If you've ever used a typical wireless charger, you are familiar with their fatal flaw: they require you to position your phone just right. If the coils in your device aren't aligned properly with the coils in the charger, it just won't charge and sometimes you won't notice until it's too late. Nomad's new Base Station Pro finally, gloriously, moves past that limitation with a slab of pure charging that feels almost magical -- if you can afford its $229 price tag.
The Base Station Pro is a well-built chunk of metal and leather, with no demarcation to indicate where your gadgets need to be on its surface in order to charge. That's Because they can be anywhere. Thanks to circuitry underneath its surface that can detect the location of your device and then spin up a magnetic charging field underneath it, there's no specific positioning required so long as your device's center is entirely on the 5-inch by 8-inch pad.
It's the platonic ideal of wireless charging that Apple aspired to with its ultimately-abandoned AirPower charger. The feat is accomplished thanks to a wireless charging technology called "FreePower" developed by a company known as Aira, which improves upon the Qi charging standard while maintaining full compatibility. The result is that up to three devices, placed in any configuration, can charge all at once. And a handy trio of LEDs on the charger's edge will let you confirm, at a glance, that they are.
I've been using the Base Station Pro for a few days now, and there's no question it's a huge improvement over the Anker pad it is replacing on my nightstand. Being able to throw my phone onto the pad with no fiddling is a small, consistently enjoyable pleasure, but better yet is not having to worry that I've failed to replace my phone on the charger just right after checking the time in the middle of the night. It's a problem that has plagued me with other chargers. Of course this mild-to-moderate convenience comes with an increase in price by an order of magnitude. The Base Station Pro does have the build quality to back that up, but it's also just a wireless charger so there's only so much you can really admire it.
The only real downside the Base Station Pro has (aside from price) is for Apple Watch wearers, who won't be able to charge their device on this pad because the Apple Watch demand a slight different, proprietary tweak of standard Qi charging, at least for now. And that is perhaps the only small issue that makes it fall short of the promise of Apple's ill-fated Airpower.
But if that's not an issue for you, you can buy the Nomad for $229 right now.