The PowerBag is an urban style backpack from ful that is durable and comfortable to wear, which is common among the ful series of backpacks. What makes the PowerBag interesting though, is the built-in power system designed to charge a number of your mobile devices while on the go.
The PowerBag contains the built-in PowerVine system which consists of connectors for Micro-USB, mini-USB, and Apple Dock devices. It also contains a normal USB port to charge any device that doesn’t fit the aforementioned connections. Using the power system, the PowerBag can recharge up to four devices at once (one of each connection type) using its built-in rechargeable 3000mAh or 6000mAh battery.
The PowerBag has the additional benefit of providing a 2.1A charge via USB, which will charge the power hungry iPad or quickly charge any of your smaller mobile devices such as an iPhone or other smart phone.
To charge a device, you simply have to connect the device to a connection, and press a button on the backpack. Power immediately starts flowing to your device charging it when you need it most, without the need to be attached to a wall socket. I found that it’s a very useful thing to have when traveling in situations where you might not have access to power such as at an crowded airport.
To recharge the backpack, simply use the included wall adapter and plug it into the backpack via the outside power port. As an added bonus, while charging via the wall, the PowerVine system will charge attached devices first before it charges the bag itself. Additionally, you can remove the battery pack from the backpack and charge it separately with the same wall adapter.
The backpack itself is durable canvas that is water resistant. While it would not protect your gear from an incident with a large body of water, it will offer protection from the occasional rain or spilled drink. The backpack is well padded and mostly comfortable to wear.
The PowerBag provides one front compartment with pockets for various devices, business cards, a couple of pens, and a custom fit slot for an iPad. One of the problems with the iPad cutout though is that it is specifically fitted for an iPad without a case. It may or may not fit an iPad covered in a case, depending on the size of the case. Other tablets, like the Galaxy Tab or the BlackBerry Playbook will also fit the slot, but your ability to fit them will also depend on the size of the case you use.
You can also find the backpack’s battery in this same front section located in the bottom of the compartment. Here, you will also find the USB port to charge your devices with larger power requirements. Small elastic loops also line the inside of the compartment to route a USB cable to the tablet pocket at the top of the space.
On the side of the bag, a smaller pouch provides a combo Micro-USB/Mini-USB connection and an Apple Dock connection to charge and store your smaller devices. Additionally, the shoulder strap contains a tight grip pocket to store a small device such as your phone for easy reach.
The main compartment allows storage for any number of items, but does not provide any type of sub compartmentalization.
Finally, a 15-inch laptop pocket lines the back of the backpack with access on the side of the bag for easy storage. Unfortunately, the bag lining between the laptop and your back is relatively thin.
While the bag itself is useful, I think a few things would have increased the usability. As a bag targeted more towards the digital lifestyle, I would have liked to see more sub compartmentalization or more pockets on the inside of the main compartment. While my testing, I had to fill the main part with a number of smaller gadgets, which as expected, sank to the bottom of the bag causing a weight imbalance.
Furthermore, with only two main compartments and a laptop compartment, I don’t feel like there are enough storage places for a digital warrior with a large collection of gadgets or other small gear. I would have liked to seen more compartments to better distribute the weight and subdivide pieces of gear.
As for the power system, I found that it was more than adequate to keep my equipment topped off without the need to recharge the backpack more than every couple of days with heavy use. Both my iPad and iPhone charged as quickly as if I used real wall adapters, and I have no doubt any other devices would be similar.
Overall, I think the PowerBag from ful is a decent play into providing convenience to the growing lifestyle of a digital warrior. As a new product, it is not without faults. With better compartment design for the next version and a long history of high quality backpacks under their belt, I have no doubt that ful will further improve the PowerBag in future revisions.
The PowerBag is not yet available, but be sure to check MyPowerBag.com for the latest information on availability.
- Power to charge your devices on the go
- Charges 2.1A devices such as tablets
- Durable water resistant material
- Only 2 general storage compartments
- Laptop compartment isn’t as well padded from the wearer