Nomad brings MagSafe to case lineup: Bests Apple leather case with 10-foot drop protection

With support for Apple's MagSafe technology, Nomad's Horween leather cases offer a compelling alternative to Apple's leather case at the same price.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

After testing a sleek Apple MagSafe wallet and charging accessories, it's hard not to make MagSafe a requirement for any iPhone 12 case. Thankfully, the folks at Nomad now have MagSafe-compatible case options for all four Apple iPhone 12 models.

The Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max is my daily driver and has been living in an Apple leather case for a few weeks. Thanks to Nomad's move to provide MagSafe cases, it looks like the Rugged Case may join me on my daily adventures.

Also: iPhone 12 Pro Max: Apple's best phone gets better the more you use it

The first question most people will ask is, "For the same price, should I buy the Nomad Rugged Case or Apple Leather case?" Since I've now used both options, I think the choice mainly comes down to whether you want 10-foot drop protection or better buttons on your case. The Nomad Rugged Case is clearly most protective, but the well-defined buttons on the Apple case are tough to beat.

Rugged Case

The new Rugged Case, is available for $59.95, in Black, Natural, and Rustic Brown. I spent a few days with the Black color case so it hasn't yet had time to age and develop character. The Horween leather of the Nomad cases smells wonderful while Apple's Leather case has no leather smell, if that is something you are looking for in a case.


The internal bumper system on the Rugged Case is designed to help your phone withstand a 10-foot drop, which offers some relief for those drops out of your hand in daily usage. The body of the case is polycarbonate with a Horween leather back panel that wraps up around the bottom of the four sides and transitions into the TPU edges.


The interior of the Nomad Active Rugged case is lined with soft gray microfiber material, with the Nomad branding on the inside and a clear MagSafe circle centered in the middle. The iPhone 12 Pro Max snaps securely into the polycarbonate core frame and ensures the case will not fall off the iPhone. There are ample openings for the rear cameras, flash, ringer switch, Lightning port, speaker, and mics.

Two lanyard attachment points are integrated into the bottom openings. The rigid material ensures that your lanyard will not fall out of the case and the case securely holds your iPhone so lanyard use is completely safe.


The right side button and volume buttons have subtle raised areas for activation. The right side button has some texture to help make it easier to find it with your fingers. This is the one design area I would like to see improved a bit as the volume buttons are a bit too flush for my needs.

The frame wraps around all four sides and protrudes just a bit above the display so that your screen is protected when you set your phone down on a table. The inside of the TPU frame has a gray liner that has notches present, likely designed to dissipate shock loads when you drop your iPhone.

MagSafe functionality is now a part of the case design and it works as well as any Apple case with the leather wallet holding securely in place and charging adapter fully engaged. Wireless charging and Apple Wallet wireless technology works with the iPhone in the case too.

Also: Apple iPhone 12 review: 5G, improved reception, and iOS 14 widgets challenge Android phones

Rugged Folio Case

While you can use your iPhone for Apple Pay, there is still a need to carry an ID, access card keys, and other cards. The Apple Leather Wallet is nice for a couple of cards when you can travel as a minimalist, but sometimes you need more capacity than that.

The new iPhone 12 Pro Max Rugged Folio is available in Black and Rustic Brown colors for $79.95. There are three card slots and a cash slot on the inside flap of this case with a rated capacity for six cards. I was able to carry a credit card, my ORCA transit card, my office access key, my driver's license, and a $20 bill with ease.


Dark gray microfiber material covers the inside of the case and the wallet flap. Horween leather is present along the back and extends to cover the entire front flap of the case with stitched edges. The leather looks, and smells, wonderful.

The front flap is a bit smaller than the back so that the front rests right on the edge of the TPU side bumpers of the back piece as display protection is provided. This case also offers 10-foot drop protection thanks to the an internal shock absorption bumper.

The buttons, openings, and lanyard attachment points are the same as the Rugged Case. I would love to see the ability to use this case as a media kickstand with some kind of hinge that supports various viewing angles.

The Nomad Rugged Folio is the best full wallet case I've seen for the iPhone 12 series and with MagSafe support it may be the ultimate case for people who want to leave their wallet at home.

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