Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro review: It's the little things that make a big difference

Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro
(Image: © iMore)

iMore Verdict

Bottom line: Though it has a simple, minimalist look, this rugged AirPods Pro case has a lot going on.


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    Special light pipe that emphasizes the status light

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    Soft spot to expose the pairing button

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    Microfiber lining

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    Lanyard or wrist strap holes


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    Two-piece design

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There are dozens upon dozens of hard shell polycarbonate cases for AirPods Pro, and plenty of them have a leather exterior, so when Nomad told me about the new Rugged Case for AirPods Pro, my first impression was ... "S'ok." Once I got a closer look at the design of this case, however, I was much more interested in what it has to offer. When it comes to features, it's the little things that make a big difference and made me love this case.

Protects with style

Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro: The features

Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro

Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro (Image credit: iMore)

The Rugged Case for AirPods Pro is a hardshell case made from polycarbonate and measures just about an eighth of an inch thick. Though it's called "rugged," it doesn't look like one of those awkward thick cases you can't fit in your pocket.

The outside of the case is wrapped in Horween leather, which will patina over time and give your case a unique look. There is also a rubber bumper that covers a strip around the entire case, which adds additional protection from drops.

The inside is lined with microfiber. You may not think a lining is necessary for something like this, since the AirPods Pro case is already fairly sturdy, but this is one of those "little things" that make this case stand out. I just feels nice when you hold it.

There is a hole at the bottom so you can plug in your USB-C cable to charge the AirPods Pro, but it's also thin enough that you can easily charge via wireless charging.

There is a soft spot on the back that lines up with the AirPods Pro pairing button, so you don't have to take the AirPods Pro case out of the case in order to reset the pairing.

Unique to this case, Nomad added two small holes on the side so you can add a lanyard or wrist strap (of which Nomad makes one.

It comes in all black and brown with a black stripe (the rubber bumper stripe).

Tiny big ideas

Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro: What I like

Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro

Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro (Image credit: iMore)

That little light pipe is something truly special. Most case makers just drill a tiny hole into the case where the LED status light is, which is ... fine. But what Nomad has done is add a tiny little clear pipe that helps emphasize the light. It's like a tiny little beacon. This isn't something you'd even notice if someone didn't point it out, but the reason the light pipe is so great comes down to viewing angles. At any angle, the light shines brightly. It makes it look like there isn't even a case on it (at least in terms of the status light's clarity).

Most people aren't even going to consider having an exposed spot for the pairing button, but in my line of work, I'm regularly pairing and re-pairing my AirPods with a variety of different non-Apple devices. The fact that Nomad even considered this as a feature is huge to me. The way it's designed, you can't even tell there is anything different, but when you press where you would to pair your AirPods Pro, there is just a nice little soft spot, which allows you to press it, right through the case. It's like magic!

I'm not sure I'll use the lanyard points, but I like that they are there. If I come across an adorable little charm, I could dangle it from my AirPods Pro, showing off my style. If I where worried about losing my AirPods Pro, a wrist strap would keep me connected.


Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro: What I don't like

Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro

Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro (Image credit: iMore)

I've never been a fan of a two-piece case. It's a personal thing. I don't like that I could lose the top if I decide to take it off. I've seen some really nice AirPods cases that implement a thin strap to act as a hinge, keeping the top and bottom as one piece. Maybe I'm alone here?


Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro: Conclusion

Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro

Nomad Rugged Case for AirPods Pro (Image credit: iMore)

If you're looking for something simple, yet luxurious to protect your AirPods Pro, Nomad's Rugged Case is a high-quality option with a minimalist look, but incredible design. When features aren't even noticeable, but they make an impact, the design is something to talk about.

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).