Month: June 2014

NomadKey Review

Charging cables aren’t usually the most interesting of topics and not something I think much about apart from ensuring I have cables for my devices at work, home and when I travel. That basically means a lightning cable and a micro USB cable to cover the many devices that I use day to day.

I was contacted by Nomad and asked if I was interested in trying a NomadKey and passing on my thoughts via this site. A few weeks ago I received a Lightning and micro-USB NomadKey and since then I’ve been using them to charge my iOS devices and my work phone and mifi device.

Lightning NomadKey

Lightning NomadKey

The NomadKey is a reworked version of the Nomad ChargeKey that launched last year. The main feature of the NomadKey is it’s size and flexibility. Slightly larger than a standard house key it’s designed to live on your key ring so no matter where you are, if you have your keys you can charge your device…well, as long as there is a USB socket nearby.

The NomadKey features a slim USB connector at one end and a lightning or micro-USB connector at the other. Both ends are made of a hard plastic and the middle is a flexible rubber which covers the cable connecting both ends. This allows the NomadKey to twist and allow you to charge your device in some pretty awkward places. While fine for phones and small devices it’s not practical for things like an iPad. The chargers are really light, so much so you won’t notice any additional weight on your key ring or if you decide to carry them in a travel or office bag.

In use I’ve found the NomadKey to be fast and reliable. For iOS devices it’s not only a charge cable but sync’s as well and is certified by Apple. I’ve seen no difference in charge or sync times between an official Apple cable and the NomadKey. It also carries enough current to charge an iPad.

Flexible NomadKey

Flexible NomadKey

Although reliable over the last three weeks I do have a couple of niggles. Firstly the USB and lightning connectors are uncovered. As the premise of the NomadKey is for the charger to live alongside your keys I do worry that over time the connectors will pick up dings and scratches. The more durable plastic that hooks onto your key ring does look robust but again, over time will it become chewed up?

Finally is the question of value. The NomadKey costs $29 with free shipping to the UK which feels a little steep. A 1m lightning cable from Apple is £15 and I think the NomadKey would be more appealing to users if they managed to undercut Apple even slightly.

Despite the niggles I loved the NomadKey cables and would recommend them to anyone looking at picking up a new charge cable or who tend to misplace or forget their current chargers. It’s an excellent day to day charger and especially useful for the frequent traveller. Nomad are also bringing out a new product called the NomadClip which is a portable charging cable in the shape of a carabiner and something I’m far more interested in.

If you like the look of the NomadKey or any of their other products then you can pre-order them now and for a limited time you get 25% off if you use the code “LIVESIMPLE”.

Destiny Alpha

It’s been hyped for years, it’s costing $500m and it’s the future for Bungie and for the last 4 days the Destiny Alpha has been available on the PS4.

Some quick thoughts after a few hours play:

  • The presentation is very slick throughout the Alpha
  • There are many nods to Halo throughout the game which I guess is no surprise
  • Graphically it’s impressive but some of the environments feel quite sparse, although again it’s an alpha and no doubt much more to come later in the year
  • The music and audio are great – really atmospheric
  • The more I played through the missions, the more it felt like Halo which while great as Halo is a game I really enjoyed, I was expecting a bit more. Working as a team, playing through a set piece and then moving on through to another set piece – all been done before.
  • Character customisation looks to be really deep with most locked off in the alpha. Three different classes to play through too.
  • Multiplayer was accessed via the Crucible. Two maps, basically hardpoint from Titanfall and while they played OK on moving back to Titanfall it showed that Destiny felt a bit lacking.
  • The firing mechanics are fine, just felt a but unsatisfying. Only really played with a couple of weapons so too early to tell if this is an issue
  • Ammo is limited in multiplayer – you have a heavy weapon for example but no ammo for it, with random and infrequent drops during the game.
  • It is a very pretty at times

Destiny First Look Alpha_20140614084525

Destiny First Look Alpha_20140614171048

Destiny First Look Alpha_20140615152650

Destiny First Look Alpha_20140615152716

Destiny First Look Alpha_20140615154207

There is one big downside to the Destiny Alpha – it’s limited in scale and finished yesterday. The beta launches in July but the real game isn’t out until September. It’s going to be a long three months as despite some shortcomings I’m looking forward to the final release.

A final shout out to the PS4 which allows you to copy screens and video to a USB disk. Makes for easy transfer of great quality screen grabs and also allows you to show off some video from Destiny.

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