We have had literally dozens of backpacks over the years and they were all very similar in design. Until TYLT’s Energi+ Backpack
, which is being called the backpack of the future, was sent to us.
At $199 it is price competitive to comparable battery-powered backpacks. With TYLT’s built-in rechargeable 10.4 amp hour lithium-ion battery pack you can charge three devices simultaneously. Admittedly, you can’t charge a laptop, but it easily handles smartphones, tablets, music players and anything else that charges via USB cables.
This is a very high quality backpack. There is excellent padding, for even your heaviest items and a large internal storage compartment. The bag is water-resistant and has 13 pockets and 10 different zippers. There is even a special zippered Pocket Protected hardened shell for your glasses and smartphone. That compartment has power cabling routing so you can charge your phone - more on cable routing in a bit.
I charged the 10,400 mAh battery pack in 6 hours, 35 minutes, faster than the 7 to 8 hours the company claims. There are two 1 amp USB ports for phones and small devices and one 2.1 amp for tablets. Cabling comes with the bag and the bag has Velcro straps and pass-throughs strategically placed to keep the cables out of the way. Amazing in today’s typically on-line instructions, TYLT’s Energi+ Backpack has a simple quick-start paper manual with clear instructions for all the electronics.
The battery and cables come in a separate pouch. The separate pouch is really handy for putting things into for those airport TSA inspectors.
The manual shows how easy the battery fits into a special pouch which exposes the battery level indicator LEDS and the four USB ports. A 15-inch laptop will easily fit on top of the battery in a lay flat arrangement. You can easily use a 2 amp smartphone charger (iPhone or Samsung Galaxy) and route that through a zipper side pocket pass-through and plug into the battery for charging. After a day at CES-2014, I simply recharged the built-in 10.4-amp lithium-ion battery pack. I was ready for the next day’s smartphone and tablet charging.
Cable routing takes a few moments to choose which options work best for you. Also the cables provided will not look as neat and tidy as the ones shown in their manual.
We were able to simultaneously charge a HTC One smartphone from 14 percent to 80 percent, a LG Cosmos phone from 20 percent to 95 percent, and a 7-inch cheapy tablet from 12 percent to 38 percent. Using only the HTC One, it charged from 16 percent to 98 percent in an hour and thirty five minutes. These may not sound like great numbers, but, they are really outstanding when on a trade show floor, or in an airport, looking around for an unused power outlet.
Look at TYLT’s Energi+ Backpack, from the front side, opposite of your back and the straps. The first pocket, slightly to left of center, has a rubber-lined zipper and extends for most of the entire height of the bag. To the right and left of this pocket are two zippered pockets with outer padding to protect the contents. The right pocket contains a hydration pocket net that you can pull out and use to carry a water bottle. At the top of this first pocket is another zippered compartment with a single zipper. The pocket is not very deep and is lined in soft blue material.
The next compartment working towards the back of the backpack is the largest volume compartment accessed with two large zippers. The two zippers go all the way down to the bottom of the backpack with elastic flaps allowing almost full access to the large and deep compartment. There are two pockets on the opening flap, the upper one has a white net material that lets you view the inside contents. On the back side of the deep compartment is another zipper full-width pocket. There are small net pockets on each side of the deep compartment for storing pens, flashlights, and that important ‘stuff’.
At the top of the backpack is the Protect Pocket which has a rigid holder than can be removed from the pocket. The holder has a center wall to keep contents protected. This is a great place to store sunglasses and phones. There is pass-through opening for the 1amp USB cable to charge your phone.
Behind the deep compartment is a thin blue padded tablet compartment. We tested it with a 10-inch tablet and also found we could fit a 13-inch notebook in that compartment – notebook is shown in tablet compartment below.
A headphone pocket is on the left shoulder strap. The left shoulder strap also contains a NFC (Near Field Communication) tag. I used the NFC Task Launcher
with my HTC One to have a top launch for Wi-Fi.
One of the real surprises with the TYLT Energi+ Backpack was the pass through slot which doubles as padding for your back. You easily slide the back pack over your roll around suit case handle and it is centered and stays there – not like trying to twist the straps around the case’s handle.
We had no problems with any TSA inspections, even though there is a battery and cables. They are neatly routed cables and not everything tossed into a bag as you hurry to catch your plane. TYLT Energi+ Backpack is one of the most comfortable, device-friendly backpacks we've ever used - and we've used a whole lot of them over the years.
At CES 2014, BSN spoke with TYLT’s product manager. He said the only consistent complaint about the backpack is the lack of a chest strap. You really need one of those when you load it down with lots of stuff.
We consider this a “must-have” backpack for any serious road warrior who makes their living traveling all the time. Based on that, we are awarding TYLT's Energi+ Backpack with our Pro-sumer/Enthusiast Editor's Choice Award.
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