Going hands on with Nomad's Base Station Pro -- The first real free-placement Qi charger

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2020
Nomad gave AppleInsider an early look at its upcoming Base Station Pro, a beefed-up version of its popular wireless charger that purports to offer free placement for up to three devices on its large charging surface.

Nomad's upcoming Base Station Pro
Nomad's upcoming Base Station Pro


Base Station Pro was announced in late 2019 and the team has been hard at work since ensuring any issues are mitigated before the early 2020 launch. Things are moving along, and the charger looks great, but it isn't quite ready to get into consumer's hands.




A familiar design

Nomad's Base Station Hub Edition and Base Station Apple Watch are two fan-favorites among the AppleInsider audience. They are well made, stylish, and look very similar to the new Base Station Pro.

On the surface, it looks just like the Base Station -- just larger -- but it is everything underneath that really sets it apart.

Nomad's upcoming Base Station Pro
Nomad's upcoming Base Station Pro is made of metal and leather


Under the Horween leather surface and above the metal frame lies a new layer of printed Qi coils, far different than the usual off-the-shelf Qi coils found in many other chargers. This layer of coils is part of what makes up FreePower, the technology developed by Aira to enable the free placement wireless charging so many have tried to release.

Thanks to FreePower, any Qi device can be placed anywhere on the large charging surface with no concern if the device is appropriately centered above a Qi coil. Not only can Base Station Pro do so with one item, but up to three items can be placed at once.

That could be three iPhones, two iPhones and a set of AirPods, or a battery pack with an iPhone and AirPods. They can be placed in any order, in any spot, anywhere on the charger. It feels entirely natural and the way wireless chargers should be.

The whole deal is powered by USB-C with the included USB-C cable and charging brick. A trio of status lights on the front illuminates to let you know how many devices are currently placed and charging.

Approaching prime time

That isn't all to say that Nomad and Aira don't have a few niggles left to iron out. The Base Station Pro that the team had on hand at CES was a very early unit. One with full of bugs that had since been squashed.

Nomad's upcoming Base Station Pro
Nomad's upcoming Base Station Pro


For a better representation of how the Base Station Pro works, we got to try out the actual FreePower tech outside of the Nomad aluminum and leather housing, to see the coils themselves and how well it would work in the real world.

In this demo, it was quite impressive. We could move the phone across the surface and continue to get a charge the entire time. We found no dead zones or otherwise problematic areas. Even at times when we assumed the phone wouldn't charge it still managed to. Devices also began charging almost instantaneously too, a big deviation from the Liberty we reviewed recently.

Nomad's upcoming Base Station Pro
Nomad's upcoming Base Station Pro


Once or twice things went mildly awry when the phone didn't charge immediately when placed, but the team assured me these are solvable issues that will be ironed out by the time the Nomad Base Station Pro ships.

Availability

Nomad hasn't opened up preorders yet for the Base Station Pro. It wants to be sure the product is fully ready before they start shipping and taking orders.

After talking with Nomad, they tell me they are in the home stretch and will open up orders early in 2020. Stay tuned to AppleInsider for a full review of the Nomad Base Station Pro as we approach its launch.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    Apple Watch support though?
  • Reply 2 of 24
    If it’s working according to the QI standard, it should work.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    Apple Watch support though?
    The AW doesn't charge with standard Qi charging mats, so no.
    supadav03caladanianuraharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 24
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,774member
    we need well designed portable QI wireless pad to use in vehicles which are not equiped with a built-in Qi support.
  • Reply 5 of 24
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 755member
    wood1208 said:
    we need well designed portable QI wireless pad to use in vehicles which are not equiped with a built-in Qi support.
    Some vehicle vent mount stands have Qi built in. The Apple Store lists three. 

    I prefer cup holder mounts though. 
    edited January 2020 cy_starkman
  • Reply 6 of 24
    Problem with wireless charging is how slow it’s compare to quick wired charging. This article is useless if it doesn’t talk about that. 
    williamlondonPickUrPoison
  • Reply 7 of 24
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,304member
    tomasulu said:
    Problem with wireless charging is how slow it’s compare to quick wired charging. This article is useless if it doesn’t talk about that. 
    It's not even open for pre orders yet. I believe a demo unit was used for this article.  I am sure they will be able to give a more comprehensive review with charge times once it is actually released? 
    edited January 2020 muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 24
    ivanhivanh Posts: 597member
    Is there a way to turn off wireless charging on iPhone 11 Pro?  
    I accidentally placed it on my belly during a few minutes nap, and a ring shape burn mark appeared on the next day. Three times already!
    williamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 24
    Don't trust the emf radiation field around these things.  It has not been mass tested enough.  Will let other guinea pigs test it out for me and maybe revisit the tech in ten years.  
    williamlondonsteveau
  • Reply 10 of 24
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,912member
    ivanh said:
    Is there a way to turn off wireless charging on iPhone 11 Pro?  
    I accidentally placed it on my belly during a few minutes nap, and a ring shape burn mark appeared on the next day. Three times already!
    I don't know if I should laugh at this.  :D

    I'm not sure that's what they meant when they said you should recharge your body's Chi (aka Qi).  :D
    edited January 2020 chiaredgeminipaneo-techmbenz1962steveauuraharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 24
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,912member

    shrave10 said:
    Don't trust the emf radiation field around these things.  It has not been mass tested enough.  Will let other guinea pigs test it out for me and maybe revisit the tech in ten years.  

    It gives off a very low EMF until a Qi device is placed onto it. Then the two devices "pair" and the field strength is increased. It drops again when removing the device. That's why Qi charging mats have required exact positioning to date... because it's a two-way communication between them (not digital, but EMF). The mat and device can detect when they are "centred" on each other.


    neo-techcaladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 24
    chiachia Posts: 712member
    shrave10 said:
    Don't trust the emf radiation field around these things.  It has not been mass tested enough.  Will let other guinea pigs test it out for me and maybe revisit the tech in ten years.  
    I’m impressed you’ve been brave enough to suffer the emf field from whatever device you have used to make your post. In view of the fact that anything that uses electricity, or has electricity flowing through it, generates an emf field, I do hope, for your peace of mind, that you don’t have electricity in your home. 

    https://www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index3.html
    edited January 2020 pscooter63jdb8167StrangeDaysSoliredgeminipaviclauyycneo-techcy_starkmanuraharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 24
    chiachia Posts: 712member
    ivanh said:
    Is there a way to turn off wireless charging on iPhone 11 Pro?  
    I accidentally placed it on my belly during a few minutes nap, and a ring shape burn mark appeared on the next day. Three times already!
    I hear that accidentally placing an iPhone 11 Pro in the path of an oncoming steam roller permanently switches off wireless charging, and indeed all its  electromagnetic emissions.
    Soliredgeminipambenz1962watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 24
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,203member
    tomasulu said:
    Problem with wireless charging is how slow it’s compare to quick wired charging. This article is useless if it doesn’t talk about that. 
    It isn’t useless for not mentioning that. Most charging mats are used at home, next to beds, etc. Speed isn’t an issue for nightly charging. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 24
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,203member

    ivanh said:
    Is there a way to turn off wireless charging on iPhone 11 Pro?  
    I accidentally placed it on my belly during a few minutes nap, and a ring shape burn mark appeared on the next day. Three times already!
    Yyyyyeaaahhh....this sounds like compete BS. How long do I need to keep mine there to get burned? 
    redgeminipachiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 24
    My only peeve with my Nomad basestation Apple Watch edition is pushing my phone around to find the sweet spot when I'm also charging my Watch and AirPods. Looks like this will solve that issue for me. This design is perfect on my bedside table. I have an Anker wireless stand to prop my phone up on my work desk.

    Looking forward to this new iteration of basestation if it will also include Apple Watch charging.
    chiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 24
    ivanh said:
    Is there a way to turn off wireless charging on iPhone 11 Pro?  
    I accidentally placed it on my belly during a few minutes nap, and a ring shape burn mark appeared on the next day. Three times already!
    Quick, patent your belly! Before you get sued or worse, prohibited from using it or have it taken away.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 24
    ivanhivanh Posts: 597member

    ivanh said:
    Is there a way to turn off wireless charging on iPhone 11 Pro?  
    I accidentally placed it on my belly during a few minutes nap, and a ring shape burn mark appeared on the next day. Three times already!
    Yyyyyeaaahhh....this sounds like compete BS. How long do I need to keep mine there to get burned? 
    Try it yourself and let it stays on your belly for 10 minutes. If I’m the only one encountered this weird thing. Perhaps I can ask for a replacement. 
    edited January 2020
  • Reply 19 of 24
    tomasulu said:
    Problem with wireless charging is how slow it’s compare to quick wired charging. This article is useless if it doesn’t talk about that. 

    You are confused. It seems that you need only information about the charging times (since all other information is useless for you). You don't need the article at all. You need one line:

    It takes around 5 hours to wirelessly charge iPhone XS Max vs 3,5 hours through original Apple's charger.

    You are welcome for extremely useful information. Now give me a cookie.

    Source:






    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 24
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,382member
    ivanh said:
    Is there a way to turn off wireless charging on iPhone 11 Pro?  
    I accidentally placed it on my belly during a few minutes nap, and a ring shape burn mark appeared on the next day. Three times already!
    Now we’re talking! How long does it take to make a grilled cheese sandwich on your iPhone 11 Pro? I’ve been thinking of possibly upgrading to the 11 and this may be the killer feature that makes it a must-have upgrade. What about Huevos Rancheros? Got any good salsa recipes?
    watto_cobra
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