The Nomad Pod, with its built-in battery, is one of a small selection of Apple Watch stands able to offer functionality beyond simply holding the Apple Watch charger in a more accessible position. Priced at $60, the Pod is a compact, modern-looking Apple Watch stand that's small enough to fit in a backpack or bag and able to keep the Apple Watch's battery full when traveling away from the grid for a few days.

nomadwithusb
I've been testing the Pod for several weeks now to see how it stacks up against other Apple Watch docking options on the market, both as a travel companion and as a stand at home on my desk.

Setup and Design

The circular Pod is made up of two pieces: a plastic and aluminum base that holds the Apple Watch charger and cord in place, and an aluminum faceplate that snaps on over the base to hide the cord from view. The Pod is made from brushed aluminum in Silver or Space Gray that matches Apple's MacBook, iPhone, and iPad lineups, and its minimal design will let it fit into almost any decor.

nomadcomponents
Size wise, the Pod fits into the palm of a hand and is quite similar to a hockey puck both in diameter and thickness. It can potentially fit in a generously sized pants pocket or a jacket pocket, but its thickness and round shape makes that less than comfortable. At one side, there's a micro-USB port to charge the Pod itself, a button that activates the Pod's charging function, and a 4-LED indicator for displaying battery life. It also ships with a Nomad-branded micro-USB cable.

nomadinhand
The Pod's setup instructions are overly simple, but setting up the Pod isn't difficult. You can start by placing the Apple Watch charger in the cutout in the Pod, or by plugging the USB end into the Pod's USB port. I recommend starting from the back, plugging the USB side in first. It's a little tricky to get it lined up right, but it didn't take me more than a few seconds to get it plugged in.

nomadwithapplewatchin
Once the USB side of the Apple Watch charging cable is in place, the next step is to wrap the cord around the outside of the Pod until there's little enough cord left that the Apple Watch charger can be put in place through one of nine grooves. The Pod ships with a foam insert, which needs to be used with the stainless steel Apple Watch charger because it's slightly thinner than the plastic charger the Apple Watch Sport ships with. That will make sure the Apple Watch charger sits flush with the Pod when the aluminum cover is in place.

nomadcablewoundup
With a 1m Apple Watch charger, winding up the cable around the base is no problem, but things are tricker with the longer 2m cord. With the longer cord, it needs to be wound very tightly or the aluminum cover won't fit properly. For that reason, I'd recommend using this with a 1m Apple Watch charger. With either variety, 1m or 2m, setting up the Pod is a lot easier than the other battery-equipped Apple Watch dock I reviewed, the Boostcase Bloc. Since set up is relatively easy, it's also not that much of a hassle to take the Apple Watch charger out when necessary.

Once the cord is wound up, the aluminum top piece of the Pod fits over the bottom part, hiding the cord from view for a neat, clean look. The cover snaps into place magnetically with two magnets, so it's not going to come apart in a backpack, and at the bottom, there's a rubber pad to hold it in place on a desk.

nomadbottom
Due to the shape of the Pod, it's only going to work well with open-loop bands like the Apple Watch Sport. It's possible to use it with closed-loop bands like the Milanese Loop, but why spend the money on a stand that's going to require it to be opened flat when there are so many others on the market? For most users, the hassle of having to fully open a closed-loop band to use with the Pod isn't going to be worth it.

applewatchonnomad
The Pod is not compatible with Nightstand Mode in iOS 9 because the Apple Watch needs to be flat to charge. That's going to be a deal breaker for some users, but not everyone is going to want to use Nightstand Mode.

For charging, the Apple Watch sits atop the Pod, with the bottom lined up with the embedded Apple Watch charger. It's simple to put the Apple Watch in the right position, and with the foam insert, my stainless steel Apple Watch had no problems charging on the Pod.

Battery Life

The Pod has an 1,800 mAh battery built in, which Nomad advertises as long enough to "get through a long weekend." That seemed about right in my testing. With the 38mm Apple Watch with a 205mAh battery, I got just over three full charges both times that I tested the Pod with a fully-charged Pod and an Apple Watch that had its battery drained.

applewatchonnomad2
The 42mm Apple Watch has a larger battery so the Pod may not give that device a full three charges, but most of us probably aren't draining our Apple Watches entirely on a day-by-day basis.

With passthrough charging, both the Pod dock and the Apple Watch can be charged simultaneously using the aforementioned mini Nomad micro-USB dongle. The micro-USB dongle is somewhat useful when traveling to charge through a MacBook, but for home use, a longer micro-USB cable would have been preferable.

Without a longer micro-USB cable, there's no way to charge the Pod while it's placed on a desk or a nightstand. It needs to be removed from the desktop and charged via MacBook or a USB charger plugged into an outlet, a task that I found to be a hassle. I used a self-supplied micro-USB cable so it could sit on my desk and I unplugged it and moved it around as necessary for charging on the go.

nomadledindicator
The Pod's wind-up design is nice because it hides the Apple Watch cable, but you're still going to have to deal with a micro-USB cord or fuss with charging it through the included micro-USB dongle.

When charging an Apple Watch with the Pod when it isn't plugged in, it's important to make sure to press the button on the side of the Pod to activate it. Without the button press, it's not going to charge the Apple Watch, something that I discovered after waking up to a dead device.

Bottom Line

The ultimate portable travel charger for the Apple Watch is the Apple Watch charging cable all on its own. It's light, takes up little space, and when most of us travel, we have access to something to plug it into. That said, for someone who often goes camping or takes short trips where there is no access to power, the Nomad Pod's built-in battery will keep the Apple Watch at full power.

For a lot of users, the Nomad Pod is not going to be a better solution than the Apple Watch charger paired with a higher-capacity standalone battery pack, because such a setup is a lot more versatile since it can be used to charge other devices. But for someone who wants portability, a built-in battery, and doesn't want to hassle with a loose 1m or 2m cable, the Pod is a good solution.

nomadplain
Having the Apple Watch cord out of sight is a plus, but the Pod itself still needs to be charged, so you're just exchanging one cable for another. The Pod's micro-USB dongle is arguably less convenient to use than the Apple Watch cord plugged directly into a wall, but someone who likes the look of a cordless desktop might not mind charging the Pod every couple of days.

I would not recommend the Pod for Apple Watch owners who use it primarily with a closed-loop band like the Milanese Loop, because having to open up the band each night and close it again in the morning is an extra, unnecessary step when there are other stands and other portable charging options available. I would also not recommend it to anyone looking to use Apple's Nightstand Mode, because it's incompatible.

Pros:

  • Built-in battery
  • Clean, cordless look
  • Solid construction
  • Simple set up
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Micro-USB dongle is too short
  • Micro-USB dongle is easy to lose
  • No Nightstand Mode
  • Not easily compatible with closed-loop bands
  • 1,800 mAh battery only works for 3 charges

How to Buy

The Pod can be purchased from the Nomad website for $59.95. It's also available in Best Buy retail stores, but it's better to buy from Nomad directly as the Pod is priced at $70 from Best Buy.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

Wayfarer Avatar
89 months ago
Don't promote this corrupt company. I'm still waiting for my refund after I preordered the Apple Watch stand in April. It arrived in July and there was no way to get a refund through the website, and the developer would not respond to my emails. A number of people had similar issues. Now I'm stuck with a $59.99 hunk of aluminum that I no longer need. Buyers beware.

See this thread for more insights:
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/nomad-stands-delayed.1875278/
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
roland.g Avatar
89 months ago
I don't see how "off the grid" and Apple Watch (a device that brings connectivity and information to another immediate level) go together at all. The Apple Watch is the opposite of being "unplugged" or "off the grid".

Just sayings all.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Denmac1 Avatar
88 months ago
Noah still hasn't explained why Best Buy had them first without shipping to pre order customers.
Very happy with my $20 Spiegen stand.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bryan Bowler Avatar
89 months ago
I don't understand why MacRumors continues to promote a company with such low morals and ethics. This company hosed dozens of MacRumors forum members and hundreds of its customers during the development/launch of the Stand. Nomad was downright shameful in their business practices and consumers need to steer far, far away from this company.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Denmac1 Avatar
89 months ago
I had first ordered their stand before the final model came out and I was very disappointed in the changes they made based on the price they were charging. I, at that time, had also considered the pod as an additional product.
After realizing that their customer service, IMHO, was very lacking, I cancelled the purchase. I believe the concept is good, but their follow through and pricing are out of line. I thought it very poorly of them when they choose to ship product to Best Buy before fulfilling their original customer orders.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
roykoolcrank Avatar
89 months ago
There must be something wrong with the battery you received. 1800/200 (or 18/2) = 9
How can a 200 mah drain an 1800mah battery and only get 3 charges? The math just doesn't add up.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

M2 13-Inch MacBook Pro With 256GB SSD Appears Slower Than Equivalent M1 in Real-World Speed Tests

Monday June 27, 2022 1:57 pm PDT by
Benchmark testing has indicated that the 256GB variant of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 chip offers slower SSD performance than its M1 equivalent, and now real-world stress testing by YouTuber Max Yuryev of Max Tech suggests that the 256GB SSD in the 13-inch MacBook Pro is also underperforming in day-to day-usage. The M2 MacBook Pro with 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM was slower than the M1 MacBook ...
original iphone 2007

15 Years Ago Today, the iPhone Went On Sale

Wednesday June 29, 2022 4:43 am PDT by
Fifteen years ago to this day, the iPhone, the revolutionary device presented to the world by the late Steve Jobs, officially went on sale. The first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and went on sale on June 29, 2007. "An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator... these are not three separate devices," Jobs famously said. "Today, Apple is going to reinvent the...
macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
maxresdefault

Video Comparison: M2 MacBook Pro vs. M1 MacBook Pro

Tuesday June 28, 2022 2:45 pm PDT by
Apple last week launched an updated version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and it is the first Mac that is equipped with an updated M2 chip. As it's using a brand new chip, we thought we'd pick up the M2 MacBook Pro and compare it to the prior-generation M1 MacBook Pro to see just what's new. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. For the video comparison, we're using the...
iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro vs. 14 Pro: New Features to Expect if You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday June 27, 2022 11:22 am PDT by
With many customers choosing to upgrade their iPhone every two or three years nowadays, there are lots of iPhone 11 Pro users who might be interested in upgrading to the iPhone 14 Pro later this year. Those people are in for a treat, as three years of iPhone generations equals a long list of new features and changes to look forward to. Below, we've put together a list of new features and...
iPhone vs Galaxy Larger

Apple Executive Says Samsung Copied the iPhone and Simply 'Put a Bigger Screen Around It'

Tuesday June 28, 2022 8:59 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern today shared a new documentary about the evolution of the iPhone ahead of the 15th anniversary of the device launching on June 29, 2007. The documentary includes an interview with Apple's marketing chief Greg Joswiak, iPhone co-creator Tony Fadell, and a family of iPhone users. One segment of the interview reflects on Android smartphones gaining larger...
M2 Pro and Max Feature

Apple's Upcoming M2 Pro Chip for High-End MacBook Pro and Mac Mini Will Reportedly Be 3nm

Monday June 27, 2022 7:31 am PDT by
TSMC will manufacture Apple's upcoming "M2 Pro" and "M3" chips based on its 3nm process, according to Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes. "Apple reportedly has booked TSMC capacity for its upcoming 3nm M3 and M2 Pro processors," said DigiTimes, in a report focused on competition between chipmakers like TSMC and Samsung to secure 3nm chip orders. As expected, the report said TSMC will...
Apple 5G Modem Feature Triad

Kuo: Apple's Work on 5G Modem Chip 'Failed,' Qualcomm to Remain Supplier for 2023 iPhones

Tuesday June 28, 2022 9:06 am PDT by
For the last several years, Apple has been working to develop its own 5G modem chip so that it won't need to rely on Qualcomm as a supplier, but according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple's efforts "may have failed." Kuo says that his "latest survey" suggests that development on the chip has stalled, which means Qualcomm would remain the exclusive supplier for 5G chips for the 2023...