Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case Review: Exceptional Protection that Works with Peak Design’s SlimLink Mounting Technology

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The Lowdown

I’m a huge fan of the Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case with Peak Design’s SlimLink technology. The case strikes the right balance between bulk and protection and features nice extras like a protective lining and lanyard anchors. I would gladly use this case on its own merits, but it works with Peak Design’s ecosystem of accessories and mounts, bringing this case to an entirely different level. There’s nothing like it on the market.

Overall
5

Pros

  • The case is well-designed and built with premium materials
  • Added corner and screen protection are welcome
  • 15′ drop protection
  • SlimLink connector on the back lets it work with Peak Design mounts and accessories

Cons

  • It should be mentioned that the cost of Peak Design accessories to maximize the benefits of this case can add up quickly

Nomad’s cases have been my go-to cases for the past few years. They are well-designed, look sharp, and are highly protective. They’ve saved my phone from drops more often than I want to admit. Their new Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case for iPhone 14 Pro is something different, and it’s quickly become my new favorite.

Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case retail box

Nomad has always used premium materials to construct their products, and their new Rugged Case is no exception.

Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case in the box

They combined a Polycarbonate frame, 2.8mm thick TPU bumpers, and a Matte PET backplate. The camera ring is made from TPU and is raised enough to protect the huge camera bump on the iPhone 14 Pro.

The raised edges around the iPhone 14 Pro's camera array on the Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case
The case has fortified corner bumpers extending from the rest by 3.3mm for added protection.

Side protection on the Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case

As a few comments on the product page note, some people don’t love the added protection of the corner bumpers.

That’s understandable since, while Nomad refers to them as “fortified corner bumpers,” I can’t help but see them as “protruding corner bumpers” that break the case’s otherwise clean lines. At the same time, since one of the goals of using a case like this is to have added protection for your hefty investment, I appreciate this extra bit of “safety.”

Those complaining about the corners would probably be better suited for a slimmer, less protective, and less functional case.

The edges of the case rise 1.2mm above the phone’s screen, and as a result, the case offers a substantial amount of lay-on-the-table protection.

A stock photo of the Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case lying face-down on a table
Nomad looked to strike the right balance between protection on the one hand and the added weight and bulk of the case on the other. They made the right choices and hit that sweet spot in the middle.

A nylon canvas interior lining cradles the phone and protects it from scratches. You never see this interior lining, but it reflects the attention to detail Nomad brings to their products.

The nylon interior of the Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case

Finally, polycarbonate buttons add another layer of protection and round out the protective materials used in the case.

Covered buttons on the Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case

These materials combine to create a case that will protect your phone from drops of up to 15′, which I appreciate!

The Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case has two lanyard attachment points at the lower corners for added security. Nomad doesn’t include a Wrist Strap, but they do offer one for $10.

The case is available for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. It works with Apple’s MagSafe system and, despite being a rugged case that is thicker than others, it is wireless charging and is 5G compatible.

Nomad does offer this caveat: “Compatibility with all 3rd party Qi and wireless chargers is not guaranteed.” I haven’t had any issues with wireless charging, but it is important to note that that is not assured.

That makes this a superb, rugged case, but is the Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case worth $60?

I would say $60 is a small price for the “insurance policy” a case like this offers, but I can understand why some might disagree. However, even the naysayers should quickly change their tune once they know the added functionality offered by incorporating Peak Design’s SlimLink mounting technology.

A recessed square ringed with metal is at the center of the case’s back.

iPhone 14 Pro in the Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case

This metal square works with Peak Design mounting accessories such as bike and motorcycle handlebar mounts, wall mounts, and more.

The Peak Design accessories

All these accessories work with the system; the cases in the center are not from Nomad.

As Nomad explains,

Peak Design’s SlimLink mounting technology transforms your iPhone into an on-the-go adventure screen. Snap your iPhone into place on mounts and accessories magnetically or mechanically, and get going. Plus, take full advantage of Rugged Case’s MagSafe compatibility for fast and easy charging.

They continue,

SlimLink allows you to attach your iPhone to mounts and accessories magnetically or mechanically. If you’re using a magnetic accessory, just snap your iPhone into place using MagSafe’s magnetic attraction. If you’re using a mount that requires mechanical installation, push your iPhone into place until you hear the buttons click.

I love that SlimLink connects both mechanically and magnetically, but I was skeptical about how secure the connection would be. That skepticism grew when I discovered that connecting a Peak Design accessory to the case takes a fraction of a second when the two are brought together.

“How is it possible,” I wondered, “for there to be a secure connection when accessories simply snap onto the case?” I quickly realized that that is the brilliance of this system.

The SlimLink connection is initially established by the magnets, which align the case and the accessory perfectly. The security of the connection is created by small tabs on each accessory that lock bencher the metal ring encircling the recessed area.

Once an accessory is in place, it stays in place. When the time comes to separate the two, small buttons on the accessory cause the tabs to retract; from there, it takes just a bit of force to release the magnetic grip between the two.

It is brilliant.

This video offers a closer look:

Here’s one example.

For $70, I can (and plan to) purchase the Peak Design Out Front Bike Mount. The bike mount is made from solid metal and locks around a bike’s handlebars. When it comes to time to ride, I’ll simply need to place my phone in front of the mount and bring the two close.

The SlinkLink magnets will grab the phone and lock it in place so I can access it while riding but remain confident it won’t go flying off.

As an added bonus, the Out Front Bike Mount can flip up so that, instead of seeing my phone, I can use it as a POV camera during rides. And when I’m done, I’ll simply depress the tabs on the locking mechanism of the mount to release the phone.

Another example. The $50 Mobile Creator Kit attaches to the Peak Design Capture Clip, which, in turn, can be attached to a backpack strap. That lets you keep your phone within reach and use your phone as a POV camera while hiking or, as I’ll be doing in just a few weeks, wandering the streets of Tel Aviv.

I reviewed the Capture Clip ten years ago, and it is still going strong; you can check out its review here.

You can even swap out the Capture Clip attachment on the Mobile Creator Kit and swap in the included 1/4″ -20 Adapter. That’s great if you want a safe, secure, and easy way to attach your phone to a tripod.

Here’s a video that explains it all:

But there is more.

Peak Design also offers accessories such as their Mobile Tripod that connect magnetically but don’t leverage the SlimLink locking mechanism. That design choice let the company keep its mobile tripod as thin as possible. Thankfully, the magnets are strong enough that the phone and mobile tripod lock together quite securely. We’ll take a closer look at the tripod in its own review, but you can learn more here.

Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case Features

  • Peak Design’s SlimLink magnetic/mechanical mounting technology
  • Durable TPU bumpers and camera ring
  • Polycarbonate frame with PET backplate
  • 15ft drop protection
  • Dual lanyard attachment points
  • MagSafe & wireless charging compatible

I’m a huge fan of the Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case with Peak Design’s SlimLink technology. The case strikes the right balance between bulk and protection and features nice extras like a protective lining and lanyard anchors. I would gladly use this case on its own merits, but it works with Peak Design’s ecosystem of accessories and mounts, bringing this case to an entirely different level. There’s nothing like it on the market.

And while I’m bummed that I will have to lay out some money for additional accessories to work with it, I have little doubt that the added functionality, not to mention the peace of mind of knowing my phone is safe and secure, will be well worth it.

The Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case sells for $60; it is available directly from the manufacturer.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: The case is well-designed and built with premium materials; Added corner and screen protection are welcome; 15′ drop protection; SlimLink connector on the back lets it work with Peak Design mounts and accessories

What Needs Improvement: It should be mentioned that the cost of Peak Design accessories to maximize the benefits of this case can add up quickly

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.

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