When Apple’s iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max first started shipping back in September, I posted a quick roundup of some of the cases I had on hand for the new iPhones. One of these was the Rugged Case from Nomad. With the initial rush wearing down, it’s time for a closer look at this high quality case.
Nomad Rugged Case: Leather and Protection in Minimalist Design
Back in the iPhone 7 Plus days, I had two cases from Nomad: the Rugged Case and the Leather Case. The former was made of polycarbonate, the latter (as the name would suggest) was leather.
The review unit I was sent for the iPhone XS Max is called the Rugged Case, but this time around the two previous versions seem to be combined.
The new Rugged Case is polycarbonate with a raised TPE rubber bumper, lined with a soft material to protect the glass back. It’s wrapped in the vegetable tanned Horween leather that Nomad uses in many of its products, in a choice of brown or black. The result is a best of both worlds situation. The rustic Horween leather adds a premium look to your phone and ages nicely, developing a patina. There’s no need to worry about having the same case as everyone else, because with time yours will have a completely unique look. You can see a real-life example of the effect in the photo below of the older Leather Case with the new Rugged Case, both in brown Horween leather.
The TPE bumper has enough of a raised edge to ensure the iPhone’s display is always protected when set on a table. The bumper and the polycarbonate layer combine to offer drop protection up to six feet, so this is not a case that simply looks nice — it’s designed to protect your investment as well. Cutouts are easy to access and the button covers worked smoothly. Wireless charging is supported, but there’s still a generous opening for the Lightning port (it fit third party cables I tried, as well as the Apple original).
According to my scale, the thin, minimalist case lives up to the label, weighing just 1.34 ounces; so no worries about making your iPhone feel bulkier. I was happy to discover that the TPE bumper’s flexibility took care of the biggest issue I had with the previous Leather Case, a snug fit that made removal a bit of a chore. With the new Nomad Rugged Case, there is little effort needed to put the case on, or to remove the iPhone if you want to switch things up.
Protection and Looks at an Affordable Price
The Nomad Rugged Case in brown or black Horween leather for the iPhone XS Max is priced at $44.95, and is also available at the same price for the iPhone XS, and the iPhone XR. You may have to wait for a backlog of backorders (at time of writing) to clear up, because this case seems to be in even higher demand than the iPhones themselves… The Nomad Rugged Case is an easy recommendation if you’re looking for a way to add protection and the warmth of leather to your new iPhone.
Disclosure: Nomad provided cases for evaluation but had no input into this review.