Review: Nomad wireless travel stand is our favorite portable charger, but it could do more...

Posted:
in iPhone
Nomad's wireless travel charger for the iPhone 8 and iPhone X bucks the trend of many popular chargers, opting for a rounded-rectangular design that transforms from a charging pad, to a vertical charging stand -- and we've been using it for a while.




Nomad has made a name for itself with a line of rugged accessories perfect for any traveler. Many are crafted using leather from Chicago's own Horween tannery. We'd say their new wireless travel charger fits right in, but there are a few things that we'd like to see in an updated version.

Design

Nomad has a design-forward way of thinking. All their products have a distinct look that will never be confused with any other.

We see that here with their wireless charger. Instead of the round puck or plastic-laden charging stand, they opted for a modular rectangular design that works lying down or standing up.





To transform into a vertical stand, a rubber-accented aluminum brace can be removed from the underside and inserted through the charger to act as a pedestal for the phone, and a prop for the charger to lean against.

I love being able to go back and forth between horizontal and vertical. At home, I like having a horizontal pad on my desk, however, I prefer a vertical stand by my bedside. On my desk, I am a bit higher up so my iPhone X is able to still unlock with Face ID. In bed, I'm on an equal plane with the charger, so it needs to be propped up to be able to unlock with my face.




The Horween leather has a nice slate gray color, though at first glance you can barely tell it is leather -- it just blends in too well. It does mar a bit over time like any good leather will. I actually prefer the weathered and worn look after using it for a few weeks rather than right out of the box.

For power, Nomad uses a proprietary power brick that connects using a small barrel connector, and we don't care for it very much. We'd much have preferred a USB-C charger instead. If something ever happened to the cable or power adapter, it becomes a lot harder to replace, especially when on a trip.

The cable also lacks any sort of management capability. Nomad's other excellent cables all have wonderful silicone cable wraps. This would have been a welcome addition, especially when traveling.

Charging speed and coil placement

In general, Qi-based wireless charging works through two coils that are placed near one another, with one in the phone, and one in the charging platform. Some charging stands, like the ones from Anker we reviewed, use multiple charging coils to ensure compatibility with a wide array of devices. Nomad is specifically targeting the iPhone's with this charger, so they opted for a single-coil design.

One of the trade-offs of that is the placement of the iPhone has to be relatively precise. There are two negative side effects of this.

First, when propped up into a stand, the iPhone has to be vertical. Those who like to put their phones horizontal to watch a video while charging, or use a horizontal alarm clock app are out of luck.




Secondly, when using as a horizontal charging mat, the phone has to be offset just slightly to be in the same position it would be in had it been propped up in the stand.

Nomad makes this need for precision when placing the phone down clear with a sticker right when you open the charger, but it is another small frustration.

As far as what really matters, this wireless charger is capable of charging an iPhone at up to 7.5W, the maximum for any wireless iPhone.

What we'd like to see




As good as the Nomad charger is, it got us thinking about what we would like to see.

First among those things is a USB port. This charger is great, but what do you do with your Apple Watch? It still requires its own charger and power adapter. It would be ideal to simply connect a short Apple Watch charging cable to the underside of the wireless charger and only have one power adapter to bring along.

That coupled with better cable management and better coil placement, this would be our ideal charger.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars




Nomad earns 4 out of 5 stars for their wireless charger. The charger itself is outstanding, with fast speeds and stunning design. However, the coil placement, power cable choice, and cable management all result in a slightly flawed package.

We will gladly use the Nomad charger at home and on the go, but can't help wonder of what could come in a second iteration.

Where to buy

This wireless travel charger can be found on Nomad's site for $59.99. Nomad also has their wireless charging hub available which can charge several USB devices at the same time.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    It maxes out at 7.5W.
    I’ll pass.
    edited April 28 SnickersMagoo
  • Reply 2 of 7
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 151member, editor
    bluefire1 said:
    It maxes out at 7.5W.
    I’ll pass.
    So do all iPhones. It is designed for iPhones. iPhone max is 7.5W, so that is all it is designed to handle. To charge the iPhone wireless as fast as possible. 
    bluefire1
  • Reply 3 of 7
    macguimacgui Posts: 807member
    I really dislike precise placement on a charging is required. This means a slight bump of furniture or the phone and charging may be stopped or impaired.

    Along with cable management and a USB port, how about two sets of guides for the 8 and X so that you can 'drop' the phone on the pad and it it would self-center for proper charging? Or at least a slight ridge near the bottom that serves as a felt index.

    Can an Apple Watch (with an open band) be charged by the Nomad's coil? Other phones?

    First world problem sure. But just as I'd toss loose change into a dish or my keys onto the table (or into the dish) if I'm going to do wireless charging, I'd like it to be exactly that convenient.

    At $60, this is a hard pass.
  • Reply 4 of 7
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 788member
    bluefire1 said:
    It maxes out at 7.5W.
    I’ll pass.
    So do all iPhones. It is designed for iPhones. iPhone max is 7.5W, so that is all it is designed to handle. To charge the iPhone wireless as fast as possible. 
    For me wireless means being able to charge my phone untethered to any wire or required to lay on any charger. Until then my 29W Apple charger is my preferred option.
  • Reply 5 of 7
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,163member
    I want a rectangular wireless charger that will fit in the tray inside th console in my Mazda.
    From watching the video, these are the reasons I would not purchase:
    • expensive
    • in upright position only one angle is possible
    • Design of the stand means phone cannot align with case. This might reduce reliability of charging.
    • power brick means can’t just be used in a car without additional purchases (in fact lack of flexibility with power is a fail IMHO).

    to improve, the positioning issue can be fixed by having the extension the phone sits on when vertical, there permanently, thus when flat you just butt the base of the phone against the upright but, and it is aligned! This only needs to be not much higher than the thickness of the phone.
    a standard USB charging cable included
    a rachet style stand is incorporated, so there are more than two angle positions available

  • Reply 6 of 7
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 194member
    Nah, thank you
  • Reply 7 of 7
    aegeanaegean Posts: 93member
    Sorry, I will wait for AirPower.
    caladanian
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