Ampl's SmartBackpack charges your gear on the go (hands-on)

As demonstrated at CES 2015, Ampl Labs' backpack has built-in batteries to charge your phone, tablet or even laptop.

Sarah Mitroff Managing Editor
Sarah Mitroff is a Managing Editor for CNET, overseeing our health, fitness and wellness section. Throughout her career, she's written about mobile tech, consumer tech, business and startups for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat.
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Sarah Mitroff
2 min read

LAS VEGAS -- Battery-powered backpacks are nothing new, but Ampl Labs' new SmartBackpack, shown here at the 2015 International CES, has a fresh approach. The backpack has swappable backup batteries that can charge anything from a smartphone to a laptop.

The backpack, which is black with green accents, has a built-in 5,000mAh battery, which can charge an iPhone 6 two and a half times on a single charge and can handle tablets too.

The Ampl Labs SmartBackpack Sarah Tew/CNET

You'll need one of the separate expansion batteries to charge a laptop or multiple devices at once and you can even plug in your laptop's regular charger with a special battery module that has a standard outlet. The rear laptop compartment unzips to reveal the expansion port, where you can simply slide in an extra battery.

Ampl's SmartBackpack is packed with batteries (pictures)

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The SmartBackpack has seven USB outlets, one in each pocket of the bag, and one smartphone pocket on the shoulder strap. Plug any gadget into one of the USBs and the bag will send the power where it's needed. With the accompanying Ampl app, you can even control which gadgets get juice first. The app also lets you see the bag's battery levels and keep tabs on the sensors in the bag, which measure temperature and humidity.

The laptop panel opens to reveal the battery expansion slot. Sarah Tew/CNET

The SmartBackpack is a protoype, but the company is already looking at new features to add. One is wireless storage, where the bag would have a built-in hard drive and you'd be able to access files stored on it remotely. For now, it simply has Bluetooth connectivity so that the bag can connect with the app.

All the cool new gadgets at CES 2015 (pictures)

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The prototype weighs around 6 pounds without any gadgets, but Ampl is hoping to slim that down to just 4 pounds when it goes into production in the summer of 2015. It will need to be as lightweight as possible, since any bag can quickly get heavily loaded up with gadgets, let alone a bag that's also packing a permanent battery.

When the SmartBackpack goes on sale later in 2015, it'll cost $299 (about £200 or AU$370). See all of CNET's coverage of CES 2015 here.