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Powerbag Business Class Pack
Score: 92%
Developer: PowerBag
Device Type: Power
Compatible With:


I consider myself the average Geek-On-The-Go who tends to carry a variety of electronic devices around on a regular basis. Of course, the number and variety of electronics grows whenever I am headed to one convention or another, but in either case, there is always the question of power. How do you make sure you have some way to keep your various beeping and buzzing devices going when you are in the middle of a convention hall or even running from one plane to another when you have a too-short layover? Well, PowerBag has come out with a few products that blend the backpacks, suitcases and other bags you will be carrying anyway with a mobile charging station that will keep your gadgets topped off.

Game Vortex had the opportunity to test the Powerbag Business Class Pack. At first glance, it looks like your average many-pocketed backpack that has pockets for a laptop, tablet, water bottle, loose change and whatever else you need to stick in it, but it also has a pretty large removable battery neatly tucked away into one of its pockets with several USB cables running through the lining. As a result, one pocket contains not only Mini and Micro-USB cable ports, but also an Apple Connector for your iPhone, iPod and iPad. There is even an open USB port next to the battery itself for that oddball electronic device you have that doesn't fit one of the typical USB standards. For me, this is how I charged my Jaybird Freedom Stereo Bluetooth Earbuds which use an unusually small version of the B-type connector.

When it comes time to recharge the backpack itself, you simply plug the provided power cable into an AC outlet and connect the other end into the power port deftly hidden behind a magnetically secured flap on one corner of the bag itself. Alternatively, you can remove the battery itself and plug the charging cable directly into it. This is ideal if you find yourself having to recharge your bag on a daily basis and decide to get a second battery to charge up while the other one is in use.

As for how the Powerbag Business Class Pack is designed for backpack purposes, it's a comfortable bag that has a ton of pockets. There is a side pocket for various smaller items, I found myself putting loose change there, and a water bottle pocket on the other side. The front-most pocket contains the three charging cables as well as pouches for the charging-items to sit. The next pocket, which is considerably bigger, contains the battery and charging station itself along with an inner netted pouch and pockets to slide a variety of gadgets in when they aren't being charged and even a pocket big enough for a tablet or netbook.

Above the battery pouch is a smaller pocket marked in the bag's instruction manual as a "Soft Sunglass Pocket," but I found I used that to carry a few odds and ends like my one necessary USB cable and a flash drive that I like to have easily accessible. The last two pockets are big. The back-most one has a zipper that only goes up one side, but makes it convenient to slide a laptop into, while the other has all of the standard slots you would see in any business-class backpack. There you can store pens, pencils, business cards and whatever you might need.

There are a couple more ancillary backpack-related features that I feel are worth mentioning. The shoulder straps are heavily padded and they have the across-the-chest clips to give you added support. Both of these features should make the backpack much easier to handle if you will have it on your back for an extended period of time. Also, a zipper runs along three of the four edges of the Powerbag Business Class Pack separating the laptop pocket from the rest of the bag. This "Checkpoint Friendly" feature called "FlyFlat" allows you to lay your backpack flat on the airport screening stations so that the laptop doesn't have to actually be removed from the bag.


Since the Powerbag Business Class Pack is a blend of two types of products, a bag and a power supply, it requires two very different types of testing. As a bag, everything seems to hold up well. No seams appeared to be ready to pop when put under even some rather forceful testing and the bag itself felt like it provided enough support for daily use. While my personal daily backpack use isn't quite as stressful as your average student, my bag does tend to get thrown around a bit and I am quite a klutz, so a lot of backpacks don't last too long in my possession.

That being said, I won't consider the bag fully tested until I see how well it survives E3. Not only are my power needs while running around the showroom floor always a concern, but my backpack of choice stays on my shoulders pretty much the entire day for all three days. If I find that the bag isn't nearly as supportive as I've conveyed in this review, you can expect an update stating the fact. That convention will also, most likely, be the my first chance to see how the Powerbag Business Class Pack's FlyFlat feature goes over with the TSA. Again, expect an update to this review if it is not deemed acceptable by those airline guards.

Now the battery, that is something that we would test pretty thoroughly. I can confirm the packaging's claim that the battery will handle four smartphone rechargings before having to be plugged in itself. In order to test this, I used the backpack to recharge my iPhone 4 at night instead of plugging it into my computer. Also, I have used the bag to recharge Geck0's Striiv pedometer and his Motorola Backflip smartphone.

At one point, I decided to test the bag's ability to charge multiple devices at the same time and plugged in my depleted iPad (Apple Connector), earbuds (extra USB port), iPad Bluetooth Keyboard (USB Micro) and even a PS3 Controller (USB Mini). This particular task dropped the fully-charged bag's meter down to 50%, but everything came out of it topped off and ready to go.

While there is a specific list of approved items that you can charge with the Powerbag; iOS devices, Kindles, Nooks, the BlackBerrry PlayBook and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the paperwork with the Powerbag Business Class Pack also says that pretty much any USB-powered device is good. With that in mind, when my PlayStation Vita came in and I saw that its charging/data cable had a USB port on one end, I couldn't help but give it a test with the Powerbag as well. As expected, there are no problems in that department.

  • Removable 6000mAh Battery Provides Roughly 4 Smartphone Charges
  • Battery Level Indicator LED Lights
  • Waterproof AC Adapter Charging Port
  • 15’’ Padded Laptop Pocket
  • Built-In Apple, Micro-USB, Mini-USB Connectors and a USB Port
  • Built-In PowerVine System Charges Your Favorite USB-Powered Devices
  • Checkpoint Friendly FlyFlat Function For Frequent Flyers
  • Protective Tablet Pocket
  • Quick-Access Charging Pocket
  • Comfort Padded Straps

Drawbacks & Problems::

While the Powerbag Business Class Pack does everything it claims to do, there are a few considerations. For one, the battery takes a long time to recharge, but considering the purpose of the bag, a large-capacity battery is what you need. Basically, just make sure you have the night to leave it charging before you need it for any really lengthy trips away from an AC outlet and you will be fine. That being said, you could always order a larger battery than the 6000mAh that comes with the Powerbag Business Class Pack to either replace your main one or act as a backup. Actually, Powerbag offers a 3000mAh battery that could be used as a backup when your main one runs dry. Either way, if you are concerned about this, you are talking about an extra cost to the already expensive backpack.

The second consideration is heat. While charging, both the backpack itself and the individual gadgets in it, the temperature tends to rise inside the bag. While unzipping the bag will allow for the heat to escape, that also exposes your various charging electronics to anyone wandering by. I don't think any kind of active cooling system like a fan would be the answer in this case, but a possible solution could be some built-in channels for the heat to escape. Regardless, the temperature in the bag is something that any owner will want to keep in mind.

The only other detail I can think of that might keep some people from buying this bag is the fact that it is designed to charge only USB-powered devices. Do not think you will be able to charge your laptop or netbook, or anything that uses an AC power plug. Even if you could find an adaptor that is used to connect an AC plug to a USB port to (which seems preposterous and thankfully a quick Google search does not reveal), I would expect good support from Powerbag when something goes wrong with either the bag or the device you plugged into it. There might be a product from them in the future designed for this kind of draw, but the Powerbag Business Class Pack is definitely not it.

So, do I recommend the Powerbag Business Class Pack? For the most part, most definitely. The bag is a bit expensive coming in at $179.99 on Amazon, but the added power feature is a great boon. Before this review, my backpack of choice was the rugged Swiss Gear Ibex which cost around $90.00. This bag has served me well over the years, and through several E3's, but I think it will be put in my closet unless the Powerbag Business Class Pack proves too much trouble or the battery develops a memory, something that I couldn't effectively test before writing this review.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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