Which smart backpacks are best?
Smart backpacks are specifically designed to transport electronic devices safely and are loaded with technology-oriented features to enhance your daily commute. The Careteilly Hard Shell Anti Theft Backpack is a high-quality example with a hard ABS plastic external shell. It has several internal compartments for laptops, tablets and other devices and a USB port for charging on the go. Alternatively, there are many other backpack designs to choose from for different kinds of travel and with different features.
What to know before you buy a smart backpack
Traditionally, the size of the backpack would refer to how much could be packed inside. Smart backpack sizing differs somewhat as they are primarily designed to hold either a 13-, 15- or 17-inch laptop. They have additional compartments and pockets for peripherals, such as smartphones, tablets, battery packs and chargers.
Deciding how you will use a smart backpack is a key consideration. Some are designed just for carrying devices whereas others are more travel-oriented, and thus much larger. If you require a multi-purpose backpack that is also suitable for travel, then it should also be lightweight, waterproof and durable. If you intend to use the backpack as carry-on luggage, it should also comply with airline size restrictions.
The materials used in smart backpacks should offer maximum protection for your devices. Man-made synthetics, such as nylon and polyester, are hardwearing and water-resistant. Some backpacks have a hard shell made of ABS plastic, which gives enhanced protection against shocks and drops. Alternatively, eco-conscious consumers may prefer a backpack made of sustainable materials. Many companies are now incorporating recycled plastics and ocean waste into their designs.
What to look for in a quality smart backpack
How you intend to use a smart backpack will determine the size and number of compartments needed. The main compartment should be large enough to accommodate your laptop and the bulk of your equipment. Additional internal pockets are great for keeping things organized, but they may restrict the overall capacity, making it unsuitable for travel.
As with a regular backpack, a smart backpack needs to be the correct fit for your body size. Therefore, make sure that your backpack has adjustable shoulder and waist straps. Padded shoulder straps and back panels are recommended for those carrying a backpack for extended periods, whereas for hiking or extensive travel a contoured backplate, vented straps and a chest belt may provide the most comfort.
It is vital to strike a balance between the available extras and the added weight incurred. Most have lockable zippers or other anti-theft devices, rain covers and additional straps or clips. The most innovative smart backpacks may also include built-in power packs or solar panels for recharging, USB and headphone ports or even Bluetooth speakers.
How much you can expect to spend on a smart backpack
Prices can range significantly depending on the features you require. A basic smart backpack with lockable zippers and waterproof material can be found for under $40. For a high-end backpack with onboard solar charging capabilities and advanced safety features, prices may increase up to $200.
Smart backpack FAQ
Are smart backpacks as durable as regular ones?
A. Since smart backpacks are designed to transport sensitive and often expensive electronic devices, they are as durable, if not more so than a regular backpack. For peace of mind, look for one with double or triple stitching along the seams and where the straps and handles are attached.
What safety features are available on smart backpacks?
A. Smart backpack designers have incorporated many innovative features to prevent theft of the backpack or its contents. Some are made from anti-cut fabric and have concealed pockets and lockable metal zippers. Some also have an external lock for securing it to your chair or table leg whilst working, while the most advanced include RFID blocking to protect sensitive data.
How do the USB ports work on a smart backpack?
A. Some smart backpacks are supplied with a powerbank and have a USB port on the outside of the bag to recharge phones on the go. Alternatively, the backpack will have a dedicated pocket for securely storing your own power bank, which then connects to the external USB port with a built in cable.
What are the best smart backpacks to buy?
Top smart backpack
What you need to know: With a durable ABS exterior, this backpack can withstand drops and accommodate up to a 17-inch laptop.
What you’ll love: It has adjustable and breathable carrying straps and a padded back panel with a built-in hidden pocket. It has an external USB charging port with a cable.
What you should consider: This backpack is relatively compact and not ideal for travel.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top smart backpack for the money
What you need to know: This budget-friendly backpack is made of durable, anti-puncture material and is available in several eye-catching colors.
What you’ll love: It has an external USB charging point and a hidden laptop compartment that can only be accessed when the backpack is removed.
What you should consider: It is only available in one size for a 15-inch laptop.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This high-tech backpack features a built-in solar panel and comes with a 12,800 mAh power bank.
What you’ll love: It has twin USB charging points for connecting two devices at once. There is also a padded laptop sleeve and a special compartment for cameras.
What you should consider: The additional equipment can make it quite heavy.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.