Nomad Rugged Case with MagSafe review: Refined leather

Nomad Rugged Case With Magsafe For iPhone 12 Hero
(Image: © Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

iMore Verdict

Bottom line: Natural Horween leather adds class to your iPhone 12 series handset.


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    Natural Horween leather and high-grade polycarbonate body

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    MagSafe compatible

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    10-foot drop protection with internal shock-absorption bumper

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    Develops rich patina

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    Slim and lightweight


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    Not everyone likes leather or the patina

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    The leather back is slippery

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If you have an iPhone 12 series handset, then MagSafe compatibility might be an important feature to consider when choosing a case. The best MagSafe-compatible iPhone 12 cases work perfectly with Apple's magnetic wireless charger and look good doing so. The new Rugged Case with MagSafe adds a circle of magnets to Nomad's classic leather Rugged Case, making it compatible with Apple's MagSafe charger and all of the other MagSafe accessories.

Elegant leather

Nomad Rugged Case with MagSafe: What I like

Nomad Rugged Case With Magsafe For iPhone 12 Lifestyle

Nomad Rugged Case With Magsafe For iPhone 12 Lifestyle (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

Nomad Rugged Case with MagSafe has a lightweight but durable high-grade polycarbonate (plastic) body. The back is covered with the finest quality leather, sourced from one of America's oldest tanneries: Horween Leather Co. of Chicago. The interior of the case is a soft microfiber fabric, and you can see the Nomad name engraved inside. There is no branding on the case exterior. Leather naturally develops a rich patina, which is a sort of uneven darkening over time. I used this case for a couple of weeks and noticed the patina just starting to occur, and you can see in my last photos in the gallery below.

The bumper is firm but flexible, making it easy to put on the iPhone and remove it. Built-in button covers over the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons work fine. Precision cutouts for the camera module, mute switch, Lightning port, and speakers allow full use of those functions. There are two lanyard attachment points, though the case does not include a lanyard.

While this case is quite slim, there is a slight lip over the camera module and the iPhone screen for face-down protection. The case offers 10-foot drop protection, due to its internal shock-absorption bumper. The case is compatible with any wireless charger, most notably Apple's MagSafe charger and all of the MagSafe accessories. This case is available in every iPhone 12 series size and three colors: Black, Rustic Brown, and Natural (which you see in my photos.)

Careful, butterfingers

Nomad Rugged Case with MagSafe: What I don't like

Nomad Rugged Case With Magsafe For iPhone 12 Lifestyle

Nomad Rugged Case With Magsafe For iPhone 12 Lifestyle (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

While the rubbery bumper offers a decent enough grip, the leather is super-smooth and slippery. This can make the case easier to drop than some if you're prone to doing so.

I love the look of leather, and the patina only adds to its appeal. But this doesn't appeal to everyone — it's a personal preference.

The competition

The obvious competitor is Apple's own Leather Case with MagSafe. The Apple case is covered with leather all over, including the bumper area. It does develop a patina over time, as all leather goods do. This case comes in a variety of colors, with more options than Nomad has to offer. At about the same price, and of similar quality, it's just a matter of preference.

Oakywood Wooden Magsafe Case Iphone 12 Hero

Oakywood Wooden Magsafe Case Iphone 12 Hero (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

If you don't like that patina, I'd suggest going with a non-leather case. If you're into natural materials, the Oakywood Wooden MagSafe Case combines real wood with MagSafe compatibility. Another MagSafe-compatible case I love is the OtterBox Figura.

Nomad Rugged Case with MagSafe: Should you buy

Nomad Rugged Case With Magsafe For iPhone 12 Lifestyle

Nomad Rugged Case With Magsafe For iPhone 12 Lifestyle (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

You should buy this if ...

You love natural leather

Crafted from Horween leather from the famed Chicago tannery, this case is a gorgeous piece of leather on a polycarbonate frame.

You want slim protection

This is a slim, sleek case, and yet it offers 10-foot drop protection.

You want MagSafe compatibility

You can charge your iPhone wirelessly and take advantage of all the MagSafe accessories on the market, both from Apple and other companies.

You should not buy this if ...

You're vegan

It's vegetable-tanned leather, but it's still real leather.

You don't like that patina

It's a look, and it's not for everyone. The patina is going to be especially noticeable when you go with a lighter color as I did.

You have butterfingers

While the rubbery bumper is grippy enough, the leather back is super smooth. I've almost dropped my iPhone in it a couple of times.

If you have the budget for it and you want a real leather case that also has MagSafe compatibility, the Nomad Rugged Case with MagSafe is definitely one you should consider. It has a slim, trim polycarbonate body for 10-foot drop protection and a smooth, supple leather back sourced from the Horween Leather Co. of Chicago. The soft microfiber interior protects your iPhone from scratches and contains the only visible branding on the case. Be careful, though, as that smooth leather back can be slippery if you're prone to phone-dropping. The case comes in three colors; the lighter the initial color, the richer the patina your case is likely to develop.

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.