Accessories

Pacsafe Instasafe backpack tote review: My all around carry-on

Looks good and keeps all your stuff safe!

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What’s the big deal about Pacsafe bags? My father is a Pacsafe user. He has, on numerous occasions, showed off his travel-safe bag to me. When we interviewed our Her GadgetMatch September guest, TV Host Lyn Ching, she pledged her undying love to Pacsafe.

I, on the other hand, have never used a Pacsafe bag. To be completely honest about it, I’d never traveled with an anti-theft bag… until now.

This is Pacsafe’s Instasafe backpack tote. I road tested it on a recent trip and what follows are my thoughts on what has become a travel cult favorite.

Of course, I’ll start with my favorite feature: It’s convertible! It has enough straps and handles to be used as either a backpack or a tote. It’s understated look is just formal enough, but not too dressy. I love how it can match my outfits whether it be super casual for exploring new places (like pictured below), or a little dressed up for workday meetings and such.

You see, picking a bag is hard. I’ve always had trouble finding the right one; usually, backpacks are too big or too informal and tote bags, on the other hand, are hard to carry for long periods of time. Not to mention, I need something that will fit everything from my laptop to my makeup kit, without being too bulky.

This bag hits the best middle ground. The Instasafe can fit my laptop but is still compact enough for me to carry around on a daily basis.

And believe me, I totally have. On my last trip, this was a staple. I had everything I needed to work remotely — laptop, external hard drive, camera, gorilla pod, makeup kit — in one backpack. The same bag was also my carry on as I rode a total of eight planes and moved through three time zones in a span of two weeks.

Yep, that’s everything in my bag!

Aside from a laptop pocket that fits a 13-inch laptop, this bag has pockets and different compartments for all your other junk, which is great since your bag won’t turn into a bottomless pit of random things.

That’s not all that’s great about this bag, though.

Pacsafe’s main selling point is the anti-theft capabilities. Although this bag is lightweight, it has mesh inside so that it’s slash-proof. That means no one is getting to your stuff, even if they try with a knife.

Even the tote handles are slash-proof so no one will be able to take it from you, they’d have to pry it from your cold, dead, well-manicured fingers.

There are also zipper stoppers that ensure that your bag won’t be zipped open just by anyone else when you’re busy exploring the world.

Another cool feature is something I’ve always needed but just never knew about.

You can unlock this bag strap and wrap it around a secure spot so that you’re 100 percent sure no one just grabs it when you’re not looking.

This is a great thing for people like me who camp out and work in coffee shops. When I’m in the zone writing, I’m not very attentive to my surroundings. Locking this to a table base of a chair means my bag isn’t going anywhere.

There’s also an RFID blocking pocket which ensures that no one can scan your credit cards or passport and steal your information. (This is something I’ve been freaking out about lately!)

Of course, I wasn’t able to definitively test out the anti-theft features (thank heavens 🙄) but knowing there’s an added layer of security is always a welcome thought when you’re out and about.

The best thing about the Instasafe bag, I think, is the fact that its use isn’t just limited to when you’re traveling and hopping from plane to plane. This thing proved to be a great day-to-day work bag and it didn’t destroy my #OOTDs. I honestly didn’t think I’d appreciate Pacsafe’s travel bags this much, but I am now a believer.

It’s been a week since my trip ended but I’m still using the Instasafe. That is a good sign.

Accessories

Mighty music player: Is this what replaces the iPod in 2018?

Why this music player is still relevant

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Today’s time sees the extinction of all other devices as the smartphone becomes the one machine that can do everything. But, what if we don’t want to do it all? What if what you need is something that’s so simple it only does (gasp!) one thing?

Music and only music

This is the premise of the Mighty music player. At a time when iPods have all but died, there’s a demand for a simple machine that’ll allow us to listen to our music without the hassle of having to bring our phones. This tiny device can do that and in updated 2018 terms — yep, it plays streaming music from your Spotify account no matter where you are.

The Mighty music player is a tiny device, no bigger than what iPod Nanos used to be. This small thing will definitely fit in whatever purse you bring.

Its face is all buttons and a tiny LED light. On the back is a simple clip.

There’s only one port on this thing, an audio port that’s used for both charging and earphones on the top side.

Play sounds

Mighty works by accessing your Spotify account. Unlike iPods that stored music data, this thing just streams playlists from the app. You’d need to download the Might app, connect your player, and pick playlists to be copied before you can get down to actual fuss-free listening.

Once that’s done, you can take your Mighty anywhere and play your music anywhere — or at least, the playlists you’ve downloaded on to Mighty. Take note that as of now, you can only copy playlists and not artists, albums, or anything else.

Imagine all the possibilities. You can now go to the gym without any alerts or distractions; take that jog outside without having to worry about carrying your smartphone! Heck, you can even zone out on your commute without having to fiddle around your bag to find your phone and play that song you’re in the mood for.

In today’s technology-tangled time, things are just getting more complicated and we’re just given more and more tasks and distractions. The Mighty player brings you back to simpler times. Well, simpler times where music streaming and Spotify exist!

Think about it: Uninterrupted sounds without having to worry about carrying your phone, message alerts that come in, or phone battery time. Isn’t that the dream?

Mighty says it’s the reality.

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Accessories

OnePlus introduces Explorer Backpack — and I want it!

Launching along with the OnePlus 6T

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All eyes will be on the OnePlus 6T launch at the end of this month, but my money will likely be spent on the accompanying backpack instead.

OnePlus revealed through its official forum that the new Explorer Backpack is set to be revealed on October 30, as well.

As you may or may not know, the tech startup is no stranger to creating sleek accessories to match whatever phone they have in stock; I myself had their first-generation backpack.

While it wasn’t the best backpack in the world — it wore out easily and got replaced by the more rugged Xiaomi backpack I use now — Project Manager Donna L. touts that this model will last for “years to come.”

There are no pictures of the interior, but it supposedly has multiple compartments, including a secret pocket on the back — which is important for a techie such as myself who has multiple gadgets at once.

Other features include a compartment with breathable vents, premium magnetic Fidlock, and two colors to choose from: Slate Black or Morandi Green.

Price and availability will hopefully be announced on stage in New York. I can already smell it.

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Accessories

Freitag R523 Hoffmann: Recycled laptop bags have never looked this good

Each bag is literally one-of-a-kind

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Continuing the never-ending search for a laptop bag I’d actually use, Freitag’s R523 Hoffmann was the next victim.

A good laptop bag is essential to your work, and your #OOTDs! When shopping for a bag that will house one of my most prized possessions (not to mention, the tool that gives me my living) there are certain considerations: Is the bag spacious enough? Will it protect my computer? Will I be able to carry it around on long days? Does it ruin my outfit?

So, does the Hoffman live up to my standards? What’s so special about this brand? Let’s find out.

What’s the deal with Freitag?

It’s really not your usual brand. Zurich-based Freitag boasts that each bag is made of truck tarpaulin, each one selected (yes, they have special truck spotters), washed, and cut to create bags — each one entirely unique to others.

So yes, these bags are made out of recycled materials but they look oh so good.

Also, they’re heavy-duty because, well, they are made out of materials designed to be outdoors under all elements. A big plus: That makes these bags waterproof, which is a great thing because I’m putting my laptop in it.

The bag I tried on for size was the Hoffmann:

Look and feel

My pick was a white bag because you can never go wrong with this color. It looks crisp, classic, and ready to match any given outfit.

Interestingly, it doesn’t seem like it’s a bag that’s made out of tarpaulin — at least not how I imagined a tarpaulin bag would look. It’s classy and it matches even business or work outfits which is great for those long meeting days. Also worth noting: Its texture gives off a great look and feel.

It has a strap handle which is pretty sturdy; no way this will break even when you have a laptop (and a whole lot of other things like I do 🙈).

It also has a longer strap so you can wear it around your shoulder. If you’re like me and you have frail arms, this feature is a godsend.

These straps are also very sturdy and adjustable. The better to carry everything you need with!

What’s inside?

There are two outside pockets for stuff you want to keep but need easy access to.

And of course, it has a dedicated laptop pocket! There are also smaller side pockets inside for other stuff and knick-knacks. Great for organizing your things — no more bags that are bottomless pits of random stuff.

This is a surprisingly spacious bag. It can house my work gear (laptop, external hard drive, small camera, cords, and chargers) plus all my everyday essentials (a semi-big makeup bag, wallet, and perfume).

Final thoughts

Despite it being sourced from upcycled materials, this is one expensive-looking bag. That’s also because it is. All those good qualities come at a price, listed at CHF 314.80 on their website and priced at over PhP 20,000 from Urban Traveller & Co. in the Philippines.

Freitag’s Hoffmann offers a good-looking laptop bag made out of heavy duty materials, ensuring your machine is always safe. A big plus is that it’s recycled — a great whoop for the environment!

One thing’s for sure: When you get yourself a Freitag bag, you get more than just a bag. You get a one-of-a-kind piece that’s not only an awesome home for your laptop, it’s also a statement on how you can breathe new life into random objects with some creativity. Each one serves as an example of how you can create new and amazing things from stuff that are seemingly worthless.

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