Review: NOMAD Pod – Apple Watch Charger

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you are like me and the last thing you need is yet another cord dangling from your nightstand, then the NOMAD Pod Apple Watch charger could be the answer. Eliminate the cord and add some style into your tech gadget charging routine!

(photo by Skip Owens)
(photo by Skip Owens)

Description

The NOMAD Pod Apple Watch charger is an aluminum “hockey puck” or pod that is both a stylish Apple Watch stand and a charger all-in-one. The outer case of the pod is mostly made of aluminum, except for the bottom, which has a grippy rubberized material so it won’t easily slide and fall off a cabinet, desktop, or nightstand.

The NOMAD base (photo by Skip Owens)
The NOMAD base (photo by Skip Owens)

Inside the pod there are two main elements. The “core” of the NOMAD Pod is a battery that you charge up with the supplied micro-USB to USB cable. You then charge your Apple Watch from this battery instead of directly from wall power… therefore eliminating the need for an unsightly cord. The other main element inside the pod is the charging cable that came with your Apple Watch. You simply plug in the USB end of the long Apple Watch charging cable and then wind it around the inside of pod. The charging disk of the Apple Watch Cable is then nestled at the top of the pod and is used to charge your Apple Watch just as you had been doing before (except now you have a nifty looking aluminum battery powered pod instead of another ugly cord).

Setup

NOMAD Pod box (photo by Skip Owens)
NOMAD Pod box (photo by Skip Owens)

The setup of the NOMAD Pod Apple Watch charger is pretty straight-forward. When you 1st unbox the NOMAD Pod there are four main pieces:

NOMAD Pod box contents (photo by Skip Owens)
NOMAD Pod box contents (photo by Skip Owens)
  • A box containing the USB charging cord
  • The Base of the NOMAD pod
  • The aluminum cover to the NOMAD Pod
  • An insert/height adapter needed for those with a metal Apple Watch disk (not required if you have the Apple Watch Sport)
NOMAD height adapter insert (photo by Skip Owens)
NOMAD height adapter insert (photo by Skip Owens)

Grab your Apple Watch charging cable and plug the USB end of it into the inside of the NOMAD Pod base, and then start tightly wrapping the cord around the inside of the Pod. This took me a couple of tries to get it wrapped tightly and neatly enough to get the aluminum enclosure to fit over the top of the wound cord. IMPORTANT: if you have the metal disk version of the Apple Watch charging cable (this only comes with the Stainless Steel or Edition version of the Apple Watch) then you will need to place the supplied height adapter piece in the circular insert before you place the Apple Watch charging disk into the top of the NOMAD. This adapter is needed to adjust for the thickness difference that exists between the plastic Apple Watch charging disk that comes with the Apple Watch Sport and the metal disk that come with the other versions of the Apple Watch. The charging disk needs to sit at the right height so that enough of the disk sticks up through the aluminum enclosure to make contact with the Apple Watch and charge it.

Now that you have successfully installed the Apple Watch charging cable into the Pod you get to the fun part. The aluminum enclosure has two very strong magnets built into the inside upper surface that properly aligns and secures the enclosure onto the Pod. This is a really nice feature because it makes it very easy get the enclosure tightly installed over what seems like a endlessly long Apple Watch charging cable. Without these magnets this last step would be rather fiddly and not so secure. Installation and setup is now complete. Now just charge up the battery inside the NOMAD Pod by using the supplied USB charging cable and you will be ready to go.

Usage and Capacity

In order to start charging your Apple Watch on the NOMAD Pod you first must set the Apple Watch on the top of the Pod and then turn the Pod on. The power button on the Pod is located on the side of the Pod near the base, right next to where you connect the supplied USB charging cable to charge the Pod’s battery.

I purchased–yes, this my device it was not provided by NOMAD for this review–the NOMAD Pod so I could reduce the number of charging cables I had to deal with and also get away from having to ALWAYS charge my watch every night. If charging became so simple and convenient then it would be easy enough for me to charge my watch several times a day and instead of just doing nightly charges. I also travel a lot, so being able to travel with a nice compact device to charge my watch in hotels was a really attractive feature. Overall, the NOMAD Pod has worked out really well for me. I mostly charge my Apple Watch 1st thing in the morning now. For now I don’t sleep while wearing the Apple Watch, but when Watch OS 2 enables 3rd party developers to do sleep tracking I plan to start wearing it at night. My normal routine during the work week is to get up at 5:30am and, after making the essential cup (or vat) of coffee, I get about an hour of work in before the rest of the family is awake and we all head off to school and work. This allows more than enough time to charge my Apple Watch up to 100% before I need to strap it on my wrist and run out the door. I suspect that even for people that don’t work like I do first thing in the morning that could get most of your charging done while showering, shaving, and eating breakfast in the morning.

Now for interesting part of the this review… battery capacity. When I first started using the NOMAD Pod I had a couple of instances where it wasn’t fully charging my Apple Watch. I initially used the Pod to charge my watch overnight, and a few times I woke up the next morning to find a partially charged watch. Not cool! So I did what any geek worth his salt would do… I turned it into a science experiment. I started keep track of the battery level of my Apple Watch after 24 hours of usage, how long it took to fully charge the watch on the Pod, and how many charges I would get out of a fully charged NOMAD Pod battery. Here are the results over the course of collecting data for a month:

  • On average, my Apple Watch was at 46% battery level after 24 hours of use
  • On average, the NOMAD would provide 170% worth of an Apple Watch charge on a single NOMAD battery charge. That translates into 3.7 charges of my Apple Watch before the NOMAD would run out of power.
  • On average, my Apple Watch would charge up to 100% in one hour and 15 minutes

What I concluded from my little experiment is that doing overnight charges on the NOMAD wasn’t the best way for me to use it. Leaving a device that only take about an hour to fully charge on a charger overnight doesn’t make a lot of sense. It doens’t need to be plugged in that long to charge. I think leaving the Apple Watch on the NOMAD Pod charger for that long was what was causing some of the charging issues I was seeing. Ever since switching over to charging the Apple Watch while I was awake and only for as long as was needed I haven’t had any issues. This also works better for how I intend to start using my Apple Watch when sleep tracking is enabled.

In summary, I am really enjoying the NOMAD Pod. It has a nice compact and minimalist design and eliminates a charging cord (except when I have to charge the NOMAD battery every four days or so). Traveling with mobile devices is a pain and it can be challenging to find enough outlets in a hotel room to charge all your devices overnight. Traveling with the NOMAD helps solve this problem too. Once Watch OS 2 hits and I start tracking my sleep with the Apple Watch, I expect devices like this that make charging so much more convenient will shift from being a nice-to-have to being essential.

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