go to content
DIY

This $600 Suitcase Could Change Your Life (If It Actually Worked)

It's a little suitcase you can stalk like a creepy ex. Sort of.

Posted on

Losing a bag while you’re traveling can mean going days without a change of underwear — or, worse, never tasting the duty-free rum you bought drink your jet lag away.

Nightmares like this make the Bluesmart Black Edition carry-on — an app-connected suitcase designed to make it nearly impossible to lose track of — sound like a great idea.

amzn.to

To find out if the Bluesmart is actually as cool as it sounded, I decided to take it with me on a recent 10-day work trip.

Sized at 22” x 14” x 9”, the Bluesmart complies with the carry-on sizing requirements for most airlines.

Constructed primarily from reinforced Makrolon (fancy plastic!) and nylon, it has a 34L carrying capacity divvied up between the suitcase’s main compartment and a soft-sided laptop compartment on the outside of the bag, which is large enough to stash a 15” computer in.

It weighs 9.4 pounds, which admittedly is a little heavy for a bag that’s not make out of bricks, but the Bluesmart has an excuse: it comes packing a 10,400 mAh battery and the hardware needed to provide the suitcase with 3G cellular data and GPS connectivity. The battery, which powers the Bluesmart’s cellular and GPS hardware, also comes with a USB port for charging your digital whatevers.

To help you haul this tiny-but-heavy-ass bag around, the Bluesmart comes with wheels that swivel and spin as smooth as silk while you pull the suitcase around by its retractable handle.

There’s nothing smart about the Bluesmart unless you take the time to charge it overnight before using it. But doing so is pretty easy, as it comes with a USB cable and a number of power adapters, all of which stow away into their own pocket.

Seamus Bellamy for BuzzFeed

Once it was juiced up, I downloaded Bluesmart’s companion app to my iPhone.

After pairing the suitcase with my handset and registering it with Bluesmart’s servers, I found I was immediately able to locate it using GPS, with fairly decent accuracy. In addition to letting you know where your suitcase is, pairing your smartphone also makes it possible for the suitcase to send you alerts if it moves too far away from your handset, or lock and unlock the suitcase using the app. You can also weigh the contents of your suitcase using the app: just lift the Bluesmart up by its handle. Its weight will be sent to your phone.

The Bluesmart unzips flat, making it easy to pack.

Seamus Bellamy for BuzzFeed

One side of the suitcase boasts a large zippered compartment, perfect for stuffing larger clothing items or packing cubes into. A smaller zippered mesh pocket is sewn into the compartment’s lid, which I found well sized for storing smallish items like T-shirts or underwear. The other side of the suitcase comes with a large compartment too. Whatever you pack into it is held in place by a removable panel that’s kept in place with a loop of fabric and Velcro. It does the job, but feels kind of clunky. The panel has a pocket in it, but I found that it was too thin to be anywhere close to useful.

Sadly, from here, things start to go downhill pretty quickly.

There were a lot of things about the Bluesmart Black Edition that I didn’t like. First let’s talk about design:

Seamus Bellamy for BuzzFeed

It’s a carry-on with a hard plastic exterior to protect the cushy, durable clothes inside of it and a soft, pliable compartment for carrying your delicate, easy to break electronics. I dunno, I like my laptop to be protected. But hey, that’s me.

During testing, I discovered that as much as it sucks when you have to open your suitcase for airport security, it sucks even more when your fancy app-controlled lock refuses to work.

Seamus Bellamy for BuzzFeed

I had to dig the suitcase’s keys out of my backpack, like I was regular people or something. Given that the Bluesmart’s battery still held nearly a full charge at the time, this shouldn’t have been a thing.

And while we’re talking about the battery, a 10,400 mAh holds enough juice to charge a smartphone four or five times— unless you’re using that battery to power your damn suitcase.

After a six hours of driving and flying to my destination the Bluesmart’s battery reserve was drained down to 34%. At that rate, if I’d taken a long haul flight, or had a layover or delay, I doubt that there’d be any power left at the end to tell me where the hell my suitcase was if I actually lost track of it.

Oh, and this was fun: after arriving at my destination, the Bluesmart app insisted, over and over for hours, that I was walking away from my suitcase... and neither the suitcase nor my phone moved the entire time this was going on.

Finally, there’s this: the reason carry-ons are great is that YOU CARRY THE DAMN THINGS ON.

They’re meant to stay with you at every step of your journey. It’s the luggage we hand off to attendants to cram under planes or buses that tends to go missing. And both versions of the Bluesmart only come in this small, TSA-approved carry-on size.

Give me a full-sized suitcase with the ability to track it via GPS and I’ll throw money at it. But putting tracking hardware into a carry-on, where space is already at a premium, feels insanely unnecessary. You could argue that the Bluesmart Black Edition’s tracking capabilities make it harder for thieves to steal your bag? Maybe. But for $600, I’m willing to play the odds.

Given the high price of buying this thing, the middling amount of protection it affords for expensive electronics, the issues I encountered trying to use it, and the fact that a carry-on bag is seldom far enough away to warrant using GPS to track it, I just can’t recommend this thing.

Maybe, somewhere, there's a better version that has all these things solved and is a reasonable price. But until then, there are lots of other cheaper ways to keep your luggage safe.

To be clear, we aren’t actually recommending you buy this thing. But just so you know, if you do buy anything, BuzzFeed may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss