Update: Check out my review for the Nomad iPhone 14 cases.
When it comes to phones and cases, 90% of the time I've opted to go without one — I much prefer the naked design of the iPhone rather than the tradeoff of a little bit of safety in the event of a drop.
At least I did.
The week before I picked up my iPhone 11 Pro, I managed to drop a dumbbell on my iPhone X at the gym, completely smashed the back, and as a bonus, managed to disable the front-facing camera. After talking to apple about my options (Apple care had expired at this point), I was told that it would $719 to replace the parts needed to get it back up and running. No thanks.
So when it comes to my new phone, I'm going to give some cases a try to see if I can get used to the added bulk for the benefit of protection. Nomad reached out to see if I wanted to review their 3 latest rugged cases for the 11 Pro, so here is a brief rundown of the differences between them all.
A variety of case styles
As the name implies, the rugged cases are going to offer a bit more protection than your average case, all of them boasting 6-foot drop protection, microfiber lining, and a raised edge to protect the screen.
Starting from the left, we have the standard Rugged case, the Active Rugged case, and the Rugged Folio case.
Material that looks better over time
I’ve always liked leather, so my favorite out of the 3 is the standard Rugged case in Horween Leather. You can see that the Active Rugged case is a little bit darker in appearance, and that’s due to the water-resistant hydrophobic leather. Lastly, you can get an idea of the dark colors they offer with this folio case across their other products as well.
After 100 days, you can expect this sort of Patina on the case on the left.
I like the attention to detail on this case when it comes to the leather transitioning to the dark plastics on the side of the phone. The buttons are nice and firm, and I haven’t had any accidental presses that I’ve experienced with other cases.
The bottom is what you would expect, with lots of extra room for the charging port and speakers.
Even though this is a rugged case, I've still been able to use wireless charging mats with no problem. There is no visible branding on the outside of the case as well, which is always something I prefer.
Folio iPhone case
Now, I’m going to get this out of the way and say that I would probably never use a folio case. I’ve accidentally left my phone places, and losing my credit cards and ID with it would just be a nightmare.
Nonetheless, if you’re into these cases, the Folio from Nomad might be a good choice. It’s got the same 6-foot drop protection as the other line, but with the added benefit of 3 card storage, and extra protection for the front of the phone.
There is some visible branding on this case, but it’s subtly stamped into the suede of the front of the case and isn’t that noticeable.
The build quality is noticeably nice on this case. When you have visible stitching like this, it’s usually pretty easy to notice some lackluster construction.
This is where I started to notice a few things about the case that I didn’t like. Usually, when a call comes in that I don’t want to answer, I quickly just hit the volume button to silence the ringer. The problem with this case is that the volume and mute switches are completely covered when the case is closed, meaning I wouldn’t be able to silence my phone if it was in my pocket.
Lastly, the cover didn’t close flat when the phone is inside. I’m not sure if this is something that will slowly break in over time and will eventually close flat, but since I’m not a folio kind of guy, I don’t think I’ll get to the point where I’ll find out.
Who is this case for?
I do think their basic rugged case is great if you’re in the market for something with a bit of extra protection, and the active version is unique in that you don’t see many weather/sweat resistant leather cases on the market.
These leather cases are great for those that want something that darkens and changes over time, and have a bit more personality than your traditional plastic case.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this case ages while I’m still in my protective phase of owning this phone, and I’ll update this article once it starts developing a little more wear.