Since I travel frequently, I am always searching for the perfect backpack. Finding the balance between size, comfort, and usability is the biggest challenge. The TYLT Energi+ backpack looks to be not only comfortable, but convenient, so when I was offered to review it, I was happy to accept. I had two weekend trips to test the backpack with, so let’s see how it fared.
Included with the backpack is a 10,400 mAh rechargeable battery pack, Micro, Mini, and 30 pin USB cables, instructions, and an accessory bag. I was quite surprised that a Lightning cable was not included, since the backpack has iPhone, iPod, and iPad compatible on the packaging.
The accessory bag is sturdy and light, and to me it is almost too big for electronic accessories. It would make an excellent toiletries bag though. (Apologies for my girly side shining through)
The battery pack itself is solid and mostly covered when inserted into the backpack, but it does look nice. There are five lights on the left side that indicate how much battery is left. Next to those lights, there is a button that will start and stop the charging along with showing the battery life. When you charge a gadget, the light will turn green like the picture above, but the battery life indicators are bright blue.
There are three charging ports on the battery pack; two 1 Amp for smartphones and a single 2.1 Amp for tablets. The battery charged up my devices pretty quickly. I topped off my phone a few times during my trip, and I was good to go within an hour. My tablet also charged quickly (once I remembered to put the cord in the correct spot!) and after a weekend trip using only the battery pack to charge my phone, it still had half of its juice left. Overall, the quality of the battery itself met my expectations.
Now we get to what makes the backpack truly unique, which is the pass-thru charging system. Once you have installed the battery pack, you can route the charging cords through the five ports, which are seen as the bright blue areas on the above picture. These lead to different pockets within the backpack as well as outside of it. This means you can charge your phone while carrying it in your hand or while you have it sitting in your backpack. To me, the two most useful ports led to the protective smartphone/sunglasses pocket in the top, and the tablet pocket.
I had a little difficulty figuring out which port led where in the backpack. It would be great if there were little icons depicting each pocket (such as a phone, tablet, etc) so I didn’t have to keep the diagram included with the backpack or fumble around with my fingers until I found the right one. Even when I knew where the port led, I still had a bit of difficulty with the smartphone pocket, since it was near impossible to get through with the hard safety lining installed.
I love it when I do not have to take my laptop out of the backpack, and thankfully, this one is flyer friendly. The zippers are easy to use, and very sturdy. Overall, this seems like a well made backpack. It was comfortable to wear around the airport, and, once I got the shoulder straps flattened as far as they would go, fit nicely under the seat in front of me on the plane.
One thing I was excited about was the ability to slide my backpack onto my rolling carry-on bag to give my shoulders a break. The backpack slid easily onto my carry-on and rested there without problem, so I had no worries that it would fall over from the weight. Pulling it back off took two hands, since the lip of the backpack liked to catch on my handle. Once you got that through, it slides easily off.
Since there are so many pockets, I figured I would give a hands on demonstration of the backpack rather than inundate you with pictures. When I made this video, it was before using this backpack on my trips, so it is mostly first impressions while packing.
A few things I commented on in the video turned out to be different than I expected. First, I had commented on the shoulder padding, which certainly is as comfortable as it looks, but there is a downside. You cannot rest the shoulder straps flat against the backpack. When putting the backpack under my seat, it was a bit annoying. Secondly, one of the inner pockets that I thought would be useful for my gum turned out to be the opposite. Since the zipper is on the bottom side of the pocket, you have to unzip the main pocket all the way and fold the flap back to access the zipper. If the zipper were on the top, it would be much easier in my opinion. Lastly, while it is handy to rest your backpack on the handle of your luggage, when pulling the luggage around, it is really heavy and uncomfortable when the backpack is full.
So, would I recommend this backpack? It is a nice backpack; well made, comfortable, and can be useful. But, the price is quite steep for what seems to be a regular backpack with a bit of convenience. On my first trip, I happily took along the battery to try it out, while during my second trip, I left it at home and simply brought a battery pack along. For the little bit of extra convenience, the price seems to be too much. But, if you want a good quality backpack, have no cares about price, and the charging pass-thru system appeals to you, this may be a good one to look at. If you are just a regular ole traveler like me though, just tossing a battery pack into your backpack will do.
Source: The Energi+ Backpack was provided by TYLT to review. Please visit their website for more information.