When it comes to portable USB cables, NOMAD pretty much takes the cake. They began in 2012 with a small Kickstarter campaign and they’ve been working hard ever since to continue to evolve their products. This year is no different, with a new generation of products being released and are currently available for purchase starting today.
Using NomadKey In the Wild
I’ve been using the new NomadKey for about a week now, and though I never got to try last year’s ChargeKey I can compare the quality of the plastic and the build to the design of my ChargeCard, which is of last year’s design and materials. In general, it’s really nice to have a small USB cord in your pocket all the time. It’s actually more convenient to have it on my key chain than it is to have it in my wallet, like with the ChargeCard.
Yes, it’s short but I’ve found that in a pinch it’s incredibly handy to have around and just reaching into my pocket and it being there is even better. If you’re somewhere where there’s a computer, which seems like pretty much always for me (welcome to the 21st century), then you have a charger for your phone, headphones, or whatever you have that uses a MicroUSB connection (or Lightning, if you’re into that). It also works just like any other USB cable you have, meaning you can use it to transfer data or send an ADB command, if you need to.
One thing that I would note is that having this in your pocket along with having a portable battery pack (such as the NomadPlus) with you. Personally, I don’t own a portable battery pack, but I know for a fact that having really long USB cords with those can be very cumbersome and having a NomadKey would make it very easy to charge your phone when you’re on the go.
Comparing To Last Year’s Model
There are a few things that I noticed right away when I started comparing the new NomadKey with last year’s ChargeKey. First, the new one uses more premium feeling plastic. They finished the plastic in such a way that it just looks like it’s more durable this time around.
Another thing is the rubber. Last year’s ChargeKey had the rubber go almost all the way to the connection, making it a little too flexible near the crucial parts of the cable and it’s possible that in some cases that meant a sacrifice in the integrity of the cable.
The biggest thing, however, was literally the biggest thing. On last year’s ChargeKey, the connection on the USB side was without the metal shield, making it about 1/4 the normal thickness of a USB cord, but this year they went back to using the shield, like in their original design in 2012.I reached out to the NOMAD to see what the reasoning behind this change was, because it inherently has to have made the cable thicker and they have always prided themselves on making the world’s thinnest USB cables. They have not yet responded to my question, but once they do I will update this review.
Update: According to NOMAD, the NomadKey has to have the metal casing to comply with MicroUSB and MFi requirements, which is why they included it in the newer model.
NOMAD was kind enough to send me two of these bad boys so I’ve decided to keep the second one in the packaging and give a NomadKey (USB to MicroUSB) to one of our amazing readers. Just enter the contest in the below Rafflecopter and you’re all set! The contest ends on September 27th at midnight, so get your entries in by then and cross your fingers! Good luck!
If you have to have a NomadKey now, or you want one of the other great accessories that are sold by NOMAD, check out their website listed below: