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 (Buy Now)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

Wayfarer Avatar
83 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
83 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
83 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
83 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
83 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
83 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

AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature Red

AirPods Pro 2 Could Start a New Accessory Ecosystem

Friday January 14, 2022 2:34 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could arrive alongside a new series of accessories, recent leaked images suggest. Alleged leaked photos of the next-generation AirPods Pro obtained by MacRumors showed a charging case with a metal loop on the side for attaching a strap. Apple has not used this design for any of its other AirPod models and it is unclear why it would be added in this...
netflix2

Netflix Again Raises Prices for All Plans, 4K Streaming Now $20 Per Month

Friday January 14, 2022 12:46 pm PST by
Netflix today updated the prices for its streaming plans, and all of its offerings are now more expensive. The Basic plan is now priced at $9.99 per month, the Standard plan is priced at $15.49 per month, and the Premium plan is priced at $19.99 per month. The Basic plan is $1 more expensive, up from $8.99 per month. This plan allows users to watch on just one screen at a time, and it limits ...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole 16x9 120hz

Analyst: All iPhone 14 Models to Feature 120Hz Displays, 6GB of RAM, and More

Friday January 14, 2022 7:02 am PST by
Apple is rumored to announce four new iPhone 14 models in September, and ahead of time, analyst Jeff Pu has outlined his expectations for the devices. In a research note with Haitong International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Pu claimed that all iPhone 14 models will feature ProMotion displays, compared to only Pro models currently. ProMotion enables a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz ...
ios 15

Apple Releases Minor iOS 15.2.1 and iPadOS 15.2.1 Updates

Wednesday January 12, 2022 10:05 am PST by
Apple today released minor 15.2.1 updates for iPhone and iPad users, and the software comes one month after Apple launched iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2 with a slew of improvements. The iOS 15.2.1 and iPadOS 15.2.1 update can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General >...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With LG's 32-Inch UltraFine OLED Pro Display

Wednesday January 12, 2022 1:12 pm PST by
LG in December announced the launch of its new 2022 32-inch UltraFine OLED Pro display, and in our latest YouTube video, we went hands-on with it to see how it compares to Apple's Pro Display XDR and whether it might be worth picking up depending on the price point. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Officially named the "32BP95E," the display features a resolution of ...
iPad Pro Big Ol Logo Orange

Next iPad Pro Might Feature Large Glass Apple Logo to Allow Wireless Charging

Friday January 14, 2022 10:44 am PST by
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Debby Wu last year reported that Apple had tested a new iPad Pro with a glass back for wireless charging capabilities. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said he expects the new iPad Pro to be released in 2022. While the new iPad Pro is still on track to feature wireless charging, 9to5Mac's Filipe Espósito today reported that Apple may have ultimately...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole

iPhone 14 Pro Now Rumored to Feature Both Pill-Shaped and Circular Cutouts

Wednesday January 12, 2022 9:26 am PST by
Apple is widely expected to remove the notch on iPhone 14 Pro models, but there have been conflicting rumors about the new design. Early rumors suggested that Apple would adopt a hole-punch design with Face ID somehow moved completely under the display, and later it was rumored that there would be a pill-shaped cutout instead. Now, display industry consultant Ross Young has claimed that...
fortnite apple logo geforce feature

Fortnite Coming Back to iOS Soon Thanks to Nvidia's GeForce NOW Service

Thursday January 13, 2022 11:19 am PST by
With the Apple vs. Epic Games lawsuit continuing on, there are no signs that Apple has any intention of allowing popular battle royale game Fortnite to return to the App Store on iPhone and iPad. Epic Games has found a workaround though, by partnering up with Nvidia. GeForce NOW, Nvidia's streaming gaming service, will soon add Fortnite support, allowing Fortnite to be played through a...
iMac 27 inch 2020 sale

Deals: Apple's 21.5-Inch iMac Hits Record Low Price of $599.99 ($499 Off) [Update: Out of Stock]

Thursday January 13, 2022 4:05 am PST by
Amazon today has a great deal on the 2017 Intel 21.5-inch iMac (2.3GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD), priced at $599.99, down from $1,099.00. This is the best price we've ever tracked on this model, and it's only available at Amazon. The sale price will be reflected after an automatic coupon is applied at checkout. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...