Backpack, Rucksack, Seabag, Marine. Whatever you call your parcel carrying device on a regular basis, backpacks are part of our daily existence, especially if you’re a student or you don’t like normal luggage. I think in my lifetime I have gone through at least 10+ packs through wear and tear from school, work and the military. Thing is, you probably forgot most of them because it’s just a backpack. But what if your backpack could do more than just carry your basic objects or give you sclerosis? How bout a backpack that can charge your media device of choice on the fly?
Enter Powerbag. The answers to your dying iPhone, PS Vita and Nintendo DS batteries on the go. Need to send that tweet but running out of precious battery? No worries, hook your iPhone up to the battery pack in the Powerbag and you are good to go! Sounds like an awesome idea, right? But does it work as advertised? Hit the jump and find out.
We are going to keep this simple with two sections;
and to finish it off, a Cop it or Drop it to decide if the Deluxe Powerbag is worth your hard-earned income. Lets get started.
- Being prior military, sturdy and tough material are pretty important when on the job. Powerbag’s Standard edition has you covered with a great kevlar composite stitch, which gives the bag a water resistant cover, especially where the charging port is located. The kevlar composite also acts as a protector from tears, pulls and other related damages. The bottom of the bag is lined with a thick rubber “sole”, which keeps water and other gunk out of the bottom of the backpack, making this rucksack ready for a rough & tough day.
- The interior of the bag is lined with a nice vinyl touch, filled with compartments for your laptop, tablet, handheld gaming device and your phone. Of course it has the typical “backpack” vibe with places for writing utensils, notepads and more. For just two main areas to carry objects and a smaller housing for the battery/other necessities, it does a great job of giving you room equivalent to a large backpack in a medium frame.
- To me, straps make the backpack. If they dig into your shoulders, consider it a bad situation. The Powerbag has padded straps that feel more like pillows than a harness. Covered in mesh, soft cloth and kevlar material, it also doesn’t make you sweat under any weight. There is a small pocket on the right strap for your phone or other device. Still one of the best features is that the backpack and the straps are contoured to natural arch in your spine and shoulders, which makes carrying this pack feel like nothing is there.
- There is a small pouch on the side of the bag that has three connectors for Apple products, Blackberry and one for most other devices (e.g. PS Vita, Droids). You can zip it up and keep your phone tucked away as you charge it in your back, which is a nice touch. On the actual battery station itself, there is a USB connector for tablets or devices that require charge though a USB connector. This allows you to charge your iPhone and iPad at the same time.
- The LED charge indicator is a nice touch on the outside of the bag, giving you a “bar” image of exactly how much battery is left on the backpacks current charge. Each bar represents 25% of the battery. With a simple button design, it’s easy to know where you stand on charging your devices.
- At first you wouldn’t think about it but having a good customer service hotline is key. I decided to give them a call to see how prompt and professional they were. To my surprise they handled my inquiry about the bag quickly and in a polite manner. It’s good to know that if you run into a problem or wish to purchase extra batteries for your pack, that you can without the hassle.
- One of the most important facets of this backpack is the battery life. It comes standard with a 300mAh charge that can power your standard smart phone for two full charges. Of course you can upgrade to the bigger models 600 and 9000mAh for more power. I mean it is hard to complain about getting two full charges out of your backpack for crying out loud. That alone is the coolest part.
- It takes roughly an hour to charge the back. Sometimes it was little less and sometimes a little more. I suppose it depends on the bag but that is awesome in its own right. Definitely makes this bag perfect for “fast movers”.
- While the negatives to the bag are not in large numbers, I wished the bag came standard with a 600mAh battery. At $140 dollars a pop for the standard model, I feel like I’m paying a good amount for a bag to include a larger battery. The batteries range from $39 to $59 for the largest model, so it would have been nice to get the mid-range battery for a higher end backpack.
- If you tend to walk often in your city, the pack does not have an ample amount of reflectors. Two on the shoulders are the bare minimal on this model. So if you bike, walk or run with a pack at all hours, I suggest you wear something else reflective.
- The cords on the side pocket for charging are quite short. I hope that later models have longer cords so that you are not hamstrung to only charge your device in that pocket.
- If you live overseas, you’re going to need an adapter since the standard is a North American plug system.
As you can see, the downside of this bag is pretty slim. I was nit-picking to be honest. I love this backpack so much. I dumped my old USN rucksack in the closet for its permanent retirement and I’m ready to see just how much punishment my Powerbag can take. The price may seem high for just a backpack but with the built-in battery, you are honestly paying a small price for long-term enjoyment. I’m dead set on buying one for my wife in the near future and if you are a diehard techie, on the go gamer or just a person who enjoys the idea of charging your devices while out and about, then don’t think twice about picking up a Powerbag.
P.S. – I’ll do a Post-E3 “wear and tear” review, so stay tuned.
Verdict: Cop It
Powerbag is able to charge almost any USB-powered device including most smartphones and many tablets. AC powered devices such as laptops and some tablets are not supported. The following tablets are compatible:
- Amazon Kindle™ (All generations)
- Barnes & Noble NOOK™
- Samsung Galaxy Tab™ – The Galaxy Tab requires a unique USB power source to charge at full speed. Powerbag will supply only 500mA (similar to computer charging) to your tablet. During this time, the Galaxy Tab may state that it is not charging, when in fact it really is.
- *Tablets must be charged with their own USB cable through Powerbag’s on-board USB port.
The following Apple® products are compatible:
- iPad® and iPad 2
- iPod touch® (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation)
- iPhone® 4, iPhone® 3GS, iPhone® 3G, iPhone®
- *iPod nano® and iPad® may be charged with their own USB cable through Powerbag’s on-board USB port.
Interior dimensions of compartments in bag:
- Laptop – 18″ x 10.5″ x 1.5″
- Tablet – 8.5″ x 10″ x .5″
- 4.5″ x 13.5″ x 23″
- Weight: 3.1 lbs
- Dedicated tablet compartment
- Holds up to a 16″ laptop
- Battery: 3000mAh Lithium Polymer, weight: 0.2 lbs
- Input: 12VDC, 1.2A
- Micro-USB, Mini-USB Output: 5VDC, 800mA combined
- Apple Connector Output: 5VDC, 1A
- USB Output: 5VDC, 1-2.1A
- AC wall adapter
- On-board battery system: Removable Powerbag 3000mAh battery; built in Apple, Micro- and Mini-USB connectors and USB port
- Owner’s Manual