Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition review: The ideal replacement for AirPower

NOMAD Base Station Apple Watch Edition
(Image: © Lory Gil / iMore)

Nomad's Base Station is a beautiful charging accessory. It's sleek, covered in leather, and looks like it belongs on the desk of a Fortune 500 CEO. The Base Station: Apple Watch Edition is one of the few on the market that competently charges three devices at once; iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods with a wireless Charging Case.

The Good

  • Gorgeous design
  • Fast-charging for iPhone
  • Nightstand mode for Apple Watch
  • Ambient status light sensor

The Bad

  • Vertical charging is difficult to position

Bells & Whistles

Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition: The features

Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition

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The Base Station has three Qi-certified charging coils across the charging pad. The pad itself can charge two iPhones or an iPhone and AirPods in a wireless Charging Case at the same time thanks to 7.5 watts of power across those coils.

The Base Station Apple Watch Edition is actually designed to charge one iPhone, your AirPods, and the Apple Watch. There really isn't room for a second iPhone, though the coils would support it.

The pad is covered in soft executive leather, which looks classy and has the added benefit of giving the pad a bit of grip so your iPhone doesn't slip off.

The Apple Watch charger uses an Apple certified charging puck, so you don't even have to bring your own puck to the party. It's positioned so your Apple Watch can display Nightstand Mode.

It's got a LED light sensor on the front to let you know that your iPhone is aligned properly. The light will dim at night, so it's not shining in your face while you sleep.

Looks so good

Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition: What I like

Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition

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The Base station has a very classy aesthetic. I love how it looks in any room — like a moleskin journal or something. It is subtly fancy; not flashy.

When you're ready to set down your device and let them charge up for the night, the iPhone lays flat on the pad next to your AirPods in their wireless Charging Case, while the Apple Watch sits upright so you can use Nightstand mode. I love having my iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch charging on the same dock, and being able to see the time on my Apple Watch while it charges is an added bonus.

If you've ever had a charging pad in your bedroom with a status light, you'll know how annoying it is when that light is staring you in the face. The Base Station's light is orange while it charges, so it isn't harsh, and it dims when the room is dark, so you won't be kept awake by a bright light.

The 7.5W 3-coil system charges your iPhone as fast as an iPhone can be charged wirelessly. If you just need a quick charge before you leave the house, this is the fastest way you can do it with a Qi charger.

Meh

Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition: What I don't like

Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition

Nomad's own pictures show an iPhone charging perpendicular to the pad, but I found it difficult to get the positioning just right. When laying my iPhone parallel to the pad, it never fails to connect to the charging coils, but sometimes, when I try to lay my iPhone perpendicular to the pad, I have to move it around a few times until it hits the right spot. Considering there are 3 charging coils on the Base Station, it's a little bothersome that I have to fiddle with it.

After having the Apple Watch Edition Base Station for a while, I've learned where the sweet spot is, and can regularly hit it right the first or second time, but it was definitely something I had to become familiar with.

The Bottom Line

Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition

Considering the general concept of the Base Station is not new — There are dozens of wireless charging pads with Apple Watch charging docks — it's difficult to find one that stands out in a crowd. Nomad's Base Station Apple Watch Edition does just that thanks to it's beautiful executive aesthetic, fast-charging support, and little touches, like the ambient status light and Nightstand mode support.

Now that the AirPower is officially off the table, this is definitely the next best thing in terms of function, if not form.

$140 at Nomad (opens in new tab)

Updated March 2019: Updated for AirPods 2 and the cancelation of AirPower.

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

4 Comments
  • Too big, too expensive. I have a little stand by the bed, and I have a Hellonomad Pod for traveling. No need to ever use anything else. My nightstand is filled with books. I don't need to waste space with this overpriced widget.
  • RE: "Considering there are 3 charging coils on the Base Station, it's a little bothersome that I have to fiddle with it." Perhaps one of the coils is malfunctioning? Just a thought.
    Disclaimer: I know nothing when it comes to how Qi charging tech works.
  • Can you charge 2 iPhones at the same time?
  • I mentioned in my review that, technically it could charge two phones at the same time, but because the Apple Watch puck is positioned where it is, there really isn't any room for the second phone (they'd have to both be positioned perpendicular to the pad). Nomad makes a Base Station Hub Edition that charges two phones at the same time, plus has a USB-C port and USB-A port to charge up to 4 devices at the same time.