GeekDad Review: Nomad USB Charging Hub Cuts Clutter With Style

Nomad doesn’t just make iPhone and Apple Watch accessories finished in premium quality Horween leather. The company is also well known for power-related gear, including charging wallets (which yes, also feature Horween leather) and battery-equipped ruggedized cables. Nomad recently released a USB Charging Hub as well, and sent one for me to try out.

Nomad Charging Hub is pretty straightforward, just the hub itself and a power adapter (Photo by Brad Moon)

Nomad 5-Port USB Charging Hub Basic Specs

• 2 x high-output 2.4A USB ports
• 3 x 1A USB ports
• Maximum output 27W
• LED charge status indicators for each port, with ambient light sensor
• Polycarbonate with non-slip feet and soft matte rubber top
• Includes power adapter with 4-foot cord
• 5-inches diameter, height 1.25-inches
• Available in black or white
$49.95 (3-port version for $39.95)

Why Use a Charge Hub?

The Nomad Charging Hub is designed to address two issues that are common in many households these days: cable clutter and a shortage of electrical outlets for all those mobile devices we carry.

Cable routing beneath the hub, showing the five USB ports and power input (Photo by Brad Moon)

With the hub, you plug in one power adapter to a wall outlet, then you can plug in up to five USB cables that would otherwise need to be connected to their own dedicated power chargers. Two of those can be connected to high-output 2.4A USB ports, capable of charging most tablets. The other three are 1A ports, which are sufficient for an iPhone and many other portable devices; you could also use one of the 2.4A ports with an iPhone for faster charging (they do not support Android Quick-Charge). It’s worth noting that there are no USB-C ports, although you can still charge a USB-C device using a standard Type-A to Type-C USB cable.

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All cables route through the back of the hub, with the ports concealed underneath. There’s a flexible slot that lets pretty much any cable through while still keeping things tidy.

With all five ports connected to USB cables, you can charge five devices simultaneously while using just one electrical outlet. That cuts a lot of cable clutter and lets you toss five chargers in a drawer, but you are still left with the five USB cables themselves…

Nomad USB Charging Hub in action (Photo by Brad Moon)

Useful Extras

The Nomad Charging Hub is designed to look attractive and the matte rubber top provides a no-slip spot to place a device or two while charging. The downside (at least in my house which is over-run with kids and dogs) is that top tends to attract dust, hair and assorted airborne junk. It needed to be wiped down frequently. A white option is available, and maybe that doesn’t show the detritus the way black does.

One really handy feature the Nomad Charging Hub offers that the other USB charge hubs in my collection lack is a fairly sophisticated LED charge status indicator system. There are small LED lights for each port. With nothing connected, they stay off. But they show either orange or white for any port where a device is connected. Orange indicates the device is still charging, and that changes to white when it is fully charged. That saves you having to pick up your smartphone to check if it’s finished charging. There is also an ambient light sensor tucked under the front edge, and it turns those LEDs down in the dark so they don’t interfere with sleep.

LED charge indicator lights are handy, but you can see that the matte black rubber top can collect dust (Photo by Brad Moon)

If you could benefit from a charging hub (and at last check, we had at least three of them in the house), the Nomad Charging Hub is worth checking out. At $49.95, it’s reasonably priced for something of this quality and it looks a lot more stylish than most charging hubs so you could place one in the kitchen or living room without it looking like you plunked a piece of networking equipment on a table. If you don’t need five ports, there’s a three-port version available for 10 bucks less.

Disclosure: Nomad provided a sample USB Charging Hub, but had no editorial input into this review.

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