#Trending: Tech handbags at dawn

You can't move on Kickstarter for these tech accessories but are they any good?
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Tech handbags either make you squeal with delight or groan with despair.

Whether or not they even fit into a 'connected self' definition of wearable tech is up for debate. But like it or not, they're here: celebrities like Olivia Palermo are designing them, they're smashing targets on crowdfunding sites, even heritage brands like Aspinal are getting involved.

Read this: The fashionable future of haptics starts here

If you're interested in a tech handbag, just bear in mind before you hand over your cash that you can buy a portable power bank for the princessly sum of £8 on Amazon. Then stick it in any bag you choose to keep your gadgets juiced up throughout the day.

If the convenience of charging tickles you, take a look at the Leoht Tote, a Kickstarter project ($135,000 and counting) which has caught the eyes of wearable tech trendsetters such as Billie Whitehouse. It ups the design stakes as well as including wireless charging and interior lights to help you when rummaging about.

The best examples of these accessories so far, though, offer more than in-bag gadget charging - from tech-friendly compartments (a simple idea but until now difficult to find) to smartphone controls for those who don't want to wear a smartwatch on their wrist.

But it's the tentative steps into actually making these bags smart which are much more interesting. The Message Bag concept by Queen Mary's student Christine Farion uses NFC tags to quickly display which important items are inside via LEDs on the outside, eliminating a real First World problem of constant checking. And the Arduino powered iBag locks itself when its GPS module knows that you're in a 'danger spending zone'.

Then there's the Bluesmart connected carry-on suitcase which isn't a handbag or even wearable but has some nifty features all the same: from the app you can lock and unlock it, track its location and get an alert if you're leaving it behind plus there's a built-in battery and even scales to make sure you don't go over your allowance. $2m on Indiegogo says it's a bit of a hit.

WEAR - HiSmart

#Trending: Tech handbags at dawn

The HiSmart bag is on Indiegogo now and connects to your smartphone. It adds music controls, voice calls, pinning locations and selfie taking functions to a disc on the strap of this convertible, Italian leather messenger bag/backpack.

That's most of the feature list of a smartwatch or hearable, minus fitness tracking, in a convenient place on the body to interact with. The strap idea is intriguing and there's plenty more that could be added to connect with the body - navigation haptics for backpack straps, say, or activity tracking. It's raised over $200,000 in pledges so far and the campaign is live until 15 April.


#Trending: Tech handbags at dawn

There's a lot of horrible ideas on crowdfunding sites and the internet in general but well, we're picking on this one, BagTV. WTF. Look at the model's face on the far right, even she's realised by Photo 3 that she's contributing to the end of civilisation.

What we want from this category is a stunning accessory that we'd buy even if we didn't know it had tech inside and a function that makes sense for a wearable.

The worst offenders are anti-chic, too basic or downright idiotic in features AND the makers have the audacity to try to charge us over the odds for one. That's not the future.

NEARLY THERE - Knomo Elektronista

#Trending: Tech handbags at dawn

The Elektronista gets a few things very right - it's a gorgeous clutch bag in soft leather, beloved by fashion journalists. It's also tech friendly with lots of compartments for different sized gadgets and belongings, space for a tablet and, you guessed it, a 3000mAh battery pack in one of the sections.

Considering the fact there's no wireless charging and you'll have to recharge the battery pack yourself, it's worth noting that the £249 pricetag isn't any higher than the rest of the Knomo range of leather totes, briefcases and organisers. That said, we'd love to see more connectivity - after all this is the kind of bag you could wear everyday.

Bonus Baglady

#Trending: Tech handbags at dawn

Here's one more bonus tech bag pic, the Baglady 2.0 has an antenna and a keyboard and can be used as a music performance and broadcasting tool. Yep.

How we test


Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

Related stories