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When a company called G-RO hit the suddenly dense smart luggage market in late 2016, it won a prestigious Edison Award for design in the luggage category, beating out established brands like Tumi and Modobag. Now, just in time for the holiday season, G-RO has released an upgraded version of its flagship product featuring several notable add-ons. Does it merit its $399 starting price tag? Let’s take a closer look.
- 9” width x 14” length x 22” height
- 9.3 pounds (empty)
- Extra-long ergonomic handle
- Indestructible axle-less, large-diameter dual wheels
- Super strong ballistic nylon outer shell
- Impact-resistant polymer panels and waterproof bottom
- Easy-access 15’’ laptop compartment
- GPS Tile tracker
- 10,000 mAh power bank — enough to charge a single device up to 4X
- 2 built-in USB outlets
- Internal bag wiring
The most visually striking component of G-RO’s design are the two large diameter wheels ringing its bottom edges. It’s a patented, axle-less system unlike anything else you’ve used — in fact, the company prides itself on “reinventing the wheel.” Feeling it in action lends credibility to this assertion; it’s more than just marketing jargon. At first, I was concerned it would offer diminished maneuverability in comparison to a traditional four-wheel bag, but the wheels’ size and placement in relation to payload allowed for a surprising ease of motion. I was even able to wheel it up and over stairs with minimal clunkage along the way.
As for some of the benefits you won’t immediately notice: Handle length comes through in the clutch. With four set positions along the way, a range of options makes it easy to find a position that fits best with your height and leverage preferences. There are also a couple of hidden pockets between the handle housing where passports, keys and a wallet can be conveniently stashed within easy reach — and close to the model’s two fixed USB outlets. Inside, storage is straightforward, with nothing more than a couple of zip-close mesh pouches lining the walls. It lacks the modularity of some of its luxury counterparts.
The exterior shell is described by its makers as “super strong, ballistic nylon.” Many travelers swear by the hard shell option and there’s nothing about the construction here — no matter how ballistic it may be — that’s going to convince them to make the switch. It’s really a matter of personal preference. In my case, the rugged polymer along the edges made me comfortable stashing my more fragile possessions inside. The added malleability of a nylon body is too much for me to pass up, but the brand will benefit from offering a full-on hard shell in subsequent models.
In addition to merely housing power stations and GPS, the bag itself was designed with technology in mind. A 15” laptop compartment is easily accessible along the exterior; the top of the bag features a non-slip surface so you can securely prop up cell phones and tablets; and the power bank is removable in order to accommodate future upgrades without needing to throw the bag out with the outdated battery charger.
As for the Tile — which uses Bluetooth to communicate with the companion app on your smart phone or tablet — with any luck, I won’t have to test out how effective it actually is at relocating lost luggage. What I can say is that it’s easy to set up, and since it’s not permanently attached to the bag, you can elect to use it in your wallet, keys or saddled to anything else you fear is easy to lose.
While I didn’t get to fully test the claim, G-RO sells itself as water-resistant. What I can vouch for is its durability. The overall feel is rugged, yet manageable. Light, but sturdy. And each bag comes equipped with a lifetime warranty. Available in a dozen color options ranging from traditional black on black to flashy pastels in pink and yellow, G-RO is a well-conceived, if minimally marketed product. As testament to its word-of-mouth appeal, the company offers a $50 PayPal rebate to anyone who refers a friend — a welcome discount on a sizable investment. Although there is comparable luggage out there that sells for less, this product does feel well-built and will consequently may last longer than cheaper lookalikes. If only I could say the same about the digital gadgetry I’ll be storing inside it.
All images courtesy of G-RO
What’s your carry-on of choice? Let us know in the comments, below.
This post was updated on October 16 to include the weight of the suitcase.
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