It’s not an official MagSafe device, so charging speed is slower
Nomad’s latest Base Station wireless charging pad can charge up to four devices at once—two wired, two wirelessly—and looks fantastic on a desk or night stand.
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Nomad Goods produces a wide range of accessories for various smartphones and devices, but the company’s portfolio is primarily made up of Apple-specific accessories. That said, not everything Nomad sells is an Apple-only product. For example, the $119 Nomad Base Station Hub Edition with Magnetic Alignment, in addition to having a stupidly long name, is a Qi-equipped wireless charging pad that will charge any compatible device, be it your Samsung Galaxy Buds, a Pixel 6, or the latest iPhone.
Of course, the magnetic aspect of the name and design does mean the Base Station has an iPhone-specific feature built into it. Namely, it has a series of magnetic rings that work in tandem with the iPhone 12 or iPhone 13’s MagSafe feature to ensure the phone is properly lined up with one of three different wireless charging coils underneath the leather pad on the Base Station’s top.
Note: This review is part of our roundup of wireless charging pads. Go there for details on competing products and our testing methods for both Android phones and iPhones.
The housing below and around the leather pad is made of aluminum and is available in either a carbide or walnut finish. On the front of the charging pad are three LED indicator lights. The lights correspond with the three charging pads, so you can see which ones are currently being used. You can wirelessly charge two devices at the same time. I’ve routinely charged two smartphones, or an iPhone and a pair of AirPods, on the pad without any issues over the last few weeks.
In total, the Base Station can output up to 10W of wireless charging power at a given time.
On the back of the Base Station is where the power adapter connects to it, but there are also two additional ports. There’s a USB-C PD port capable of 18W of output, and a standard USB-A port with 7.5W of output. As you may have guessed, you can use either or both ports to charge more devices, bringing the total number of devices you can charge at the same time to four—two wirelessly, two wired.
To test the speed of Nomad’s latest Base Station, I took turns charging a Samsung Galaxy S21 and a standard iPhone 13 then measuring the progress after an hour of charging. Both phones started with a completely drained battery, which was drained after each charging run by playing a YouTube video.
I ran each test three times, averaging the results. For the iPhone 13, which has a battery size of 3,227mAh, the Base Station charged it to an average of 37 percent. As for the Galaxy S21 and its battery size of 4,000mAh, the Base Station averaged a charge of 42 percent after an hour.
The difference in percentages comes down to the iPhone 13 supporting a wireless charging speed of 7.5W for Qi-enabled chargers, while the S21 charged at the Base Station’s max speed of 10W.
Even though the Base Station has magnetic rings to ensure proper alignment, it’s not an official MagSafe accessory. That means two things. First, the magnetic connection between the iPhone and the charging pad isn’t as strong as it would be if it was a MagSafe device. The magnets do a good job of gently ensuring proper alignment but don’t grip the phone. Another aspect is that you don’t get the full 15W wireless charging speed that you’d get from a MagSafe charger.
The amount of charge either device received is right in line with the average charging speed of the wireless charging pads I’ve reviewed when you take into account differences in battery size. Then you add in the extra, wired, charging options, and the Base Station name starts to make sense.
If you’re looking for a wireless charging pad that can charge up to four devices at a given time, the Nomad Base Station Hub Edition with Magnetic Alignment is worth looking at. Its premium design and added functionality of magnetic alignment and charging ports help justify the $119 asking price.