Nomad Battery Cable 2.0 review: Lightning cable and charger in one

What are two mobile device related things you pretty much always take with you on a road trip? If the answer is a charger and a cable, you're on to something, and so is Nomad. Nomad's Battery Cable is pretty ingenious. It's a Lightning cable and portable charger, all in one!

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Old is new again

The Battery Cable has actually been around for a little while, but Nomad has updated it for this generation's devices. The battery casing is now made of aluminum for extra protection. It also now supports passthrough charging so you can charge the battery charger and your iPhone at the same time. The cable reaches just under 5 ft. And the best upgrade: they've added 450 mAh to the power output for a full 2800 mAh battery. All this, and the price stays the same at just $49.95.

Built Nomad tough

Nomad Battery Cable

Nomad makes my favorite third-party Lightning cables. I take the Universal USB-C 4-in-1 Cable with me wherever I go. It's thick, strong, and built for traveling, like a nomad wandering the desert ... with a smartphone.

The Battery Cable is no exception. It's got the same ballistic nylon braiding outside with silicon connectors. You could run this thing over with a truck and the cable wouldn't even look damaged (I'm not making any promises here, don't run your Battery Cable over with a truck).

The upgraded Battery Cable 2.0's aluminum casing is a nice addition. It makes the whole thing fell sturdy, ready for a road trip.

It also comes with a nice little silicon cable tie, which is great for cable management. I actually used it to tie a couple of my cables together, even my non-Nomad ones. Just don't try to stuff too many of them together. The tie doesn't have a locking mechanism or anything.

Charging on the fly

Nomad Battery Cable

OK, so the cable itself is rugged as can be, but it doesn't stop there. There is literally a portable battery connected to the cable. It's got 2800mAh, so it charges your iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 8.

I juiced up my iPhone X from 20% to 100% in just over an hour and a half. That's without plugging the cable into anything.

Without recharging the battery pack, I also managed to charge my iPhone 7 Plus about 10% before the LED light turned orange, indicating that the battery pack was getting low. Then, managed to squeeze another 10% out of it by the time it hit critical with a blinking orange light, indicating that the battery pack was very low. Let me just say that 20% can make or break you when you need just the tiniest bit of juice so you can call for a ride home.

It's not the fastest charger in the world, but it's a heck of a lot more convenient than standing around with a brick in your hand.

The Battery Cable does support passthrough charging. When you do have the ability to plug directly into a wall plug or your computer, the power will charge up your iPhone before it charges the battery pack.

You know what would be even cooler?

Nomad Battery Cable

I love having the Battery Cable in my bag so I can plug it in and forget it while I'm wondering around at tech conferences or Disneyland, but the 5 ft cable can be a little cumbersome. To be clear, I don't want it to be shorter! But, what I would like, is the ability to detach the USB-A side of the cable so when I'm just charging directly from the battery pack, I don't have to carry around the whole cable. I can shove it in my pocket or fanny pack without having to stuff so much extra cable in too.

I did notice that it doesn't usually work the first time you press the charge button. Every time I plugged it in to my iPhone X or iPhone 7 Plus, I had to press the button a couple of times before the battery would engage and start charging my iPhone. You have to press the button twice to turn on the charger, but I would have to press it three or four times to make the connection. It always worked flawlessly after connecting, but had trouble getting started every time.

Should you buy the Nomad Battery Cable?

Nomad Battery Cable

When it comes to charging on the fly: when you just need to juice up, but you don't want to bring a heavy charging brick with you, Nomad's Battery Cable is an excellent little gadget. If you have your computer with you while you're out and about, but don't want to whip it out just to charge your iPhone, the Battery Cable will give you that freedom and make it possible for you to fully recharge both your iPhone and the battery pack the next time you sit down to use your computer.

You can leave your Lightning cable at home!

Nomad's Battery Cable costs $49.99 and is available now from the company's website.

See at Nomad

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).