By Kelli B. Grant
Senior consumer reporter and “Deal of Day” columnist Kelli B. Grant travels to Las Vegas to find the best, the worst, and the most hyped gadgets at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. Join her as she roams the exhibit floor for three days, with dispatches here and on Twitter @kellibgrant.
When we received a pre-CES review unit of RFA Brands’ Powerbag, which contains an in-pack battery and adaptors to simultaneously charge up to four devices, our first question was, “Will this make it through airport security?” Absolutely, said a spokesman, who rattled off a list of airports he’s flown through with the bag and praised the way it unzips to lie flat on an airport security scanner, negating the need to remove a computer from its specialized compartment.
Fast-forward two days. “You sure have a lot of gadgets and wires in here,” says the TSA agent swabbing our bag for explosive residue. To be fair, we did, and the TSA check took maybe a minute. (Another company spokesman said our story is an aberration, and they haven’t heard of other similar problems.)
With price points starting at $140, the bag seems pricey — until you consider that it contains a battery similar to those other CES exhibitors sell solo for roughly $80. Experts say such secondary sources are becoming popular among consumers, especially business travelers, who need extra juice to power a tablet or smartphone on long trips. The Powerbag’s battery has enough juice to fully charge a smartphone at least twice (depending on the battery type) and negates the need to remember extra cables and batteries, although users will need to use the a/c adaptor — also included – to occasionally charge their bag. But like other contenders in the space, it’s not yet powerful enough to recharge a laptop.