Nomad Base Station Mini and 20-Watt Adapter Review: Elegant Mobile Accessories

Is it ever a requirement that accessories for our mobile devices be fancy or elegant? Functionality and safety are more important considerations. Being able to charge our phones and iPads quickly is a big win. Doing so without causing a fire is also key. Like a few other companies, however, Nomad has gone above and beyond with its products to not only deliver on the basics but also to produce ones that are beautiful centerpieces, as well. The Nomad Base Station Mini is the latest addition to its line of similar Qi chargers that now come in a cute, bite-size form.

Nomad Base Station Mini
The Base Station is a single-coil Qi wireless charger that costs $59.95. TYLER HAYES

Nomad Goods has produced its instantly recognizable bedside Base Station chargers for many years now. The thing that cemented its wireless charger status in the industry, however, was when Apple finally pulled the plug on its own AirPower charger. Without AirPower around, Nomad's Base Station was left as an obvious choice for a design-focused dock anyone would be proud to display in their room.

The Base Station Mini is an evolution of that refined design that is more suitable for other places around a house. Instead of a larger, dual or triple charger, the Base Station Mini is a single coil charger that's perfect for an end table, entryway, kitchen counter or anywhere else.

For good measure, Nomad is also producing a new 20-watt USB-C power adapter. The timing is convenient, too, because the Base Station Mini only comes with a USB-C cable in the box.

Base Station Mini Performance

It's easy to tell that the Base Station line of wireless chargers is popular for Nomad just by looking at its website. With the introduction of the Base Station Mini, there are now seven variations available. At the top end is the large, $199 Pro model, and the Mini now covers the low end, at $59.

Nomad Base Station Mini
The Base Station Mini includes a detectable 1.5-meter (4.9-foot) USB-C cable in the box, but no AC wall charger. TYLER HAYES

I'll admit that it's hard not to be impressed with the sleek, minimal design aesthetic each of the models exudes. Like most variants, the Base Station Mini has a black metal base and sidewalls, while the top pad is wrapped in black leather. No matter your home's decor, I think this look works well.

The aesthetic of a product is one thing, but the function of it still remains more important. In that case, like most other Base Station models, the Mini is slightly disappointing. It falls short in the way all other general-purpose (read: non-MagSafe) ones do. That is, it can be difficult to line up the charging coils each and every time without fail.

I used a standard Base Station with Apple Watch charger for more than a year and really liked it. Every so often, my phone would get bumped or I would be too tired to lay it in the right spot before going to sleep and it would be nearly dead come morning. Before MagSafe, this was just the cost of doing business with a wireless Qi charger. After the introduction of a magnetic attachment present in the iPhone 12, however, it became much harder to dismiss any charging misalignments.

Nomad Base Station Mini
The Base Station Mini has a solid metal base and padded leather top. TYLER HAYES

To test the Base Station Mini, I used it full-time on my nightstand. I did feel a little bit of anxiety placing my phone down each night, worried I might not have aligned it perfectly. Interestingly, my worry was less than with the previous unit I had been using. Unlike the larger Base Station with more space, this new one is unambiguous with regard to where the phone goes—right in the center.

This new wireless charger works great. It's also fast, up to 15 watts, depending on your device and the adapter it's plugged into.

Beyond just charging a phone, I found myself using it to power up AirPods and even a Sonos Roam speaker. I love its compact size. The Base Station Mini isn't quite a pack-away portable wireless charger, primarily because of the weight stemming from its metal foundation, but it's easy enough to move around the house.

Included in the box is a long, 1.5 meter (4.9 foot) USB-C cable that's detachable. A longer cable is probably better than a shorter one, but it's a length that can be unwieldy depending on the location in which you use it. It will probably serve the distance from a desk to the wall nicely, however.

Nomad 20-Watt Power Adapter

Conveniently, Nomad has a new USB-C wall charger that could come in handy if you buy the Base Station Mini. If you do buy both at the same time to create a bundle, this 20-watt charger gets a $5 discount, to bring its cost down to $13.95. That makes the total cost of both items $73.90 before any taxes.

Nomad Base Station Mini
The Nomad 20-watt AC charger is tiny and portable enough for use while traveling. TYLER HAYES

The wall charger on its own is straightforward and simple. The prongs don't retract or flip down, so what you see is what you get. Besides its black color, it looks remarkably similar to the classic 5-watt charger Apple included with its iPhones for so many years. In fact, it's almost the same size as that white wall wart. The difference is that Nomad's 20-watt charger is a huge increase in how fast a device gets its battery topped off—four times speedier than Apple's 5 watt.

Nomad 20W charger
The Nomad 20-watt AC charger is nearly the same size as Apple's 5-watt charger. TYLER HAYES

It's hard to raise any concerns or complaints against the charger. It might be a little pricier than other similar ones from other brands. It only includes one port, instead of two like other ones sometimes do. Those are only minor issues and don't actually impact the product. As is, it's tiny, powerful and completely functional.

Should You Buy the Base Station Mini?

As a bundle, it's nice that the 20-watt AC adapter gets a little discount, but both products together still add up quickly. On their own, however, each is a little more compelling price-wise. The Base Station Mini is an elegant single-coil Qi charger for a host of devices. The 20-watt charger is super handy, too.

What I really like is that the Base Station line continues to expand and serve different needs. It looks great—and now a Base Station product fits in even more spots.

Buy at Nomad.

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