There’s an undeniable battery problem when it comes to smartphones today: My first mobile phone would last me a week on a charge, and that was if I played Solitaire too much. There’s obviously some serious differences between that little monochrome screened toy and my Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s obnoxious to need to plug in to a wall every 14 hours. Some users have battery packs they connect to their phones, or purchase extra batteries to swap out during the day. Not everyone has that luxury, and some of us just can’t be bothered to remember to bring one more thing with us everyday. Something integrated — something I didn’t have to think about — was necessary. The guys at Powerbag thought they had what I needed.
Powerbags are normal bags with cables for all of your must-have electronics sewn in and distributed throughout the bag. These cables connect to a battery that has also been sewn into the bag. Each Powerbag has an iPhone-friendly cable and a MicroUSB cable in phone-sized zipper pockets in the bag. As long as you are content to leave your phone in the little zipper pocket so it can charge, the bag does its job. If you are like me and your phone never leaves your hand, you need something else. Each Powerbag also has a USB port on the battery cradle for you to plug whatever you want into it. I was able to charge phones, tablets, even my wireless keyboard with no problems. For someone who travels a lot, or someone who is not always at an outlet at the end of the day, the Powerbag is a great idea.
Powerbags come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you’re a backpack traditionalist, a trendy sling fan, a minimalist who just needs something for a tablet, or a messenger bag fan like me, there’s a Powerbag for you.
Recharging your Powerbag is something you will need to get used to. There ares two options: The bag itself has a power outlet hidden somewhere on it for you to plug in to the wall, or you can remove the battery entirely and just charge it. If you need to charge your Powerbag and your accessories, you can plug your gadgets into the Powerbag and plug your Powerbag into the wall. Once your gadgets are fully charged, your Powerbag will start to charge itself.
Removing the battery is important for airplane travel as well. It doesn’t say it anywhere in the instructions or warnings for the bag, but TSA will hold you up for awhile if you do not separate the battery from the bag when you go through checkpoints. The battery slides out and snaps in very quickly, however, and nothing else needs to be done with the bag. Not all Powerbag batteries are made equal, either. Some bags will have a 3000MaH battery, and some will have 6000. When choosing your bag, be sure to know which battery it comes with, or your power output results will be less than you would expect.
The Powerbag logo is actually the power button for the charging unit. Holding it down on any bag will cause four lights to begin to glow. As your use your bag more, these lights will disappear. When the bag is charging, the light animate to reflect that it is receiving power. From the 6000MaH battery, I was able to charge my iPhone 4, my Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and my HTC Flyer simultaneously two times. Each time all three devices were completely dead and powered off. If your devices are on and in use, your results will be different. If you are just charging a single device, you are likely to get three or four complete uses out of the bag before it needs to be recharged.Most Powerbags are around $100, though some models can go as high as $170 depending on what you are looking for. Powerbags are available through a variety of online retailers, and are expected to start hitting shelves in brick-and-mortar stores sometime this year. As someone who both travels a lot and abuses his electronics mercilessly, the Powerbag is a nice addition to my arsenal. The battery doesn’t come along with much extra weight or affect my daily use in any way. I can travel and just as easily not use it, but I can use my devices free of any crazy power saving techniques knowing I still have plenty of power in my bag.
They are available at MyPowerBag
- By Russel Holly