It’s certainly very impressive and as hardy an item of technology as you’re likely to find anywhere, but let’s not forget that under all of its bright yellow armour and rugged braggadocio, there lives a humble PDA. And it would all be to no avail if it was difficult to use and a poor performer in the field.
Fortunately, it’s highly capable here as well. It would be useless in the subzero temperatures of the Arctic, for instance, if you couldn’t read the screen in bright sunlight. But the bright 480 x 640 resolution TFT screen is just as readable outside as it is indoors.
Likewise, you might as well feed it to a polar bear if the buttons weren’t usable with gloves on, and the Nomad does reasonably well here too. Though the buttons are small, they’re mostly well spaced, which means it’s simple to press one without hitting another. I say mostly, because the directional pad in the centre of the control panel could have been larger. As it stands, it’s a little on the small side and I found it fiddly to use precisely with thick ski mitts on.
On the other hand, the luxurious metal stylus with its hefty weight and spring-loaded tip is easy to grip, if a little difficult to extract from its magnetised slot when your hands are fully gauntleted against the chill. And the elasticated strap on the back makes it easy to get a decent grip on it, even in wet and slippery conditions.
And battery life must be good too, if a device is to be relied upon when out in the wilds far from power. Luckily, the 5200mAh unit supplied with the Nomad is a trooper, with well over a third of its capacity still registering after three days of testing.