It’s always handy to have a portable battery with you so you can charge your devices up when they are running low. The NRGmessenger bag by Ghostek has just this. With an integrated 16,000 mAH battery (enough to charge an iPad and an iPhone a couple of times over) inside the bag and cable routing throughout the bag, it’s easy to charge your devices when you are on the go. The bag even features an external USB port for charging your phone, and you can easily charge the battery up with an external input port. And it achieves all this whilst remaining waterproof.
The bag has five compartments. The first is the one on the front, for items you want to quickly access when you are in a hurry and don’t want to go through the whole bag. I find this section handy to put earphones in so I can quickly get to them, or documents that I need to be able to get.
Behind this, there are three large compartments. The first has three pockets for putting pens, phones, and loose items in. It then has some bulk space – I managed to fit two A4 folders and a textbook in this space – and then it has the battery. The battery is hidden away in a separate zipped pocket, and there is padding between that pocket and the rest of the bag so that the things you are carrying won’t get damaged. The battery is mounted or rails so you can remove it if you want. I’ll go into the battery and cabling a little later.
Behind this main compartment is a smaller area, handy for storing a tablet or a thin device in. Note that all pockets have thick padding between, so that the battery won’t damage any of your gear and nor will anything stored in the bag. Behind this is the large laptop storing area. I was able to fit a Dell XPS 15 in here, and I can comfortably fit my iPad and Logitech keyboard inside their memory foam case (highly recommend this case, had it for years) into this pocket. Finally, on the back there is another slim pocket. I haven’t really found a use for this yet, but it could be useful for holding slim books or papers.
All these pockets have cable routing from the battery. You can push a cable through little slits in each pocket to get it to the middle compartment or the back compartment. I find this really handy as I can route the cable through the bag to my iPad where it is charging in the back compartment.
Let’s get into the interesting stuff – the battery. It has a capacity of 16,000 mAH, and I found that I could fully charge my iPad Air 2 once, and my HTC M8 twice from the battery (that’s 12540 mAH). They were both completely depleted when I charged them. The battery also showed a little charge left when I had finished charging those devices, so it defiantly has the capacity it says that it does.
The battery has three output ports. These are a 1 amp and 2 amp USB ports, which you can plug in any old USB cable. Note that the 1 amp port is connected to the external charger, however you can remove the cable if you want to use it directly from the battery. The battery also boasts a DC output port, and the bag comes with a cable that fits it with a USB mini end.
The battery shows you its charge status with a set of blue lights. This can be seen on the battery itself, and also on the outside, where you can press a button and four lines show up showing you the charge status of the bag. When you plug in a device to charge, these lights always show. Whilst it can be useful that the lights are always showing, it can be a little obtrusive too, and I wish there was a way to turn them off when you are charging a device.
If you want to charge the battery, you don’t have to take it out of the bag to do so. You can simply plug in the supplied cable into the covered USB Mini input port and plug the bag in. This is great as you don’t have to remove the battery every night – you just pop the cover and plug the bag in.
So, is the bag for you? If you ever find yourself wanting a portable battery, the Ghostek NRGmessenger could come in handy. However, if you have to take tons of textbooks and folders with you everyday, the bag may be a little small for you. I managed to fit two folders and a textbook in, but that was quite a squeeze. However, if you don’t take much with you apart from a couple of sheets of paper, and an odd textbook or folder you should be fine. I’ve used the bag for two weeks straight and loved it.
The bag is worth $119.95, but you can pick it up for $89.96 (at time of writing) from the Ghostek website. The bag is also available on Amazon US and Amazon UK.