To my right, a brand known for the sound quality and reliability of their products and has been a benchmark in the noise canceling headphones market for several years: the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700. To my left, a new kid on the block. Special aesthetics and with a price that does not surprise us from the manufacturer: the Apple AirPods Max. A point-by-point conflict and in the end a single winner of this verse. Apple AirPods MaxBose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 Compatibility window, Mac, iOS, Android, Bluetooth, … Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Bluetooth, consoles, …. Connection type Bluetooth, wired with optional adapter Bluetooth, wired with supplied adapter 2 x converter 40mm 2 x 40mm Announced Frequency Response 20Hz-20kHz 20Hz-20kHz Impedance N. C60 ohm Advertised Sensitivity N. CN Audio Rendering (Stereo, 7.1, etc.) Stereo Stereo Active Noise Reduction 9 x Yes Omnidirectional8 x Omnidirectional Microphone Noise Reduction No No Supplied accessories Housing, lightning / USB adapter housing, USB-C / USB adapter, mini jack / micro jack Weight 385 g260 g Announced autonomy 20 hours 20 hours OffersFnac Marketplace € 600.00 Free deliveryBoulanger € 629.00 In-store pickupDarty € In-store pickupAmazon € 629.00 Free DeliveryFnac € 629.00 Pick up at storeMateriel.net € 629.95 Delivery € 6.95 OffersMateriel.net € 319.94 delivery € 6.95 Boulanger € 319.99 In-store collectionFnac € 319.99 In-store collectionDarty € 319.99 In-store collectionFnac Marketplace € 329.99 Free deliveryAccount € 400.73 Free delivery
Material and workmanship: Everything is to the advantage of the AirPods max
Metal for the outer part of the ear cups, metal headband with a hard rubber finish, the external appearance of the AirPods Max is particularly successful with a premium aspect that has never been seen for a model in this category and that catches the eye at first glance. In contrast, it is more difficult for the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 to maintain their rank, since a simple plastic is slightly shiny and, above all, ubiquitous. Likewise, the surface of the ear cups and the inside of the headband, which are very classic at Bose, with a slightly suffocating synthetic leather and a poor quality rubber in contact with the top of the head, if Apple has a ventilated fabric for the ears and a light hanging over it brings out the head. We also like the ability to effortlessly remove, replace, or clean the AirPods Max’s earbuds, so the materials and finish are clearly in the Apple Airpods Max’s advantage, which is no wonder given the price difference. And on this point, that difference is perfectly justified; the Bose headset is clearly not to its advantage.
Comfort: Strong arguments at Bose
With more than 120 grams of difference to its advantage, the Noise Canceling Headphones 700 offers the palm of comfort, if only thanks to its moderate support of the neck for those who want to leave it on their head for a long time. Std. The Bose headphones are also better balanced with regard to the pressure between the skull and ears and are easier to adjust. On the Apple side, there isn’t a particular lack of comfort, especially at the ear level, where the thick foams ensure good sweat management. But the weight is really noticeable over time, especially at the level of the stretched canvas of the arch, which gradually sags until the skull and the rigid bar come into contact. And it’s not very comfortable. We also notice a lack of pressure on the lower part of the ears when the helmet is worn on a larger head. Not enough to bleed the tone, but enough to give a slight sense of imbalance. So in terms of comfort, Apple’s headphones are left behind by those from Bose. The latter ensures a good hold of the head, a very measured weight and an almost perfect overall balance, regardless of the size of the head. It is the ideal companion for long musical sessions.
Ergonomics and compatibility: everyone has their own favorite field
For use in the Apple ecosystem, the AirPods Max is difficult to compete with. It connects in less than 3 seconds, switches from one device to another in no time, offers settings already built into the brand’s various operating systems, and its controls are particularly practical and well integrated. We also appreciate the Apple Watch-inspired wheel for volume control, current songs, or call management. Thanks to its standard Bluetooth 5.0 connection, the headset is still compatible with devices from other systems. On the other hand, a major drawback of the accessories that come with a SmartCase on the one hand, which is not very practical, and on the other hand, the lack of a cable to use by analogy with the microphone (a mini-jack cable without a charged microphone 39 €) on the Bose – On the side, we still benefit from Bluetooth 5.0, but for iOS and Android there is an almost mandatory application. It still offers some welcome features, including a 3-band equalizer to sculpt the basic sound a bit. Please note that the headset is generally less comfortable to use: the buttons are thin and difficult to identify, and the touch controls are more of a gadget as they are sometimes difficult to manage. On the other hand, Bose has equipped its headphones with an analog input / output in the micro jack and supplies the adapter to the mini jack. If this is not perfect, the headset will still guarantee cable compatibility with our consoles (PlayStation or Xbox controller, Nintendo Switch), as with many devices that are equipped with the mini-jack connector, at no additional cost. Apple headphones have a certain superiority to Bluetooth thanks to the ergonomics of the controls, especially if you are a user of the branded devices. Even so, the Bose model defends itself with greater compatibility than the analog cable. Think of this as a nice tie.
Sound quality and soundproofing: Apple is entering the market by force
If the AirPods Max can’t really boast of being an audiophile model, especially due to the lack of management of high-resolution audio, their sound reproduction remains far superior to that of the Bose. Clarity of highs, reproduction of bass, frequency balance regardless of volume, optimization of the sound quality of your songs in low resolution – the Apple headphones are a real hit, allowing you to enjoy stored or streamed music in a way that the Bose 700 does not is particularly disappointing, but it’s still a cut below its competitors. It fishes a little because the treble isn’t precise or when the playback varies by volume with the media a little too far forward. Incidentally, he is doing honorably. We also remember its main selling point when it was launched, which is the attenuation of ambient noise, making it possible to listen to music at a lower volume or even use the headphones to simply improve the quality of the ambient silence. Aside from Apple gaining the upper hand on this point too, with an even more effective ANC (Active Noice Canceling) mode that almost completely isolates you from the outside world, and a transparency mode that, on the contrary, almost gives the impression that no headphones are on. And we have to admit that on this occasion, the Californian brand is holding its own very well by positioning itself as the new leader in this technology. In the end we have two helmets that don’t really offer the same level of performance, both for noise reduction for the quality of the sound reproduction. On those two points, it is actually Apple that takes the palm.
Conclusion: No clear advantage for Apple despite a nice price difference
The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 hit the market for almost $ 400 (but we regularly find it under $ 300 on promotions), and Apple’s AirPods Max top $ 600. Which justifies several points in which the Apple model outperforms its competitors, such as the quality of the materials used or the sound reproduction. We also have to admit that Apple has done a great job of integrating its headset with its various operating systems with a very practical and easy to use wheel. The Airpods also play the card of openness with Bluetooth 5.0, which makes them compatible with non-Apple platforms, but they do not offer an analog solution for owners of consoles or smartphones with a mini jack. Finally, the Apple headset offers active noise cancellation with two modes that are perfect for travel or contact with the outside world. At its side, the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 loses a bit of its excellent aesthetic and sonic side, where it does not offer the same level of performance. We also regret the ergonomics of the thin buttons or the difficult-to-use touch controls. On the other hand, the Bose model far surpasses comfort, especially thanks to a more controlled weight and a near perfect balance of the headphones. This is probably the helmet we would choose if we had to go on a trip. We also appreciate the full cable compatibility and use in passive mode without using the battery which allows you to play on our consoles while enjoying the microphone when possible. The shows are rather balanced and to Bose’s advantage when we factor in the price difference. A result that we didn’t necessarily expect. For our part, we’ll be adding a reference at Razer to take a closer look: the Opus we recently tested. It is cheaper than the two headsets featured here, and offers ergonomics, comfort, compatibility and rendering close to the Bose 700, the quality of noise reduction and less. To see your budget and needs. To also read: