Chapter in this post:
With the AirPower mat, Apple actually wanted to bring out the device, which Nomad ultimately developed: a Qi-Charging-compatible “charging mat” that can charge up to three devices at the same time - wirelessly, of course, and without having to pay special attention to the positioning of the devices.
At Apple, the project (according to rumors) had to be postponed for the time being because they couldn't control the heat development during charging.
After this news, there were some companies that jumped on the AirPower bandwagon, but from my point of view, Nomad - a good three years after Apple's exit - has produced the only serious alternative. The Nomad Base Station Pro claims that the three devices can actually be placed almost completely freely on the mat. But let's take a look at the whole thing later in the test.
As always with the product tests: I got the device from Nomad or their PR agency free of charge. However, this does not mean that you have any say in this article. So everything you read here is my honest opinion.
The Nomad charging solution comes with a 30 watt USB-C power supply, but you can also use any other power supply that can deliver at least 30 watts and has a USB-C power delivery output that has an output voltage of up to 20 volts.
Before we really go into detail, I would like to briefly introduce the "specs" of the charger:
A short excursion into the predator's house: The “FreePower” charging technology that is in the Nomad Base Station Pro was not developed by Nomad itself, but by an inventor duo made up of J. Slatnick and E. Goodchild. You presented your idea on the TV show "Den of the Lions" and teamed up with Nomad.
The two inventors founded the company "ira"And offer their wireless charging technology" FreePower "for companies that want to use it to create products.
Before I actually used the Nomad charging mat, I had to update the firmware. To do this, download the appropriate software (available for PC and Mac) from the Nomad website. After starting the software, connect the Nomad Base Station Pro to the computer using a USB-C cable. The FreePower Updater recognizes the device and loads the current firmware in a few seconds.
If you hold the Base Station Pro in your hand for the first time, you will be surprised by its considerable weight. The 650 grams are comfortable to hold and the metal cover is reminiscent of the robustness of Apple's MacBook Pro cases, which are milled from an aluminum block.
The top or the surface on which the iPhones and AirPods are to be placed for charging is covered with leather (as a vegetarian, of course, I would have wished for something different here). This prevents the devices from being scratched when they are put on. The leather also appears extremely robust. I don't think that you can somehow damage the Base Station Pro through "normal" use.
The only critical point I was able to find is the USB-C cable that protrudes a little far and protrudes towards the back. But this can be quickly mitigated by using an angled cable, like this one from Ugreen used. This means that the charging mat can also be placed closer to a wall.
Overall, the Nomad Base Station Pro is both very robust and visually appealing. The aluminum housing and the leather surface are in - let's say - dark space gray. As a result, the Nomad charging solution should fit into a large number of hallways or living rooms without attracting negative attention.
When I receive devices for a test, then of course I try to use "borderline cases" to find out when they stop working. With the Nomad Base Station Pro, for example, I wanted to see when it no longer recognizes an iPhone if it protrudes over the edge.
Amazingly, this even worked in cases where the iPhone protruded significantly from the mat. So if you put it on the mat with reasonably common sense, it will be reliably recognized and charged.
It is important that the middle of the iPhone, in which the charging coil is located, is within the leather-covered area.
Incidentally, the Nomad charging solution was pretty unimpressed by change, cutters, spray cans and other metal objects. She just ignored them and never reported a bug.
Even if I had change in the middle of the charging mat, I could still charge the AirPods and my iPhone to the right and left of it. It is likely that the coils that have detected impermissible metal parts are simply deactivated. Really well resolved.
You have to look very carefully to see the three tiny LEDs that inform you about the charging process. They glow white when a device has been recognized and is being charged and flash white when a device has been recognized but cannot be charged. This happened to me once with a Soundcore in-ear headphone or its charging box. All Apple devices were accepted without exception.
The three LEDs indicate the area in which a device is currently located and divides the charging pad into “left”, “middle” and “right”. If you place a device somewhere between two zones, either one or the other LED will light up, but the device will still be charged at normal speed because the corresponding coils under the device are simply activated.
The advertising claim that you can charge three devices at the same time with the Nomad Base Station Pro without having to position them exactly is one thing that I have checked carefully.
I have an iPhone 12 Pro Max, an iPhone XS, and two AirPods (normal and Pro) that I used for the test. In my attempts, all devices were recognized and charged after about one to two seconds.
With iPhones, you only have to put the smartphone so that no part protrudes far beyond the edge of the Nomad Base Station Pro, so that you can be sure that they are being charged. Even if you lay the iPhone sideways, charging works without any problems.
With the AirPods - and probably also with other headphones with Qi charging - you have to choose the placement so that at least one centimeter of leather can be seen around the charging box. Otherwise you can distribute the AirPods case freely on the charging mat and it will be accepted.
Charging three devices at the same time (two iPhones and the AirPods Pro) did not reduce the charging speed either. With three times 7,5 watts, there is also enough reserve. My measurements with Coconut battery show that my iPhones mostly only use 3 to 4 watts for charging - no matter which Qi-Charing Pad they are on.
Basically, it is a bit difficult to use the charging times as a guide when charging wirelessly. The reasons for this:
But to give you some practical values anyway, I have my iPhone 12 Pro Max and my iPhone XS one with the Nomad Base Station Pro and one with one affordable Anker Qi charging stand loaded. You can see the results here:
I suppose the iPhone XS charged so fast because it was almost empty. In my comparison measurement with the above-mentioned Anker charging stand, I finally got the expected 5 percent increase in the battery level.
You can see that the Nomad Power Station Pro has no speed advantage or disadvantage compared to other Qi-Charing solutions - leaving out the Apple MagSafe adapter.
The Nomad Base Station Pro works with the Qi charging standard. The Apple Watch, on the other hand, charges with Apple's own charging protocol, so that the Base Station Pro unfortunately cannot charge an Apple Watch with the built-in coil array. I hope that Apple may move away from their proprietary charging connection for future watch models and also use Qi charging for their smartwatch.
Until then, however, you will have to use special charging cables to charge the Apple Watch. There is for the Base Station Pro though a holder for the Apple Watchthat you can get for free, but this is just a holder for a charging puck, which you then attach to the holder. For this you need another power supply and the whole thing becomes ugly again.
The great thing about the Nomad Base Station Pro is that you have done without tangled cables and ugly holders. If you put such an Apple Watch Mount on it, it contradicts - from my point of view - the concept of the Nomad charging station.
Preliminary result: You cannot charge the Apple Watch with the Base Station Pro.
The Nomad charging station is clearly aimed at the convenience of users. As expected, it is not faster or slower than other Qi chargers, but it has the clear advantage that you don't have to have three charging stands or charging pucks on the table to charge three devices at the same time.
The goal of being able to place the devices relatively freely on the charging mat was implemented successfully and in practice also worked without dropouts.
If you consider the price of around 215 euros, you have to consider whether the comfort and the elegant look are worth it. I would have liked a complete solution with Apple Watch charging options, but here Apple would have to take the first step and change its charging path.
Otherwise, the Nomad Base Station Pro is the prettiest and most practical Qi charging device I've seen so far. If you like to charge wirelessly and can afford it, you should grab it.
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Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.