When it comes to my phone, I’m not a big accessories guy. I own a spare charging cable and way too many cases, but no crazy docks, speakers, camera lenses, alarm clocks, styli, or game controllers. However, after spending a week testing Nomad’s ChargeKey, it has become the one iPhone accessory I will never leave home without.
Simply put, the ChargeKey is a tiny Lightning cable for your iPhone 5 or 5S. It’s designed and shaped like a house key, and it’s meant to live on your keychain so you always have it with you. It’s an emergency charger for those panic moments when you’re out and about and your battery hits the red. On one end is a standard USB to plug into a computer, external battery pack, or even a wall charger, and on the other end is an Apple-certified Lightning connector. Plug the ChargeKey into your laptop, connect the Lightning end to your phone, and voila – you’re charging. Plain and simple. The ChargeKey also works with most other Lightning-equipped Apple devices, including the iPhone 5C, the iPad Air, and iPad mini.
What ChargeKey does best is alleviate the panic that sets in when you find yourself away from your charger with a near-dead phone. Though I tend to carry a spare Lightning cable with me at all times anyway, it’s nice to know that should I ever forget that cable, the ChargeKey is always with me, safely attached to the keychain that I never forget. The ChargeKey is also flexible, and Nomad claims it’s “built to bend” and “built to hang”, capable of contorting into any situation or reaching that awkwardly placed USB port.
I have a few complaints about the ChargeKey. The Lightning and USB connectors are exposed and unprotected, and considering the unit is meant to be attached to your sharp, metal keys, I worry that the connectors may become scratched or damaged over time. The short size of the ChargeKey is convenient for storage, but it also means that you can’t pick up and use your phone while it’s plugged in, as I often do with a longer Lightning cable.
Having a tiny, always-with-you iPhone charger is extremely convenient, and for just $25, I’d say the Nomad ChargeKey is a no-brainer. Nomad also offers a microUSB ChargeKey that works with most Android and Windows Phone smartphones.