Unlike the YSL Backpack, where the strings camouflage the belt, the white stripes of the Samsonite version contrast with the black background. This visual hint is helpful because I don’t have to feel so close to the touch-sensitive area. The crimped fabric also helps set it apart from the rest of the belt.
To attach the backpack to your phone, you will have to insert a thumb-sized dongle into the harness, just as you would the jacket. While it was a bit impractical on the end of the sleeve, this unit sits imperceptibly near the bottom of the backpack strap. The unit syncs with your phone via Bluetooth, and with the Jacquard app, you can define what the strap is doing by brushing up and down or by double clicking.
There aren’t any new tools available on the Jacquard platform – you can still just do things like skip the music, pause it, ask an assistant a question, or drop the pins to remember the places you’ve visited. I adjust swipe up to return to a song in my playlist, brush down to go to the next track and double tap to take a selfie. I’ve also chosen the dongle to go green when a message or call comes in and blue for Uber notifications.
Although I was amazed at the lack of new features, I was impressed by how responsive the Konnect-i was compared to the jacket. When I get a text message vibrate the bar to alert me before my phone shows up. With a brush on the fibers, the assistant read the contents to me, even though he left out the sender’s name oddly.
Likewise, swiping up or down to control my music was fast, and pairing the Konnect-i with my phone was easy. I also liked that when I double-taped to take a selfie, not only did I quickly pull my phone up for the camera in the Jacquard app and start a 3-second countdown, but the backpack shook side by side. Perhaps because on my shoulder and chest instead of my wrist, the vibration of the dongle felt stronger and more pronounced than on a jacket.
I also find a better Jacquard app here. For example, I’m less likely to throw a backpack into the washing machine (sometimes I do, well?) And damage the machine if I forget to remove it. Backpacks are also more versatile than jackets – whether it’s 100 degrees or 10, you can always carry a backpack. One thing that the cover does better, though, is that when the unit’s LED lights up a certain color, it is easier to see on the cover than on a backpack strap.
Despite all the improvements and benefits that Konnect-i brings, I’m not sure there are a lot of value propositions here. It may come in handy on grocery tours, bike rides, or while walking your dog. But a $ 200 smartwatch can do all the same things and more. It would be more helpful if Jacquard offered more skills, especially since it is easier to interact with the backpack strap than the wearable’s little face. As it stands, Konnect-i is a niche product that will only appeal to a limited audience.