What’s the promise of wireless charging? Well, it’s the convenience factor. No more fumbling with plugging a cord in. You can just toss your device on a pad or a stand, line it up and see it start to charge. The key point here is that you need to line up the wireless charging spot on your device with the coil in the pad.
It might be a nuisance or an annoyance to you, and there’s also a chance you might not care about it at all. But it’s still pretty cool that you can charge your device by laying it down on a surface.
Either way, Nomad has a solution, and we’ve been using it for just shy of a week. The $199.95 Base Station Pro is a large high-end leather-built wireless charger. It’s not a bunch of wireless charging coils stacked on top of one another, but instead, it uses “FreePower” wireless charging tech from Aira.
Yes, it’s expensive, but it also works really well. The main pro? It’s the easiest wireless charger to use, as you don’t need to place your device in an exact spot.
Out of the box, there’s basically no setup required with the Base Station Pro. It’s as high-end as any other Nomad product. You get the charging pad itself, a 30-watt power brick, a braided USB-C to USB-C cable and a few international adapters. Although, if you’re like us, chances are you won’t be traveling soon.
First, find a spot for the Base Station Pro — it’s a big charging pad at 8.81 inches by 5.59 inches. And it’s pretty thin at just 0.47 inches. It’s an aluminum build with a leather top. High-end is a strong theme here, both with looks and the way it feels. It looks great on a nightstand, a countertop and even a desk. (It lived in all three of these places during our testing.)
The bottom of the Base Station Pro has two long rubber grips that ensure the aluminum bottom doesn’t scratch any surfaces. It also doesn’t let you move or push this wireless charger by accident. It’s essentially two feet for this to stand on.
From the top down, the entirety is not coated in leather. About an inch down or so is where it begins, and there’s an aluminum bezel at the top. It looks pretty nice, and the Base Station Pro has a pretty stealthy color profile. It’s a mix of black and dark grays all around. There’s a single USB-C port on the back, and the front has an array of three LED notification lights. Simply give it power and you’re good to go. As you place a device on the left, middle, right or really anywhere on the pad, you’ll see the lights turn on, showing a minimum of one or a maximum of three devices drawing power.
Nomad paid a lot of attention to the design here as well. The lights aren’t abrasively bright or too dim; they’re kind of just right. As you lay a device on the Base Station Pro, the corresponding LED will gently light up. When you take that device off, it slowly fades. This makes it ideal for use on a nightstand. It’s a really nice touch and something we’ve come to expect from Nomad.
What’s missing? There’s no external power source or power out. Other Base Station wireless chargers from Nomad feature a USB-A or USB-C out for plugging other devices in. It can be handy to charge a device that doesn’t support wireless charging or for one that doesn’t use the Qi standard. Namely, smartwatches like the Apple Watch don’t support Qi-enabled charging.
In turn, you can’t just toss those on here to charge. Nomad is promising an adapter that sits on the leather top with an Apple Watch charging disc built in to work with the Base Station Pro, though. Essentially it passes through Qi wireless charge from the Base Station Pro to the Apple Watch via the adapter. For a future model, we’d like to see some extra ports.
Effortless wireless charging
As any wireless charger should, all you need to do is lay a Qi-enabled device on the Base Station Pro. The big plus here? You don’t need to be specific where you’re laying that device down. You can place it pretty much anywhere on the pad and your device will vibrate or chime to denote it’s getting power, so no more instances of haphazardly placing your phone down, not hearing a ding and waking up to just 4% left on your battery. For the most part, the Base Station Pro solves this problem, and we were able to charge a single device, two and even three all without any issues.
As with wireless charging, it’s not the fastest charge in the world. And this doesn’t meet the specifications for Samsung’s ultra fast wireless charging either. But with an iPhone 11 Pro Max, a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy Buds Live all at under 5% and placed on the charger at 10:30 p.m., the Base Station Pro delivered us a full charge on all of them by 8 a.m. the next morning. Pretty good, right? And it’s dependable for charging three devices at once. iPhones will get up to 7.5 watts, while Androids are limited to 5 watts on this charger.
How does the Base Station Pro charge? Well, that’s where the “FreePower” tech from Aira works its magic — and it is cool. They slimmed down a traditional wireless charging coil and the tech needed to control it into one panel. And you guessed it, that’s what’s underneath the top layer on the Base Station Pro. In total, 18 coils sit in a matrix on the panel — kind of like a bunch of hexagons connected. The “FreePower” tech handles the proper output to the device and ensures that when you place a device down, it starts wirelessly charging nearly immediately.
And that goes if you place it nearly anywhere on the Base Station Pro, hence the free position idea we mentioned earlier. The only “dead zones” we experienced were directly at the bottom of the pad, and that’s to be expected with the design of the matrix. You can see a blowout of the Base Station Pro, which shows the inside technology, above. The real marvel here is that you can place a device in any direction, vertical or horizontal, nearly anywhere else on the pad and receive a charge. This is the first time Aira’s FreePower tech is in use, and we’re walking away pretty impressed.
Inherently, though, with wireless charging tech, heat is still a factor here. The pad itself can get a little warm, and the device receiving a charge makes no difference if it’s an iPhone or Android, AirPods Pro or Galaxy Buds Live — they will get a little warm. It just happens with the transfer of power, but the Base Station Pro is no more of an offender than other wireless chargers.
And while this isn’t completely new tech, it’s closer to the wireless charging or surface charging that we were promised in sci-fi movies and TV shows growing up. It’s closer to the vision of “Oh, let’s just drop our phone down and it’ll charge up.” Personally, we’re excited about this future and really like the implementation in the Base Station Pro.
It’s also built incredibly well, and Nomad ensures you get the complete package out of the box. And yes, $199.95 is a lot of money, but for the price, it’s a wireless charger that powers up to three devices, and you don’t have to worry about where you place them. It’s truly the price of convenience, and that’s a price you’ll have to decide you want to pay or not.