AirPods Max Craftsmanship Makes Sony, Bose Flagships ‘Look Like Toys’ in Comparison: iFixit Teardown

AirPods Max have been subjected to an extensive teardown by iFixit. The Apple headphones’ price tag has been a popular subject of discussion, and they are compared to Sony and Bose flagships for a more comprehensive understanding on why Apple has priced them so high. The teardown reveals the headphones have two battery cells in the right cup, and no counterweight on the left one. Even then, the misbalance in weight is eliminated due to the engineering of AirPods Max. iFixit gives it a score of 6 out of 10, its first non-zero score to an AirPods product.

iFixit begins the teardown by removing the magnetically attached earcup cushions on AirPods Max without any tools, and unscrews the many pentalobe screws on the earcups. However, these earcups are further locked in with glue, and the folks at iFixit had to use the heat gun to pull it apart. iFixit notes that each earcup has a single microphone stowaway, and the 40mm drivers are held down by a few screws as well.

Coming to the battery, the two cells reside in the right earcup and are fastened with screws and not adhesive. They provide power via a single iPhone-style pop connector without any soldering. This makes the battery inside the AirPods Max easy to replace. The two battery cells offer a total capacity of 664mAh and 2.53Whr total energy at 4.35 V. In comparison, the Bose NC 700 wireless headphones have a 2.39Whr cell that promise around 20 hours of listening time and Sony WH-1000XM4 have a 4.1Whr battery that claims to offer a longer, 30 hour listening time.

Probably the best part about reparability is iFixit’s discovery on Apple’s headband removal technique. It was noted that you can detach the entire headband from AirPods Max with just a SIM card removal tool or paperclip, without even opening the ear cup.

iFixit says that despite the slightly complex earcup opening process, AirPods Max are “fairly serviceable.” The teardown also lauds the engineering of AirPods Max, saying that it resembles “more of a mechanical watch than of any pair of headphones.” It adds, “After tearing down some of the competition, we’re more understanding of that $550 price tag. Sony and Bose both charge less, but internally, the AirPods Max’s obsessive craftsmanship makes those other extremely capable devices look like toys by comparison.” The AirPods Max are priced in India at Rs. 59,900 and are available in the US for $550.

Is HomePod mini the best smart speaker under Rs. 10,000? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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