Review

Nomad Leather Skin review: A cover that maintains your iPhone 12's aesthetic

4.5
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If you prioritize your iPhone's look and feel above all else but are looking for a way to elevate it further, consider Nomad's latest iPhone 12 accessory, its Leather Skin.

Nomad's Leather Skin — what is it?

When it comes to our fitting your phone, there are typically five categories of protection. Most protective is, of course, a case, and behind that is a bumper, which only goes around the edges of the device.

Following that, we have screen protectors that protect the front and masks that protect just the back. Lastly, and offering the least protection, are skins.

Skins are as thin as humanly possible, hence the name, and usually stick to your phone. There can be intricately involved skins that cover edges, the camera bump, the back of the phone, and anything in between, though some just grace the back.

In Nomad's case, its leather skin measures at only .6mm thin. When installed on the iPhone, you can barely even notice it.

Nomad's Leather Skin with wax paper backing
Nomad's Leather Skin with wax paper backing

It uses a very delicate version of Horween leather, which is based out of Chicago and used in nearly every other product that Nomad makes. It comes in a classic Rustic Brown and a simple black, both of which look fantastic.

A skin isn't going to protect your phone from drops, but minor scratches and bumps will be alleviated thanks to it.

As this skin is so thin, it supports MagSafe without any issues, including MagSafe charging, wallets, and other accessories. Notably, because the leather has a bit of texture to it, MagSafe accessories stay in place better than without it.

Wallets don't rotate as much or come off in your pocket quite so easily as when attached directly to the iPhone.

Putting on Nomad's Leather skin

Applying the leather skin is relatively straightforward, though nothing you want to mess up.

It starts by removing the wax cover paper, leaving you with just the leather. When removing the paper, don't hold or pull by the camera cutout as the leather is very narrow as well as thin, making it quite delicate.

Carefully applying Nomad's Leather Skin
Carefully applying Nomad's Leather Skin

We then flipped the wax paper perpendicular and used it to hold the skin towards the bottom while lining up the top edge and the camera cutout.

Once the top edge was perfectly square, we worked our way down the rest of the phone until the entire skin was in place. Finally, we gave the whole thing a good rub down to ensure the adhesive was set.

Are adhesives the best solution?

With a skin, the big question comes with how it adheres to your iPhone. Nomad is using genuine 3M adhesive to keep this strip of leather firmly against your device.

Nomad's various leather goods
Nomad's various leather goods

But the adhesive means it can't be removed, nor even adjusted. The leather is so thin that during the application process, should you misalign, pulling back will cause the leather to stretch.

There are no second chances here. These are the perils of such a thin and minimalist cover.

Unfortunately at this thickness, there aren't many other options. To create a skin this thin, it has to use a semi-permanent adhesive that cannot be reused or reapplied.

A popular option these days is microsuction foam, which some very cool masks already use to create a thin and reapplicable cover. Their downside, however, is that they are slightly thicker and require MagSafe magnets to be embedded in the mask itself.

Nomad's Leather Skin is ultra-thin
Nomad's Leather Skin is ultra-thin

Nomad's skin is so extremely thin, not only is MagSafe fully supported without added magnets, but you can even slip your iPhone into a case on top of it.

Nomad's Leather Skin on desk
Nomad's Leather Skin on desk

The point being, there are benefits to using adhesive as well as other methods. It all just depends on what your goals are and how minimalist you truly want to be.

Should you buy Nomad's Leather Skin?

We're big fans of skins. They are a little different in being an ultra-minimal concept. Usually, we see skins out of cheaper material such as vinyl and can look quite tacky, but the Nomad leather skin has an elevated look.

This handsome skin improves your phone while retaining its original look and feel. If there are times you need a case, snap one on atop your skin.

Nomad's Leather Skin
Nomad's Leather Skin, wallet, and AirPods tag

Like with Nomad's other leather gear — of which there is a copious amount — the leather skin is certainly going to develop a rich patina over time with use. That patina will be entirely unique to you and how you use your device.

A skin won't protect your phone, but it does class it up. Just make sure you put it on carefully.

Pros

  • Ultra-thin
  • Fully supports MagSafe accessories and MagSafe charging
  • Rustic Brown and black color options
  • Easy to apply
  • Leaves no residue behind when removing
  • Develops a rich patina with use
  • Keeps and iPhone's original size and feel
  • Works with many cases on top
  • Can help MagSafe devices stay put

Cons

  • Can't be reapplied
  • Will stretch the leather if you try to adjust it
  • Won't much protect your phone, other than rear scratches

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Where to buy

You can find Nomad's Leather Skin direct on its website for $29.95 in either Rustic Brown or black.