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Airpods Max
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PI7
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What we think

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The PerfectRec Earbuds or Headphones team Learn more
Updated January 10, 2024·

If you're looking for the best noise cancellation and you don't mind the extra weight, the Apple AirPods Max might be your choice as they offer superior noise isolation. However, the Bowers and Wilkins PI7 are more portable and provide better microphone quality, which could be preferable if you take many calls or meetings. For gaming, the PI7 has low latency which makes them suitable, whereas the AirPods Max may not perform as well in that aspect. Both support AAC codec for high-quality audio on Apple devices, but the PI7 also supports AptX for high-quality Android compatibility. The AirPods Max have longer battery life for extended use, but the PI7 comes with its own charging case that offers additional charges, and they support wireless charging for convenience. If you travel frequently, the compact size and lighter weight of the PI7 could be more comfortable, though the AirPods Max have a higher score for air travel, likely due to their noise cancellation. Ultimately, your decision may hinge on whether you prioritize active noise cancellation and battery life, or microphone quality, gaming performance, and portability. Give Feedback

this description is based on the product variant with some specs and product variant with some specs. At the time of writing, the variant with some specs cost some dollars and the variant with some specs cost some dollars.
Advantages of the Apple Airpods Max
  • Good for music
  • Excellent for air travel
  • Very good for podcasts and audiobooks
Advantages of the Bowers and Wilkins PI7
  • Very good for gaming

Key differences

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Music

7.3
Airpods Max
PI7
6.8
The Apple Airpods Max is good for music, while the Bowers and Wilkins PI7 is only fair.

Gaming

5.5
Airpods Max
PI7
8.1
The Bowers and Wilkins PI7 is very good for gaming, while the Apple Airpods Max is poor.

Phone Calls

6.6
Airpods Max
PI7
5.1
The Apple Airpods Max is only fair for phone calls, while the Bowers and Wilkins PI7 is poor.

Podcasts and Audiobooks

8.0
Airpods Max
PI7
4.8
The Apple Airpods Max is very good for podcasts and audiobooks, while the Bowers and Wilkins PI7 is poor.

TV and Video

5.7
Airpods Max
PI7
6.8
The Bowers and Wilkins PI7 is only fair for TV and video, while the Apple Airpods Max is poor.

Noise Reduction

10.0
Airpods Max
PI7
8.3
The Apple Airpods Max is best in class for noise reduction, while the Bowers and Wilkins PI7 is very good.

Battery

21.0 Hours
Airpods Max
PI7
3.0 Hours
The Apple Airpods Max has 21 hours of battery life. The Bowers and Wilkins PI7 has 3 hours of battery life.

Cost

$449
Airpods Max
PI7
$399
Product image
Product image

$200

$250

$300

$350

$400

The Apple Airpods Max has a price of $449 and the Bowers and Wilkins PI7 costs $399.
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Key similarities

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Build Quality

9.0
Airpods Max
PI7
8.9
Although they have very similar scores, PerfectRec considers Apple Airpods Max to have excellent build quality, while the Bowers and Wilkins PI7 has very good build quality.

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How the Apple Airpods Max and the Bowers and Wilkins PI7 compare to other earbuds and headphones

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Spec Comparison

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Apple Airpods MaxBowers and Wilkins PI7
Apple Airpods MaxBowers and Wilkins PI7

GENERAL

Price
$449
$399
Brand
AppleBowers and Wilkins
Release Date
December 1, 2020April 1, 2021
Form Factor
HeadphonesEarbuds
Connectivity
Wired + WirelessWireless

SOUND

Music Score
7.4/106.9/10
Phone Calls Score
6.6/105.2/10
Gaming Score
5.5/108.2/10
TV and Video Score
5.8/106.9/10
Exercise Score
6.2/105.8/10

PERFORMANCE

Battery life
21 Hours3 Hours
Wireless charging
NoYes
Charging time
2 Hours0.7 Hours
Bluetooth version
55
Case Battery Life
N/A20

FEATURES

Active Noise Cancelling
YesYes
Noise Reduction Score
10/108.4/10
Virtual Surround
YesNo
Android App
NoYes
iOS App
YesYes
Mic Quality
7/108.5/10

BUILD AND DESIGN

Build Quality
9/108.9/10
Comfort score
7/108/10
Size
N/ALarge
Weight (headset or single earbud)
385.5 Grams7 Grams
Microphone style
IntegratedIntegrated

Shopping

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Apple Airpods Max

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Dig into reviews and images

Sound Guys

Adam Molina | July 2023
"Objectively, the AirPods Max is a spectacular pair of headphones. I appreciate the smart features like auto-pause and the transparency mode are super practical. It also sounds great, is well-built, and has solid battery life."

Bowers and Wilkins PI7

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Dig into reviews and images

Sound Guys

Chase Bernath | April 2022
"The primary selling point of the Bowers & Wilkins PI7 is the charging case that can transmit audio from any analog source to the earbuds. If you have a very specific and clear need for that feature, then the Bowers & Wilkins PI7 is for you."

Get a great deal on the Apple Airpods Max or the Bowers and Wilkins PI7

About Apple

Apple Inc. is an American technology company, founded in 1976, known for its wide range of premium products, including smartphones, computers, and audio solutions. Apple offers the very popular personal audio line AirPods, highly regarded for their wireless, smart capabilities and their seamless integration with the iPhone, iPad and Mac devices. They provide a high-quality sound, comfort and lifestyle features perfect for all users invested in their ecosystem.

About Bowers and Wilkins

Bowers and Wilkins is a British audio equipment manufacturer with a focus on innovation and product development. It was founded by a couple of real-life James Bonds, the co-founders John Bowers and Roy Wilkins, who met while working for MI6 during World War II. The company keeps being favored by enthusiasts due to their sound quality, craftsmanship and signature aesthetics.

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Why trust us

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This information was produced and vetted by the PerfectRec earbuds & headphones team. We are a product research and recommendation organization that meticulously reviews and evaluates the latest earbuds or headphones information and makes it digestible for you.

By the numbers

108
Earbuds and headphones evaluated
11,340
Earbuds and headphones stats compiled
15
Proprietary Earbuds and headphones ratings developed
67,700
Recommendations made
10,155
Consumer hours saved

About the Earbuds or Headphones team

Joe Golden, Ph.D

CEO and Earbuds and Headphones Editor
Joe is an entrepreneur and lifelong electronics enthusiast with a Ph.D in Economics from the University of Michigan.

Jason Lew

Staff Expert & Software Engineer
Jason is a staff expert and software engineer that has been making laptop recommendations for 7 years and moderates one of the largest laptop subreddits.

Chandradeep Chowdhury

Staff Expert & Software Engineer
Chandradeep is a staff expert and software engineer and expert in televisions and monitors. He’s been making monitor recommendations for ten years.

Luis Torres

Earbuds and Headphones Expert
Luis is a Mexico-based headphones expert. He’s been making headphone recommendations for five years and has close to 100 pairs in his personal collection.

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