Nomad Base Station Pro Full-Surface Wireless Charger Changes the Game

A little over a year ago, Shark Tank profiled an innovative wireless charging technology. The pitchers said they had thousands of pre-orders from one company. I immediately KNEW it must be Nomad. I was right, and Aira’s FreePower tech is in the new Nomad Base Station Pro Full-Surface Wireless Charger. It is a game-changer.

At an MSRP of $229.95, the Nomad Base Station Pro Full-Surface Wireless Charger is pricey. After all, you can get wireless chargers for under $20 these days. THIS wireless charger is something different, though. The quality material, construction, and new technology put it in an entirely different league from those inexpensive, pedestrian wireless chargers. With other wireless chargers, a device needs to be positioned “properly” to the wireless charge “receiver” in the phone or earphone case lines up properly with the charging coils in the charging device. That’s not the case with the Base Station Pro. As Nomad explains,

FreePower technology enables a truly positionless charging experience. A matrix of 18 coils allows you to simultaneously charge up to 3 devices anywhere.

In other words, instead of needing to position your phone “correctly” on the charging pad so that the phone and the charging coils line up properly, FreePower turns on whichever of the 18 coils are beneath the phone or earphone case regardless of its position. That takes the simplicity of wireless charging to an entirely new level. If you’ve ever started your day with a dead phone because it didn’t properly connect to the wireless charger, you know how big a deal this is. With FreePower built into the Base Station Pro, so long as a phone, or other small devices that are Qi-charging enabled, is on the charging pad, it will ALWAYS get a charge.

Full-Surface Charging: Base Station Pro introduces a new era of charging, with full surface wireless power. Simply place your phone anywhere on the surface, and it will effortlessly begin to charge. Never worry about waking up to a dead phone because it wasn’t aligned perfectly on the charger’s “sweet spot” again.

The clean lines of the Base Station Pro belie the innovative technology packed into its thin, refined design.

It’s something we’ve never previously seen but is not only here today but is also a taste of what is yet to come.

Developed from the Ground Up: Building upon the Qi standard, Aira’s FreePower technology has enabled freedom of position wireless charging for the first time. Using a combination of custom hardware and software, FreePower solves dozens of complex wireless charging challenges to provide convenience and the peace of mind to drop your phone and forget it.

But there’s more.

With its modern design, padded leather surface, and slim profile, Base Station Pro is built to enhance any workspace, home, or office.

The Base Station Pro has the same design language as the various Base Stations I’ve previously reviewed. In other words, it is gorgeous. Constructed from machined aluminum, the surface is covered in beautiful padded leather. It looks elegant and creates a safe, soft surface that won’t damage your phone or earphones.

On the front edge, there are three small LEDs. Barely visible when off, each LED indicates a device charging. For example, if two LEDs are illuminated, you can rest assured that two devices are charging. The LEDs are subtle but let you know you’ll have fully charged devices when you grab them and head out.

One of the things I have loved about the previous Base Station models is the low profile that doesn’t draw attention. Base Station Pro is no different. At 1/2” thick, it is thin but surprisingly heavy. As Nomad explains:

Precision Engineered: Our machined aluminum frame, combined with a compact multi-level coil board assembly, allows for an ultra-thin body measuring in at just 1.2 centimeters.

On the bottom, two rubber treads are running from one side to the other. These not only keep the Base Station Pro in place, but they also protect whatever surface the charger is on.

The included 30W USB-C PD power supply delivers enough power that up to three devices can be placed on the Base Station Pro and charged at up to 7.5W charging speeds. This is possible, of course, only because of the FreePower technology inside. A 2m braided USB-C power cable is long enough that you can place the Base Station Pro pretty much anywhere in your home or office. And, because it comes from Nomad, you can rest assured that the cable will not fray or fail. A nice touch is the inclusion of three different wall adapters. There is a US adapter, but Nomad also includes UK and AU adapters as well.

 

Power 3 Devices at Once: Proprietary FreePower algorithms rapidly locate your device, creating virtual coils directly under your phone or other Qi-enabled device. This is accomplished by 18 dedicated charging coils that intelligently work together to form an electromagnetic coupling to your device’s power receiver.

I’ve been excited to get the Base Station Pro since that night watching Shark Tank. Until the review sample arrived, though, I did not realize how much larger it is than the Base Stations I reviewed here and here. At 5.6” by 8.7” by .5”, the Base Station Pro is slightly larger and thicker than an iPad mini. By comparison, the Base Station and Base Station Hub are only slightly larger than my iPhone 11. (The charging surface is the same size as the phone the but Base Station is deeper/wider than the iPhone 11.) That large size means there is plenty of room for two phones and a pair of AirPod Pros. But be warned, it is significantly larger than the Base Station Hub.

The Base Station Hub, which is now a bargain at $99.95, can wirelessly charge two phones simultaneously thanks to its three charging coils that each output up to 10W. On the back, however, there is a USB-A port AND a USB-C port. That means that thanks to the 18W, you can charge up to four different devices simultaneously. So while the Base Station Hub is, first and foremost, a wireless charger, thanks to the ports on the back, it is also a traditional multi-device charging hub.

The Base Station Pro takes a different approach. While the back of the Base Station Hub has a USB-A, a USB-C, and a barrel input for the AC adapter, the back of the Base Station Pro has just a single USB-C port to which the AC adapter connects. All the charging prowess of the device takes place on the charging surface. That makes sense since the combination of the large surface and the FreePower technology lets you charge three different devices simultaneously. The only issue I see with this approach is one of Nomad’s own making.

On the product page, they indicate that an Apple Watch charging adapter will be available. It connects to the back of the Base Station Pro and, once your Apple charging puck is set in place, can also keep your Apple Watch charge.

Because there are no charging ports on the back of the Base Station Pro, the Apple Watch charger will also need to be connected to an outlet. How much nicer and cleaner would it have been if the Apple Watch charging puck could be plugged into the Base Station Pro?

Despite that small “issue,” the Base Station Pro is fantastic.

Features and Specifications:

  • Constructed from a precision-machined aluminum frame with a black padded leather surface and no-slip grip rubber feet.
  • Internal 18 coil matrix
  • Charges 3 devices at once
  • Up to 7.5W charging speed
  • LED charging indicators
  • US, EU, UK & AU adapters included
  • 2m braided USB-C power cable
  • 30W USB-C PD power supply
  • Supports 100-240V input
  • Full surface wireless charging

Wireless charging is rather amazing. Wireless chargers that charge more than one device at a time are even more impressive. But the Base Station Pro is something different. It not only contains 18 different charging coils, but they are run by specialized software that “determines” which coils should be turned on based on the device’s position on the charging pad. This software is currently compatible with iPhones, AirPods Pro and AirPods with Wireless Charging Case, the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 3, various Samsung phones and earphones, and the new Amazon Fire Tablet 7. Support for “other Qi-enabled devices” is planned. That will, however, require updates to the software running the Base Station Pro. Fortunately, Nomad has that covered too.

Better With Time: Just like our leather, this software gets better with time. Easily stay updated with the Mac and Windows app as FreePower is continuously improved to make Base Station Pro an even better experience.

When a FreePower software update is released, you’ll need to plug the Base Station Pro into a Mac or PC and run the FreePower Updater software. Upcoming releases promise charging improvements, bug fixes, and additional device compatibility. I love that Nomad and Aira are working to make sure the Base Station Pro is future-proof!

I’ve been waiting to check out the Nomad Base Station Pro since I saw that Shark Tank episode and confirmed that Nomad was indeed the company the folks from Aira mentioned during their pitch. It has not disappointed. Its large size surprised me, but the refined design, quality materials, and superb craftsmanship is true Nomad. Here’s Nomad’s promo video for the Base Station Pro.

The description of the Base Station Pro sounds like magic. The first time you place two phones and a pair of AirPod Pros on the Base Station Pro, it even looks like magic. But it is not magic. It is the future. The Base Station Pro low profile lets you put it pretty much anywhere. Drop your Qi-enabled device on it, and without doing anything, the charger will top to off. It is pretty amazing, but I have a feeling it is just the beginning. Imagine the Base Station Pro built into the surface of a desk? Now, any time you place your phone or AirPods on the desk, they get topped off. Your next night table could be similarly enabled. In other words, while the Base Station Pro is great in its own right, I also see it as proof of concept for the next generation of charging technology. And Nomad, who has emerged as one of the leaders in mobile device accessories, is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the creative options FreePower makes possible.

Until then, though, the Nomad Base Station Pro is here, and it’s fantastic. If you have a Qi-enabled phone and earphones that charge wirelessly, you want to check it out. It may be a bit pricey, but there is nothing else like it on the market.

The Nomad Base Station Pro sells for $229.95, and it is available directly from the manufacturer

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Charges multiple devices wirelessly at the same time; Charges regardless of the device position on the charging pad; Apple Watch charger attachment in the word; Low profile; Refined materials and construction; Subtle indicators let you know how many devices are being charged

What Needs Improvement: No rear ports for additional charging cables; Apple Watch adapter not yet available; Apple Watch charging requires its own wall outlet; Pricey

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.