentially exacerbate the condensation problem.Not to forget, AirPods Max is much heavier than the competition. It weighs 384.8 grams, which is even more than the competitors like Sony WH-1000XM4 that weighs 253 grams. 

The most premium AirPods from Apple don’t offer any sort of water or sweat resistance, which is quite surprising. It isn’t one of the usual offerings with touch controls. Apple decided to bring its Watch’s Digital Crown to its latest product. The headphones have this crown and a dedicated Noise Cancelation button to switch between ANC on/off and transparency modes. The device is equipped with a wide range of features including Active Noise Cancelation, Spatial audio, top-class audio quality, and more. 

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AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro: Which should you buy?

Apple launched its first-ever pair of over-ear headphones and included them in its AirPods lineup. While the new headphones share the naming scheme, everything else from the price to the design is vastly different. Hence, you might be wondering which ones are the best for your new iPhone. Here’s an AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro comparison to help you make an educated purchase decision.

AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro: Price

Let’s start off by comparing the price since both reside in different segments. The AirPods Max costs $549, which is much more than its direct competitors that usually sell low $300. On the other hand, the AirPods Pro was launched for $249. However, that’s not the price you pay now. The earphones have since dropped to as low as $199. Hence, it is a $549 vs $199 competition.

AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro: Design

AirPods Max design

Comparing the design of the AirPods Pro vs AirPods Max is not the ideal way to differentiate. They offer different form factors. The most prominent difference between the two devices is obviously the design.

While the AirPods Max is an over the ear pair of headphones with memory foam cups, the AirPods Pro has an in-ear approach that has replaceable ear-tips for the perfect seal in your ear canal. The former should technically form a seal around your ears and deliver high-quality sound.

Wear it and forget it?

With the AirPods Pro, you might forget you have them in your ears with hours of usage. However, the AirPods Max won’t let you forget that you spent $550 on it as you’ll feel them on your head with prolonged usage. One benefit that the latter does offer is that it wouldn’t accidentally fall out of your ears. I lose my AirPods Pro all the time. And, I lose them in the house because they are so small. By contrast, that won’t be the case with its Max sibling.

Size and Weight

There is no option for you to adjust the size of the AirPods Pro. On the other hand, you can adjust the length of the AirPods Max with their telescoping arms. Not to forget, you get replaceable ear tips with the Pro to offer you the best fit possible.

AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro

As for the numbers, the AirPods Max is much heavier than its Pro sibling. The former weighs 384.8 grams, which is even more than the competitors like Sony WH-1000XM4 that weighs 253 grams. Meanwhile, the AirPods Pro weighs just 5.4 grams each, which totals 10.8 grams of weight in your ears.

Colors

The AirPods Pro is available in a single color option. However, with its new AirPods Max, Apple has taken the route of iPhones and iPads for color offerings. The Max comes in five color options, namely: Silver, Space Grey, Sky Blue, Pink, and Green.

Controls

AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro controls

The AirPods Max isn’t one of the usual offerings with touch controls. Apple decided to bring its Watch’s Digital Crown to its latest product. The headphones have this crown and a dedicated Noise Cancelation button to switch between ANC on/off and transparency modes.

By contrast, the AirPods Pro has pressure-sensitive stems. You can press them on both ears to play/pause music, skip tracks, enable/disable active noise cancellation and more. It must be noted that you can’t control the volume levels on the Pro, while the Digital Crown handles it with ease on the Max. To change the volume on the AirPods Pro, you will either have to ask Siri to do it or use your iPhone’s volume rocker.

Case

Let me tell you straight off the bat, the AirPods Max case serves no purpose. It is smaller than the competition, but it is honestly useless. It doesn’t serve a purpose other than to place the headphones on standby. Yeah, these headphones don’t have a switch on/off button and they never switch off. In this case, you cannot carry any wires or other accessories. Plus, unlike the AirPods Pro, it doesn’t add any functionality, like wireless charging. Coming to the AirPods Pro, the charging case forms part of a fairly simple accessory pack that comes within the box. Plus, it provides extra battery life to the earbuds.

Water and Sweat Resistance

The most premium AirPods from Apple don’t offer any sort of water or sweat resistance, which is quite surprising. On the other hand, the AirPods Pro offers IPX4 sweat and water resistance, which means you can use them even in light rain. The Max is likely to handle some level of sweat, but don’t go out wearing them if it’s raining. 

AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro: Performance

Both AirPods are equipped with a wide range of features. They have Active Noise Cancelation, Spatial audio, top-class audio quality, and more. Let’s focus on all these aspects one by one.

Sound Quality

AirPods Max exploded parts view

Generally, headphones sound better than earphones. Hence, it is reasonable to expect the AirPods Max to deliver better sound than the Pro. After all, the Max sports 40mm drivers within the ear cups, compared to the tiny driver inside the AirPods Pro. Plus, Apple has used a custom-designed dynamic 40mm driver for the AirPods Max. They vibrate to the beat in a way that doesn’t deter from the music or video, making the sound more immersive than the Pro.

Moreover, the memory-foam ensures that your ears get a seal, which translates into better sound quality. The Max also has a dual-neodymium ring magnet motor, which is claimed to be modeled after the ones you’d find in high-end floor speakers. On paper, you get spatial audio on both devices, but it is seriously amazing on the Max.

The AirPods Max doesn’t dominate everything, though. They are fine for phone calls, but not necessarily as good at picking up your voice as the AirPods Pro. Moreover, the Max can track your head movements to anchor the sound output, so it seemingly originates from a consistent source point even as you look around.

Active Noise Cancelation (ANC)

AirPods Pro exploded parts view

Active Noise Cancelation effectively cuts out the background noise. Both these audio devices feature ANC. The AirPods Pro is referred to as the gold standard of ANC on TWS earphones. That said, in the words of our own Jaime Rivera, ANC on the AirPods Max is “epic,” which was expected since headphones generally offer batter ANC.

The AirPods Pro uses one external mix on each earbud to measure outside noise and cancel it out. On the other hand, the AirPods Max have six such mics on the outside and two inside, for a total of eight microphones working together for noise cancelation.

There is a Transparency mode on both the devices as well. For the unaware, with Transparency, you will be able to hear outside sounds along with whatever is playing on your headphones. And, the number of mics help the Max here too. Jaime says that transparency is the best on the AirPods Max out of the devices he has tested so far. To trigger ANC on the AirPods Pro, you need to long press the stem, while on the AirPods Max, you get a dedicated button for the function.

Battery and Charging

Unsurprisingly, the AirPods Max, due to its size, offers a better battery life than the AirPods Pro. The former is claimed to last up to 20 hours on a single charge with ANC and spatial audio enabled. Meanwhile, the Pro counterpart is slated to last up to 4-5 hours on a single charge. However, unlike the AirPods Max, the Pro comes with a charging case that can charge the earbuds multiple times for a total battery life of 24 hours.

AirPods Pro charging case

As mentioned under ‘Case’, the AirPods Max never switches off, and you place it in the case to have them in standby mode. Moreover, they lose about 2% battery life per hour, while sitting out of the case when not in use. Both these headphones charge via Lightning cables. However, Apple includes a USB Type-C to Lightning cable in the box with the AirPods Max.

AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro: Which ones to go for?

Going from AirPods Pro to the Max is quite a price jump. Hence, price is one of the most prominent deciding factors when comparing the AirPods Max vs AirPods Pro. The AirPods Max offers better sound, Spatial Audio, and ANC but is a bit messy to travel with since they do not fold. On the other hand, the AirPods Pro is compact, offers similar battery life with the case, has sweat and water resistance rating as well as wireless charging support. You can’t go wrong with either of them.

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Pocketnow Daily: Official? There is a Galaxy Note 21 Happening! (video)

Apple’s latest Mac mini, smart home devices and more on sale today

Let’s begin today, one more time with deals, and can you believe we still have the Samsung trade-in deals that are just too good to be true? The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is still $1000, the Galaxy Note 20 is $450, the Note 20 Ultra is $750, the S20 starts at $420 for the FE and goes up to $915 with the Ultra, and the Galaxy Z Flip 5G is $650, again with an eligible trade-in device. The new M1 Mac Mini is currently $50 off. This means you can get the 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage model for $849, or $699 if you can live with 256GB of storage. If you want a powerful Intel MacBook Pro, the 16in is currently $400 off, leaving the Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage for $2399. Moving on to iPads, the latest 12.9in iPad Pro is $350 off, leaving it at $799 along with a pair of Audio Technica Earbuds for free. If you’re looking for headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM4’s are $72 off, leaving them for $278 which is a pretty good deal. Jabra’s Elite 85T are $30 off, leaving them at $200. We have other deals on over-the-ear headphones, other Earbuds, TVs and more in the links in the description.

OnePlus smartwatch plans confirmed by CEO Pete Lau, no rush towards foldables though

Let’s move on to OnePlus which always does a great job at teasing upcoming products. Pete Lau just went on an interview, confirming some products that have been on the rumor mill as of late. First off, he confirmed that they are working on a smartwatch after all, as they posted some teasers earlier in the fall. Lau said that Wear OS definitely has room to improve especially in aspects like connectivity with the rest of Google’s Ecosystem. Apparently Google has taken their feedback and they are interesting in developing that kind of connectivity between the OnePlus Watch and other OnePlus devices. Further on they reported that we might get this watch next year but of course, that isn’t confirmed. Moving on, they got onto the topics of foldables and it looks like OnePlus isn’t on that bandwagon just yet. Pete mentioned that one of the biggest issues is to have apps applied to leverage that larger displays to allow it to be of greater use. So, he didn’t rule out the possibility of getting one in the future but he did say that they are keeping a close eye on that industry so it sounds like it won’t happen soon. And you know what, I’d rather OnePlus continue to focus on getting the camera right, instead fo foldables.

New legislation in EU would promote competition and protect users from big tech companies

Let’s talk about big companies vs small companies, for two segments actually so bear with me here. The European Union just passed a new legislation that prevents big companies like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook to self-preference. This means that if you search up a keyword on the App Store for example, the search cannot preference apps made by Apple over third party apps. Other changes include that, these companies will be obliged to allow users to uninstall all pre-installed apps and the performance metrics will be have to be shared for free advertisers and publishers. If they fail to comply with these rules it will result in hefty fines that go as high as ten percent of the company’s worldwide annual turnover. All of these changes are happening to allow smaller companies and developers to have more of a fair chance to compete in today’s landscape. These haven’t been fully approved yet but, they will reportedly come into force faster than usual so, we’ll see what happens one they come in to effect. That said, good one EU, we do need more developers to stand a chance if we want technology to go beyond just a few companies.

Facebook targets Apple over privacy policy update, Apple says users must get a choice

Moving on, let’s talk about my least favorite company, Facebook. Last week we talked about how Craig Federighi made some statements on Apple’s upcoming privacy features which have made other company’s like Facebook mad. Well, it looks like Facebook is really mad. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Facebook has attacked Apple in a series of full-page newspaper ads that claim that Apple’s changes around data gathering and targeted advertising are bad for small businesses. These ads will run in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post with the headline “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses anywhere”. Finally it notes that Apple’s changes to iOS 14 will curb the ability for company’s like Facebook to gather data about users to ply them with advertising. So, it looks like Facebook is trying to do what Epic did but, Epic’s efforts at least actually helped the small businesses and not them primarily. If you missed it last week, Craig said that if company’s didn’t comply to the new guidelines, they would be kicked out of the App Store, like Epic did. It’s just funny how Facebook needs to pay for newspaper ads to influence consumers. What, your social network isn’t big enough?

Apple to release lower-priced AirPods Pro ‘Lite’ without noise cancellation

Let’s keep talking Apple but don’t worry, no more drama. Yes, today was finally AirPods Max day for me, and let’s just say they rumble a lot. That said, let’s shift the focus on to regular AirPods as, we’ll be reportedly getting new AirPods and AirPods Pro this year. According to a new report from The Elec, Cupertino is working on some AirPods Pro Lite which will simply be marketed as the 3rd Gen AirPods. The reason as to why they’re called “AirPods Pro Lite” is because they are tipped to feature the same design of the Pros, but without bringing the “Pro” feature which is Active Noise Cancelling. They’re reportedly developing a new System-in-Package for these which brings the H1 chip. Apparently they will go under quality verification this year, allowing for production to start in 2021 but we have no word on when we’ll actually be getting these. The price will reportedly be around 20% less than the Pros as they won’t bring their main feature. We’ll see as, I think they could be a nice addition to their March Event, but you can’t deny Apple has made their AirPods launches mostly silent and independent.

Story of the day:

Samsung denies Galaxy Note series discontinuation rumors

And finally, the hottest news today have to do with Samsung and their most beloved lineup. Rumors have been intense, but not just of the S21, we also have heard that the Galaxy Note might finally be no more. All of the rumors pointed to Samsung moving their focus on to foldables, and adding the S Pen to the Galaxy S, for those of you wanting to replace the Note with a more conventional device. Well, very official sources claim that it’s not going to happen. TM Roh, the president of mobile business just discredited all of the rumors hinting that the Galaxy Note would be discontinued. To quote him again, yesterday he mentioned that they have payed attention to people’s favorite features from the Note and that they will add them to other devices. Now, the report also claims that the Galaxy Note isn’t coming to an end any time soon. But, it is still very likely that the S Pen is expanding to both the S Line and the Z Fold line. The thing about it is, it’s already December, there’s still no codename for the phone, no rumors, anything.. But the company claims that we’ll still be getting one
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Pocketnow Daily: Samsung Galaxy S21 Teaser LEAKED! Should You Wait for It? (video)

Apple’s Mac mini, Samsung Galaxy S20+ and more are on sale today

Since the hottest news today are about Samsung, let’s talk Samsung deals as, the company is having a “Samsung Week Deals” on Amazon. This means you can get the Galaxy S20+ for $250 off, leaving it at $950 or the S20 for $200 off, leaving that at $800 shipped. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is also $100 off, leaving the 128GB variant for $330. For those of you looking for the trade-in deals, they’re still going and we’ll leave them on the links in the description as, the Z Flip is available for a crazy $100 if you have an eligible device. The Google Pixel 5 is $500 off from it’s original price tag at Verizon, meaning you can get it for a one-time payment of $300. Finally, if you’re looking for an Intel Mac Mini.. For some reason.. The Intel Core i5, 512GB of storage model is available for $800, with $300 in savings. We have more deals on Beats products, GoPros and more in the links below.

OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei reveals what he is doing next

Back in October, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei decided to leave the company and we’ve all been wondering what he plans to do next. Well, after two months in hiatus, he has raised a $7M funding for his new company. The investors include friends of him like Casey Neistat, Steve Huffman from Reddit and more, and apparently Carl is looking to start an audio-related company. Pei claims that he plans to use the capital to setup an office in London, hire talent and fund R&D. As a matter of fact he posted a “we are hiring” tweet saying “Let’s Build the Future Together”. According to a report from Wired, we can expect the first products to launch sometime next year, and Pei says that the company will have a broader focus than just headphones. So yeah, apparently they want to move really aggressively on their vision and we can’t wait to see what they come up with.

Google’s 5G Pixels get new Adaptive features, older Pixels also receive a ton of cool tricks

Now, let’s move on to Google as, the company just released their latest “Pixel Feature Drop”, this means that they just added a ton of new features to.. Pixels. For the latest Pixels, probably the most interesting features are Adaptive Sound and Connectivity where, the phone uses the mic to detect the acoustics in the surroundings to adjust your eq and volume, and it now automatically switches to 4G for basic tasks, to help you save some battery. Adaptive battery is now available as well, detecting when the user is about to miss its usual charging schedule and it helps it preserve battery life by controlling how fast the phone charges. If you have an older Pixel, Google is also showing some love, like in the case of the Pixel 3 where “Hold For Me” is now available, letting the Google Assistant wait for you on the line whenever you’re put on hold. Extreme Battery Saver, new Google Lens integration, Now Playing History and even more features also made the cut. If you have a Pixel make sure to check out the links in the description so you know everything you’re getting.

Apple’s Airpods Max aren’t everything Apple was hoping to deliver

Moving on to Apple, let’s talk about AirPods Max for a second as, you know that whenever Apple releases something, we get tidbits and details until after the fact. If you want to go in depth, I suggest you watch yesterday’s Pocketnow Daily where we talked about all the details but, the AirPods Max are Apple’s new over-the-ear headphones which offer some interesting features for $549. Yeah $549. Well, according to some new information AirPods Max didn’t bring all the features they were supposed to. For example, they are not equipped with the U1 Ultra wideband chip like it was rumored but they still managed to deliver spatial audio and other features. This is probably because, Apple reportedly started mass production a little over a month ago after making many changes according to Jon Prosser. But, Apple Engineers claim that Cupertino has been developing these for a crazy 4 years, when the original AirPods launched.. Prosser also claims that we’ll still be getting the Sport version.. But there really is no time frame for it at the moment. We’ll keep you posted on the review once our unit arrives, and it’ll reportedly happen for my birthday.

FTC sues Facebook over monopolistic conduct, seeks to undo WhatsApp and Instagram deals

Alright, we don’t usually cover lawsuits and stuff like that unless it’s something major or things that affects consumers, like Epic vs Apple. That said, if it’s about my least favorite company, let’s talk. The FTC just announced that they’re suing Facebook. This time it’s for “illegally maintaining their personal social network monopoly through a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct.” The FTC is focusing this lawsuit on Facebook using their power to “eliminate threats” to their monopoly and the effects it has on consumers. And it’s not the first time we’ve heard something like this but this time, the FTC is seeking a permanent injunction in federal court that could do things like this: Require divestment of assets, including Instagram and WhatsApp and require Facebook to seek for approval before mergers and acquisitions. This means that if everything goes well for the FTC, Facebook would have to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, probably giving us back some of our favorite apps. Now, it’s still early to tell as they just filed it but we’ll definitely keep you posted as, we know a lot of you guys were mad at those last updates.

Story of the day:

Samsung Galaxy S21 series is up for blind pre-order in India: Report

Samsung Galaxy S21 series appears in official video teaser leak

And finally the hottest news of the day have to do with Samsung and the Galaxy S21 series, as we have a ton of leaks and reports today so, bear with us. We have some of the official video teasers for the upcoming devices which were recovered by Android Police. We get three different videos, the first two are almost identical, showing the S21 and the s21+’s design in the Phantom Violet colorway which looks pretty good. However, when it comes to the Ultra, the video emphasizes on the new camera module which shows the 4 or 5 different lenses we’re getting with this device in the gray color variant. Again for the Ultra, we’re expecting the main 108MP sensor, a 12MP ultra wide, a 10MP 10x telephoto and a 10MP 3x telephoto. Moving on from the design and the cameras, Ice Universe claims that we’re getting a new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor which is 1.77x larger than the previous generation, and it’s reportedly twice as faster when compared to the last one. According to him, you don’t even need to press, it’s a simple tap to unlock now. Finally, a new report from India also claims that the S21 will be launched later there but.. It’s already available for pre-orders. If you go to their Opera House Store you can blindly pre-order the phone for 2000 Rupees. So yeah, we’re expecting these phones to launch some time around January 14, with them being available in stores by the end of the month. Other reports claim that these could be $100-200 less expensive and bring S Pen support as the rumors hint to Sammy getting rid of the Note line.
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