Best Smart Backpacks for 2022
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Finding a good smart backpack can be tricky. This market segment is still relatively new and comprised mainly of products from little-known brands.
Lucky for you, we sorted through these products to pick out the best smart backpacks on the market for 2020. Read on to learn about our criteria, the products we’ve chosen, and more.
Smart Backpack Overview
What Is a Smart Backpack, Anyway?
Before we dive into individual products, let’s discuss what smart backpacks are in the first place — and why you should care.
Much like smartwatches are more advanced and feature-rich versions of conventional timepieces, smart backpacks go above and beyond their traditional counterparts. Common features of a smart back include:
- Wireless charging for electronic devices
- USB charging
- Anti-theft measures
- Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity
- Missing item alerts
- Solar-powered batteries
- Customizable compartments
Why Should You Switch to a Smart Backpack in 2020?
You’ve probably used normal backpacks for years without complaint. So why do you need something fancier now?
A similar debate often pops up whenever a smart version of a classic item hits the market. That was certainly the case with smartwatches, as documented in a 2016 paper titled “Quit playing with your watch: Perceptions of smartwatch use.”
Of course, the Apple Watch (which is just one of many smartwatches) now outsells the entire Swiss watch industry annually. People find it immensely useful for tracking everything from their Uber to their cardiovascular health.
It may be difficult to see the usefulness of smart technology before you try it. With time, however, you’ll find yourself wondering how you ever survived with the more basic versions of those products.
That was my experience (and, indeed, the experience of many) with smart backpacks. The anti-theft features they offer have really provided me peace of mind while traveling through crowded and unfamiliar territory. I’d have a very hard time reverting to a backpack that didn’t offer those features.
The key is to find a product that makes your life more convenient as opposed to adding an unnecessary level of complication. Luckily, we’ve been able to identify several such smart backpacks with our strict criteria.
What to Look for in a Quality Smart Backpack
Smart backpacks tend to cost more than traditional ones. As such, you want to be doubly sure you make a good purchasing decision. Here are the factors we considered when sorting through the current range of options.
Useful and Well-implemented Features
A good tech product isn’t necessarily defined by how many features it has on paper. The best smart backpacks offer a focused suite of well-implemented features you can actually use (USB charging and anti-theft measures being two good examples).
Specifically, these features need to be reliable and make your life easier. Anything else (such as fancy dancing exterior LEDs) is, at best, a bonus and, at worst, poor use of your money.
Functionality (Even Without the Tech)
A smart backpack should still be functional even if you ignore all the features that make it “smart.”
Think about it.
At some point, you’re bound to forget to charge your backpack before you leave the house. Whether it becomes a glorified paperweight or remains a useful product all depends on things like storage space, durability, and comfort. Y’know, the things you’d want in any backpack, smart or not.
Things can go wrong with any product. That’s why good manufacturers offer warranties that ensure these issues get taken care of promptly and without hassle.
This is an especially important consideration when buying a smart backpack. Unlike with traditional backpacks, where you can replace a broken zipper or sew a loose seam yourself, electronic issues tend to be a bit more complicated. You should be confident in your ability to get in touch with the company and have this issue resolved.
Related to that last note, extra points go to smart backpacks from reputable companies.
Because this niche is fairly new, there’s a bit more flexibility with this condition than some of the others. Still, there should be some track record to speak of in the form of good reviews from longtime customers.
With any wearable product, aesthetics are important. A smart backpack doesn’t have to look like a prop from Ghostbusters to be useful.
Now, most smart laptop backpacks with charging capabilities are bulkier than normal. Those batteries have to fit somewhere, after all. However, as you’ll see, many companies have managed to work creatively around this issue, offering versatile products that fly under the radar.
Five Best Smart Backpacks for 2022
Now that we’ve given you a good overview of smart backpacks as a whole, let’s dive into our roundup of the top five options.
Now that you’ve seen our full roundup, you may be wondering what the best smart backpack is. That distinction would have to go to the Korin ClickPack Pro. Why is that? Well, it all goes back to the attributes we consider essential in a smart backpack. Let’s recap.
When it comes to functionality, the Korin ClickPack Pro delivers in spades. Even if you ignore the USB charging port, it’s a solid backpack for commuting or traveling, thanks to features like a built-in TSA lock and solid waterproofing.
In terms of well-implemented features, Korin did not stuff anything gimmicky or unnecessary into this backpack’s design. It fulfills a need, which is efficient storage and connectivity.
Korin offers a 12-month warranty period covering defects and industrial flaws, which is pretty standard with backpacks in this price range.
As far as reputation, Korin is a fairly new company but tens of thousands of positive reviews should instill some confidence in consumers.
Lastly, this backpack’s design definitely doesn’t display the bulkiness that is common with competing products. It’s so discrete you may forget how high-tech it is.
In many ways, that’s the point of buying a smart backpack. You want something that simplifies your life. Its features should be there when you need them and unobtrusive when you don’t.
All of our top picks demonstrate this quality but the Korin does it especially well.