Based in Florida, BlackBrook Case makes a range of high-quality leather goods, including cases for the iPhone, AirPods, iPad, and AirTag, as well as Apple Watch bands. One of BlackBrook's latest products is a case solution for AirPods Max, which works both with and without Apple's own Smart Case and seeks to address some of the criticisms that have been leveled at protecting Apple's over-ear headphones.
BlackBrook offers three different cases for AirPods Max. This review takes a look at two of BlackBrook's AirPods Max cases, the "Danny" case and the "Tommy" case. The Danny case is slightly more compact with flat sides and a rear pocket, while the Tommy case is slightly larger, has beveled edges, and no rear pocket. Overall, the designs are very similar and there is no real reason to choose one over the other beyond aesthetics.
The other "Hannah" case is not made specifically for AirPods Max, but rather it works with any headphones both as a storage pouch and a desk stand.
My Danny case is in "Golden Brown" and my Tommy case is in "Burnished Tan," but both cases are also available in "Pebble Black," "Dark Chocolate," and "Distressed Antique Coffee." Each case has a high-quality textured finish with rich colors that make the best of the choice of materials.
The exterior leather of the cases is sturdy and supported by a hard shell inside for added protection. The Tommy case feels spongier on the outside than the Danny case, presumably due to some extra padding, but both feel very durable. I am confident that the design and tough exterior do a good job of protecting my AirPods Max.
At the top, there is a useful carrying handle that makes walking around with the stowed AirPods Max much easier. It can also be used to hook or fasten the AirPods Max elsewhere if necessary.
The Danny case features a moderately sized zip-up pocket on the rear. Unfortunately, the leather is pulled so tightly to the rigid interior that it is virtually impossible to use it for anything practical.
It may be possible to slide something as thin as a credit card or a receipt inside, but I would be concerned that I would not be able to retrieve it since I can barely even get my fingers inside. BlackBrook says that the pocket is a feature of the case, but really I think it is more decorative.
There is no passthrough area to charge the headphones with a Lightning cable while they are zipped up inside the case, but users can simply use both of the zips to close around either side of a charging cable instead if need be.
The zippers are a brassy color to compliment the hues of the cases. The zippers themselves are sturdy and do not snag too much, but they are not quite as smooth as I feel they could be.
When open, the design of the Tommy case allows the clamshell design to open fully, while the Danny case stops at about 135 degrees. While it is not particularly important, I prefer the fuller opening of the Tommy case since it reduces the chances of me scratching my AirPods Max on the zipper.
The interior of the cases features a soft microfiber material to prevent scratching or scuffing your headphones. Despite having slightly different designs, the internal space of both cases is effectively the same.
Unlike Apple's Smart Case, the BlackBrook cases cover the entirety of AirPods Max for much better overall protection. The design is space-efficient and as compact as you would need. The angular profile of the case closely matches the form of the headphones it is protecting, while giving a distinctive shape and character.
Inside, there is a generously sized elasticated pocket to store a cable or a power adapter. Unlike the rear pocket of the Danny case, this pocket is very easy to access and more than big enough to store a couple of accessories. The inside pocket of the Tommy case is slightly smaller due to its shape.
BlackBrook's AirPods Max cases contain a pair of magnets, arranged in a "butterfly," with one magnet inside each of two flaps of leather sewn into the middle of the case. This allows you to either snap them together to sit in between each earcup, or lay them flat when you want to keep the AirPods Max in their Apple Smart Case.
Just like Apple's Smart Case, the magnet butterfly can put the headphones into their ultra-low power mode to preserve battery life when placed in the middle of the earcups.
When snapped together, it is almost effortless to align the butterfly in between the earcups. Using the case in this formation makes it possible to avoid using Apple's Smart Case entirely.
If you want to stow your AirPods Max in the Apple Smart Case, but also want some added protection, BlackBrook's case design allows for this. You simply decouple the magnet butterfly to lay it flat, and the AirPods Max fit perfectly along with the Smart Case.
My only criticism of this system for regular use is that the butterfly seems to prefer to be snapped together than lay flat, so when putting the AirPods Max in their Smart Case into the BlackBrook case, you may need to smooth them flat again. Even so, the butterfly works well and adds versatility to the case.
Overall, BlackBrook's AirPods Max cases are both good alternatives and additions to Apple's Smart Case. There is no question that BlackBrook's cases protect AirPods Max much better than Apple's Smart Case alone, providing proper all-around protection.
Inside, I appreciated the soft-touch material, versatile butterfly magnet system for putting the headphones into their ultra-low power mode, and the large pocket.
It feels like the case has been made to last and will age well, but it does feel a little bit too expensive to me at $149. It is a high-quality and well-designed product, but not so luxurious I feel that I personally would be comfortable paying this price. The only other minor bugbear for me was the virtually inaccessible pocket on the back of the Danny case.
Whether the case is used for everyday use as an alternative to the Smart Case, or occasionally for peace of mind when traveling, the BlackBrook AirPods Max cases present functional and premium options for any potential buyer.
How to Buy
The BlackBrook "Danny" and "Tommy" AirPods Max cases can be purchased from the BlackBrook Case website for $149, and they are available in "Golden Brown," "Burnished Tan," "Pebble Black," "Dark Chocolate," and "Distressed Antique Coffee."
BlackBrook is also currently offering a free AirTag keychain case with any AirPods Max case order.
Note: BlackBrook provided MacRumors with AirPods Max cases for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.