Thursday, Jan 28, 2021, 12:35 Hardware

Test: AirPods Max Battery, Recharging, And Smart Case

"Up to" ratings, mostly determined under conditions only met in a laboratory setting, are often exaggerated in product descriptions. Apple's prognosis of device battery life has had a good record in recent years, accurately reflecting device usage in multiple settings. Now, the AirPods Max and their claimed "up to 20 hours of runtime" are set to the test, are the headphones really capable of what's been advertised?

Testing The Battery Life
Provided that AirPods Max owners aren't affected by the quick battery drain bug, which has affected some, the headphones' battery tends to last quite a while. In the test scenario, the AirPods Max played Apple's "Global Top 100" playlist on repeat at 75% volume with noise-cancellation activated. The result? It took 22 hours for the headphones to die.

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Battery Indicator: Not Entirely Reliable
The battery indicator behaves a little strange, it took an entire hour for it to change from 99 to 100%. Other than that, the indicator functioned perfectly normally – except for during the transition from 1 to 0% (and deactivation of the headphones), which also took an hour. This is known to happen with battery indicators, which show calculated levels that may not match the actual charge.

90 minutes of listening after 5 minutes of charging?
Apple alleges that the AirPods Max can run for an hour and a half after only 5 minutes of charging. This was tested on an empty set of headphones, which were then charged for 5 minutes, and ran for an hour and 39 minutes. However, the charging speed of the AirPodsMax decreases when the battery is closer to being full. The last 5% of the battery requires much more time to be charged.

AirPod Max With And Without The Smart Case
And finally, the last question. Does leaving the AirPods Max in the Smart Case serve any purpose? After 12 hours without the Smart Case, the headphones lost 5% of their charge. After 12 hours of resting in the Smart Case, the headphones still lost 5% of charge, but after 18 hours in the Smart Case they transition into "Low Power Mode" – which is only activated after 72 hours when the AirPods Max aren't placed inside their case.

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