The ‘Shield Case’ from Waterfield Designs features magnets and full protection for the AirPods Max

Technically speaking, the new AirPods Max, which retail for $549, come with a “Smart Case” inside the box. However, that case has basically been the only reason some reviewers have given the new over-ear, premium headphones any negative marks. So some third-party companies are already offering up alternatives.

One such company is Waterfield Designs, based out of San Francisco, California. This company has made some of the best bags and cases for laptops, tablets, phones, and other devices for years. So when they come up with an alternative for the AirPods Max Smart Case, well, it’s worth paying attention to. Unless you enjoy the Smart Case Apple designed. Then you might not be looking for an alternative.

But if you are considering venturing beyond Apple’s offering, the Waterfield Designs “Shield Case” might be worth considering. It’s priced at $99 and comes in a variety of color options (even though they’re all leather). You can choose from the following options:

  • Chocolate Leather + Waxed Canvas
  • Black Leather + Black Ballistic
  • Blue Leather + Black Ballistic
  • Crimson Leather + Black Ballistic

The case itself offers three layers of protection, so your AirPods Max should be safe and sound while in the Shield Case. There are two external pockets, both of which can handle accessories like charging cables and other accessories. It’s a full case, insofar that it offers full protection for the AirPods Max with a zipper that completely secures the headphones inside when closed. What’s more, you can choose to put the AirPods Max inside the Shield Case with or without the Smart Case installed as well.

The big benefit here is that the Shield Case isn’t just a protective option for the AirPods Max. No, the case also features what Waterfield Designs calls “Magnetic Leather Butterfly”, which is near the bottom of the case. So when the AirPods Max are set inside, the magnets will automatically trigger low-power mode for the headphones. This will help preserve battery life — exactly the same way Apple’s Smart Case does it.

Inside the case there’s a plush lining and foam for boosted protection, and the mesh pocket fits a 20W power adapter. You can check out a video presentation for the new Shield Case just below.

The new Shield Case from Waterfield Designs is available now. However, it looks like shipping has been pushed back quite a bit since the initial launch. Every variant of the case now ships on February 12 if you order today.