Hands-On With the AirPods Max Shield Case From WaterField Designs

Earlier this week, we highlighted a couple of third-party accessories that seek to address some of the shortcomings of Apple's AirPods Max Smart Case, including a new zippered case from WaterField Designs that does a much better job of protecting the headphones while not in use.

Our videographer Dan has had a chance to try out the new $99 leather Shield Case from WaterField, and he's come away impressed with its quality and usefulness. He does feel, however, that this is the sort of thing that should have shipped with the ‌AirPods Max‌ in the first place rather than necessitating a third-party accessory purchase on top of the $549 price tag for the ‌AirPods Max‌ themselves.

airpods max shield case 3
The Shield Case is certainly bulky, but there's not much WaterField could have done about that considering the design of the ‌AirPods Max‌ that only allows the ear cups to be turned inward and doesn't permit a more compact folded arrangement seen on many other over-ear headphones.

If you can live with the bulk, the Shield Case offers several nice features, including a zippered design that completely protects the ‌AirPods Max‌, unlike Apple's Smart Case that leaves the headband and even portions of the ear cups exposed.

airpods max shield case 2
In addition to the main compartment for the ‌AirPods Max‌, the Shield Case includes three smaller pockets for cables and other accessories: a deep, padded one with a zippered closure on the front of the case, a mesh one on the rear, and a tiny one with a velcro closure inside the case.

One of the primary benefits of Apple's Smart Case is that it can immediately put your ‌AirPods Max‌ into a low-power mode to conserve battery, making use of magnets embedded in the case to trigger the mode. WaterField's Shield Case does the same thing, thanks to what it calls the Magnetic Leather Butterfly, a leather flap with embedded magnets that not only triggers low-power mode but also helps keep the two ‌AirPods Max‌ ear cups from touching each other while in the case.

airpods max shield case 1
If you want to bring your Smart Case along with your ‌AirPods Max‌, the Shield Case has you covered there as well, as the ‌AirPods Max‌/Smart Case combo fits inside just fine and the leather butterfly folds down out of the way.

airpods max shield case 4
All in all, the Shield Case from WaterField Designs is a quality product that does its job well. It's a bit pricey at $99, but when you're already willing to spend $549 on the ‌AirPods Max‌, it might be a worthwhile add-on to help protect your purchase.

The Shield Case is available in four styles: Chocolate Leather and Waxed Canvas, Black Leather with Ballistic Nylon, Blue Leather with Ballistic Nylon, and Crimson Leather with Ballistic Nylon. Similar to the ‌AirPods Max‌ themselves, the Shield Case is in short supply, with new orders scheduled to ship on February 19.

Related Roundup: AirPods Max
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Max (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

farewelwilliams Avatar
2 weeks ago
looks awful IMO
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Herrpod Avatar
2 weeks ago
Cool, just another 100 dollars to correct Apple's egregious design. How much extra to add a power on/off option?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TechieGeek Avatar
2 weeks ago


Why do you need to turn them off? Do you turn off your phone?

Do you turn off your TV?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
az431 Avatar
2 weeks ago


Any idea where to get the wood holder?

Home Depot, Aisle 22 Bay 3
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
synergize Avatar
2 weeks ago
I wonder if the inspiration for the case came from a bowling-ball?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
2 weeks ago


Cool, just another 100 dollars to correct Apple's egregious design. How much extra to add a power on/off option?

Why do you need to turn them off? Do you turn off your phone?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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