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Design and Build Quality

Comparing the Top Dogs: AirPods Max vs. Bose 700 Headphones

In the world of premium noise cancelling headphones, two models stand out from the pack as top contenders: the Apple AirPods Max and the Bose 700. Both brands carry strong reputations when it comes to audio quality, so how do these flagship headphones stack up? I‘ve tested them both extensively, so let‘s dive into this epic AirPods Max vs. Bose 700 comparison.

Apple aimed for a premium, fashion-forward look and feel with the AirPods Max. You can choose from a range of eye-catching anodized aluminum colors like pink, green, sky blue and space gray. The build quality is excellent thanks to the machined metal frame, and materials like the knit-mesh canopy headband and memory foam ear cups scream luxury.

That said, they are pretty chunky on the head coming in at 385 grams. The non-adjustable headband may not work for some, but I found it surprisingly comfortable over long listening sessions.

The Bose 700 headphones exude understated elegance with more traditional oval ear cup shapes. You can pick between triple black, silver and a warm tan "soapstone" colorway. Streamlined design, quality materials and superb craftsmanship make these headphones feel like a premium product.

Plus at only 250 grams, the 700s are much lighter than the AirPods Max. The headband is well-cushioned and adjustable for the perfect personalized fit. For all-day wearability, the Bose 700 headphones get my vote.

Verdict: Bose 700 for lightweight comfort; AirPods Max for standout aesthetics

Both headphones deliver exceptional audio, but there are discernable differences between their sound signatures.

The AirPods Max produce wonderfully dynamic and detailed sound across the entire frequency range. The soundstage is more spacious, with awesome separation letting you pick out the distinct elements of your music. Vocals and instruments have gorgeous clarity, combined with rich bass response devoid of muddiness.

Bose went for a more natural, balanced tuning with the 700 headphones. The sound profile slightly elevates both bass and treble for added excitement. Mids sound highly accurate and crisp. The downside is soundstage space seems narrower to my ears compared to the expansive AirPods Max.

If you want the most faithful and enveloping music listening experience, the AirPods Max get my recommendation. But you can‘t go wrong with the impressive audio coming out of the Bose 700 cans either.

Verdict: AirPods Max for pure audio prowess

Both headphones feature excellent active noise cancelling (ANC) that helps mute external ambient sound very effectively. This lets you remain undisturbed while commuting or working in noisy environments.

Apple implemented an innovative noise cancelling system on the AirPods Max with six mics – two aimed outward and two inward on each ear cup. This setup detects environmental noise in real time and makes adjustments to reject it better. The ANC effect is practically magic – once you put them on almost all background disturbance disappears. No pressure buildup issues for me either like some other ANC headphones.

You get 11 levels of noise cancellation with the Bose 700 headphones controlled through the Bose app. This lets you fine tune based on just how much isolation you want. Maximum ANC feels extremely effective, almost in the same league as the AirPods. These are also very comfortable to wear with ANC turned on high.

For hassle-free noise blocking, the AirPods Max takes the cake. But few can match the degree of customization possible on the 700s here.

Verdict: Draw – both excel at nullifying external noise

The AirPods Max works best within the Apple device ecosystem, offering neat features like audio sharing to another iOS user and quick device switching. The intuitive crown dial makes controlling music and calls a breeze. You also get hands-free "Hey Siri" access to Apple‘s voice assistant.

The Bose 700 headphones play nicer with both iOS and Android phones. Touch controls let you manage calls and playback by tapping or swiping on the earcups – very futuristic! Quick access to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa means these also work well as a voice-controlled headset.

Both pairs come with smartphone apps that let you tweak sound profiles and get firmware updates. You can also toggle transparency/ambient sound mode when needed. Battery status, guide tutorials and tech support options round out these apps nicely.

Verdict: AirPods Max for Apple fans; Bose 700 for cross-platform flexibility

Apple promises around 20 hours of listening time with ANC and spatial audio enabled on the AirPods Max. During my testing over several cycles, I found I could stretch it to over 22 hours comfortably. That‘s pretty insane for over-ears with power-hungry noise cancelling running.

15 minutes of charge over Lightning gives you close to 2 hours of playtime. Superb quick charging capabilities make the AirPods Max ideal for travelers and commuters alike.

The Bose 700 headphones are no slouch either – you get the exact same 20 hour manufacturer claim for max ANC usage. I found it lasts closer to 18 hours realistically, not a huge difference from the AirPods. A speedy 15 minute charge gives you roughly 3.5 hours of listening, so slower than the AirPods here.

For battery performance, both are impressive. But Apple edges out Bose when you consider charge speed.

Verdict: Slight win for the AirPods Max

The AirPods Max launched with an eye-watering $549 retail price that remains largely unchanged even after a couple years. The Bose 700 typically goes for $379 MSRP but can be found discounted new to around $299 nowadays.

Given the superior audio quality, noise cancelling and battery charging speed the AirPods deliver, its exorbitant price may be justified for well-heeled shoppers. The overall experience feels luxuriously modern. Considering its lower cost, the Bose 700 punches well above its weight here too.

But for value hunters, there‘s no denying you get significantly more headphone for those Benjamin Franklins with the Bose model.

Verdict: Bose 700 provide better value without losing much ground in performance

The AirPods Max is the crème de la crème for Apple users wanting to splash some cash on stellar wireless ANC cans. Outrageous price aside, you get ambrosial sound and features that perfectly complement your Apple kit. Android owners seeking sonic bliss may still want the AirPods for its dazzling pure audio quality.

As an Android user myself though, I have gravitated more towards the Bose 700 as my daily drivers instead. The comfort, sleek aesthetics and marathon battery life work extremely well for my needs. Audio and ANC quality still blow me away too. Unless you demand the absolute best sound available, I believe most buyers get more practical value from the cheaper Bose 700 headphones.

But why choose? If you have the budget, having both the AirPods Max and Bose 700 means you’re perfectly equipped regardless of your source gear. Dream combo? You betcha! As two of the finest noise cancelling headphones ever made, these flagships deserve joint custody in any high-fidelity wireless audio collection.