Toys on my desk (June 2014)

We all have mobile phones or tablets with lightning or micro-USB plugs, and we all have laptops with USB ports. Sure, you can easily find a USB-to-micro-USB cable, and your iPhone came with a USB-to-lightning cable… but who wants to be carrying around a cable?

A company called Nomad makes small connectors that are much easier to carry than a cable. They have key-like connectors (NomadKey) and card-like ones (NomadCard). They fit in your key chain or in your wallet.

They sent me a few review units (both lightning and micro-USB). I tested them out with many of my devices. They do the job well. My iPad complains that the connector is not approved, but it seems to be a harmless warning. (Nomad says that their connectors are certified so I cannot explain the warning.)

I tried carrying them around and using them at a local café. The NomadCard connectors work well but they do not feel as natural as the NomadKey connectors. The NomadKey is smaller and feels more durable, so I recommend it against the NomadCard.

I got them about a month ago and tested them only a few times. They do feel robust and I cannot see any tear or damage on them. This is somewhat surprising given how much I twisted them. I expect the NomadKey to last years.

Both type of connectors look sharp… much sharper than a cable. They are $30 on Amazon. If you spend a lot of time connecting your tablet or smartphone to a USB cable outside of your office, it is probably worth the price.

Disclosure: I got the review units for free.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

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