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The AirPods Max is the pinnacle of the AirPods range, offering an over-ear headphone experience that sets it apart from the AirPods and AirPods Pro earbuds that have become some of Apple’s most popular products. They also come with a price tag that dwarfs those other products, so is the AirPods Max worth the high price tag?
We took a Sky Blue AirPods Max delivery and spent a few weeks with it to see if the price is justified.
Table of ContentsApple AirPods Max Controls
The AirPods Max doesn’t have many controls to speak off, not even a power button! All you get is one mode button and a digital crown. Compared to other common Bluetooth headphone designs, this is downright spartan. Yet it never poses an issue during use.
You can also depress the crown as an additional button. By default, a single button press will pause the music, while a double press will skip the track. Press and hold the crown, and you’ll summon Siri. We tried this with a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, but sadly holding the crown did not summon Google Assistant.
The AirPods Max controls may be minimal, but that was never an issue. Most importantly, you can find and operate them without any conscious thought.Transparency Mode and Noise Cancellation
We don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that the two best features that go a long way to justifying the price tag of the AirPods Max are the transparency mode and active noise cancellation.
Starting with transparency mode, the idea is to allow ambient sounds through the headphones, picked up by microphones on the exterior. Many Bluetooth headphones have this feature now, but none are close to the quality found here.
Simply put, with transparency mode, you can easily forget you’re wearing headphones. It sounds completely natural, and it’s no issue to leave it on permanently if you like.
It’s super helpful when you want to hear the audio from your device but still be available to talk to other people in the room. It’s like having a TV or sound system that only you can hear.
The Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is also verging on magic. Constant noises, such as an air conditioner, are entirely erased from existence. However, the most impressive feat here is how sounds with random patterns, such as conversations, are almost entirely suppressed. These are perhaps the best noise-canceling headphones you can buy at any price. Standing toe-to-toe with the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones.
In combination, these two features make AirPods Max a great daily-driver productivity headphone, where you can control how much of the outside world you let in.Connectivity
One notable difference is that there’s no direct analog connection for these headphones. The adapter contains an analog-to-digital converter which supplies the AirPods with a digitized signal.The Lightning Issue
Although the Max has acceptable connectivity, the use of Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector remains a painful issue. Our MacBook Air and iPad Pro, along with all our non-Apple devices, use USB-C. Leaving only the iPhone, Magic Keyboard, and now AirPods Max using this connector. This means we’ll always need to pack at least one extra cable.
Apple might have mitigated this by including wireless or wireless MagSafe charging, and we hope to see this feature added in a future revision of the AirPods Max.Bluetooth Performance and Compatibility
We were very impressed with the Bluetooth performance of the AirPods Max; walking around a two-story home with an iPad Air beaming music to the max, it was almost impossible to cause dropout. This is probably thanks to Apple’s AAC codec, which balances quality and performance.
We also used the Max with several non-Apple devices, including a Windows 11 laptop, an Android Galaxy S21 Ultra, and an OLED Nintendo Switch. Pairing and connecting with all of these devices worked with no issue. We never experienced the Max refusing a connection request from a paired device.
Latency on non-Apple devices was also good. On Apple devices, latency is almost non-existent thanks to the custom signal processing hardware at play in the dual H1 chips, one in each cup. Using it with the Switch, in particular, latency was noticeable less than the Samsung Galaxy Buds + or Sennheiser BT4.5 headphones we’ve also tried with the console. So even without the full benefit of the H1, latency was still impressive.Battery Life
Apple claims that Airpods Max has around 20 hours of battery life, which seems to track with our daily use experience. After a full 8-hour day of wearing the headphones, there was still a little over 50% of battery life left.
We didn’t encounter any battery drain leaving the headphones running overnight, other than he expected 1-2%. This was a complaint when AirPods Max was first released, but if it were ever an issue, it seems that it’s now resolved.Spatial Audio: Gimmick or Genius Feature?
When used with an Apple device that supports it and the right app and content, the AirPods Max offers virtualized spatial audio.
This puts virtual audio sources in fixed positions relative to your head, and they appear to stay in place as you turn your head thanks to internal accelerometers used for head tracking. This allows virtual surround sound, which sounds quite convincingly like real speakers situated in the room around you.
While the virtual surround feature is quite impressive (you’ll have to boot up Apple TV to sample it or use the built-in demo), we think that the coolest implementation of the technology is stereo virtualization. This applies to the stereo audio of the whole Apple device, and it makes it sound as if stereo sound is coming from the device itself. In other words, it’s pretty much like watching something on your MacBook or iPad using their onboard speakers, just with much better audio quality.
Why is this a good thing? Sometimes you don’t necessarily want that “in my brain” audio experience that headphones offer. Instead, it now sounds like the audio is coming from the picture, and this quickly became our preferred way to watch streaming media. We suspect this will be especially effective with an Apple TV device, but we didn’t have the opportunity to test the Max with one.Design and Build Quality
The AirPods are solidly constructed. Apple has mainly used metal for the Max, from the headband to the earcups; these are incredibly solid headphones. The headband frame, the sliding mechanism for size adjustment, and the hinge mechanism inspire confidence, especially with Max’s stainless steel frame.
These certainly seem to be headphones that will have a long lifespan. The only components that might be subject to wear are the batteries. There are two batteries in the right ear cup and, thanks to iFixit’s teardown of the Max, we know that screws, not glue, hold in them. So, in theory, it should be easy to replace them. Given Apple’s new commitment to user repairability, the money spent on a Max could go a long way.
That said, the batteries in Apple’s other devices, such as the new MacBooks, are rated for around 1000 charge cycles before they start to lose capacity. Given that you’ll get 20 hours per full charge, it will take a while before hitting 20,000 hours of playback. This is about seven years if you use them for eight hours a day.
It’s also worth noting that iFixit compared the internal workmanship and materials to cheaper Sony and Bose headphones and found that they “look like toys by comparison.” So much of the money you spend on the Max goes into this over-engineering.The Infamous Smart Case
There has been more than enough mockery of the included carry case for the AirPods Max, but this can’t be a complete review without some mention of it. Yes, this protective case doesn’t offer much protection or make it easier to transport your AirPods Max. We also don’t like how the case causes the bare metal ear cups to knock into each other when you remove them.
Despite what you may have heard, it’s also unnecessary to put your headphones in the case to switch them off. After taking off the headphones, they’ll go into a low power mode soon and into a deep sleep after that. We used our AirPods without using the case and didn’t have any battery drain problems.
However, if you want to travel with your AirPods Max, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a third-party case.Comfort
Comfort is a very subjective matter when it comes to headphones, not least of which because our bodies are so different. The main complaints we’ve seen before trying Max for ourselves relate to weight and clamp force.
Since the Max is mainly made from metal, it does weigh more than typical over-ear headphones. The fabric headband and plush ear cups are there to mitigate this, but some users will be more susceptible than others.
We wore the AirPods Max for up to eight hours per day while working in an air-conditioned office and had no comfort issues. It was very easy to forget you were wearing headphones at all. We think the AirPods Max are very comfortable headphones, but considering how much they cost, it’s worth trying a pair on your head first.
It must be said, the ear cushion memory foam is exquisite. And the ease with which you can remove and switch out these magnetically-attached cups is a touch of genius we’d like to see more headphone brands adopt.Sound Quality
This is perhaps the most contentious aspect of the AirPods Pro when it comes to the price. It’s natural to expect an “audiophile” listening experience if you’re putting down more than $500 for a pair of headphones, but there are some problems with that angle.
Just because two pairs of headphones have a similar price doesn’t mean that they’ve been designed for the same purpose. The AirPods Max headphones lack the key features that you’d find in audiophile gear. They have no direct analog input, don’t support lossless audio even through a wired connection, and are close-backed. Not to mention that in the world of high-end headphones, the AirPods Max is priced in the mid-range.
Taking all of this into account, how good does the AirPod Max sound? The short answer is that they sound good and are remarkably unbiased, unlike Apple’s other Beats headphone brand. While these are not “flat” like studio monitors (which is a good thing), the audio reproduction is neutral no matter what genre of music we tried. We feel like changing EQ settings from the default adaptive EQ at no point.
Most importantly, all of the music exhibited significantly more detail and nuance than, for example, the typical $200 headphones. Is it more than twice as good? That’s a subjective question, of course, but the difference isn’t subtle. We can’t imagine anyone but the most demanding customer finding the audio reproduction unacceptable, and those customers are most likely spending more than Apple is asking for.Services Tested
We tried listening to various genres of music across multiple music streaming services. This included Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Spotify, but not Amazon Music.
All three services were set to the highest streaming and download quality. The idea was to see whether the AirPods did significantly better on Apple Music than competing choices. This is important since although Apple Music is popular, that doesn’t mean every AirPods buyer will use it.
The good news is that, to our ears at least, there’s no appreciable difference in streaming quality regardless of which service you listen to. So if you’re worried that AirPods are only going to give you a good audio experience using Apple’s own service, put that concern to bed.Audio Imaging and Soundstage
Audio reproduction quality is one thing, but that’s not all there is to the sound quality perceived by your ears. The soundstage and imaging of headphones also matter, and it’s something often lacking in cheaper headphones.
If you’re not familiar with these terms, which is not something mainstream headphone consumers often are, let’s define them briefly.
The soundstage is the virtual space in which you hear the audio. Headphones with a good soundstage shouldn’t sound like speakers an inch away from your ears. Instead, it should sound natural and spacious. Headphones with the best sound stages are usually open-backed. This means that they have zero sound isolation for either you or the other people in the room.
Imaging is the ability of the headphones to place sounds such as specific instruments within the soundstage. So it sounds like one musician is in front of you, and another is off to the side. Essentially you feel like you are on stage in the middle of the band.
Although open-backed audiophile headphones outdo it, the Max is nonetheless great at both imaging and setting a good soundstage. It’s not too wide or too cramped, but rich and comfortable.Using AirPods Max Outside the Apple Ecosystem
Before we get to the conclusion of this review, it’s essential to talk about whether users who don’t have a foot in the Apple ecosystem should use AirPods Max. We had no trouble using the AirPods with any Bluetooth device as we mentioned above. However, if you don’t have an iOS or macOS device, you’ll be limited in how much you can do with your AirPods. Specifically, customizing the button or behavior of the crown requires it. You’ll also miss out on features such as spatial audio.
That’s perhaps not a dealbreaker, but much of the appeal AirPods have comes from how well it works with an all-Apple setup. We were listening to music on an iPad when our iPhone rang, and as soon as we answered, the audio seamlessly transferred to the call, pausing the content on the iPad in the process. When the call ended, the iPhone handed control back to the iPad, and the music resumed. This sort of automated convenience would be lost if you weren’t nestled in Apple’s walled garden. We really cannot recommend the AirPods Max unless you have at least one compatible Apple device to make the most of it.
Speaking of which, phone call quality is superb, and even with the air conditioning running, the other person could hear just fine.Is the AirPods Max Worth the Money?
It’s difficult to give a universal answer when considering if what you get for the $550 asking price is worth it or not. There’s no doubt that the sum of the parts that make up these headphones is worth the money. However, what the AirPods Max offers is worth the money depending on what you need.
If you need all-purpose daily-driver headphones, then it’s hard to think of another set of headphones that tick all the boxes this well. The noise cancellation and transparency modes make this an incredibly practical set of phones. Controlling them is intuitive, and the audio reproduction is excellent by any measure, if not the best at all costs.
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Effectiveness: Program can complete basic edits easily
Price: A bit expensive for its capabilities
Ease of Use: Extremely simple and clean interface with no learning curve
Support: Basic materials available
Quick Update: Photolemur has merged with the latest version of Luminar and certain features and pricing have changed. We may update the article in the near future.
Yes, Photolemur is completely safe to use. It’s owned by the Photolemur LLC, which itself is owned by Skylum, the same company that makes the well-reputed Luminar and Aurora HDR products.
Photo apps from Skylum have received many awards, and the company has a great reputation. Their sites use an HTTPS connection to keep your data safe, and the Photolemur product is not known to contain any malware.
No, Photolemur is not free software. You can purchase it for either Mac or Windows from their website. If you aren’t sure about purchasing Photolemur, you can also try it out using the free version available here.
Both Photolemur and Luminar are actually owned by the same company, but they’re directed at very different audiences.
Designed to be quick and simple
Makes simple edits to multiple photos at once
Basic export options
Meant to be used by regular people who just want their photos to look a little better
Full suite of editing tools for your images including color adjustment, channels, curves, layers, and other features
Makes professional edits to a single photo at once
Exports your final images in several different ways
Meant to be used by photographers and other photo professionals
Both Photolemur and Luminar can be used as plugins with Adobe Products. Additionally, Luminar can be used with Aperture.
Since Luminar is a more full-featured program, you can also install plugins such as Snapheal or Aurora HDR. In this way, it can both function as a standalone program and as a plugin.
Why Trust Me for This Review
My name is Nicole. I enjoy trying out new tech and figuring out exactly what’s going on with the latest programs, software, and applications. Just like you, I’m a consumer who wants to know more about what’s available before I purchase anything.
My review of Photolemur is completely unbiased and is not sponsored by the developer. Additionally, all my insights come directly from using the program. Every screenshot comes from my own testing, and every line of text is written based on my own experiences. Because of this, you can trust that the information here is accurate, and is designed with your best interests in mind, not a developer’s.
Detailed Review of Photolemur
How It Works
Photolemur is packed with features, so let’s break down exactly what the program offers. Once you install the program (either by official download or through Setapp) and launch it for the first time you will see this screen:
It’s designed to be simple to use right from the start, and the uploader is no exception. Once you’ve dropped in an image, you’ll see a brief loading screen while Photolemur creates the initial edit.
This seems to take about 1 to 5 seconds per image. Once this is done, you’ll see the default edit of your image. In this case, I’ve uploaded an image of mine taken at a marina I visited. The original is a bit dull, but Photolemur has created an enhanced version with more vibrant colors.
The white line in the middle can be dragged across the image so you can see changes in different sections, or pulled all the way to one side in order to see the complete image.
This is the full extent of adjustments available for altering the edits to your image.
By default, there are 7 styles: “No Style”, “Apollo”, “Fall”, “Noble”, “Spirited”, “Mono”, and “Evolve”. These style buttons function essentially as filters. If you press one, Photolemur will take 1 to 5 seconds to load a new version of your image with the new style applied.
For example, here I applied the “Evolve” style to my image:
This gave it a much more retro or aged look than the original image.
You may notice that the style bar has a small “+” icon on the right side. This is the “Get New Style” button. It can be used to install additional styles from the web… at least in theory. At the time of writing, this button actually redirects you to the following web page:
However, I do think it is important to note that this page says you will be able to purchase additional styles. I reached out to Photolemur about this to get a little bit more info.
Photolemur sent me the following reply:
Unfortunately, I found this answer less than enlightening. After all, I had asked them when the style would be available and if they would all be paid — I already knew that it was even in the works and had attached a screenshot showing as much. Their email didn’t really say anything new, so it looks like users will be in the dark on this one until it’s actually released.
Here, I’ve selected three images of mine. At first, when these images are uploaded, they look the same as the original file. However, after a few seconds, they were transformed into much more vibrant images.
You cannot make edits en masse to all the photos you have uploaded.
The batch uploader seems to work effectively. It quickly edits your shots and applies the default “No Style” effect to all your images. It also makes it easy to immediately export your altered images.
However, if you want to make adjustments to photos individually, or even as a group, you’re going to find it tedious to manually adjust each photo from the batch. The batch upload is best used when you’re satisfied with what the default settings are able to achieve with your images.
When you’re done editing and ready to send your picture back out of the program, there are several options.
If you’re exporting multiple images at once, your only options are saving to the disk or emailing. However, if you export a single image you can also link to a SmugMug account.
If you select “Disk,” you’ll see a small window pop up where you can rename the file and choose the type you would like to save as. You can choose JEPG, PNG, TIFF, JPEG-2000, Photoshop (PSD), and PDF.
Here, you can alter the color settings and other special file features that are normally set to defaults.
If you choose “Email” to export your image, you’ll see the following screen:
Once the export is complete, Photolemur will auto-launch your default email client and attach the finished photo to an email draft.
Like many photo editing programs, Photolemur includes the ability to function as a plugin for a more robust option such as Adobe Photoshop rather than work as a standalone app.
Once you do this, you’ll be prompted to link Photolemur with your Adobe application of choice, as seen here:
Once installed, it should be available just like any other plugins you may have installed on Photoshop or Lightroom.
Reasons Behind My Ratings
Ease of Use: 5/5
Photolemur’s simplicity is one of its biggest selling points and best features. It’s clean and intuitive, producing near-instant results. You don’t need any manuals or guides to learn how to use it — everything is self-explanatory from the moment you open the app. While the simplicity might not be what a pro photographer needs, it makes amateur editing a breeze.
As far as technical support goes, Photolemur does just enough to get by. However, you should keep in mind that the app is so simple that users will rarely need assistance. There’s an official set of FAQ and tutorial pages available on the program website. While email support is technically available, you’ll need to do a bit of digging through the “What Can We Help You With” section to find it. Even so, I found the email support lackluster. When I attempted to reach out with a question about custom styles, I received a reply containing only information already available on the site. Overall, support is available but it’s not extensive.
If you really want to get into photo editing, then Photoshop is the way to go. It does come with a hefty subscription-based price tag, but it’s simply the reality when you’re working with software that’s an industry gold standard. Where Photolemur has no learning curve at all, Photoshop’s is extremely steep. However, you’ll have access to a much larger array of tools for manipulating images. Read our full Photoshop review for more.
You can also read our roundup review of the best photo editor for Windows and Mac here.
For the occasional quick and simple edit, Photolemur gets the job done. It boasts an AI that automatically adjusts your image; the processing time is mere seconds per photo.
I would recommend Photolemur to anyone who wants to quickly edit photos without learning a lot about the process behind it. The software is meant to be quick and easy, so it makes sense for regular people who just want to spice up a few photos.
On the other hand, if you really want to delve into photo editing, this is not the app for you.
The Sensei Wireless mouse is one of the most impressive wireless input devices on the market, but it will cost you.
The SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Laser Mouse is a gaming mouse for everybody. Or, at least, everybody willing to spend $160 on a mouse.
SteelSeries is becoming synonymous with an overwhelming amount of customization, as you can see from the Sensei’s settings screen, below. There’s a lot to tinker with, which is great if you’re hardcore about your mouse. And you’d better be hardcore about your mouse, if you’re spending $160.
Name the setting and you can probably tweak it using the SteelSeries Engine 3 software.A wired wireless mouse
The biggest deal here is that the Sensei Wireless can run wireless or wired. In wireless mode, the USB cable attaches to a large charging hub, made of metal and plastic. The charging hub is attractive enough, with an LED ring colored to match the mouse’s battery status: green for about 20 percent and above, yellow for 5- to 20 percent, and red for less than 5 percent. As with most SteelSeries devices these days, you can customize this to any color scheme you prefer (although the battery status is so useful I don’t know why you’d change it).
The battery is not removable, which gives me some worries.
The SteelSeries Sensei Wireless has an ambidextrous design that’s comfortable for both righties and lefties.
If you remain dead set against a wireless mouse, you can remove the USB cable from the charging station and plug it directly into the mouse. So if your Sensei Wireless goes dead in the middle of a work or play session, you can get back into action without needing to charge it on the base.
The battery is not removable, however, which gives me some worries. The Sensei Wireless is rated for 16 hours of battery life, but I don’t know how much the battery will suffer over time from day-in, day-out use and charging. I know that my Xbox 360 Play-n-Charge kit became useless after a year. If your Sensei Wireless gets to a point where it can’t hold a charge, then it turns into a Sensei Wired. End of story.
The Sensei Wireless transforms into the Sensei Wired when you remove the USB cable from its charging base and plug it into the mouse.More customization
As I said earlier, you can change practically everything about the way the Sensei Wireless runs. A mouse’s sensitivity—the relationship between the distance you move the mouse on your desk and the distance your pointer moves on your display—is measured in counts per inch (CPI). The Sensei Wireless’s laser sensor can be set anywhere from 50 to 8200 CPI. The SteelSeries Engine 3 software running on the host CPU can boost the mouse’s CPI to 16400, although you’ll probably never need that much precision. The software will also let you establish two default sensitivities that you can swap on the fly by hitting the button adjacent to the scroll wheel. You could choose one for ultra-precise work and one for casual browsing, for instance.
Lift-off distance is adjustable from one to five millimeters. That’s great for someone like me who’s prone to barely lifting the mouse off a surface during tense games. You can set a lift-off distance that won’t register phantom mouse movements when you reposition. And then there’s angle snapping and polling rate, which you probably won’t mess with. High polling rates are good. Angle snapping is a rarely-used setting that makes subtle corrections to your mouse movements, but it’s there if you want it.Sensei returns
And this is where the shortcomings of Sensei’s ambidextrous design become apparent. Two buttons are basically impossible to use whether you’re left- or right-handed. Right-handers like me can easily press the thumb-accessible buttons on the left side. But I couldn’t find a single comfortable position for my hand that allowed me to reliably hit the corresponding buttons on the right side.
Two of the side buttons on the Sensei Wireless are essentially useless (the two on the right if you’re right-handed; the two on the left if you’re a southpaw).
And at 2.7 inches wide, the Sensei is a bit smaller than I prefer. I have somewhat large hands and am a fan of the claw grip, so I ended up swapping to a palm grip to reduce cramping. This mouse is also a bit back-heavy—I assume because of the battery. When you lift it off the desk, the rear of the mouse has a tendency to pivot downward and put strain on your fingers. If you reposition your mouse constantly, the effort will wear you out.Bottom line
Wired or wireless, the Sensei Wireless is an impressive mouse. Few wireless devices offer such high polling rates, and SteelSeries packs an impressive amount of customization into its software. The battery-status indicators, while superfluous, are impressively splashy (and evidence of the company’s obsession with pretty lights).
Effectiveness: Offers many convenient features
Price: No free plan, from $35.88/year
Ease of Use: You may need to consult the manual
Support: Articles, YouTube, forum
Why Trust Me for This 1Password Review?
My name is Adrian Try, and password managers have been a solid part of my life for over a decade. I briefly tried Roboform almost 20 years ago, and have used password managers daily since 2009.
I started with LastPass, and soon afterward the company I was working for asked all of its employees to use it. They were able to give team members access to website logins without actually sharing the password. I set up different LastPass profiles to match my various roles and automatically switched between them by simply changing profiles in Google Chrome. The system worked well.
Some of my family members have also become convinced of the value of a password manager, and are using 1Password. Others continue to use the same simple password that they’ve been using for decades. If you’re like them, I hope this review will change your mind.
For the last few years I’ve been using the default Apple solution—iCloud Keychain—to see how it holds up to the competition. It suggests strong passwords when I need them (though not as strong as 1Password’s), syncs them to all my Apple devices, and offers to fill them in on web pages and apps. It’s definitely better than not using a password manager at all, but I’m looking forward to evaluating other solutions again as I write these reviews.
So I installed the trial version of 1Password on my iMac and tested it thoroughly for a week.
1Password Review: What’s In It For You?
1Password is all about secure password practices and more, and I’ll list its features in the following six sections. In each subsection, I’ll explore what the app offers and then share my personal take.
1. Securely Store Your Passwords
You might wonder if storing all of your passwords in the same place on the internet is worse than keeping them on a sheet of paper in your drawer. After all, if someone managed to access your 1Password account, they’d have access to everything! That’s a valid concern. But I believe that by using reasonable security measures, password managers are the safest places to store sensitive information.
That starts with you. Use a strong 1Password Master Password, don’t share it with anyone, and don’t leave it lying around on a scrap of paper.
Next, 1Password gives you a 34-character Secret Key that you will need to enter when logging in from a new device or web browser. The combination of a strong master password and secret key makes it almost impossible for a hacker to gain access. The secret key is a unique security feature of 1Password and isn’t offered by any of the competition.
You should store your Secret Key somewhere it will be safe but available, but you can always copy it from 1Password’s Preferences if you have it installed on a different device.
Pressing the “Set up other devices” button displays a QR code that can be scanned on another device or computer when setting up 1Password.
As an additional security precaution, you can turn on two-factor authentication (2FA). Then you will need more than your master password and secret key when you sign in on a new device: you’ll need a code from an authenticator app on your mobile device. 1Password also prompts you to use 2FA on any third-party services that support it.
Once 1Password knows your passwords it will automatically place them into set categories. You can organize them further by adding your own tags.
1Password will remember new passwords as you create new accounts, but you’ll have to enter your existing passwords manually—there’s no way to import them into the app. You can do that all at once, or one at a time as you access each website. To do that, select New Login from the drop-down menu.
Fill in your username, password, and any other details.
You can organize your passwords into multiple vaults to keep your work and personal passwords separate or organize them into categories. By default, there are two vaults, Private and Shared. You can use more finely-tuned vaults to share a set of logins with certain groups of people.
My personal take: A password manager is the most secure and convenient way to work with the multitude of passwords we need to deal with each day. They are stored online using multiple security strategies, then synced onto each of your devices so they are accessible anywhere and any time you need them.
2. Generate Strong, Unique Passwords for Each Website
Your passwords should be strong—fairly long and not a dictionary word—so they are hard to break. And they should be unique so that if your password for one site is compromised, your other sites won’t be vulnerable.
That password will be hard to hack, but it will be hard to remember, too. Fortunately, 1Password will remember it for you, and fill it in automatically each time you log in to the service, whichever device you log in from.
My personal take: Our email, photos, personal details, contact details, and even our money are all available online and protected by a simple password. Coming up with a strong, unique password for every site sounds like a lot of work, and a lot to remember. Fortunately, 1Password will do the work and remembering for you.
3. Automatically Log in to Websites
Now that you have long, strong passwords for all of your web services, you’ll appreciate 1Password filling them in for you. You can do that from the menu bar icon (the “mini-app”), but you’ll have a nicer experience if you install the 1Password X extension for each browser you use. (It’s installed automatically for Safari on the Mac.)
Once installed, 1Password will offer to fill the password in for you, as long as you are logged in to the service and it hasn’t timed out. Otherwise, you’ll need to enter your 1Password master password first.
Version 4 could also log into applications, but that feature hasn’t been fully implemented since the codebase was rewritten for Version 6. The same can be said about web forms. Previous versions were able to do this well, but the feature has not yet been fully implemented in Version 7.
My personal take: Have you ever had to enter a long password multiple times because you couldn’t see what you were typing? Even if you get it right the first time, it can still become frustrating. Now that 1Password will type it for you automatically, your passwords can be as long and complex as you like. That’s extra security with no effort.
4. Grant Access Without Sharing Passwords
If you have a family or business plan, 1Password allows you to share your passwords with your employees, coworkers, spouse, and children—and does this without them knowing what the password is. That’s a great feature because kids and employees are not always as careful as they should be with passwords, and may even share them with others.
To share access to a site with everyone on your family or business plan, just move the item to your Shared vault.
Of course, you shouldn’t share everything with your kids, but giving them access to your wireless network password or Netflix is a great idea. You wouldn’t believe how often I have to repeat passwords to my family!
If there are some passwords you want to share with certain people but not everyone, you can create a new vault and manage who has access.
My personal take: As my roles in various teams evolved over the years, my managers were able to grant and withdraw access to various web services. I never needed to know the passwords, I would just be automatically logged in when navigating to the site. That’s especially helpful when someone leaves a team. Because they never knew the passwords to begin with, removing their access to your web services is easy and foolproof.
5. Securely Store Private Documents and Information
1Password isn’t just for passwords. You can also use it for private documents and other personal information, storing them in different vaults and organizing them with tags. That way you can keep all of your important, sensitive information in one place.
1Password allows you to store:
credit card details,
bank account details,
email account credentials,
social security numbers,
wireless router passwords.
Documents can be added by dragging them onto the app, but 1Password doesn’t allow you to take photos of your cards and papers with your phone’s camera. Personal, Family and Team plans are allocated 1 GB of storage per user, and Business and Enterprise plans receive 5 GB per user. That should be more than enough for private documents that you want to keep available but secure.
When traveling, 1Password has a special mode that removes your personal data from your mobile device and stores it inside of your vault. Once you reach your destination, you can restore it with a single tap.
My personal take: Think of 1Password as a secure Dropbox. Store all of your sensitive documents there, and its enhanced security will keep them safe from prying eyes.
6. Be Warned About Password Concerns
From time to time, a web service that you use will be hacked, and your password compromised. That’s a great time to change your password! But how do you know when that happens? It’s hard to keep track of so many logins. 1Password’s Watchtower can let you know.
Watchtower is a security dashboard that shows you:
Other password managers offer similar features, sometimes with more functionality. For example, when it comes time to change a password that might be vulnerable, 1Password doesn’t offer a way of doing it automatically. That’s a feature that some other password managers do offer.
My personal take: You can be as careful with your passwords as possible, but if a web service is compromised, the hacker can gain access to them all, then sell them to whoever is willing to pay. 1Password keeps track of these breaches (as well as other security concerns) and notifies you whenever you need to change your password.
Reasons Behind My Review Ratings
1Password is one of the most popular password managers out there, and for good reason. It contains more features than the competition (though recent versions can’t fill in web forms or application passwords), and is available on just about every platform out there.
While many password managers offer a basic free plan, 1Password doesn’t. You’ll need to pay $36/year to use it, which is about the same as major competitors charge for an equivalent service. If you’re committed to paying for a plan, 1Password is affordable and reasonable value—especially the Family plan.
Ease of Use: 4.5/5
I found 1Password very easy to use, despite being a little quirky from time to time. I did need to consult the manual when testing a few features, but the instructions were clear and easy to find.
The 1Password Support page offers searchable articles with quick links to articles that help you get started, become familiar with the apps, and popular articles. A good selection of YouTube videos is also available, and the 24/7 support forum is helpful. There is no live chat or phone support, but that’s typical of most password management software.
Today, everyone needs a password manager because passwords are a problem: if they’re easy to remember they’re easy to crack. Strong passwords are hard to remember and difficult to type, and you need so many of them!
So what can you do? Keep them on Post-It notes stuck to your monitor? Use the same password for every site? No, those practices introduce significant security risks. The most secure practice today is to use a password manager.
1Password will create unique strong passwords for every site you log into, and automatically fill them in for you—regardless of which device you’re using. You just need to remember your 1Password master password. It works with most devices, web browsers, and operating systems (Mac, Windows, Linux), so your passwords will be available whenever they are needed, including on mobile devices (iOS, Android).
It’s a premium service that dates back to 2005 and offers more features than the competition. You’ll need to pay for the service, and if you’re serious about security (as you should be) you’ll consider it money well spent. Unlike much of the competition, a free basic plan is not offered. But you can try it free for 14 days. Here are the costs of the main plans offered:
Family (5 family members included): $59.88/year,
Other than the lack of a free plan, these prices are quite competitive, and the Family plan represents very good value. Overall, I think1Password offers excellent features and value. I recommend you get the free trial to see if it meets your needs.
Peacock TV has been around since July 2023 but recently more and more users have been subscribing to the streaming platform for exclusive content. Fans of NBCUniversal’s content can opt for both the free and the premium subscriptions. From shows like The Office and Saturday Night Live to movies like the Harry Potter series and Jurassic Park, all are available for Peacock TV subscribers.
Thinking about subscribing and are wondering about the cost? We got you covered.
How much is a Peacock TV Subscription?
There are three types of subscriptions that you can opt for on Peacock TV. While one is free the other two are paid. Depending on your requirement you can go for either of the three subscriptions. Here is all you need to know about the three subscriptions:
The free version allows users to view thousands of hours of television and movies. You also get access to news and sports updates as well as content for kids.
The Premium Subscription is the cheapest subscription of Peacock TV. At $4.99 per month, this subscription will get you access to more content than the Free Subscription. In fact, this subscription will get you access to every show, every movie, every live sporting event, and much more which the platform has to offer. While for the Free pack you get access to limited episodes of shows, Premium viewers can access recent episodes of current shows within 24-hours of their NBC television premiere.
Premium Plus Subscription
Is it worth subscribing to Peacock TV?
Now that you know how much the subscription costs you may be wondering if it is worth your hard-earned money. The answer depends completely on you.
Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, has secured the rights to exclusively stream shows like The Office, Will and Grace, and Law & Order. For soccer fans who want to keep up with the Premier League, they can enjoy the sporting event live with their Premium and Premium Plus packs. Even without a cable package you can keep up with current NBC shows with the Premium packs.
So, if you do consume content from NBC networks and Universal movies then you should go for the subscription.
Get Premium for free!
Still on the fence about paying for another streaming platform? You can always try out Peacock TV for free.
No, we do not mean to sign up for the free pack.
On their website when you sign up for a new account you get a seven-day free trial. While creating your account you can select the pack you want. Once the trial period is up, you need to pay to continue viewing.
For Xfinity Users
Select Xfinity customers can also get free access to the Premium pack. If you have an Xfinity Flex, then you can simply download the app on your device and get a Peacock Premium subscription for absolutely free.
Note: If you already have a Peacock account then we recommend using a different account to avail this introductory offer.
Additionally Xfinity video and X1 users can also get a premium Peacock subscription for free if they have a valid subscription plan. Following subscribers are eligible for this offer.
Xfinity Internet or higher
Digital Starter Tv subscriber or higher
For Cox users
The free Premium pack access is also available to select Cox customers. This offer is available to the following users.
Cox Internet Subscribers (Essential package or higher)
Users that fall under this category can enjoy the Peacock premium subscription for free for the entire duration of their Cox subscription. The cost of Peacock’s premium plan is included in your existing Cox monthly package.
Cox Internet Subscribers (With Contour Stream Player or Starter Video package)
Users that fall under this category can also enjoy the premium subscription on Peacock. However, this subscription will last for a limited offer period which will be shown when you redeem your offer. Once this trial period comes to an end, you will have the choice to continue your premium subscription with Peacock for the added price of $4.99/month.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
See price at Best Buy
About this Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max review: I tested the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max over a period of one week. It was running iOS 15. The unit was purchased by Android Authority for this review.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (128GB): $1,099 / £1,049 / €1,249 / Rs.129,900
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (256GB): $1,199 / £1,149 / €1,369 / Rs.139,900
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (512GB): $1,399 / £1,349 / €1,599 / Rs.159,900
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (1TB): $1,599 / £1,549 / €1,829 / Rs.179,900
See also: Buyers guide to Apple iPhone chargers
Between the four memory configurations and four color options (Graphite, Gold, Silver, and the all-new Sierra Blue — the one we tested — and Alpine Green, which launched later in 2023), there are technically 16 different iPhone 13 Pro Max variants to choose from. Apple has upped the smallest memory configuration to 128GB on this outing and storage tops out at 1TB for those who haul around large on-device media libraries. There’s also 6GB of RAM on board, up from 4GB previously, so more memory all around. Apple has also increased the size of the battery in the hopes of extending the phone’s battery life.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max hit stores alongside the wider iPhone 13 family on September 30, 2023. It’s available to buy from Apple, Amazon, and many, many other third-party retailers around the world.
Ceramic Shield and Gorilla Glass, stainless-steel
160.8 x 78.1 x 7.65mm
Face ID, 3D depth sensor
IP68 water and dust resistance
20% smaller notch
Graphite, Gold, Silver, and Sierra Blue colors
If you’ve seen a recent iPhone, you’ve seen the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Apple has changed very little about the series’ classic design, and why fix what isn’t broken? However, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is 12g heavier and 0.15mm thicker than the previous model. It’s a big, bulky, unwieldy phone.
The sheer size of the 6.7-inch display isn’t helped by the handset’s straight edges, relatively chunky bezels, and 19.5:9 aspect ratio display. It’s pretty hard to fit this thing in your pocket and difficult to use in one hand. The iPhone is broad compared to the 20:9 aspect ratio of Samsung’s flagships and felt downright corpulent coming after my time testing Sony’s elegant and slimline 21:9 Xperia 1 III. Still, these are all familiar complaints that won’t deter Apple fans from the company’s latest and greatest. Perhaps we’ll see bigger design changes with the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The iPhone’s now-familiar unattractive notch is, thankfully, about 20% smaller than the iPhone 12 Pro Max yet still houses all the necessary Face ID hardware in lieu of a fingerprint scanner. It’s another dated aspect of the iPhone’s design compared to modern punch-hole panels, in-display fingerprint scanners, and the early days of under-display front cameras. However, Face ID is powerful, fast, secure, and deeply integrated enough in Apple’s ecosystem to stick around.
See also: Our guide to all the phone accessories you’ll ever need
The iPhone 13 Pro Max packs an IP68 rating against dust and water resistance and a marginally better-sounding set of front-facing Dolby Atmos speakers compared to the iPhone 12 Pro range. The speakers sound good as far as phones go, although the presentation still isn’t crystal clear at the low end. The stereo presentation is good but easily ruined by tilting the phone even slightly off-axis. If you’re into wireless audio, Apple doesn’t support fancy Bluetooth codecs like aptX and LDAC. But AAC will still serve most headphones well enough.
It’s infuriating that Apple stubbornly sticks with Lightning for its iPhones.
Rounding out the design is Gorilla Glass protection on the front and back, paired with a scratch-resistant Ceramic Shield display with an oleophobic coating. Apple and Corning are hesitant to talk specifics on the grade of Gorilla Glass, but early testing has shown it’s a near equivalent to Gorilla Glass Victus.
Apple also has a new color option, Sierra Blue, the model I’ve been using. It’s a nice option for those who fancy a splash more style than Graphite or Silver without the gaudiness of Gold. Sierra Blue is more conservative and professional-looking than the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s Pacific Blue, and as such I’m a fan. Clearly, someone at Apple still has an eye for design.
Read more: We can’t help it, MagSafe is awesome
6.7-inch OLED with LTPO
2,778 x 1,284 resolution
458 pixels per inch
~19.5:9 aspect ratio, 120Hz variable refresh rate
Performance: Doesn’t get better than this
Apple A15 Bionic
Five-core Apple GPU
128, 256, 512GB, or 1TB storage
As we’ve come to expect from Apple, the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s latest A15 Bionic processor is blazingly fast. The chipset packs more than enough performance for day-to-day apps and games. The addition of a fifth GPU core over previous iPhone silicon ensures that the most demanding mobile titles run without frame rate stutters while cranking up all the bells and whistles. This extra performance doesn’t come with too much of a cost to battery life either (more on that later).
Apple is also packing sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G capabilities into the iPhone 13 Pro Max, depending on your region. The US is the only market with mmWave on board, so, in theory, can hit the fastest speeds, providing you’re in one of the few areas with mmWave available. The new model brings 5G carrier aggregation and a selection of new bands to improve regional support. Again though, these vary by country, so be aware if you plan to import an iPhone from a different region. It also supports eSIM technology, providing your carrier is supported.
20W USB Power Delivery 2.0 wired charging
15W MagSafe wireless charging
7.5W Qi wireless charging
With a bigger battery on board — 4,373mAh vs 3,687mAh last generation — Apple is looking to dispel the iPhone’s reputation for causing battery anxiety. It’s definitely mission accomplished, at least as far as the iPhone 13 Pro Max is concerned.
Of course, battery life varies depending on your use case. In my experience, basic web browsing, social media, and occasional video watching resulted in over nine hours of screen-on time. That’s almost certainly enough for most users to go through two entire days on a single charge. It’s very difficult to run this phone down and battery life easily rivals and often exceeds what you’ll get from Android smartphones.
Two full days of battery life is one of the best in the business. It’s a shame the charging speed is not.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max offers a selection of charging options. The fastest is 27W wired charging via USB Power Delivery adapters, although this lags notably behind other premium smartphones, including the Galaxy S22 Ultra. As the low wattage implies, the iPhone 13 Pro Max takes over a couple of hours to fully charge, although it reaches a very usable 50% in under an hour. For wireless power enthusiasts, the handset sports 15W MagSafe and 7.5W Qi charging options. While nice to have, these are definitely slower than wired charging and won’t have you back on your feet so quickly.
12MP, dual pixel PDAF, dual OIS, ƒ/1.5, 1.9µm pixel size
12MP ultrawide, 120-degree field of view, five-element lens, PDAF, ƒ/1.8
12MP telephoto, ƒ/2.8, dual OIS, six-element lens, 3x optical zoom
12MP front camera, ƒ/2.2
TrueDepth 3D sensor (depth and biometrics)
4K HDR 60fps and 1080p 120fps slo-mo video recording
We expect cutting-edge photography from the iPhone and the Pro Max boasts the best technology that Apple has to offer. Overall I’m pleased with the phone’s camera capabilities, particularly when it comes to colors, white balance, and details. Apple’s camera now asks you to pick from Photographic Styles on the first open, which offer customizable contrast and tint to your pictures. There are four presets, Vibrant, Rich Contrast, Warm, and Cool. I’ve left it on Standard for the samples you’ll see below.
For instance, Apple promises improved HDR photography capabilities for this generation, but my experience is a mixed bag, yet again. Apple’s HDR sensor and software technology has fallen behind the Android competition in recent generations. It’s tough to say if the iPhone 13 Pro Max is much better than the 12 Pro Max. It’s perhaps more consistent than its predecessor but the phone is still more prone to highlight clipping and underexposure than Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra and other smartphones I’ve tested.
Likewise, Apple boasts improvements to low light capabilities this generation. The iPhone 12 Pro Max, assisted by Night Mode, was passable in this regard, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max is a little better but certainly not game-changing. Generally, low-light shots come out less noisy than the competition (such as the S21 Ultra below) and have a fraction more color and exposure than the previous iPhone. But there’s not a huge amount between the two without pixel peeping. Night mode helps out further and the handset can pull out a lot of color and detail from an otherwise drastically underlit scene. That being said, even with a wider aperture the ultrawide and, to a lesser extent, the telephoto lenses are not quite as usable in the dark, although Night Mode definitely helps if you have steady hands.
An oddity that Apple seems to have introduced is automatic camera lens switching to ensure the best focus. For example, 3x won’t always use the telephoto lens if the environment is too dark or the subject too close. While this is a good idea in principle, this means that the phone regularly resorts to the inferior ultrawide camera for macro and won’t engage the 3x telephoto at closer and medium ranges. Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra has a similar feature to help focus the main camera but prompts the user with a toggle to turn it on and off. The iPhone 13 Pro Max could use a similar option.
Still, the upgraded 3x telephoto lens takes some decent snaps at medium range. The phone’s usable zoom range extends out to around 5x but beyond that the side effects of digital zoom are apparent. Zoom image quality is marginally improved from the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s 2.5x telephoto lens, mostly thanks to lower noise, but the iPhone 13 Pro Max is still missing the long-range capabilities of some rival phones. The ultrawide lens provides a huge step back from the main sensor, with colors and exposure that almost perfectly match the main sensor. Kudos to Apple, as color and exposure matching is a problem we see on a lot of other phones. Overall, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is a consistently good shooter from 0.5x out to 5x, enough flexibility for all but the extremely demanding photographer.
It’s virtually impossible to take a bad picture with this phone.
Outdoor selfies are similarly solid, although Apple’s skin tones are a little on the warm side. The inclusion of depth-sensing data allows the iPhone 13 Pro Max to apply accurate and great-looking bokeh blur to your selfies. Fine stray hairs still cause a few edge detection issues but this is a common problem for software blur and you won’t notice unless you examine your pictures really closely. Unfortunately, the selfie camera fairs less well indoors with lower light levels. There’s a notable level of grain and face textures begin to smudge. Granted, it still holds up better than some front-facing cameras but it’s an issue we’d hoped Apple would address this generation.
Updated to iOS 15.3.1
Instead, the move to iOS 15 is more about specific improvements than overhauling the traditional iOS experience. Focus Mode, for example, builds on the classic Do Not Disturb formula, allowing you to filter calls and notifications by contacts, apps, and the time of day or your location. Once set up, it’s an extremely powerful tool to help you manage when and to whom you’re available and limit notification distractions.
Other upgrades include various Maps improvements, Portrait Mode and spatial audio for Facetime, photo collages in iMessage, more user-friendly Safari navigation controls, and a redesigned weather app, to name some of the bigger changes. As such, the day-to-day iOS experience feels pretty similar to previous years.
Expect the iPhone 13 Pro Max to be supported with iOS updates for a long, long time.
Instead, it’s specific apps that look and feel a bit different compared to iOS 14. Given that the iPhone 12 series can already upgrade to iOS 15, the new software isn’t worth running out to buy a new phone for by itself. That’s a credit to Apple’s speedy and long-term update policy, which continues to put most Android manufacturers to shame. Case in point: the iPhone 6S is eligible for an iOS 15 update. Expect the iPhone 13 Pro Max to be supported for a long, long time.
If you’re coming from an Android phone, iOS 15 is instantly usable but still features a number of design oddities. The lack of a universal back button and the one sometimes located in the upper left makes navigation less intuitive than it should be. Why settings for something as simple as camera gridlines are tucked away under camera in the universal settings app rather than in the camera app itself is even more bizarre. I’ll never understand why iOS allows for some settings to be kept so far out of reach while some apps, such as Chrome, are much more self-contained. Equally, the App Library to the right-most screen is more time-consuming to access than Android’s home button or swipe up equivalents. Siri, while perpetually improving, isn’t quite as flexible or powerful as Google Assistant either, particularly when it comes to broader smart home ecosystems.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is a respectable continuation of what Apple does best.
That said, the iPhone 13 Pro Max remains a photography, videography, and performance powerhouse. It’s a phone absent of glaring weaknesses and one that will serve even the most demanding users very well indeed. The software experience is also seamless enough to make the switch from Android without much hassle, should you be so inclined.
Whether you should upgrade is the pertinent question. With only incremental improvements on offer from the iPhone 11 to 12 and now 13 series, there’s little compelling reason to spend $1,099 on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, unless your current phone is four or more years old. Especially as Apple is rolling out iOS 15 back down the range so quickly and so comprehensively. Likewise, customers with a relatively recent Android flagship can rest assured that they’ve probably already experienced much of what Apple’s best iPhone has to offer.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max top questions and answers
Yes, the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max is IP68 rated.
Yes, the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max supports up to 15W wireless charging.
No, the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max does not have an microSD card slot, which means you have to think carefully about which storage variant to get — you can choose between 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB.
The main differences are that the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max has a larger display (6.7-inch vs 6.1-inch) and a bigger battery (4,352mAh vs 3,095mAh).
There are four iPhone 13 Pro Max colors available to choose from: Graphite, Gold, Silver, and Sierra Blue.
Unfortunately, you don’t get a charger included with your Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max purchase.
Yes, the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max supports both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G.
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