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Nomad ChargeKey extremely portable lightning cable review

technologyEdward KiledjianComment

My smartphone has become so indispensable to me, I typically travel with a portable charger and an Apple lightning cable on me all the time. My smartphone is used for entertainment, news consumption, communication and navigation. 

Needless to say, the battery and cable take valuable pocket space. My poor lightning cables typically don't last too long... The designers over at Nomad recently released a product that really caught my attention, the ChargeKey.

It is a short, flexible, key-chain attachable lightning cable. They also offer this little device with a micro-USB tip for Samsung, HTC and Nexus users.


As you can see in the above images, one side has a USB connector (for your MAC, PC or portable battery pack) and the other has a lightning or micro-USB connector. The plastic holding those connectors in place is nice and rigid (the key chain loop is also rigid plastic).

The plastic bridge holding both connectors together is made from a soft flexible plastic. This is one of the design decisions that really works well. The flexibility of this peace means it is much less likely to break in your pocket. 

You can see the size comparison of the Chargekey compares to a Roam Mobility "dumb" phone and a portable iPhone microphone.

You can see the size comparison of the Chargekey compares to a Roam Mobility "dumb" phone and a portable iPhone microphone.

It is also very thin (thinner than most of your keys). The little hockey stick like angle tip means it is a little larger than the typical key but not by much. The shape and design of this means that you won't know its on your keychain until you need it.


Its a short USB to lightning cable that is always with you. Plug one end into a power source and the other into your device. Its that easy. I tested it with a MAC, a PC, a bunch of power bricks and the original Apple wall plugs. It worked with every one of the power sources and successfully charged an iPod, iPhone and iPad.


And YES! you can use this to sync with your phone to a PC. It is USB 2.0 so it is compatible with every PC in the market.



I am not known for being gentle and I carried this little device with me for a week. I bent it, squeezed it and generally torture tested it. and it continued to work. 

The flexible plastic bridge meant I could angle the device when my iPhone and connected device weren't perfectly aligned. As I used it, I appreciated the small design decisions that make this thing a joy to use.


Small, portable and durable... Nice combination of qualities.

The device costs $25 and in the package, they give you instructions on how you can get another one for free. Whether you buy the lightning or micro-USB version of the ChargeKey, you won't be disappointed.

You won't use this with a wall charger too often because of its short length (which is by design). You don't want to dangle your $800 smartphone in the air. But that isn't the design purpose for this anyway.

I often test products and then forget about them and move on. The ChargeKey is now a permanents fixture on my everyday keychain. A 5 star rating by me.

You can order your very own directly from Nomad (link