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JanSport LiveWire+ review, LiveWire Trinity review, iPod backpack

JanSport LiveWire+ Trinity

Gadgets Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Already having the winter apparel market cornered with their line of iPod-enabled snowboarding jackets, JanSport continues to show their love for Apple’s digital on-the-go wonder with a new collection of backpacks that range from basic mp3 capabilities to full-on Bluetooth compatibility.

The LiveWire+ design falls right in the middle, with a dual-port connection for any Apple iPod third generation and beyond, but no mobile phone connectivity. The backpack is also offered in three different models (including the sling-style Kingpin and the boxy Audio Pack), but the Trinity is by far the most practical, and can be purchased in either black, pink or orange.

At first sight, the LiveWire+ looks like any ordinary backpack, which makes it perfect for college students who spend most of their day walking around campus. Thanks to the increased comfort and support created by the AirCore Suspension running through the shoulder straps, however, the bag is also ideal for outdoor sports enthusiasts like hikers, mountain bikers and/or climbers. And while there are plenty of other bags out there that would most likely better serve either of these demographics, it’s the inclusion of iPod connectivity that makes this one of the must-own items of the year.

Placing the iPod compartment just above the shoulder straps doesn’t sound incredibly safe, but the material in the protective V-Loft pocket ensures that your iPod won’t suffer any scratches along the way. Inside the compartment you’ll find two things: a 30-pin bottom connector (which you would normally use to connect to your USB port/charger) and a 3.5mm top jack connector (for headphones). Once those are plugged in, you only have one more step: plug your actual headphones into the jack located at the top of the right shoulder strap, which isn’t well-hidden, but blends in suitably.

From here, you’re ready to go. A soft-fabric keypad is integrated into the bottom of the right shoulder strap and features a five-button command of iPod features like Play/Pause, Volume Up, Volume Down, Next Track and Last Track. All of the buttons are in perfect reach of either hand and include pictures of all the commands in case you forget. What’s also nice about the whole setup is that JanSport requires your iPod to be on “Hold” in order to work. That way, you don’t have to worry about your playlist or volume constantly changing. You can also press and hold the Play/Pause button for four seconds in order to manually turn your iPod on/off – a nice little feature for those looking to save on battery power without having to constantly open the V-Loft compartment.

It’s actually quite surprising that we’ve never seen anyone fully realize the potential of such a product until now, but JanSport has done an amazing job introducing it into the market. The only real downside to the backpack is that it is only compatible with newer iPods. Anyone with another brand mp3 player (or God forbid a first- or second-generation iPod) will be forced to pick up the low model LiveWire. Also, at just around $100 (depending on where you shop), the JanSport LiveWire+ is a hefty investment that isn’t exactly tailor-made for the struggling college student. If you do have the extra cash, however, this is one luxury item worth picking up.

Send any questions or comments to jzingale@bullz-eye.com. 

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