Travelteq Trip Sound: We Take a Seat on the Scooting, Suitcase Soundsystem
What it is:A multi-purpose rolling bag that also serves as a portable seat and a take-along boombox.
Why it's different:The Trip Sound is a bag, chair and boombox all at once, which makes it pretty unique. It's designed for travelers who find themselves restless in airports, with no free seat to relax upon, and no decent sound system to crank in their hotel rooms. If there's ever been a bag that would let you live out of it, this may be the one.
What we like:Minimal on the outside, this Transformer seems like your average trolley bag to passersby. With the push of a button and the tug of a strap, however, the foam top panel slides forward to provide space for your butt, while the wheels slide out to provide more stable footing. Pull up the handle to provide a makeshift backrest, and boom: rest for the weary. It's not the most comfortable seat on the planet, but it's a whole lot better than sitting on the airport floor and supports up to 330 pounds.
The aluminum bag feels extremely sturdy, and its size is substantial -- just small enough to fit inside the overhead compartment of airplanes. The front portion of the case zips open to reveal individual padded pockets for a laptop and cell phones, along with notebook and newspaper pockets, two zipper compartments, and a small sealable laundry bag. The company calls it the "mobile office kangaroo" pouch, and that seems just about right. For speed demons motoring through the airport, Travelteq offers the Trip Sound with red wheels.
The audio system is a removable, rechargeable device that provides a surprising amount of punch. Maybe it's the acoustics the bag itself provides, but what seems like a second-rate plastic system sounded full and crisp at high volumes. It has inputs for 1/8-inch headphone jacks, and USB plugs for iPods and such (most of which it will charge when connected via the latter method). And yes, it's pretty bizarre hearing big sound come out of a piece of luggage, but you could throw a pretty serious party in your Best Western suite with one of these guys. The speaker is good for about 10 hours of play time on a single charge. (Note: You can get the bag without the audio component for about $75 less.)
It's worth noting that the Trip Sound is also a hell of a conversation starter; sitting around at airports on your bag-turned-chair, whether typing up documents or reading a magazine, will almost certainly draw interest from curious travelers. Whether that's a pro or a con may depend on your disposition, but, if you like talking about gadgets with fellow humans (which we imagine you might), it's pretty cool.
What we don't like:At €750 (about $1,000), it's expensive. Luggage tends to be pricey, particularly trolley bags like this one, but a cool grand is still a lot of dough to drop on a bag. That said, it's a fraction of what you'd pay for a high-end luxury brand equivalent (think: Louis Vuitton), and none of those bags transform into chairs and portable sound systems.
While we appreciate the sturdy build quality and materials, it makes the bag a bit heavy on its own (about 15 pounds with the speaker), making it a slight hassle to get into the overhead compartment. The extra features mean it's slightly less roomy than other bags its size. The button that must be depressed in order to release the seat and slide it forward is too difficult to press and, frankly, annoying. And, though it's certainly no fault of the manufacturer, getting bags without built-in electronics through airport security is already a rather trying experience.