Review

Nomad magnetic Base Station Mini review: Magnets align for the fastest charge

4.0
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Nomad's updated Base Station Mini now has a built in magnet array to allow iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 models to automatically align themselves for optimal charging performance.

In April, we went hands on with Nomad's new Base Station Mini. Since then, Nomad has updated it with new MagSafe-compatible magnets under the surface to help ensure proper alignment for the most efficient charging possible.

Another change is the upgrade from 10W to 15W of wireless charging.

Style and quality

Nomad's Base Station Mini is very similar in appearance to the company's other wireless charging pads. It has a metal body that only ships in a black finish, and in the center is a padded leather surface that is gentle on your phone when placed to charge.

AirPods on the Nomad Base Station Mini
AirPods on the Base Station Mini

It is very compact — hence that whole "mini" name — and takes up minimal space on your desk or nightstand. Most of Nomad's other chargers can handle multiple devices at once, but Base Station Mini is a solo charger with a single coil on the inside.

There are two silicone ridges on the bottom which prevent it from moving. This is surprisingly important with the updated Base Station Mini because as you move to pull your phone away, those magnets can hold on.

The silicone feet stop this from being hugely problematic.

Charging iPhone 12 Pro Max
Charging iPhone 12 Pro Max

A tiny LED status light is on the front to tell you when your device is charging and that the coil is active. It's pretty bright, so it is good Nomad included an ambient light sensor.

The light sensor is located around the back next to the USB-C port and will automatically dim the LED at night, so it doesn't interrupt your sleep. This is such a great feature, and we can attest to how well it works.

We're tired of chargers for the bedroom putting ultra-bright LEDs right on the front. Thank you, Nomad, for not doing that.

A flat MagSafe charger

Hidden beneath the leather surface is a magnetic ring, just like a MagSafe charger. To be clear, this isn't MagSafe. It is still just a Qi charger with magnetic alignment.

That magnet, though, isn't quite as strong as we expected. We've seen a ton of magnetic wireless chargers these days, and they've almost universally been stronger than what we found in the Nomad charging pad.

This isn't a big deal, though, because the magnet needs to hold the phone up in the air with a charging stand. Here, it needs just to be strong enough to help perfectly align the phone for the most optimized charging. In that regard, it gets the job done.

IPhone 12 Pro Max on the Nomad Base Station mini
iPhone 12 Pro Max on the Nomad Base Station Mini

MagSafe can charge at up to 15W, and technically Nomad's charging pad is too — just not with iPhones. Since it isn't real MagSafe, iPhones are still limited to only 7.5W, but if you have a fast-charging Android device, that 15W can come in handy.

Should you buy Nomad's Base Station Mini?

It sounds like a simple addition here, but it seriously makes a big difference. We said since the beginning, one of the benefits of MagSafe was perfectly centering your phone on the coil.

Qi is great, but if you are even slightly off-center, your charging speed can deteriorate significantly. Just by adding this magnet, you will always get the best speeds possible for your device.

Heat still plays a big part, but at least you don't have to worry about if your phone is centered.

Nomad's Base Station Mini
Nomad's magnetic Base Station Mini

If you use this by your bedside, it is even more useful because you don't have to look. You can feel the placement, so even in the dark you can slide your phone on the Nomad Base Station Mini and know it is right where it should be.

It does carry quite the premium over your run-of-the-mill charging pads, but Nomad isn't aiming to compete with those bargain bin brands. If you want a high-quality charger with style that has some of the benefits of MagSafe, then the updated Base Station Mini is for you.

Pros

  • Premium build
  • Great look and feel
  • Up to 15W of wireless power
  • Magnetic ring helps align phone perfectly every time
  • Ambient light sensor dims status LED
  • Includes braided USB-C cable
  • Leather surface is just enough padding

Cons

  • Limited to 7.5W for iPhones
  • Not real MagSafe
  • No power brick included

Rating: 4 out of 5

Where to buy

You can buy the new Base Station Mini with the magnetic alignment directly from Nomad for $69.95.