Apple's AirPods Max Smart Case is sufficient for the high-end headphones in day-to-day use. When traveling or out and about, however, the case can be problematic given the headphones' canopy remains exposed and prone to be easily damaged when put in a bag or handled with little care. Woolnut's Leather Case aims to provide customers an easy way to store their AirPods Max while traveling or as simply an alternative to Apple's Smart Case.
Build Quality and Materials
The case is made from high-quality Scandinavian leather and offered in three different colors: black, brown, and dark green. We'll be looking at the brown option for this review, though all remain the same in functionality, price, and design. Compared to other leather-branded cases and accessories, the exterior of Woolnut's case feels premium and on par with what you should expect from a case intended to store $549 headphones.
In the two weeks I've been testing and using the case as my primary AirPods Max storage compartment, I've noticed very little exterior damage besides normal smudges and dents that can be wiped away or are too minor to see at first glance. Overall, I'm impressed with the case's build, including the durability of the leather and the quality of the stitching.
The case comes with a "Premium YKK EXCELLA zipper" made in Japan. Woolnut describes the zipper as "the world's most exclusive metal zippers with fully polished individual elements." While all of that may be true, they aren't anything special and certainly should not be a key factor in any customer's decision to purchase the case. They're regular zippers that zip open and closed and have, so far, stood the test of time.
One downside of the design of the case is the lack of an external handle. With Apple's Smart Case, the AirPods Max's canopy serves as a handle for the headphones, making it easy to carry around. In Woolnut's accessory, no such handle exists, making it a slight inconvenience.
Usability and Functionality
AirPods Max are a uniquely designed pair of headphones. The ear cuffs rotate to allow the headphones to be fully flat, but creating a case for them is a challenge, even for Apple. I must applaud Woolnut for their efforts in designing a case designed to store the headphones, but they don't entirely hit the mark.
I have little to practically no complaints regarding the placement of the headphones within the case but would point out that it's not an entirely snug fit. The AirPods Max do move around when they're inside the case, and that was my experience from only minimal testing and movement.
In scenarios where this case may be used for travel where sudden movements and jerking around may be more prominent, the fit of the headphones may be problematic. With that being said, the non-snug fit and movement within the case are not drastic enough to cause damage to the high-end headphones, but it is, nonetheless, something to consider.
The material and padding on the inside of the case are soft and delicate enough to keep your AirPods Max free of any scuffs, dents, or scratches. On the base of the inside of the case, there is a storage compartment for a power adapter, and at the top of the case, a place to store a Lightning cable for charging the headphones. Both are welcome additions. For customers outside of the U.S. or Canada who may have larger power adapters, though, including myself, they may find the elastic holder to be a very tight fit.
A nice addition that comes with the case is a cloth bag, which offers protection for the AirPods Max case itself when traveling or simply being stored.
Power Saving Mode and Charging
One feature of Apple's controversial Smart Case offered with Woolnut's Leather AirPods Max case is a power-saving mode. With Apple's Smart Case, AirPods Max enter a low power mode to preserve battery life when inserted. That same technology is brought to Woolnut's case, which uses magnets to detect when the headphones are in the case and begins to preserve battery life.
To charge the AirPods Max, the case offers a cut-out hole to access the built-in lightning port on the headphones. With the case closed, it's a tough challenge to plug in AirPods Max to charge.
Due to the angle of the cut-out and the design of the case, charging AirPods Max is challenging since forcing the Lightning cable into the port causes the headphones to move up inside of the case. If you need to charge your AirPods Max and keep it within the case, plug them in using the cut-out with the case open rather than close. It'll make your experience significantly better.
Woolnut's AirPods Max Leather Case is one of many alternatives to Apple's Smart Case on the market. The material and build quality are on-par with what customers should expect, but weird design quirks, such as those making charging more difficult and the non-snug fit of the headphones, make it hard to flat-out recommend.
For customers simply looking for an alternative to Apple's Smart Case, Woolnut's offering is a reasonable choice. For customers looking for a case to travel with their AirPods Max in, I would advise scouting other options first before landing on this case.
How To Buy
Woolnut's AirPods Max Leather case is currently, at the time of writing, out of stock and hence is available for pre-order for $130, with shipments resuming in early January 2022.
Note: Woolnut provided MacRumors with the leather case for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.