Waterfield's weirdly compact Apple Vision Pro Case

April 2, 2024

Vision Pro on top of a blue lunchbox style case for it, next to a black and white cat looking at its paws

Disclosure: Waterfield sent this in exchange for a review. Yeah, that probably colors something on a deep-down, subconscious level, but I won’t say anything that I don’t truly believe.

Unlike a phone or laptop, the Vision Pro is one of those products that is particularly tricky to take around without a case. I’ve got around this by wrapping it in a hoodie and throwing it in my backpack, but I was looking for a more… tidy solution longterm.

Apple’s own case was an obvious option, but the size kinda scared me. I like packing pretty light for trips, and only ever bring one bag, so the thought of half the bag being taken up by a Vision Pro case wasn’t the most alluring, so a compact size was pretty near the top of my list, so when Waterfield announced their case offering and toted its size my ears immediately perked up.

I’ve traveled a bit with it now, and I’ve really come to like it. Here’s my thoughts, plus some questions from folks on Twitter and Mastodon.

Design/build quality

Case open with Vision Pro nestled snuggly inside with an additional fleece inner case that holds accessories. HomePod mini and iPod nano in background.

The design is reminiscent of a really well-made lunchbox. It’s sturdy, and the outside feels like that ballistic nylon material that a good backpack is made out of, while the inside is a really soft fleece. The inside houses a second (also fleece-wrapped) case which can house all the Vision Pro accessories and even has individual slots for ZEISS lenses if you have those. In mine I put a charging brick, the polishing cloth, and the headband (note on that below), and spare contact lenses in the ZEISS slots. There’s a separate spot on the “ceiling” of the inner case for the Vision Pro’s external battery.

Case open with battery slid into a fleece pocket on the lid of the case, with a black cat in the background.

Everything just fits super snuggly and thoughtfully, which is kinda what I like most about it. So many Vision Pro cases on the market are just versions for other headsets that happen to fit the Vision Pro to different levels of success, and while that’s obviously totally fine, maybe it’s because the Vision Pro was so expensive, but there’s something really nice feeling about a case designed specifically around it. It’s like using a baseball mitt made just for your hand versus borrowing your friend’s: both are cool, one just makes you go oooooo.

(Though the battery fits so snuggly that it’s a bit tricky to get in when you wrap the cable around it. Instead, wrap the cable around your fingers, slide the battery in, and then slide the organized cable on top of the battery.)

The zippers feel great, not YKK (oops, I’ve been told they are YKK, that makes sense given the quality, they just have nice ‘Waterfield’ branding on them) but metal and have a water-resistant coating which I always like to see. It has a grab handle on top, and attachments for shoulder straps that I likely won’t use. Same with the top, it has a little zipper pocket that I’m not sure I’d use beyond the AirTag pocket in it, but you could put something thin up there (like another cord, or a small external battery, or maybe a very small foldable external keyboard), and even if you don’t use it the pocket is pretty flat so you don’t lose any room to it.

Water droplets beading on top of the case and zipper.

I do wish they had more colorways. I’m on Apple’s train and not a big fan of wrapping my devices in dead animals (though Apple’s FineWoven solution there seems to have missed the mark, but Aptera has some really cool plant-based biodegradable leathers for their car), and wish Waterfield had options outside of black and blue for non-leather (that black and white stormtrooper style one looks so cool). That being said the photographs of the blue on their website almost don’t do it justice, it’s a really nice navy in real life with just the right amount of color to be a bit fun. But I still want stormtrooper!


Case open with various items inside, including a banana, an iPhone 15 Pro, a light bulb, a VHS copy of The Mogul, and a Blue Eyes White Dragon card.
Some items you may have around for scale

It’s really compact, there’s honestly not really any room to possibly shrink it further. It’s not tiny per se, but going off numbers from each website, Apple’s Vision Pro case is about 10.9 Liters in volume (0.38 cubic feet), and the Waterfield case is 5.0 Liters (0.18 cubic feet), which is a substantial difference. If you throw it in a 20 Liter everyday carry backpack, you’ve gone from it taking 55% of the interior space to just 25%.

A big part of how they accomplish this is by having you take the headband off which saves a ton of room length-wise versus storing it fully expanded. This is something I was hoping someone would do well before this case was even announced, and it’s plain to see how much room it saves.

The separate fleece inner case that holds items
The cutely named “Hat Box” that zippers open to add accessories

My idea was just to fold the fabric of the headband in a bit, and when I saw Waterfield required you to actually disconnect the headband I was kind of disappointed because that sounds like a pain. But in all honesty, if you kept the band connected, you would have to bend it more on the side part than I would be personally comfortable to get it as compact (see below, though), and if you only folded in the back part (and not the sides) it would add a decent amount more length to the case. Still a bunch of space savings to be sure, but in my opinion unless you’re putting it in the case every night the compactness this creates is worth the minor inconvenience of disconnecting the headband.


Dumbbell sitting on top of a book ('what if?' by Randall Monroe) sitting on top of the case showing no deforming.

I was somewhat worried where it’s not an actual hardshell style case like Apple’s or others that it would be more like a tech pouch and not have much protectiveness, but honestly it’s pretty darn sturdy. That’s hard to articulate, but as an example if I put a 20 lb dumbbell on top of it with nothing inside, you can see it doesn’t deform at all. (This does not mean it will survive a 20 lb dumbbell actually dropping on it, to be clear.)

It definitely won’t be as protective as a hardcase, but it’s still pretty darn protective. Mine will always be stored in my backpack but if it were to take a small fall alone I personally wouldn’t worry.


I asked on Twitter and Mastodon if anyone had any questions about it, and there were some great ones that I thought I’d answer here.

Do you still need Apple’s front cover?

The inside is soft felt so I personally don’t bother, but it does still fit if you’re so inclined.

Do you HAVE to take the headband off to store it?

Technically no, it fits with the band still attached, but to me it’s like that scene in Cinderella when all the stepsisters try to fit in the glass slipper and are shoving their foot in to just barely make it fit. In other words, it seems to put a bit more pressure on the side of the headband than I’d like, but hey, if you want to risk it the $99 to replace the Solo Knit band if I’m right is one of the more affordable Vision Pro accessories. (All this also applies to the Dual Loop band, too.)

Vision Pro with the Solo Loop band still on and showing it quite squished at the extremity.

Could a cat sleep on it?

If a 20 lb dumbbell doesn’t deform it I think most cats could sleep on it fine, the issue is that it’s kinda small so not the most comfy. My cats stick to sleeping on my backpacks.

Does the battery fit in it? Could it hit the glass?

Yeah, there’s a proper space right above the Vision Pro. If you put it in the intended way (front of Vision Pro in toward the non-zippered edge) the Vision Pro’s front will be toward the front of the case, and the battery in the ceiling will be toward the back of the case, sitting on the storage accessory, so no chance of contact.

Can the battery stay plugged in in the case?

Yeah! I find the standby life of the Vision Pro isn’t the best, and it sometimes gets warm, so I personally would unplug it for travel, but you definitely don’t have to.

Does a Mac mini fit inside?

A Mac mini diagonally in the case indicating it won't quite fit.

Nope, just slightly more compact. That would have been cool though.

Can you use it like a lunchbox?

Honestly felt is a pretty effective thermal insulator so probably, but I’d worry about condensation build up.

Ease of zipping/speed of use

I find water-resistant zippers always have a bit more friction than their normal counterparts, so it’s a bit of a two-handed operation to zip open/closed. But I feel like if I was on an airplane, it’d be pretty quick to disconnect the headband, throw it on the pouch, throw in the Vision Pro, zip it up and leave. Not as fast as yeeting your Vision Pro into a backpack if there was like an emergency, but pretty reasonable if you have a second.

What does it carry?

The case on a table showing the items it can carry, including the Vision Pro, a USB-C cable, the two included headbands, an AirTag, the battery, AirPods Pro, a polishing cloth, a PSA 9 first edition Zubat Pokémon card, the inner fleece case, two contact lenses, and a charging brick.

It can carry the Vision Pro, both headbands, polishing cloth, a wall brick, a USB-C cable, ZEISS inserts (or contact lenses), an AirTag, and something small in the top pocket. Here’s what I have in mine.


At $159 for my non-leather version, it’s not cheap (though it’s cheaper than Apple’s own case), but I keep coming back to it reminding me of a really nice backpack. You can go on Amazon and find an obscure brand backpack for super cheap that will absolutely get the job done at the cost of long term confidence, or, if you want to treat yourself you can buy a really quality backpack from a trusted brand with a bunch of delightful touches that make you smile when you use it even years later. Some people get weirdly into nice backpacks, I’m unfortunately one of them.

So all in all, it’s a great example of how something seemingly simple can be elevated by thoughtful design and quality materials.

Non-affiliate link to the Waterfield case