If the nature of your employment or life requires you to have a working phone at all times, spare batteries, power-saving kernels, wall chargers, portable power vaults, solar panels, and other things to get you your juice fix will become fairly common items.
When I initially told my wife about the Powerbag I was going to test, her reaction was “how is this any different than purchasing a nice REI backpack and throwing in a charger battery?” I questioned that myself.
The attempt behind the Powerbag Business Class Pack is to be stylish and functional for a business traveler without displaying a wad of cables or advertising that you’re carrying around a charger pack for your electronics.
On the power side it features a fairly light removable and rechargeable 6000mAh battery. You could probably carry about 10 spares of these without even noticing the added weight. It also includes a wall charger that wraps up and is stashed away when not in use.
The Powerbag features an external battery indicator that only is visible when you press the logo on the backpack, as well as device pockets with charger wires built in for your phone and perhaps a friend’s phone or tablet. In the battery pouch there’s also a generic USB power outlet for anything else you might like to power.
The manufacturer claims it’s checkpoint friendly with a FlyFlat design that allows the backpack to open butterfly style, so if you have a laptop in it, there’s theoretically no TSA requirement to remove it as long as the laptop-containing portion of the bag lays flat by itself. As long as your phones are not on top of a laptop, you should not have to remove them either. Your TSA experience of course may differ wildly.
The power system is capable of delivering 2.1 amps total across its various connections, which should be enough for you and a friend, or a power hungry tablet.
The pack has a water resistant AC adapter charging port, but the keyword here is resistant. It’s not waterproof.
The AC adapter that comes with the unit delivers 1.2amps to charge the main battery. With a 6000mAh battery stock, this feels like a fairly slow charge to me. It’s around six hours though, and for waiting around an airport, at a meeting, or on the go, you need it to be minutes.
The backpack itself includes a lot of padding for electronics; it has pouches for two phones, a tablet, and a laptop, so all of your mobile office can probably fit in there. Additionally there are pockets for pens, business cards, etc. strewn throughout the unit.
The bag rides a bit high for my comfort, and the chest-strap does not expand as much as a larger chested individual might want. In my case, it was kind of tight wearing motorcycle gear underneath. Overall though as a black business travel backpack goes, it’s pretty decent and comfortable.
What I did not like about the Pack
- Charge times are too long if you’re really on the go.
- Battery cannot be charged by itself, which would allow you to use the pack for other things while the battery was charging at a hotel.
- Although the pack is made to house a laptop and the battery contains roughly a small laptop charge, there is no ability to charge anything non-USB.
- Wall charger is a completely separate unit, not built in, and while the cable is pretty long, for the size of the AC adapter it really should be longer or a roll-up charger.
- Removable battery has no indicator on itself, so if you’re traveling with multiple batteries finding which one is dead could be a hassle.
- There are too many pockets, zippers, and places to look through when you’re attempting to find where you put an item or which pouch has what charge port.
- If you’re in an airport situation where you might only have one power outlet you can use, you’ll end up choosing between this, the laptop, or your phone charger. With the size of the power adapter, there’s more than enough space to include Christmas tree light technology and have a piggyback AC connector.
- 6000mAh starts seeming like very little when there are 3500-4000mAh batteries available for the EVO 4G and 3D for less than $20.
- The battery dead indicator is all four indicator lights flashing. It seems like one light flashing would be more intuitive.
What I liked about the Pack
- It’s really well made; it feels like it can take most of what you’re going to throw at it. The electronic components are sufficiently padded to prevent easy destruction.
- While no backpack is exactly “business stylish,” you won’t be embarrassed by it being in the room with you at a meeting.
- It delivers enough juice for you and a friend, and you can charge your phone while you’re mobile.
- The build of the handle really appeals to me.
What I wanted in the Pack
- It feels like great effort was made to make this work with every phone or tablet out there. It has three types of USB and an iPod/2.1amp iPad charger. It doesn’t feel like you can use any of them while they’re charging. My EVO is ringing three inches behind my head but I can’t pull it out to talk on it and charge as the cable doesn’t extend past the zipper.
- If I’m stuck on a wall plug, a 1.2amp charger is not going to charge the backpack and anything plugged into it. If you’re using a device that can pull down more than 1.2 amps, such as the EVO View, you’re just going to slow down your draining rate and everything will be dead eventually. I want a more powerful (and faster) charger.
The Powerbag Business Class Pack retails for $179.99 from the manufacturer, which is about what a nice checkpoint friendly electronics backpack and a loose portable charger would cost.
If you’re looking for a nice small fly-friendly electronics carrying backpack with phone charge capabilities, this fits the bill. If you’re looking for a complete mobile charging solution for the constantly on the go wired technotraveler, this has a few things it’s lacking.
I liked my time playing with the Pack, but it does not quite fit my dream mobile power solution. Then again, few things without a solar panel, cell booster, and possibly lasers would.