We don’t know what we’d do without our smartphones yet we never bother to carry a charger around with us. Companies have found some innovative ways in recent years to reduce the size of their chargers yet they can still be quite bulky. Carrying a charge cable around would be a better idea but we still find ourselves without one when we need it most.
However for the past month our charge woes have completely vanished thanks to a small company called Nomad who are based in San Francisco. Back in August 2012 they started a Kickstarter campaign for their first product which was to be a portable credit card sized charge cable. The campaign was incredibly successful, smashing their initial funding goal by over 300%, and the Nomad ChargeCard was born.
Since then they have gone on to improve the product and have also launched the Nomad ChargeKey. Both products are available with lightning or Micro-USB connectors and over the past month we’ve been testing out a Micro-USB ChargeCard and a Lightning ChargeKey.
Imagine crossing a credit card with a charge cable and you’ll immediately understand the ChargeCard. The product itself is actually slightly smaller than a standard credit card and about as thick as two put together. This makes it easy to pop it in your wallet and forget about it until you need it.
It looks a little strange at first and you only understand the genius of its design when you use it for the first time. The main body of the ChargeCard uses a tough rigid plastic. The top left corner is cut away to house either a Micro-USB or Lightning connector. While it sticks out from the main body of the ChargeCard it still fits within the dimensions of a credit card.
Across the middle of the card is the USB portion of the cable that you plug into a USB port on a device such as a PC, Laptop or Games Console. To use the USB cable you need to clip it out of the card and then bend the cable around. The cable is flat and the same thickness as the card but made of a rubber material that makes it easy to bend.
Once connected to a USB port and your device then it simply acts as a charge cable. There’s no software or drivers to worry about you just plug it in and wait while your device charges. Once you’re done you just bend the USB cable back, clip it into the card and pop it back in your wallet.
The ChargeKey forgets about credit cards and instead takes its design inspiration from a key. It’s about the same size and shape of a normal house key. Once clipped onto your keyring you don’t even notice it but as long as you have your keys with you then you’ll always have a charge cable too.
At one end of the ChargeKey you’ll find the USB connector and the other is either a Micro-USB or Lightning connector. The ends are made out of the same strong plastic as the ChargeCard with the middle portion made out of the tough rubber allowing you to bend the cable into position.
Again using the cable is as simple as plugging it into a USB port and connecting your device. You don’t even need to take it off your keys.
Overall we’ve been incredibly impressed by the Nomad ChargeCard and ChargeKey. For the purposes of this review we’ve been carrying both products around with us for the past 6 weeks. We were initially worried that the connectors might become scratched or damaged. We’ve been using both cables daily and are happy to report that they have remained in perfect condition and performed wonderfully.
The Nomad ChargeCard and ChargeKey are effortless to carry around and always available when you need them. We can’t recommend them highly enough and wouldn’t be without them. Both products retail in the UK for around £16 each.
Later this month Nomad are launching three new products – NomadClip, NomadCard and NomadKey. The NomadCard and NomadKey are the latest versions of the ChargeCard and ChargeKey. The NomadClip is essentially the same idea but uses a carabiner as inspiration for its design.
To find out more about Nomad and their products head on over to the official Nomad website.