It's always worrying to think that others are having more fun while you're stuck in the office slaving for the ‘Man'. In this case, the team from Exspect, who are more like the club reps for 18 to 30, than luggage designers, this is doubly true, because they are!
With summer already in their mind Expact have launched their Funbag range. These compact music player carriers are designed to entice the ‘lads n' lasses' heading to warmer climes, to take their tunes with them. The Funbags offer a safe environment for precious players, at the same time adding in portable speakers so you can share you music taste with your mates.
The largest of the new range, the 80085, has leant heavily on the mentality of the FHM and Loaded magazine crowd in both it playful appearance, and even it's name (type the 80085 into a calculator and then turn the screen upside down and think of math's classes when you were about 12). Once unzipped the Funbag has two distinct compartments, separated internally by securely zipping neoprene divider. The top compartment offers access to the reverse of a pair of NXT's, wafer-thin, DML technology speakers, powered by a 3 AA batteries giving about 8 hours of continuous play. Each speaker only outputs 3 Watts RMS, but in this case the sonic result was a surprising amount of noise.
The bottom compartment, on the right, offers a secure location for MP3 or a portable CD players, while on the left there is a set of splash-proof CD-sleeves, holding up to 6 discs. If the sleeves are not required they can simply be removed and the area used for storage of keys, wallets and mobile phones, all safe and out of sun and sea. The whole bag then has an outer zip that seals everything away, so it can be picked up and carried around with the 2-way neoprene strap offering a number of carriage options, depending on preference.
Furthermore, included inside the Funbag is an inflatable headrest, akin to the sort of thing you get proffered by trolley dollies on a long-haul flights. Once inflated this can then be attached to the bag by an integrated ‘Y' shaped yoke that positions the headrest directly over the speakers, so all you have to do is lie down with your favorite sounds playing gently beneath you.
When the bags are released in May, they will be available in black only, which might get rather warm in sunny climates. As the speaker volume is controlled by the device playing, you have to unzip the Funbag, and then unzip the section with the player inside to alter either volume of the track being played, which can be a bit of a faff, and should be worked on.
Overall the Funbag is the sort of thing that makes sharing music a mobile proposition. As the speaker input is simple headphone jack, virtually any device can be attached, as not to limit the product to just the iPod generation. If remote external access to the volume and track advance feature could be perfected that would be a nice enhancement ahead of the big launch.