Cables are not usually something that most of us give thought to or find interesting or sexy in any way. Companies have tried several times over the years to gin them up and make them more impressive – Monster’s gold-plated scart cables sprint to my mind – but normally cables are only differentiated by length and perhaps a braided cover.

Nomad has taken cables and tried to make them as portable as they could be. They have two products – the NomadClip and NomadKey which are designed to let you take a microUSB or Lightning cable with you wherever you go.




The NomadKey is a cable in the shape and approximatly size of a key. It is designed to fit on the keyring on the theory that keys are always with you. The microUSB or Lightning connector is at the solid plastic top which has a key ring attachment point. This is attached to a rubber slightly flexible trunk which comes to another hard end with a full size USB connector

Many of us use a carabiner to hold our keys so the NomadClip takes the alternative direction and instead of hanging off your keys it takes a steel carabiner and puts a hardened plastic cover on one side. Hidden inside the cover is either a lighting or microUSB cable. This also has the advantage that when not in use the ports are not exposed providing an extra layer of protection.

Both the NomadKey and NomadClip are designed to be as durable and tough as possible. I was originally concerned for the NomadKey on my keyring as I have a habit of putting my keys in my back pocket and then sitting on them. After a month of this abuse it still looks pristine and works perfectly.

Neither is waterproof per se, but they are somewhat weatherproof and would not have a problem with being caught in the rain, or in my case a garden hose when washing the car. After it it had dried out I found the NomadKey still worked perfectly. This isn’t recommended but as I found would not be a disaster.

Target audience

Nomad products are aimed very squarely at the smartphone user on the go who wants to make very sure he or she has a way of connecting power wherever they are.





Size: 6.6 x 0.5 x 1.9 cm
Item Weight: 7g
Capacity: High Speed USB 2.0 data 2.5amps
Colour: Black
Material: Bayer Polycarbonate, Dupont TPE Rubber
Devices – microUSB: Most microUSB including Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and almost anything else
Devices – Lightning: iPhone 5 to 6/6 Plus, iPad 4th Gen onwards, iPad Mini (all), iPod Touch 5th Gen onwards


Size: 8 x 4.2 x 1.3 cm
Item Weight: 53g
Capacity: High Speed USB 2.0 data 2.5amps
Colour: Black
Material: Bayer Polycarbonate shell, reinforced stainless steel
Devices – microUSB: Most microUSB including Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and almost anything else
Devices – Lightning: iPhone 5 to 6/6 Plus, iPad 4th Gen onwards, iPad Mini (all), iPod Touch 5th Gen onwards

Warranty: 2 year limited for both products


The NomadKey and NomadClip are both charging cables and as such need something to charge and something to charge from. To be clear this means that if you want to charge on the go you will need to carry an external battery with you as well.




The NomadKey and NomadClip are completely accessible from a visual perspective. Both are entirely usable with any range of visual issues from complete blindness to hypersensitivity. They have no lights, indicators or labels of any type.


Both devices are silent and have no audible component intentional or otherwise. As such they are completely accessible to anyone with reduced hearing or hypersensitivity to sound.

Input and touch

Both the NomadKey and NomadClip are simple to use but the NomadKey is the simpler one. The exposed connectors mean that it only has to be plugged in.

The NomadClip needs the connectors to be pulled out of the casing before use. This takes a fair amount of force and this is made more difficult by the smoother plastic which is difficult to get a good grip on. If you have poor grip in your fingers the NomadClip will be difficult to use.

The plastic both are made from is smooth to the touch and the centre of the NomadKey’s rubber feels grippy and tough.

Ease of Use

The NomadKey is very simple to use and totally self explanatory. Both the USB and microUSB connectors are exposed and visible and can be plugged in as easily as any normal cable.

The NomadClip is a little more complicated – both ends of the connectors are hidden and need to be exposed before they can be plugged in.

I found them both easy to use with one obvious problem – in being so compact the cables are very short. I found this was no problem when the thing I was plugging into was flat on a desk on in my hand but when I tried to plug it into my laptop which was on a stand my phone ended up suspended in the air. I got around this by using the USB connector on the back of my keyboard but it does bring up an important point – if you use one of these with a wall plugged in charger the chances are your smart device is going to end up hanging in the air.

Cognitive, language and math

Neither the NomadKey and NomadClip require any use of language or math.


Social Interaction

There is no social interaction involved in the use of the NomadKey or NomadClip unless you count the possibility of someone seeing them and asking what they are.


The NomadKey and NomadClip both use a plastic polycarbonate called Makrolon. I have not been able to find any cases of an allergy to Makrolon – it is in fact the same material epipen’s often used to treat severe allergic reactions are made from.

The NomadKey uses a rubber like flexible thermoplastic for its stem called Hytrel. Hytrel is used as a covering on hyperallerginc mattress and is very unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.

Product Information


Nomad started on Kickstarter with the ChargeCard in 2012 and have since launched a number of minimalist accessories for smartphones. In the future they plan to focus on accessories for smartwatches and have just launched a charging station for the Apple Watch to go with the Pebble watch charger they also make.

Price – NomadKey

RRP: £14.95 USB, £19.95 Lightning
Retailer: USB, Lightning

Price – NomadClip

RRP: £24.95 USB, £29.95 Lightning
Retailer: USB, Lightning


Neither the NomadKey and NomadClip are what you could call the cheap option. Going on Amazon I can find basic microUSB cables for less than £5 and lightning cables for not much more. I also seem to have cables lying around absolutely everywhere. The difference is one of uniqueness and durability. The Nomad’s are very well made and as they are attached to my keys impossible for me to lose making them last much longer than that £5 cable is likely to.

It should be noted that both the lightning connector cables are £5 more expensive but lightning cables need to be certified by Apple which as a whole tends to make them always more expensive.




Cables are something that we rarely think about and if we do that we spend as little time on as possible. We want them to be reliable, always there and then to fade into the background. The NomadKey and to a lesser extent the NomadClip do this with style. They attach to something that you already carry around and then you can forget about them until the moment you need them.

I would recommend both products for anyone who carries a smartphone. Specifically I’d recommend the NomadClip for people who carry their keys attached to their belt or similar place and the NomadKey for those who have their keys loose. Personally I will be carrying the NomadKey and attaching the NomadClip to my bag as a backup. Highly recommended.

The review is based on the microUSB NomadKey and NomadClip kindly provided by Nomad

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