A few weeks ago, I bought an iPhone 14 Pro Max. I fully realize this was the worst possible time to buy a new iPhone. We’re just two months from the expected launch of the iPhone 15 series. And with an iPhone 13 Pro Max I was still very happy with, I had no plans to upgrade for at least a few more years. However, one of my kids totalled her iPhone (it turns out that water resistance in an iPhone does indeed have a limit, especially when you use it on a daily basis for several years to watch streaming video in the shower). Her budget meant at best an iPhone SE as a replacement, which I knew would be a big compromise in terms of display compared to her totalled iPhone XS Max. Plus the cameras in the Pro Max series are a huge win, and my phone has great battery life (important for a student who commutes daily).
Thus began another tech hand-off cycle. My daughter now has the 13 Pro Max, and I bought an 14 Pro Max as a replacement. To shake things up a bit, I skipped my traditional black option and went with deep purple, which is pretty cool. But my collection of protective cases went with the old iPhone. Which brings me to the roundabout point of this post: hands-on with the Nomad Rugged Case for the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Nomad has a wide range of cases for iPhones, including some classic versions made with Horween leather. If you’re a fan of premium leather that develops a beautiful and unique patina with time, these cases are well worth considering.
However, I was more interested in something really rugged, a case that would protect my investment from drops on concrete (something that happened just a few weeks ago), the rigors of travel, and hiking–while still looking good and without excessive bulk. I opted for Nomad’s Rugged Case.
Rugged Case = High Degree of Protection + Style
The Nomad Rugged Case lives up to its name. It features a polycarbonate frame with a matte PET backplate. The corners and camera ring are protected by TPU bumpers, which are grooved along the sides for a more secure grip. Buttons are covered with polycarbonate and the power button is textured. Edges are raised slightly to protect the screen. The case interior protects against scratches with a soft microfiber lining. The reinforced speaker grill cutouts on the bottom of the case incorporate a pair of lanyard points. The case was reasonably easy to put on and pop off and accommodated a screen protector.
The sum of this design is a case that makes it much less likely you’ll accidentally drop your iPhone, but if you do it offers 15 foot drop protection.
Despite the advanced protection, it doesn’t look bulky or feel heavy. The Rugged Case is offered in three color options: Black, a very eye-catching Ultra Orange and the Ash Green I chose. As mentioned, the back plate is matte (for all colors), which really helps to avoid fingerprints. It is also free of logos and visible MageSafe ring for a true minimalist appearance.
One of the best features of recent iPhones is Apple’s MagSafe functionality. This makes for no-brainer wireless charging with no sliding around trying to manually align a charge coil and no worries about accidentally knocking the phone off a wireless charge pad. While many iPhone cases will technically work with a MagSafe charger–in the sense that the phone is able to charge wirelessly–only MagSafe compatible cases actually include the magnetic ring needed for full functionality.
The Nomad Rugged Case is fully MagSafe compatible. Its design includes an array of ultra-thin Nickel-plated Neodymium magnets and alignment magnets so the case snaps securely to MagSafe chargers and accessories. I’ve been using it with Nomad’s own Base One Max Magsafe and Apple Watch charger (review here) and it has worked flawlessly.
Nomad Rugged Case Recommendation
With its advanced protection, grippiness, full MagSafe compatibility, $50 price and modern design, the Nomad Rugged Case is an easy recommendation to keep an iPhone 14 Pro Max safe. The case is available for the entire iPhone 14 series.
Disclosure: Nomad provided a Rugged Case for evaluation purposes but had no input into this review.
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