Nomad has just started shipping its new Base Station Apple Watch Edition (US$119.95), a Qi-compatible wireless charger that includes an integrated Apple Watch charger. We received one of the docks for review; let’s take a look.
Compared to many of the less expensive Chinese knockoff docks that a lot of companies are selling, the Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition is a work of art. Rather than being a soulless piece of white plastic, Nomad put some definite design smarts into this product.
It’s a dark aluminum pad about 6.5 inches wide x 4 inches deep (165.1mm x 101.6mm) with rounded corners, with a large black leather pad on which your iPhone or other device sits to be charged. That pad has three individual charging coils underneath it, providing a lot of choices for what you can charge. For example, you could put a pair of AirPods in a wireless charging sleeve onto one side of the long pad and have room for an iPhone on the other side, all while leaving room for an Apple Watch — which has its own charging puck. If you just have an iPhone and Apple Watch, an iPhone XS Max fits just perfectly lengthwise on the pad, leaving room for the Apple Watch on its elevated charging station.
Nomad includes a robust AC adapter to power the Base Station Apple Watch Edition, complete with two international adapters. The bottom of the Base Station has two rubber strips to keep it from moving, and the entire device has enough weight (7.8 ounces / 221.13g) to keep from sliding even if a pesky cat wants to play with it.
There’s one brilliant point to this design that I really appreciate. My existing iPhone / Watch dual charger has a bright blue LED that really lit up my darkened bedroom to the point that I had to cover it with a piece of duct tape! I could still see the LED with the tap over it, but at least it wasn’t lighting the whole room. Nomad understands its customers enough to realize that these charging pads will often be used in a bedroom, so they have an ambient light sensor that turns down the LED when the lights are turned off in a room.
What can I say? It works! The knockoff cheap charger I had was very finicky about where I put the iPhone for charging. That’s not the case with the Base Station Apple Watch Edition — I put my iPhone XS Max on the “open” side perpendicular to the charging pad and it immediately started charging. Likewise, when I placed it parallel to the pad as in the photo at the top of the review, it charged immediately.
The LED glows a pleasant orange and does indeed get dimmer when it is dark. That’s a pleasant change from the bright blue LED of the other charger I was using.
You get what you pay for. In this case, the Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition may not be the least expensive combination iPhone / Apple Watch charger on the market, but it is definitely made with quality and care. Add to that the good looks of the Base Station Apple Watch Edition, and you’ve got a winner.