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Nomad Base One MagSafe charger hands-on: Beautiful, pricey

Let’s just get this out of the way at the start: The Nomad Base One is not inexpensive at $130. That’s true for a number of the accessory maker’s products. But it’s especially true in this case because the Base One is a MagSafe charger, and a MagSafe charger only. It’s not the $150 Base Station, which can charge two devices and an Apple Watch all at once. It’s not the $200 Base Station Pro, which can do two phones and AirPods.

Base One is a singleton charger. One charger, one device. That’s it.

The Nomad Base One charger on a desk.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

It’s gorgeous, insofar as the low bar of chargers is concerned. It’s the sort of thing you might expect to find on the desk of someone who says, “Bring me the best-looking phone charger there is, and I don’t give a damn about the price.” That’s particularly true for the carbide version, with its black base contrasted by the white puck that actually does the charging. Silver definitely looks more Apple-like. But carbide is definitely where it’s at, even though it’s going to show the slightest amount of dust, because that’s how glossy black finishes work.

The whole thing is just under 4 square inches, with wonderfully rounded corners and a little groove between the top face and the sides. The top of the charging puck hits about three-quarters of an inch high. This isn’t a small charger. But then again, it’s meant to be seen and to stand out.

The Base One also is a heavy beast. That lends itself to the idea that things that weigh more are better (and thus cost more), and it rings true here — to the tune of 1 pound, 2 ounces, or 509 grams, according to my home scale. (It’s actually registering about 6 ounces lighter than what Nomad says on paper.)

That’s an insane amount of weight for a charger, and it’s spectacular. Ridiculous? Yes. But it’s the sort of heft that you figure will come in handy should your ungrateful executive assistant displease you at some point during the day — say, by including a slightly overripe avocado in your lunch — turning a mere phone charger into a truly ballistic weapon.

And, yes, Base One will charge your iPhone wirelessly. Eventually. See, it doesn’t actually come with an adapter. It requires a 30-watt adapter, which Nomad is happy to sell you for another $15. I’ve got one (I tend to pick them up whenever they’re on sale), and it’s a great little charger. But it’s also an extra expense, so just know that going in. If you’re new to this whole thing, you’re really looking at a $145 investment. To charge your phone. Like a king.

It does, however, come with a 2-meter USB-C to USB-C cable. And it’s not just some cheap USB-C cable, but one of Nomad’s own excellent braided cables. It’s overkill and wonderful and exactly what should come with a charger that costs this much.

While it’s billed as a MagSafe charger — that’s the magnetic scheme Apple has built into the back of its newer iPhones to keep things in place — it charges any Qi-compatible device just fine, from non-MagSafe iPhones to AirPods to Pixel phones. It’s just that it only does one device at a time.

So, yeah, Base One charges things. It charges them just fine. And it does so while looking pretty darn incredible. But not without a little damage to your wallet.

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