We've tested and reviewed some rather unique backpacks, including one this year that tried to emulate a workstation, called the Fusion Micro Workstation Bag. And we loved the backpack from the folks over at Booq which is tailor-made for photography gear, called the Booq Python Pack. But today we have a backpack from Timbuk2 called the Power Q Backpack; its unique selling point is its Joey T1 power supply which charges devices within the bag itself.
Inbuilt Battery & Charging
The Joey T1 is essentially a battery pack housed within its own internal pocket. This compartment has two smartphone sized pockets and a long cable with a little pod of connections that runs from the main battery, making charging devices a simple thing to do within the bag. It's not appropriate to use with a notebook computer, but for smaller devices, such as a smartphone or iPod, it's ideal as it has an integrated USB 2.0 port (5V 1A output). It's TSA compliant, meaning you can leave it in your bag through Airport security too. The capacity of the Joey T1 is a nice 3700mAh, enough to fully recharge a drained iPhone 5/5s twice. But for the whopping internal batteries found within the latest tablets on the market today, it won't provide anywhere near a full charge. For instance, the latest iPad Air has a battery capacity of 8,827mAh, so this would top it up by around 40% correlating to around four hours of actual usage. Nevertheless, we found the charge useful on occasion, particularly when we didn't think we'd need a battery backup.
At the top of the front of the Power Q there is a small zipped pocket area, suitable for keeping things like a smartphone, a wallet, a compact digital camera, etc.
The bottom of the front has a zipped pocket which is rather wide; it's designed to keep cables within and we found it had sufficient room to keep our MacBook charger, a USB cable, two Apple USB charging cables and a pair of earphones.
The first zipped internal pocket in the bag contains the Joey T1, which also has four pockets to store pens, pencils and a stylus. This pocket is also large enough to include other items such as headphones. Behind the section that stores the Joey T1 is a larger zipped pocket which is the main area of the Power Q backpack, and within this is a padded open pocket perfect for storing tablets. The remaining space outside the padded pocket is adequate for storing books, cameras and larger objects.
On the right side of the Timbuk2 Power Q backpack is a large swing around tricot-lined side compartment which will store most notebook computers; all MacBook Pro models up to the 17” will fit. We liked how easy it was to access our MacBook from within the Timbuk2 Power Q and we greatly appreciated the padding keeping the notebook protected on our travels, too. There aren't an overwhelming number of compartments and pockets, so keeping organised isn't difficult and everything is easy and quick to reach.
Because the side of the Power Q that is designed to store notebooks has a handle, we found it convenient to carry the bag in a messenger style manner on short trips. And when you quickly want to manoeuvre the bag, another carry handle is located on top. The rear of the Timbuk2 Power Q backpack has a ventilated padded panel, which did indeed make the Power Q comfortable to wear, and also made sure our backs didn't become hot and irritated. The adjustable shoulder straps provided comfort, being also padded with ventilated material. When wearing the backpack for prolonged durations of 30-60 minutes it didn't feel unpleasant or heavy.
Design & Durability
The Timbuk2 Power Q backpack is a fairly classic bag in appearance. It doesn't display lots of designer stylings but instead keeps its image simple and fundamental to how it functions. We have the black edition but Timbuk2 also offer the Power Q in blue, grey, indie plaid/yellow, peat green, rev red and sorbet green.
Timbuk2 are certainly confident in the quality of their San Francisco designed bags, giving all registered bags a lifetime guarantee against defects in material and craftsmanship. After using the Timbuk2 Power Q backpack as our daily driver for gadgets and gear for the past few months, we have to highly commend its construction and intelligent design. The exterior refined weave 840 ballistic nylon stands up to general wear and tear, and when dropped down on hard concrete ground and on wet benches it hasn't shown any signs of ageing or colour fading. The stitching and construction are precise and we can tell from our extensive usage that this is a bag that will last us for many years to come.
The Timbuk2 is an excellent all round backpack for taking to work or school. Easy and organised internal storage, combined with a confident build quality and the addition of the Joey T1 battery backup system make this a tremendously convenient and useful backpack to take anywhere.