GeekDad Review: AirPods Max Shield Case by Waterfield

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Image by Skip Owens

There is nothing worse than saving up for a product you are really excited about only to have that item damaged. Or even worse…being so concerned about potentially damaging said item that you end up not using it in all the situations you would like. That’s where the AirPods Max Shield Case by Waterfield comes in.

What is the AirPods Max Shield Case?

The AirPods Max Shield Case is portable but protective case for your Apple AirPods Max headphones. Yes, the Apple AirPod Max headphones come with a case but that case is far from protective and at least in my opinion it is not the most attractive looking case. Waterfield, rather than just work their design magic and cranking out a case, decided to turn to the community like they have done on some of their other product designs in the past. They received over 1200 responses and made sure to incorporate those ideas and requested features into the design of this new AirPods Max case.

Features:

  • Magnetic Butterfly that puts AirPods Max in low power mode
  • In case charging
  • Three layers of protection
  • Smooth-gliding waterproof zippers help protect against the elements
  • Ultra-plush lining backed with additional soft foam prevents scratches
  • Top nylon loop makes it easy to grab, or to hook a carabiner
  • Interior pocket holds a power block
  • Exterior stretch mesh back pocket for accessories
  • Exterior zippered padded pocket
  • Optional attachments for carrying the AirPods Max Shield Case with a carabiner or wrist loop
  • Can be used with or without the Apple case that came from Apple
  • Waterproof zippers

Specs:

  • Materials:
    • 1050 denier black ballistic nylon or rugged waxed canvas
    • Water-resistant, cross-woven Forza fabric
    • Four full-grain leather panel colors
  • Size: 9.50” (l) (at widest point) x 2.25 ” (w) x 9” (h)
  • Weight: Ballistic: 11 oz, Canvas: 14 oz, Forza: 11 oz
The dimensions of the AirPods Max Shield Case are shown on the left and the custom zipper pulls and the in-case charging feature is shown on the right (Image on the left from sfbags.com and image on the right by Skip Owens)

I have to mention one more thing about the design features of this case and this might seem a little bit strange to focus on, but hear me out. As soon as I got my case in the mail I opened it up and handed it to my wife and she immediately commented on how much she liked the zipper pulls. They aren’t your standard zipper pull design, but instead are custom made pulls from Waterfield. I have several Waterfield products and none of them have these custom zipper pulls so I asked about them. Waterfield explained to me that they designed the shape and look themselves. The angled corner is reminiscent of the angles of their bags (e.g. the AirPorter, Air Duffel, Staad Attaché, and Leather Messenger leather flaps). The primary design intent was that they be “lockable” — the holes can be stacked on top of each other so you can slide a TSA lock through them for extra security.

What I really like about them is their unique looking shape and that the surface area for grabbing them is larger than a standard pull. This may seem like a very minor design feature, but when a company takes the time to get the small things right and custom makes something that is much easier and cheaper to order from someone else it is a good indicator that they are putting this kind of effort into the rest of the product as well.

How I Have Been Using the AirPods Max Shield Case

Like many people I have been almost exclusively working from home lately, but I do move from location to location around the house. So I have been using the case to leave my headphones in while I’m not using them so they can be left near me for when I do use them. The protection is important because we have a dog. Our dog is really good about not going after things that aren’t his toys, but he plays pretty rough and bumps into things. I like being able to leave my AirPods Max in the Shield case and know that he could knock them off a chair or a table or even step on the case and my headphones will be perfectly protected.

Bonus feature: the in-case charging design allows me to keep my AiPods Max in the Shield case while charging them. This comes in handy with the dog as well as when the mailman visits our neighborhood he has to tear through the house and rush to our bedroom window to defend the honor of our house. Unfortunately, our window is right next to where an optimal spot to plug and and charge my AirPods Max is and he has knocked them from their charging location several times. Now I don’t have to worry about them accidentally getting damaged by his mailman defense antics. Another one of the design features I have grown to appreciate is the top nylon loop. When my work day is over I store my laptop up and out of the way on hooks in our bedroom (in a Waterfield Bolt Backpack of course). So with the nylon loop built into the Shield case I can hang the case right off a hook for easy access/grab and go during non-working hours.

The nylon loop at the top of the case makes it easy to keep the Shield case up and out of the way but easy to grab when needed (Image by Skip Owens)

My other use case is for travel. While I haven’t been going into work, I have been traveling an insane amount this past year. The AirPods Max are fantastic to use on a plane, but then there is the worry that you will damage them when they are not physically on your head. The Shield case does a great job of keeping them safe when not in use on a plane but the case design also solves another problem I have with taking the AirPods Max on a plane with me. I like to travel as light as possible and typically only pack a single bag (an all-in-one backpack) when I travel by plane. But because the AirPods Max are so large, I don’t always have room to store them in my single backpack. I generally carry my iPad in some kind of a small case or bag onto the plane but it certainly doesn’t have room to store much less protect the AirPods Max. That is where the exterior stretch mesh back pocket on the Shield case comes into play. My go-to iPad these days is an iPad mini and the iPad mini fits perfectly (either with a slim case or naked) right into the exterior stretch mesh back pocket on the Shield case. So now the Shield case doubles as both a protective case for my AirPods Max and as my small carry on case for my iPad mini and portable kickstand I use for propping the mini up while watching movies.

When traveling on a plane the AirPods Max Shield Case has the ability to store my iPad mini, a small stand and the Apple Pencil (Images by Skip Owens)

Verdict

As with any product there are pros and cons…

Pros:

  • Superior padding and protection
  • Flexibility to use with or without the Apple case
  • Protection while charging with in-case charging
  • Several storage options for accessories

Cons:

  • Bulkier case than the Apple case
  • Additional cost in addition to the case the already comes free with the headphone

Not everyone that has a pair of AirPods Max headphones actually needs a case. Maybe you use them almost exclusively at home and you don’t have a dog that gets overly excited at the mailman. In that event, leaving them laying on your desk or getting a simple desk stand may be all you need. But if you want the extra protection and storage versatility that comes along with a quality case then the AirPods Max Shield Case from Waterfield should be at the top of your list for consideration.

After using this case for a while now I can say that the case exceeded my expectations and it has allowed me to more comfortably use my AirPods Max headphones in more situations than I would have without this kind of case to go along with them. Like other Waterfield products I have reviewed in the past, the build quality and the attention to detail in the AirPods Max Shield case is phenomenal. You get what you pay for with Waterfield products and this case is no exception.

The AirPods Max Shield Case from Waterfield is available now from sfbags.com from between $89-$99 and is available in multiple colors in either leather+waxed canvas, leather+ballistic nylon or in a vegan friendly cross-woven Forza fabric.

Disclaimer: I was provided a discount on the AirPods Max Shield Case for the purpose of this review, but WaterField had no input into the review content.

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