This smart suitcase is the best carry-on bag I've ever used, and it's worth every penny

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Whether you’re trekking through Europe or planning a simple weekend getaway, travelling can be an extremely rewarding experience. Seeing new places and things introduces you to people, ideas, sights, food, and weather that you otherwise could’ve remained completely unaware of.

Travel can also be stressful, with a planes, trains, and automobiles sometimes seeming to conspire against you in an effort to keep you from your destination. In the whirlwind that is getting through TSA security and to the correct gate, it’s helpful to have luggage that you know will not hold you up.

Bluesmart is a company dedicated to making travelling less of a headache. One of the pioneers in the “smart-luggage” market, the brand got its start as an Indiegogo campaign that raised over $A2.6 million in 2014. Since then, Bluesmart has grown and recently released its second product, the Black Edition Smart Carry-On. I got to try it out while on vacation last week.

I’m fairly confident I have not checked a bag on a flight since 2006. Regardless of how long my trip is, my usual setup is an overstuffed weekender paired with an overstuffed backpack, and then praying that I get to board early enough to find space in the overhead bin. Suffice to say Bluesmart’s carry-on was a vast improvement on that routine.

With a price tag of $778, it’s definitely not an easy purchase on your wallet, but the price is not dissimilar to other high-end luggage brands like Tumi or Rimowa. After spending a week travelling with the carry-on, I think it’s safe to say you’d be getting your money’s worth.

First, the Black Edition is the most beautiful piece of luggage I have ever used. Its all-black look with a hardshell frame and fabric front looks like a luxury item right when you see it. I had never gotten a compliment on my bag before (I didn’t even know that was a thing people did), but with the Black Edition, it happened three times before I boarded my first flight.

In terms of use and layout, it was extremely convenient. The front pocket is the perfect size for your laptop, giving you easy access to it at security checkpoints. The interior looks a bit small at first glance, but gives you more space than you realise; I was able to stow a pair of shoes, a pair of jeans, and enough shirts and undergarments to last the length of my week-long trip. Additionally, when all zipped up and ready to go, the suitcase is the perfect carry-on size, fitting into an aeroplane’s overhead compartment without taking up more than your fair share of space.

But while its aesthetic and practical value put the Bluesmart Black Edition on par with much of the luxury luggage you’ll find on the market, the innovative technology of the bag sets it apart. The feature I used the most was the internal battery; it saved me the grief of a flight without my iPhone after I drained my battery playing “Pokémon GO!” in the airport terminal. Additionally, the Black Edition features GPS tracking that ensures your bag is never truly lost (even if your airline temporarily misplaces it on the other side of the globe), as well as a smart lock that keeps your belongings secure if they ever get separated from you.

I spoke with the CEO of Bluesmart, Diego Saez-Gil, earlier this year. When I asked what inspired the new product, Saez-Gil told me, “What we found is that business travellers really loved the technology we were bringing, but they were also very demanding in terms of finishings and materials.”

In that regard, this carry-on is a resounding success. The original Bluesmart One is still available and does come in about $195 cheaper than the new Black Edition, so if you are more interested in the “smart” aspects of the product, there is a cheaper option. But if you are looking to make an investment in a new piece of luggage with a luxury feel as well as smart features, the Black Edition is well worth a look.

Bluesmart Black Edition Smart Carry-On Suitcase, $778, available at Amazon.
Bluesmart One Smart Carry-On Suitcase, $U583, available at Amazon.

This article was originally published on 8/29/2016.

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