Intelli CarryOn for AirPods Max review: Safe and sound protection

Intelli Carryon Airpods Max Hero
(Image: © Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

iMore Verdict

Bottom line: Keep your expensive AirPods Max safe and sound in this spacious and protective hard shell case.


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    Highly affordable

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    Rigid form is highly durable and protective

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    Integrated magnetic fins for low power mode

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    Includes charging storage and built-in grab handle

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    Soft interior lining and water-resistant exterior


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    Only comes in black

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    Charging storage is very small

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    No passthrough charging

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Apple launched the AirPods Max in 2020 after many years of rumors and speculation of an over-ear version of AirPods. And honestly, the AirPods Max sound amazing with fantastic Active Noise Cancelation, are comfortable to wear even for long periods, and are some of the best wireless headphones overall. However, it has one major flaw: that silly and ridiculous Smart Case.

The AirPods Max have been out for over half a year now, and this has been plenty of time for third-party accessory makers to come up with better case solutions. But therein lies another problem — quite a few of these third-party AirPods Max cases are pricey, like the Waterfield Designs' AirPods Max Shield Case. If you want something a little more affordable while still offering great protection, then you should consider the Intelli CarryOn Max Premium case for your AirPods Max.

Intelli CarryOn for AirPods Max: Price and availability

Intelli Carryon Airpods Max Handle

Intelli Carryon Airpods Max Handle (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

The Intelli CarryOn for AirPods Max is available on Amazon and directly from Intelli's website. It only comes in a black color, which is more like a dark steel gray on the outside. You can pick one up for around $27 on Amazon or $40 direct from Intelli.

Intelli CarryOn for AirPods Max: Affordable all-around protection

Intelli Carryon Airpods Max Open Empty

Intelli Carryon Airpods Max Open Empty (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

When the AirPods Max first came out in December 2020, I instantly fell in love with them. The sound was top of the line, and the ANC was unparalleled. I was also surprised at how comfy the headphones are, even after wearing them for hours, despite being heavier than most because of the premium materials. But the biggest drawback was the dumb Smart Case. I've been searching for alternatives ever since, and the Intelli CarryOn for AirPods Max is a good option.

This is a simple and affordable way to protect your expensive AirPods Max.

The Intelli CarryOn for AirPods Max is a rigid and protective hard shell style case that will keep your AirPods Max safe and sound. The exterior is made with a premium, water-resistant nylon material, and since it's a hard style case, it won't lose its shape or form over time. There is a wrap-around zipper opening with two pulls, and it fully opens up like a clamshell. The Intelli logo is on the bottom front of the case, but the black lettering blends in nicely with the rest of the nylon. While there are no exterior pockets, there is a handle at the top, between the all-over zipper, making it easy to grab-and-go.

Intelli Carryon Airpods Max Open Full

Intelli Carryon Airpods Max Open Full (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

On the inside, you get a soft microfiber lining that will make sure there are no scuffs on your headphones as you move them in and out of the case. There is a rigid inner liner designed for the AirPods Max to keep it snugly in place. For those worried about having the AirPods Max in low power mode, there is a magnetic fin at the base that keeps the headphones in sleep mode until you're ready to use them.

The exterior features premium, water-resistant nylon, and the inside has a soft microfiber lining.

You may have noticed that there are no pockets or compartments that are built into the Intelli CarryOn for AirPods Max. However, Intelli gives you a small cable holder case, appropriately dubbed CableCaddy. It's almost like a miniature version of the CarryOn itself, except it has a small mesh and elastic pocket for your cable and other small essentials. I found that this storage is a little too small even for my compact Spigen 20W power adapter, but I just toss that into the CarryOn itself, on top of the CableCaddy. If only the CableCaddy were a tad thicker, I could have fit a power adapter into it as well.

Overall, the Intelli CarryOn for AirPods Max is a simple and affordable solution for your expensive Apple headphones.

Intelli CarryOn for AirPods Max: The CableCaddy could be better

Intelli Carryon Airpods Max Cablecaddy Full

Intelli Carryon Airpods Max Cablecaddy Full (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

While Intelli includes the CableCaddy for cable storage with the CarryOn for AirPods Max, it falls a little short for me. I found it a little too small, as I would need to tightly wrap my charging cable up to make it fit inside the mesh pocket. I was also hoping to fit my relatively small Spigen power adapter in there, but there just isn't enough room, so I need to have it loose in the CarryOn itself. Honestly, I wish that the CarryOn had a larger mesh compartment on the empty side to make it easier to store your charging necessities.

There's no dedicated passthrough charging opening, unfortunately.

It's also important to note that the Intelli CarryOn for AirPods Max has no passthrough charging hole. Since your headphones are basically stored with the ear cups going inward toward the clamshell hinge, there's no way to charge the headphones while they're in the case since there is no intentional opening (unless you just run a cable through an opening in the zipper, but it requires bending the cable awkwardly). This case is solely for keeping your AirPods Max protected, especially while traveling. If you need to charge it up, it will have to be outside of the case.

Since the CarryOn is a hard shell case, it feels a tad bulky compared to other options. But because of the stiff frame, this definitely will hold its shape over time. Lastly, I wish that it came in more colors to match the various colors of the AirPods Max, but alas, at least black goes with everything.

Intelli CarryOn for AirPods Max: Competition

Waterfield Designs Apm Shield Case Hero

Waterfield Designs Apm Shield Case Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

Now that the AirPods Max have been out for a while, we have a plethora of AirPods Max cases to keep your sound investment safe.

If you want something that looks more elegant and professional than the Intelli, then I would recommend the Waterfield Designs' AirPods Max Shield Case. You can choose between leather and non-leather options, it comes in multiple colors to go with your AirPods Max color, and it has multiple pockets and compartments for any accessories you need. A magnetic butterfly in the case also puts your AirPods Max into low power mode, and it can even store your headphones with the Smart Case on if you prefer.

There is also the Capra Leather AirPods Max Case. This one is made with leather and has a magnetic closure with padded headband protection. You also have the option to customize this case with engraving for a little more.

Both the Waterfield and Capra cases have better storage for cables and passthrough charging support without compromises, but they are also much more expensive.

Intelli CarryOn for AirPods Max: Should you buy it?

Intelli Carryon Airpods Max Cablecaddy

Intelli Carryon Airpods Max Cablecaddy (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

You should buy this if ...

  • You need a protective shell for AirPods Max
  • You want something affordable
  • You plan to travel often with AirPods Max

You shouldn't buy this if...

  • You want a dedicated passthrough charging opening
  • You like having more color options
  • You need more pockets

If you're solely looking for a protective case for the AirPods Max without breaking the bank, the Intelli CarryOn for AirPods Max is a good choice. It's a hard shell case with a handle that will keep your expensive headphones safe and sound. The included CableCaddy helps you store a charging cable, and the magnetic fin on the inside keeps your headphones in low power mode. The microfiber lining doesn't scuff up your headphones, and the exterior won't get wet, thanks to the premium nylon.

However, as good as the Intelli CarryOn is, there are some flaws with it too. You won't be able to charge it up while in the case since there's no dedicated opening for passthrough charging, and the CableCaddy may not be big enough to hold your power adapter and other necessities. Still, considering the price you're paying for this case, it's not too bad — it's mostly meant for travel.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.