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Nomad ChargeKey Review: A USB Cable For Your Keyring

Although it’s unlikely to replace a USB cable because of its limited range, this is certainly a useful gadget to have attached to your keyring in emergency scenarios. Pair that with the very reasonable price tag, and Nomad’s ChargeKey is a winner in my books.

• Fantastic design & build quality
• Very convenient to carry

• Limited reach from a USB port

Of all the things you can probably imagine having on your keyring, a USB cable is likely to be the last thing you’ve considered putting on there, right?

Well, after impressing with their first product — the ChargeCard — Nomad also launched an even smaller, more portable alternative to the traditional USB cable; the ChargeKey.

Designed to be on your keyring (as the name suggests), this $25 device is perfect for those who prefer to travel light or simply hate carrying cables. You can choose between micro USB, 30-pin or Lightining connectivity too, just like with the ChargeCard.



Nomad-ChargeKeyThe ChargeKey’s form factor is extremely thin and lightweight, and paired with its flexibility it’s hardly going to be noticeable when you’re carrying it around.

That’s coming from someone who doesn’t like to clutter their keyring by the way!

Much like the ChargeCard in a wallet or purse, the ChargeKey has been excellently designed for how it’ll be used. Whether it’ll be in your trouser pocket, jacket or bag; Nomad have done a great job of ensuring that it blends in without getting in your way.

When it came to build quality, I was glad to see that Nomad didn’t make any compromises either; it’s also made out of the high grade plastics they used for the ChargeCard. After twisting and bending it with intent, plus using it casually for a few weeks, I was glad to see that it withstood the “life test” with no problems whatsoever.


Even the exposed USB and Lightning connectors stood strong throughout my testing. It was an initial concern of mine, but having had it in my pockets, bags and thrown around the house; I was happy with the overall durability of the ChargeKey.

Convenience vs Practicality

Nomad-ChargeKeyWhile it doesn’t actually charge your device with its own power source, there’s little doubt in my mind about the  convenience factor of the ChargeKey.

After all, it half solves one of the common “first world problems” we constantly moan about… battery life!

Just like with the ChargeCard however, the ChargeKey suffers from a practicality point of view. It’s a great method of charging your device via a power source on the go, but its limited reach means that you need direct (and short range) access to the USB port you’re connecting to; something that isn’t always possible.

That essentially rules out charging your device using a desktop PC, TV or anything that requires the lengthy range you’d otherwise get with a cable.

Even when the USB port is accessible, if it’s at a height like on a wall mounted TV for instance, I for one wouldn’t feel comfortable dangling my iPhone at a height, relying only on the ChargeKey to support its weight.

As you can see on the image above, the ChargeKey had a pretty tight grip on my iPhone even dangling off the table, but it’s not something I would personally be comfortable with doing regularly.

The Bottom Line

Leaving aside the practicality issue, I’m a big fan of what Nomad have done with the ChargeKey; it’s a product that has clearly been designed with day-to-day use in mind. Everything from the design, build quality and durability is excellent.

I don’t see it being able to necessarily replace a USB cable because of its limited range, but it’s certainly a useful gadget to have attached to your keyring in emergency scenarios. Pair that with the very reasonable price tag, and Nomad’s ChargeKey is a winner in my books.


By Fabio Virgi

I'm the guy behind Let's Talk Tech and a travel blog called Fab Meets World. Some people call me a geek, I think they're probably right. I'm fascinated by technology and innovation, love good design and own way too many gadgets for my own good. Want to connect? Get in touch on Twitter and Instagram.