GeekDad Review: Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Nomad makes some of the best Apple gear that Apple doesn’t—and offers a premium alternative to many of Apple’s own accessories like iPhone cases, Lightning cables, and Apple Watch bands. The Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition is somewhere in the middle of those two categories. Technically, Apple has an all-in-one wireless charger that will accommodate both an Apple Watch and an iPhone. In reality, the AirPower has yet to make an official appearance, over a year after first being announced. Filling the void for now, and offering a premium alternative to the AirPower (if and when it launches), is the Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition.

Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition
Comfortably charging an iPhone and Apple Watch (Photo by Brad Moon)

Charges All Your Apple Stuff (and More)

Nomad took its existing Base Station Qi wireless charger, made a few adjustments, and added a vertical Apple Watch charger.

Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition
Cutaway view showing coil placement (Image copyright Nomad)

In terms of technical detail, there are three coils beneath the charge pad, so it can accommodate an iPhone (or other Qi-compatible devices) in various orientations. Each coil has 7.W output and, while the Base Station Apple Watch Edition is able to charge three devices simultaneously, Nomad says its designed to “comfortably charge one Apple Watch and one phone simultaneously.”

There’s a discrete LED charge indicator for each coil, white for fully charged and amber for charging, paired with an ambient light sensor that dims the glow at night. The Apple Watch charger is magnetic to hold the smartwatch in place and is MFi-Certified. It also supports Nightstand mode, waking the smartwatch to display the time when a tap on the charger or surface it’s sitting on is detected. Note that unlike the original Base Station, this version is purely wireless—no USB ports.

I’ve been using the Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition for about a month now and it’s been flawless. I’ve also been testing iPhone XS Max cases (including Nomad’s own Horween leather Rugged Case) and after several dozen, I’ve yet to find one that didn’t work with the Nomad charger. The closest thing I have to a gripe is a power adapter that’s a bit on the large size.

Looks Stylish While Doing It

Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition
Minimalist style and premium materials including aluminum and leather (Photo by Brad Moon)

Where the Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition will definitely have the AirPower beat (assuming Apple releases it) is style.

This is very much a premium accessory with an attractively minimalist design and high-quality components. The main body is thin, aircraft-grade aluminum in a gunmetal gray finish. Phones sit on padded black leather. This wireless charger is intended for a nightstand, but it would look at home on a desk as well.

At $119.95, I have a sneaking suspicion that Nomad’s option will also be less expensive than Apple’s, but we’ll have to wait and see on that.

Supply Is Tight…

Apparently, there are a lot of Apple Watch owners looking for a stylish charge base that will also accommodate their smartphone and other Qi devices. It’s not like Apple’s AirPower is likely to put in a sudden appearance any time soon, and demand for the Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition has been higher than anticipated. The company’s website quickly sold out, but there are more coming (and you might find one at Best Buy). I would suggest that if one of these is on your holiday shopping list and you see it in stock, you grab it.

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