TYLT Energi+ Backpack $129

TYLT Energi+ Backpack

Author
  • Design
  • Effeciency
  • Durability
  • Convenience
  • Value

Summary:
While not the first backpack on the market to incorporate a charging cell, the TYLT Engeri+ Backup has quickly rose in the ranks to be one of the better quality packs around.  The Kickstarter born backpack set out to reach $50,000 and they beat that goal by about 25% with the help of over 550 backers.  This is not a pack for any casual person, this backpack is really targeted and best used by the gadget junkie or techie. It can surely be used by anyone, but the retail price of the backpack and its rather small main storage compartment may make it less than optimal for those that are not after its primary goal of storing and charging all your gadgets with its built in.

Please note the unit I am reviewing is one of the first units delivered from the Kickstarter Project. While I validated the specs are still valid from the website, I may not be aware of any updates sine the product was released in May of 2013

Product Details
Energi+ Backpack (Initial Kickstarter Unit)
Model: BPBL-T
Battery Rated Capacity: 1o,400 mAh
Output ports: 3 (1A/1A/2.1A)
Input Port: 1 (1A)

Back Pack Features and highlights

Battery back with cables routed throughout the backpack

The backpack itself sports many really nice features. While a number backpacks or messenger bags exist on the market today, TYLT has taken it to the next level. The backpack has a large unzippable middle section where the battery back is mounted and also where you can route cables from the battery pack to all of the main compartments of the backpack. This is one of the best features. As you go to place you iPad in the special felt padded tablet slide in pocket, it’s ready with a charging cable. If you tuck your phone into the top hardneded crush resistant pocket with your sunglasses its ready with a charging cable. The third output cable from the batter can be routed into the main open cargo compartment to charge any other device you may need to charge such as a camera, or GPS device.

 

Full Fold out,TSA Friendly for security checkpoints

Full Fold out,TSA Friendly for security checkpoints

While the included battery is not designed to charge a laptop, like any good techie backpack there is a proper laptop storage pouch allowing you to carry up to 15” laptop officially, but I believe they showed it holding a 17: MacBook Pro. It has a Velcro top latch to ensure the laptop doesn’t unintentionally slide out, and as described later, when fully unzipped is TSA friendly for those airport security checkpoints.

 

 

 

 

After a long day out and about or after you get to the hotel and have used much if your batter charging your phone or tablet on the plane you can easy charge the built in battery pack with no fuss. In the side of the backpack is a small pocket where you can store a long USB cable and even a wall adapter (so you always have it). You unzip, pull the cord out and plug the bag into the wall and it will automatically start charging using the auto-on charging feature common in many newer batteries. It’s also worth noting that the backpack not only includes the battey

pack but all of the basic cables you need to get going, just provide your own wall adapter.

If you are on a rather long trip away from power one of the nice things about the design is that the built in battery pack can easily be pulled out and replaced with another one, even another brand as long as its width is similar.  For example you can depart with the built in batter and then in the main storage compartment you can carry a couple extra batteries.  Most portable batteries under 20,000 mAh cam be found in a form factor that will fit, even some larger like the Limefuel Blast L240X which will give you more than double the capacity of the included battery. Taking a couple extra batteries with you will give you days of running your phone, GPS, or other small devices away from any real power. You can store these extra batteries or many other things in the included removable zipper pouch. It’s a pretty nice mostly vinyl pouch with a mesh style window in the front, perfect for storing cables, other batteries or any sort of smaller items you don’t want floating all over the bag

Travel friendly features

Speaking of travel, the back is also designed with the traveler in mind. There are a number of features built into this backpack that make it ideal to travel with

* The main zipper opens the pack fully to fold out along the bottom seam. On the one size is your Laptop in its pouch and the other is the battery holder and wires. This design is intended to meet TSA requirements so you can just unzip the back unfold it and lay it on the belt at the security checkpoint allowing the X-Ray machine and TSA rep to proper see that what’s inside, that it’s not anything dangerous and save you from having to remove your laptop which, if you are a frequent flyer, you know is quite nice and saves time in the security line. The bag, all closed up on the x-ray will look rather suspicious. I can’t tell you how many times I had been stopped with my old backpack just because of all my gadgets and associated cables just bunched up in the main compartment.

Built-in NFC Tag

Built-in NFC Tag

* Additionally one often overlooked feature of this back is that it has an NFC tag built into the right arm strap under the TYLT logo.  What the heck for, you may ask? Well NFC in general is a basic technology that can be used for many different things. I will assume you understand the basics since you’re reading this type of review in the first place. This NFC tag can be used for anything any other NFC tag could be used for, but for me I found that when I was traveling a lot it became quite helpful. When at the gate waiting to get on my flight, the gate attendant calls my section. Using my Android phone (sorry no iOS NFC at this time as of June 2014), I would just put the phone to the logo/tag and it would automatically open my Delta mobile app allowing me to quickly have access to my boarding pass. Now that was at least a year ago, and with Google Now and other new features getting fast access to boarding passes can be done quickly, this is just a quick example of how the built in tag could be used. If you are an outdoors hiker or camper, you could just as easily use it to open your mobile GPS app, or Google Maps if you are just walking around a new city, either way I think you get the idea.

Slot for rollerbag handle

Slot for rollerbag handle

* The final main goodie for the traveler is that the back of the backpack has a slot allowing you to slide the backpack over the handle of your roller bag and so it doesn’t always have to be carried on your back

 

 

 

 

 

The one main downside I have found with the backpacks design is that I doesn’t have a large storage area. Don’t get me wrong, this pack has pockets, pouches and zippers to hold every gadget and device you could have, but when I would travel for an overnight trip I would pack in all my cloths and toiletries, or when I would travel for certain work activities I would pack in my Mini Ideaboard or Ideafolio, two nice products launched on Kickstarer from whiteboardreinvented. With the Eneri Backpack I no longer have the room for my overnight cloths or my small ideaboard/folios.

Pockets

That being said, there are tons of remaining pockets many specialized for certain things, 13 total pockets to be specific. I will try to include many of these in the photos in the associated photo gallery. It’s much easy to understand when you see them. On the top there is a powered pocket with a crush resistant inset with a divider, one side was design to hold something like glasses or sunglasses while the other something thinner, like your smartphone, this pocket also has a hole that allows headphone wire to feed out of it letting you keep your phone, iPod or other media player in the pocket and still listen. The front of the pack has 2 main pockets, there is a water resistant zipper pocket that takes up much of the front area and at the top there is a felt lined pocket that can hold sensitive items, it’s about 4 inches deep, about the size needed to hold a passport.  On both sides of the pack there are 2 additional zippered pockets, both about 4.5” deep and about 5-6” tall. One is for general storage, the other has a mesh bottle holder allowing you to carry a bottle of water or soda, or whatever else you feel like. You can also just use it as internal storage if you want. At the base of the right arm strap there is a small pocket to hold various cables or headphones.

On one side you will find the pocket that holds the main charging cable for the built-in battery pack and you will also find on each size to wire slots allowing you to easily feed a USB line from the batter directly out of the back for whatever you may need.  Inside the main compartment you will find a number of pockets. 4 mesh pouches on one side 2 slots that each hold roughly 3 normal sized pens, pencils or markers. There are also a number of zippered pockets, clicks, straps and other cool places to hide all your things. You will also find numerous holes to route the cable from the battery so the cable can come into the compartment where you it suites you best.

Battery Features:

Energi+ Battery Pack

Energi+ Battery Pack

Ports: The battery has 3 USB output ports, 2 rated at 1A and a third rated at 2.1A meant for the tablet slot. Many other batteries USB ports that are both rated at 2.4A and the battery auto-senses what is needed and adjusts the output as needed. The setup on this battery is good for its design in this backpack, but I hope newer models start to use higher rated ports for all 3 ouput ports since many new phones can benefit from the higher output previously reserved for tablets. On the input side it is rated at 1A which is unfortunate, as charging a 10,000+ mAh batter at 1A will take a good part of a day, roughly 7-8 hours. Again, hopefully newer models improve this. The unit im reviewing was one of the first runs from the initial Kickstarter release.
Indicator Lights: Not that you would normally see them , but the battery does come with 5 indicator lights showing the % of battery charge, one that will glow when it starts charging a device, adn turns green when being charged itself. The indicator lights stay on while the pack is charging a device which is a debatable design as its expending extra juice and heat to run them, however this is likely negligible.
Auto-on: As with most batteries of this caliber, it does contain an ‘auto’ on function, so when a device is plugged it, it will start charging right away. Because of the batteries use in this backpack this is a critical feature. Its one you should also seek out in any spare batteries you may want to use with this pack. The last thing you want to do is have to unzip and reach in to start the charging of your devices every time.
Pass-thru Charging: This is a nice feature that allows the battery itself to be charged while also delivering a charge out to another device that is connected, this is also a key feature because of the design of this overall product. You can have the back plugged into the wall charging the internal battery while your tablet and phone are also plugged into the battery, meaning overall less messing with cables, which is generally a good thing

I’m skipping the Device Finish section since it’s intended to be hidden away in a protective pouch, but could just as easily be carried as a portable battery, it has a pretty protective outer shell. Also as it would be pretty useless in this design, there is no built in LED flashlight so that section is being skipped.

Battery Test Results

Battery Test Results

Testing details and efficiency.
As with all my batteries I have put this one through its passes and overall its not the best bit not the worst. As much as I love the backpack as a while, the battery itself is not a superstar. The 1A tests scored in at 59% which isn’t too bad, if you are charging smaller devices with a .5 A draw the performance rating drops to about 53%. The unit had a combined total average of 56% which isn’t wonderful. I didn’t run 2A tests but I may in the future and will update this post with the results.

Using the overall average of 56%, this means that you can, on average, expect to get about 5,782mAh of actual juice from this 10,400 mAh battery. In its best test, 62%, You would get 6,48 mAh, and it’s lowest about 49% you can expect about 5,139 mAh.

Since the phones in this list will use the 1A rating I will base the below table usage on the 59% average of the 1040ma test. Based on this 59% (6,136 mAh) average let’s put this into terms that many end users can relate to. This means that you can expect the following number of charge cycles per device as listed here:

Galaxy S3 2.92
Galaxy S4 2.36
Galaxy S5 2.19
iPhone 5 4.26
iPhone 5S/5C 3.93
iPad 3/4 0.53
iPad Mini 0.70

 

Price
While the full retail price of $199 i feel is a bit steep for the bag, it can be found at a much more reasonable price on Amazon though the link I provided as part of the review, for as low as $129. TYLT does occasionally also run sales sometimes bringing the cost as low as $99 so you can watch for those if you want. If you want to get one now, your best bet is to follow the Amazon link to get the best price and free Prime shipping for those eligible. Please comment if the link ever becomes invalid or inaccurate.

Additional Info
You can find more info from the original Kickstarter page
And from the TYLT Website directly on the product page

Product Video

Photo Gallery