Nomad 100W USB-C Cable REVIEW
It seems like I’ve spent most of the past couple of years avoiding cables and the clutter they create. However, every once in a while, I reach out for that very special cable that just does what I need it to. In this particular case, it is the USB-C cable from Nomad. Nomad has a great reputation (with me at least) for designing cables that are rugged and conduct power the way they should. In fact, my favorite Lightning cable is from Nomad. It’s part of their Ultra Rugged Collection just as this USB-C cable is.
The rugged cables just hold up better against more use than standard cables do and I need that when I do work from a remote location. Ever since I got my MacBook Pro (2016 model — only has USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports), I’ve had my eye on new and interesting USB-C cables and accessories. Nomad’s USB-C cable certainly fits into that category.
The USB-C cable is an ultra-rugged cable with full 100W power transfer and ultra-fast 10gpbs USB 3.1 Gen 2 data transfer. Each layer of the cable presents the user with another reason to appreciate it for being a well-designed, robust cable. Starting from the surface, here is the breakdown layer-by-layer:
- 500D Nylon: abrasion and tear resistant
- 2X Thick Moisture Barrier (PVC jacket)
- 2X RF Shield for Fast Sync
- 4X Polyamide Central Core with extra thick wire gauge
- 20AWG for 100W charging
The cable can support 4K video and is 4K Mil-spec flex tested. The 100W USB-C cable is 1M in length and comes in a dark gray/black woven pattern. The Nomad cable features USB power delivery profile 5, which supports 5V/2A, 12V, 20V/5A (100W total output). It is listed as compatible with USB Type C phones and tablets, as well as MacBooks and MacBook Pros. With it being a 100W power delivery cable, it can even handle the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which requires 87W of power.
I am a big fan of Nomad’s packaging. It has clear Nomad branding on the face, sides, and back of the package and puts some great details of the product on the box. When you slide the box open, there is nothing other than the cable laying on the inside. There is, however, a message that reads “Designed for Adventure” in the bed of the box. When you take the cable out of the box, you will notice how solid the cable is. It appears to be 10–20% thicker than the Nomad Lightning cable. The cable really holds its shape well and stores away easily.
As I mentioned, I’m a long-time fan of Nomad cables. So, I did not expect to be disappointed when testing out the USB-C cable. I’m glad to say that I was not. Unfortunately, there are a lot of cables out there to claim to be able to charge the newer MacBook Pros but cannot. Nomad’s cable can. The first test I did was to try out charging a 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar). I used the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 with PD as my power source for the MacBook Pro. From previous testing, I knew that the battery would provide sufficient power to the laptop. In that instance, I was using the USB-C cable provided by Anker. So the only difference in this experiment was the cable I was using (Nomad’s USB-C cable).
When I started charging the laptop, the battery was at 100% power and the laptop was only at 22%. After 32 minutes, the laptop had gained 22% power. The next time I checked on the laptop was 48 minutes later and the laptop had gained another 39%. I stopped the charging tests at that time but felt good with the 61% gain in 80 minutes. That was a little over 1.3% battery gain per minute. I do want to note here that I was using the laptop normally while charging for the first 32 minutes and then the laptop was asleep for the rest of the charging test. In addition to timing how long the battery was charging, I also used my USB power delivery tester to find out what kind of transfer rate the was happening between the battery and the laptop. The image below shows 14.8V/1.56A power delivery transfer. When I ran the same power delivery test with the cable from Anker, I got 14.9V/0.5A with 7.46W as the maximum. Overall, some very impressive results.
The next test I completed was data transfer.To run this test, I used Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test with a Western Digital My Passport SSD Portable Hard Drive. The WD drive connects through USB-C (USB 3.1 Gen 2) so I thought it would be the ideal test subject. The drive ships with its own USB-C cable so in order to have a scientific constant, I ran the Blackmagic test twice — once with the WD cable and once with the Nomad cable. I happened to have a file that was 10.81GB in size so I zipped it (final size 10.49GB) and used it as my transfer subject. When I transferred the file using the WD cable it took 34.59 seconds. The Nomad cable transferred the same file in 31.36 seconds. Unfortunately, there was a slight drop in performance from the Nomad cable when I moved on to the Blackmagic speed test. I was, however, reassured that the Nomad cable was living up to its standard since the WD drive/cable were already designed to transfer data at 10gbps. You can see the results below.
The Nomad USB-C cable is a one-of-a-kind charging and data transfer solution for all your adventures. It’s built to last and has superior elements encased within its many layers. I would recommend this for any type of user. I can’t see anyone being disappointed with its performance.
Originally published at macsources.com on February 20, 2018.