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)
Related Forum: AirPods

Top Rated Comments

farewelwilliams Avatar
24 weeks ago
looks awful IMO
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TechieGeek Avatar
24 weeks ago

Why do you need to turn them off? Do you turn off your phone?
Do you turn off your TV?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Herrpod Avatar
24 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)
az431 Avatar
24 weeks ago

Any idea where to get the wood holder?
Home Depot, Aisle 22 Bay 3
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
synergize Avatar
24 weeks ago
I wonder if the inspiration for the case came from a bowling-ball?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
24 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: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

airpods max firmware update

AirPods Max Firmware Update Appears to Fix Smart Case Battery Drain Issues

Friday March 12, 2021 9:28 am PST by
Apple on Tuesday released new 3C39 firmware for the AirPods Max, and there was speculation that the new software was meant to address a battery life problem that users had been experiencing. Some AirPods Max headphones were seeing excessive battery drain while in the Smart Case, and now there's evidence that the update does indeed fix the problem. Developer Guilherme Rambo tested AirPods Max ...
AirPods Max In Stock Pink

AirPods Max in Pink Now Available to Ship on Amazon

Thursday March 11, 2021 11:39 am PST by
AirPods Max in Pink are now shipping on Amazon, for the regular price of $549.00. This is the first time AirPods Max have been in stock and available to ship from a major Apple reseller in March, and we are only seeing availability in Pink at this time. You can also get Pink AirPods Max on AT&T with a March 16 shipping estimate. Before today's restock, Silver and Space Gray were the most...
airpods max ear cushions

Apple Now Selling Standalone Ear Cushions for AirPods Max

Wednesday January 27, 2021 11:08 am PST by
Apple is now selling standalone ear cushions designed for the AirPods Max, allowing AirPods Max owners to purchase cushions in different colors. The ear cushions are available in all of the AirPods Max colors - silver, black, red, sky blue, and green - and are priced at $69. AirPods Max ear cushions attach to the ear cups magnetically and can be popped right off, so making a swap to a new...
AirPods Max In Stock black

Major AirPods Max Restock Includes Four Colors Available to Ship Today

Thursday April 1, 2021 10:14 am PDT by
We're tracking one of the biggest restocks of AirPods Max headphones as we enter April, available at Amazon and Verizon. This restock includes nearly all colors of the AirPods Max. Amazon has all five colors except Pink available, with Space Gray at slightly delayed 1-2 day shipping estimates. Verizon is offering free two-day shipping on the Space Gray, Green, and Sky Blue AirPods Max. A ...
maxresdefault

Some AirPods Max Owners Seeing Excessive Battery Drain

Tuesday January 19, 2021 12:02 pm PST by
Apple in December introduced the AirPods Max, its over-ear Apple-branded headphones that join the AirPods and AirPods Pro. Since launch, a growing number of MacRumors readers who purchased the AirPods Max have been complaining of battery drain that seems excessive. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Complaints range from high battery drain while the headphones are in...
airpods max ear cushions finished

AirPods Max Won't Directly Support Lossless Apple Music Over Lightning

Monday May 17, 2021 1:56 pm PDT by
Earlier today, we confirmed that AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max will not support lossless audio over Bluetooth because of Bluetooth limitations, and it turns out there's no direct wired lossless option for the AirPods Max either. Apple's AirPods Max headphones are equipped with a Lightning port, but it is limited to analog sources and will not natively support digital audio formats in ...
AirPods Max 17 off Feature

Deals: Get Apple's Silver and Space Gray AirPods Max for $532.32 on Amazon ($17 Off)

Thursday April 29, 2021 11:03 am PDT by
Amazon today is offering Apple's AirPods Max for $532.32, down from $549.00. While not a particularly steep discount, this is among the best prices we've now tracked for the AirPods Max. Both the Silver and Space Gray colors are available at this price and ready to ship today directly from Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and...
AirPods Max Smart Case Battery Life Feature2

AirPods Max Battery Drains Only Slightly Faster Outside of Case

Thursday December 17, 2020 11:13 am PST by
Apple did not include a power button on the AirPods Max, so there's no definitive way to turn them off, but Apple says that putting the headphones inside the included Smart Case puts them into an ultra low power mode. That's left a lot of questions about what happens to the AirPods Max when they're not inside the case yet not being actively used, so we've done some testing to attempt to...
airpods max ear cushions 1

Replacement AirPods Max Ear Cushions Now Arriving to Customers

Friday January 29, 2021 9:30 am PST by
Apple earlier this week began selling standalone replacement ear cushions for the AirPods Max, and now customers who ordered the cushions have begun receiving them. The AirPods Max ear cushions arrive packaged in a simple white box with a picture of the cushions in the appropriate color on the front. Each ear cushion is separated inside by a cardboard divider, and are designed to be easy to...
airpods max pad and quill 1

Pad & Quill Debuts New Leather Cases for AirPods Max and AirPods Pro

Wednesday February 3, 2021 6:32 pm PST by
Pad & Quill today announced new leather case options that are designed for the AirPods Max and the AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro Max Leather Case, priced at $129.95, is made from full grain American leather with a thick foam layer covered with ballistic nylon. The AirPods Max slip inside and there's a divider in the middle along with an interior pocket for holding a charging brick and cable....