WaterField’s AirPods Max Shield Case is a great Smart Case alternative

A high-end case for Apple's high-end headphones

AirPods Max Waterfield Case

Apple’s AirPods Pro Max are one of the most divisive products the tech giant has released in several years.

Depending on who you talk to, they’re either expensive, great-sounding premium headphones, or more over-priced trash from the world’s most valuable company.

I fall on the latter side of the spectrum; I really like the AirPods Pro Max and think they sound excellent and look great, but they’re undeniably expensive at $779.

Waterfield's AirPods Max Shield Case beside the Smart Case

However, nearly everyone agrees the AirPods Max’s included Smart Case is strange-looking. By now, you’ve likely seen the “it looks like a bra or a purse” jokes, but I’d argue the case’s most significant issue is it doesn’t actually offer much protection, especially if you plan to take the headphones on the go.

This is where WaterField Design’s sleek-looking AirPods Max case comes in.

On the surface, it looks just like a normal headphone case. It encloses the AirPods Max in a solid leather case, there’s a small zippered pouch on the front that lets you store cables or other accessories, and there’s a back mesh pocket that gives you even more storage space. There’s also another pocket on the inside for additional accessory storage.

AirPods Max side view case

The case itself comes in several different colours, including the following: ‘Chocolate Leather + Waxed Canvas,’ ‘Black Leather + Black Ballistic,’ ‘Blue Leather + Black Ballistic,’ and ‘Crimson Leather + Black Ballistic.’

The particular case WaterField sent me is the Black Leather + Black Ballistic version. The dark colour looks great, and the premium black leather feels decidedly high-quality like the AirPods Max themselves.

The inside of the case is mostly what you’d expect, with a plush, slightly furry lining that protects the Pro Max’s earcups and headband while preventing any debris that might accidentally get in the case from scratching the headphones.

There’s also a magnetic clasp that replicates AirPods Max’s official Smart Case’s sleep functionality. This is important because, without the clasp, the headphones take a long time to go sleep and don’t automatically disconnect from devices. It’s still perplexing Apple didn’t include an off switch on the AirPods Max.

Most importantly, given this is a real case, unlike the Smart Case included with the AirPods Max, it entirely encloses the headphones, offering ample protection when you’re on the go.

It’s worth noting the Shield Case is rather large, though this is more because Apple’s high-end headphones don’t fold, making them bulkier than similar competing headsets, especially if you plan to slide it into a backpack.

Like the AirPods Max themselves, there are several cheaper alternative case options available on Amazon, but WaterField’s Shield Case seems to be one of the best currently available. After all, if you just dropped $779 on pair of headphones, you probably want a case that’s equally premium to protect them.

Depending on the colour and material of the AirPods Max Shield Case, the cost is either $89 USD (about $112 CAD) or $99 USD ($123).

For more on the AirPods Max, check out my review of the headphones.