TYLT Energi+ backpack, hands-on

June 5, 2014
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When traveling, you want to take it all with you. Computers, tablets, smartphones — our connected lives dog us with devices, and chargers to boot. Cobbling together all your power cables and chargers can be a nightmare, but the TYLT Energi+ Power Backpack just might be what you need. With a massive 10,400mAh battery pack on board, it can power just about anything you can carry. Recently, we took a week and went hands-on with the pack, running it through it’s paces to find the powered pack was just hype, or worth the hoopla.

Design

Most backpacks that promise to be a tech enthusiasts dream come true are middle-of-the-road designs that lack flair, much less utility. Finding a nice looking bag that can keep up with your rigorous demands can be tough, but the Energi+ Power Backpack does an admirable job. All black with striking blue accents like zipper pulls throughout, the pack strikes a nice balance between subtle and trendy.

The nylon outer material is sturdy, and the padding throughout provides peace of mind that your stuff will be safe. A top-side pocket meant specifically for a tablet is lined, as is the one just below it meant for your smartphone and glasses. The insert for the glass/phone pocket can be removed, too, allowing you to stick just about anything you need in there.

A flip-out water-bottle holder is a neat addition, keeping the bag looking the part when you’re not using it. A massive secondary section provides enough space to hold all your goodies, and has a few nets to keep them secure. An accessory bag holds the small stuff, if need be.

The main compartment has a computer sleeve, and is checkpoint-friendly; unzipping and folding flat to keep you from unloading your bag when being shuttled through airport security. The padded shoulder straps are extremely thick up top, making for an easy carry, and a pass-through on the inner back padding lets you slip it over a rolling case’s extended handle.

If you’re into NFC tags, the Energi+ Power Backpack has one built into the shoulder strap. We found it useful for launching Play Music All Access quickly, but it could also be used to slip a device into silence for class.

Power

Inside the main compartment, opposite the computer sleeve, sits a smaller holster for the included 10,400mAh battery pack. There are also several elastic strips sewn in, which serve to route power cables throughout the bag. It’s a neat system for keeping your cords tidy, and provides a clean way to route cables to pockets without them getting tangled or pulled out of the pack.

In addition to routing power to several compartments, you can also channel a cable outside the bag, letting you carry your phone in a pocket and charge it at the same time. TYLT provides you with a few cables, but if you want to take advantage of all four ports — you’ll need an extra one from home.

Charging the battery pack takes quite a while, but it’s massive, so that’s to be expected. We needed to charge it up overnight when run down completely, so plan accordingly. TYLT doesn’t include a wall charger for their Energi+ Power Backpack, so be sure to grab one if you’ll be gone a few days. A tablet or smartphone wall charger will do fine, as will a car charger if you’ll be in the car a long while.

Conclusion

The downside to the Energi+ Power Backpack is that we can’t yet charge a laptop with it, so taking the Macbook (or whatever you happen to have) charger with you is mandatory. Some Chromebook models charge via MicroUSB, but we wouldn’t recommend using the battery pack for that; a wall charger is still the best way to go.

Taking a charger for the battery pack is probably a good idea for most, unless you’re going to take an extended car ride or want to let it steal from your computer via USB (or have a car charger). Over a week, we only had to charge it once, though, so the massive battery pack likely provides longer use than you might think.

The pack itself is comfortable, and held everything we could have hoped it would. A computer, smartphone (or twelve), tablet, and various other accessories fit easily. We even had enough space to pack a change of clothes for a weekend getaway, taking only a Macbook charger (which we didn’t use) as a power source.

Checkpoint-friendly is also a neat tweak here, and comes in really handy when you need to get through security quickly. Roomy, powerful, and comfortable, the Energi+ Power Backpack from TYLT is one you should check out even if you don’t always need power on the go.


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