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Smart luggage is smart enough to not try reinventing the wheel, or in this case, the four-wheeled suitcase.
After all, the basic design is a paragon of functionality: open the case, throw your stuff inside, close the case, take it with you. Job done.
Smart luggage leverages its digital brainpower in making a better bag, and Samsonite’s EVOA Tech – which launches in September from $679 – may as well fill out a Mensa application form.
For starters, the Samsonite EVOA Tech doubles down on security. Complementing the three-digit combination lock (with the now-standard TSA key override) is a fingerprint scanner.
This records up to ten individual fingerprints, which not only offers flexibility in letting you unlock the bag with almost any finger but also makes it easy to share the bag with your partner.
A slide covers the scanning pad when not in use, to avoid the sensor collecting a layer of grime (which would reduce its sensitivity) or being damaged. The fingerprint sensor is powered by a pair of AA batteries, and naturally if those run dry you can revert to the three-digit lock instead of the one-digit unlock.
Just to the left of the latches, on the same panel as the lock, sits an embedded USB port.
The presence of non-removable lithium-ion batteries in the first generation of smart bags turned out to be their Achilles’ Heel. With concerns for safety, airlines began banning smart luggage with inbuilt battery packs as checked luggage, although they’re still accepted as carry-on cabin bags.
Samsonite’s solution: run USB cabling to an internal pocket and let buyers supply their own portable power bank for recharging their tech on the go.
If you need to check the EVOA Tech cabin bag – perhaps on smaller regional aircraft where there’s limited room in the overhead compartments – the battery pack is easily removed and added to your cabin bag.
This approach also lets you tailor powerbank capacity to your needs. Have to charge several devices on the go? Tuck a high-capacity 10Ah or 20Ah power bank inside the EVOA Tech and you’ll be good for days.
The EVOA Tech series also includes an integrated digital scale to quickly and easily measure the total weigh top your luggage and avoid falling foul of overweight baggage fees.
Switch on the scale on, lift your EVOA Tech bag by the side hand and hold it for two seconds, and the weight shows on the two-digit LCD panel.
(Tip: if you can’t hold the bag for two seconds, either it’s way too heavy or you need to think about joining a gym.)
Rounding out the EVOA Tech’s trio of tricks is Bluetooth tracking with an approximate 50 metre radius. Proximity guidance can alert you when the bag is a set distance away, with a companion smartphone app to remotely activate a buzzer on the bag.
The EVOA Tech line sports a no-nonsense minimalistic style, finished in brushed black texture with corner protection to resist marks and scratches, with suspension for each of the four wheels to reduce rolling vibration and noise.
Samsonite’s Evoa TECH range lands in September with a 55cm cabin bag ($679) plus 69cm ($799) and 75cm ($899) checked bags.