Laptop Bags with a Charge: Urban Junket JB

Electronics GeekMom
Image courtesy Urban Junket

I see a lot of laptop bags, and I’ve gotten pretty picky about them. I like comfort, and I like style. I’ll settle on style if it’s super comfortable, but my ideal bag has both. It also has a lot of pockets. You can never go wrong by adding pockets. Lately I’ve seen a few bags that power the things in the bags. Specifically, I’ve got some laptop bags with backup batteries for phones and tablets. Urban Junket sent me one of their charging bags for review.

Let’s get one disappointment out of the way. The batteries on all of these only power your tablets and phones. They don’t charge your laptop. A laptop charging bag would be awesome, but probably also weigh a ton — not the sort of thing you’d want for everyday schlepping. However, if you’re out and about at a conference where you need your laptop, your phone is usually the first thing to die, and everyone is always crowded around the charging stations — or in the case of SXSW, the charging people. Yes, there were people wearing pluggable clothing with embedded Mophie batteries to both charge your electronics and be socially awkward at the same time. Win.

Image Courtesy Urban Junket

Urban Junket JB Battery Powered Laptop Tote

So , now the bag. I’ve got a 17-inch JB Powered laptop bag from Urban Junket as part of their PowerTrips line.  If I were ordering for myself, I’d size down for my 15 inch laptop, but even the bigger size is still pretty stylish. Stylish, in this case, does come at a premium price. The bags run up to $275 new, but I still found myself shopping the styles when I was looking for a regular replacement purse that would fit my iPad.

Urban Junket bags are made from recycled plastic bottles, but it doesn’t feel like a compromise for the sake of environmental friendliness. (Other than maybe the interior fabric, but I’ll get to that later.) It’s a super cute and stylish bag. The one I reviewed was grass green with brown trim and an aqua interior. That’s not a combination I’d probably have picked if I were shopping for myself, but the color really grew on me as I tried it out. There’s even a separate clutch purse inside the bag with a cute little “@” embroidered on it. The material is shiny like patent leather, and it feels pretty water resistant. Not that I’d suggest dunking it, but I wouldn’t panic in a rainstorm.

The charger inside uses a simple micro USB to charge itself from an outlet and offers a standard USB port to charge your devices. You can chain it and charge the battery and your device in at the same time if you’re short on outlet space in a hotel room, and the charger should have enough power to charge your phone about twice. Theoretically you can also get about ten days worth of partial charges out of the bag, but if I’m ten days without a power outlet, something has gone very wrong in my life.

There are a ton of pockets on this thing, including both interior and exterior, which makes it flexible enough to use as a purse. The styling on it is also professional enough that I wouldn’t hesitate to show up to a meeting carrying it. It’s an over-one-shoulder bag, so it’s going to get uncomfortable for an all day on your feet event, but Urban Junket has all sorts of other styles, including a backpack that doesn’t look like it belongs in a high school. Urban Junket JB bags also have lots of fashionable colors to choose from, including deep purple, bright red, and — if you really must — black. Although there’s a nice magenta, there’s not a single one of these things that comes in that shade of “for the ladies” pink that we’ve come to expect as the only women’s option in the electronic accessory aisle.

My one quibble is that the material used to line the interior is a bit transparent and looks a little cheaper because of it. It’s an interior fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, so I’m inclined to be forgiving on this detail. The color is fantastic and compliments the exterior of the bag, and it didn’t show any wear and tear during regular use.

Overall, this bag really  nails it. Finally, someone made a sturdy, environmentally friendly,  functional women’s laptop bag that doesn’t feel like a man’s laptop bag painted pink.

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