The stress of a fading phone battery can be an unnecessary distraction when you’re working on the move. Charging handbags offer salvation for the businesswoman on the go, but are they as practical as they seem? IoD members put them to the test
Chief executive, Semta
What Elektronista, Knomo, £249
The bag is extremely light in weight, looks stylish and the leather is very high quality. The charger is about 4 x 2.5in in size and is switched on at the side, and you plug the device cable in. It’s simple to use but of course you also need to ensure that it is charged up beforehand. However, as a woman who carries a purse, two phones, house and car keys, pen, perfume and lipstick I could not fit everything into the bag. The charger would be useful in an emergency but does not eliminate the need to carry chargers. With two phones, an iPad and Apple Watch with me when working, I usually have at least two or three things to charge at the end of every day, each with different cables, which the bag is not big enough to hold. This is an expensive bag, which looks the part but doesn’t provide the function. I would not recommend it to someone looking for a handbag with a charger – a better alternative is to use your usual bag and invest in a small mobile charger for when one of your devices needs a battery boost.
Ann Watson is a fellow of the IoD
Head of HR, HCP
What Emily Leather Tote bag, Carnaby London, £120
I didn’t have any expectations of the handbag prior to receiving it so I was pleasantly surprised to see that it looks smart and elegant. On closer inspection it also has excellent fittings and interior so the overall impression was one of luxury and style. I did find its size quite restrictive for work as not all my required documentation was on my tablet, so I had to carry my A4 paperwork separately. The charger is small and discreet and charged my devices quickly and easily. The handbag has a special pocket where you place your device for charging to keep it away from the rest of the bag’s contents, which was useful and allowed for easy access. It did run out of battery quite quickly though and took some hours to recharge. It was a good feeling to know that I had a back-up handy so I didn’t have to worry about usage and battery life when travelling to my various work locations and meetings – so that was a great advantage. Overall I found it useful and attractive but it didn’t quite suit my business needs.
Karen Fisher is a member of IoD London
Managing partner, VSH Law
What Power Purse, Smith & Canova, £70
First impressions of the bag were that it is made from high-quality leather in a plain but stylish design. There is no special set-up needed – just plug and charge [iPhone adaptors must be bought separately]. Charging of the internal battery via the USB cable in the side of my laptop was a speedy process and progress was obvious through the light display on the battery. The built-in battery sits in a sealed section with clearly visible lights showing charging progress through the lining. Charging my phone from the internal battery pack was also speedy and was enough to fully charge my phone. However, don’t charge your phone inside the bag if you are carrying lipstick as it releases heat (mine melted!). Whether for emergency top-ups or for one full recharge, this should be adequate for all but the heaviest user. Be mindful of the need to charge the internal battery after each use. I’d recommend this bag for evenings, but also daily use if you like to travel light and have limited opportunities to charge your phone on the go.
Rhona Rowland is a member of IoD East Midlands