With the increase in USB charging devices, our desks can often look like a cable graveyard. With only two outlets per wall receptacle, it can be difficult to charge all of our devices. Some may turn to power strips or surge protectors and others may look to multi-device HUBs and yet others may use a combination of devices. It is important to remember that each outlet is not independent. Rather, they are usually wired with other outlets or lighting fixtures into a 15 Amp circuit. You should not need to play cable Tetris, trying to plug multiple chargers into a surge protector with a device like the NOMAD USB HUB.
The NOMAD USB Charging HUB arrives in an 8 inches wide by 8 inches wide by 2 inches tall box, displaying a very stylish circular charging HUB. The packaging promises 5 USB ports, High power 2.4A output (x2), 1A (x3) and a cable management system, hidden in the weighted base. Turning the packaging over, NOMAD conveniently shows the underside of the very futuristic HUB and the mechanism to charge 5 devices at once. Providing a max output of 30W, the USB HUB organizes the cables along the base and provides a cable routing passage along the back of the HUB. The product is made for iPhone 5 and newer, iPad mini 1–4, iPad Air 1 and 2, Android Type C, Micro USB phones/tablets. To remove the charger, you will need to slide the brown cardboard box out of the glossy black slip cover and then lift off the top of the box.
The HUB measures 4 7/8 inch diameter by 1 3/8 inch tall and weighs 10.4 ounces. Within the box, you will find the charger and a very large 3 1/2 inch tall by 1 7/8 inch wide by 1 1/2 inch thick AC adaptor. The A type prong is located near the top of the large charging box and is oriented to allow the bulk of the charger to lie beneath the prong. With the bulk of the charger, I would have preferred to see a rotatable A type plug, similar to that on flat surge protectors. The current design will allow you to use either the upper or lower wall plug. Unfortunately, the device does take up a lot of real-estate and does not work well with some power strips/surge protectors. Perhaps a future upgrade will allow for a smaller A type plug and an inline power adaptor, similar to the XBox One power brick.
The main USB Hub feels very robust and secure. I appreciate the addition of the rubberized base, which does provide a very good anti-slip ring. If you look at the underside of the USB HUB, you will begin to appreciate the quality of the construction. Half of the core is hollow and allows for cable management/storage. There are a total of 6 ports hidden within the HUB. From right to left, you will find the DC 12V input port, two 2.4A ports and then three 1A ports. Along the back of the device, you will find a cleverly hidden cut out, for additional cable management. This design feature allows all of the utilized cables to extend out of the back of the HUB. Whether you utilize the NOMAD USB HUB at work, at home, in your dorm room, etc. you can enjoy the minimalistic footprint of the HUB. There are 5 LEDs along the front, top rim of the device, alerting you to the used ports. These also have a nighttime feature, which will dim at night for your convenience. Otherwise, you will see a very techy black puck. You can place your phone or another smart device atop the USB HUB, but there is no charging feature to the top. I personally wish that there was an option for a magnetic charger along the top. This would be a perfect location for inductive charging or for a cutout for the USB Apple Watch charging cable. Some brands even have built in chargers for the Apple Watch or other watches.
It is important to note that there are no USB cables within the packaging. I absolutely love the design of the black braided cables that were displayed on the packaging. I reached out to NOMAD to find out more information. Having personally met members of the team, I can state that every experience with NOMAD has been a positive one. I was informed that the displayed cables are for visual appearance only and were designed to enhance the aesthetics of the packaging. NOMAD has created a device that will allow you to use any cables that you already have. They are not forcing you to utilize their cables or to unnecessarily purchase cables that you do not need nor want. At first, I was a little disappointed that the black cables were not included. When I thought further about the price point, NOMAD has made a great decision. You may not need 5 lightning cables, nor 5 USB-micro cables. Rather, you may need some variety of the charging cables. Amazingly, NOMAD does create some very rugged cables. If you are interested in learning more about the Rugged Cables, you can read my latest review on macsources.com, or you can visit hellonomad.com.
The USB HUB is very visually appealing and the cable management system is quite convenient. The large power adaptor and the lack of charging cables may be a negative for some consumers. I absolutely love the NOMAD Rugged Cable but feel that this HUB would work better with a shorter cable, perhaps one around two to three feet long. The available DC 12V charging adapter has a 47-inch long cord, which is acceptable. If you are truly looking for a modern, minimalistic charging footprint, look no further than the NOMAD device. If you peruse the NOMAD website, you can choose between a three or five USB charger option. I would rate the device at 4/5 stars.