Edit: Bluesmart no longer exists, and we can no longer recommend smart luggage, due to a new FAA rule that cases with built-in batteries must have a removable battery.
If you’re looking for a great gift for a frequent flyer and tech devotee — you know, the kind who doesn’t travel without an iPhone charging case, a Jackery portable charger and a backup backup Jackery charger (ahem, raising hand here) — we may have found it in the app-controlled, super futuristic, James Bondian Bluesmart Suitcase.
They had me at “can charge your phone up to six times,” but having taken a review unit out for a test run, it does so much more than that.
Hook up the companion iOS or Android app, register your suitcase (which takes a minute), charge and connect via Bluetooth, and you’re off.
Here’s the stuff I like:
The idea that it has a built-in power source and USB outlet to charge your phone or tablet on the go is a major relief for me in itself. And of course it comes with all the cord and plugs you need.
I also really like that you can lock and unlock it with your phone in one step — and that includes the outer zippered laptop compartment, which is a really nice touch, considering I can get a little paranoid about thieves grabbing things out of outer pockets of bags. (I’ve been hardened by a lifetime of living in NYC.) You can even set it to auto-unlock when you’re nearby, unless you prefer to do it manually.
That lock is TSA approved by the way, and the battery is FAA-compliant (37 watt Lithium-ion if you’re interested) which is something I had been a little nervous about if you need to check it.
As for the nice-to-have features of the Bluesmart Suitcase, there’s also a dandy little light on the front that can glow on command, which is kind of like blinking your headlights in the parking lot to help find your car. You can track your bag via the app through location services. (For privacy, my settings only use location services when the app is in use.) There’s also a trip tracker that you may or may not need if you’re already using my favorite, TripIt, and you can log travel locations and share photos, though Instagram and Facebook work fine for me in that sense.
A lot of travelers also like having a built-in scale function like the one Bluesmart offers, though I’ve always wondered why it’s necessary with an overnight bag — unless you’re transporting bags of solid gold bouillon. In which case, more power to you.
Tech features aside, I really want a carry-on suitcase that functions as a solid, dependable suitcase above all, and that’s where the Bluesmart succeeds.
It’s quite a handsome looking bag, with easy-turn wheels, a smooth telescoping handle, smart zippered pouches and a roomy compartment inside, with a durable tweed-y gray fabric on the outside.
I do admit I’m not 100% crazy about the look of the plastic shell itself, as I’m used to the nylon exterior of my trusty Tumi bag. But when I investigated further, it turns out the shell is made from a Makrolon Polycarbonate which is incredibly lightweight and nearly indestructible.
Basically if it’s good enough for Audi cars, police face shields, and bullet-resistant bank windows, I’d say it will do right by your lacy underthings. But know it does look like plastic.
Of course all this high-tech fabulosity comes at a fairly steep price (a little less steep if you’re ordering the Bluesmart One Suitcase) making this a big splurge.
I mean you could conceivably carry around several Jackery chargers and just padlock your bag the old-fashioned way. But clearly the Bluesmart Suitcase isn’t designed for the frugal traveler; it’s for the person who wants something techy and futuristic and fun.