Plevo smart luggage — 2021s best high-tech luggage

Sometimes half measures won’t do. Since Bluesmart collapsed with the banning of integrated battery bags in 2017, there has arguably been a void in fully-featured smart luggage development.

Bags have trended towards less smart features, with loosely integrated removable batteries. And, there has been a trend away from all-in-one featured packed bags — with manufacturers instead providing features through smart accessories and add-ons.

Not any more.

With every Series One bag packed with smart tech, Plevo is arguably the most high-tech luggage you can buy in 2021.

Who are Plevo?

Starting life as an Argentinian-designed, kickstarter in June 2018, Plevo is now a fully-fledged smart luggage company.

They have a wealth of products from smart backpacks and accessories to their original Series One smart luggage.

We arrived to revolutionise the outdated travel industry by combining beautiful and innovative design and product engineering at a reasonable cost.

Plevo — Brand values
Plevo smart luggage logo

The brands mix of ultra-high-tech smart luggage was wildly successful in crowdfunding rounds. Aiming to raise $50,000 they hit their funding targets in just under 30 hours and went on to raise over 6 times that amount with their campaign for the Series One luggage.

The brand is based in Miami, Florida but ship their products globally.

The top Plevo pick — The Runner

There are 3 suitcases in Plevo’s Series One range:

  • The Runner
  • The Infinite
  • The Up
plevo the runner black and gold

While The Up is arguably the most innovative — it combines and inbuilt hanging system for your clothes — our top pick has got to be The Runner.

I’ve made no secret of my preference for carry on bags, and Plevo’s The Runner is a carry-on, 4-wheeled spinner absolutely packed full of tech.

The Runner — 3 Smart features

Inbuilt smart locking

Both compartments on the Plevo Runner — the main section and the slimline rear device storage section sport Plevo’s inbuilt smart locks.

plevo the runner faceid app unlocking

This locking system is arguably the smartest of any bag on the market.

There are a total of 5 ways to unlock your bags. Yes, FIVE.

  1. Physical keys
  2. TSA approved lock
  3. FaceID
  4. Fingerprint unlocking
  5. Morse Code

FaceID and Fingerprint unlocking are used via the app with devices that support those features. To use Morse Code there is a dedicated button by the lock, alongside a flashing LED indicated. You tap the morse code e.g 1, 4, 4, 1 while waiting in between digits for the light to extinguish to tap the next digit. It’s slightly cumbersome but easier than it sounds — there’s a good explanatory video here.

Self-weighing suitcase

A really useful smart feature, the entire Plevo smart luggage range have a self weighing feature:

  • Simply open the bags app, and it will direct you to lift the bag by its top handle
  • The inbuilt sensors then detect the weight of the bag
  • The bags latest weight is stored and displayed on the app for you

With virtually all airlines having very hefty charges for overweight luggage, this is arguably my favourite feature of the Plevo Runner, and something that you will use all the time.

It’s nice to know that your bag falls under weight limits before you travel — and avoids last minute repacking on the airport floor!

Anti-theft alerts and GPS tracking

plevo the runner smart luggage app

There’s no need for a GPS bag tag or add-on smart accessories here.

The Plevo Runner comes with an inbuilt sim card, and offers a very advanced set of bag tracking features.

Using GPS, local Wi-Fi networks, or Bluetooth the Plevo Runner app gives you the ability to track your bag anywhere in the world. The sim works in 190 counties, so unlike some bags that offer crowdsourced locating — only working in busy places — you get pinpoint GPS accuracy wherever you are.

The downside to this — and indeed all GPS tracking — is that the added accuracy involves an ongoing cost. While the first year of tracking for Kickstarter backers was free, for those buying directly from the Plevo shop there is only 3 months free, and after that, the subscription costs $9.99 a year for GPS. That’s actually quite reasonably though, and cheaper than many add-on GPS tracking subscriptions.

Another bonus is the bluetooth tracking allows you to set luggage alerts. Useful when you’re in the airport and loosely keeping an eye on your luggage. Your phone will immediately alert you with an alarm if anybody begins to walk off with your Runner.

Useful features

Aside from the wealth of smart features, Plevo’s The Runner bag is thoughtfully designed to ease your travel experience.

  1. Stay topped-up with inbuilt battery packs
  2. Securely lock away your smart devices
  3. Prolong your bags life and easily swap out the wheels
plevo smart luggage removable Battery Pack

Easily detachable power pack

There is an 8,000 mAh battery pack with USB-C, USB micro and USB quick-charging for your high-tech devices.

This battery pack is fully removable so is compliant with all airlines.

Depending on your individual devices battery sizes, 8,000 mAh should give you at least 1 – 2 tablet or laptop charges and several phone charges.

The power pack slots into a small compartment at the upper rear of the bag and this not only provides power to recharge your devices but also to power the smart features of the bag itself. You can do both simultaneously.

This inbuilt power is what allows the bag to provide such a wealth of smart features — similar to the original bluesmart luggage — however the modern easily removable battery format ensures this case is completely legal.

What happens if the battery goes flat, or I have to check my bag and remove the battery?

It’s a good question, and here Plevo have quite literally thought of everything. There is a small backup battery — that isn’t lithium-ion — located in the interior of the suitcase.

As this battery is Nickel ion, and is very low power at 1200mAh it is approved for check in bags, and it acts as a backup to keep the digital locks powered and to allow you to continue tracking your bag. Smart.

Smart device storage

The Plevo runner actually comes with a free laptop sleeve, and there are replaceable sleeves available on the website. It holds a 13-inch MacBook comfortably, although you may struggle with larger laptops.

This laptop sleeve is for use in the special rear compartment of the bag. Unusually, Plevo have used created a dedicated device storage space at the rear of the bag — unlike the front pockets sported on many tech-friendly suitcases.

plevo the runner smart locks

Lots of luggage with dedicated tech pockets have soft exteriors. The great thing with this is that the tech pouch is a hard case, and really feels safe to keep your tech devices in there. It’s also hidden behind one of the Plevo Runners digital locks, so you know your tech is exceptionally safe.

The only downside to this compartment is it is a very slimline storage. Without the laptop sleeve on you’ll be able to safely store a 15-inch laptop but particularly bulky models or anything larger than that won’t fit here.

plevo the runner removeable wheels

Detachable wheels

When you purchase a Plevo the case actually comes without the wheels attached.

Four small buttons by the wheels allow you to quickly attach and detach the wheels.

plevo the runner smart luggage wheels multiple colours

Plevo say that damaged wheels is the most broken feature on spinner suitcases — and it’s certainly something that’s happened to me in the past — so it’s nice to be able to replace the wheels.

You can buy extra sets on the website, and mix and match colours to personalise the case’s appearance.

One unadvertised feature is that for some of the more stringent airlines — who use slightly smaller bag gauges — you can actually sneak the size of the suitcase down slightly by removing the four wheels. This is a handy feature and has allowed me to escape a particular small baggage gauge without being forced to check the bag in!

Plevo The Runner — Review Summary

plevo the runner black and gold

This is arguably the most high-tech luggage available on the market today.

Plevo luggage truly is featured packed, and this level of tech is rarely found among other smart luggage brands. As a result, Plevo won the reddot smart product award in 2020.

There are a few minor downsides, as an example, the case weighs nearly 5 kg which is quite heavy. However, this is a trade off for the level of features The Runner has. Equally, while the dedicated device storage is great — it is only really suitable for 13-inch devices and below.

The rear pocket adds a key feature that I missed on the Horizn Studios luggage, the ability to safely lock your devices away. This smart lock combined with the polycarbonate exterior of the device pocket means that your smart devices are not only easy to access, but they feel very safe and secure.

GPS tracking and self-weighing luggage are two of my top smart luggage features, and they really help to make travelling with the Plevo Series One luggage a breeze.

The Plevo Runner is costly, but overall, it’s a great product. While The Runner and the rest of the smart luggage products offer fantastic innovation, the brand are also expanding into smart backpacks and smart luggage accessories. This can only be a good thing, and as a smart luggage brand, it’s exciting to see where Plevo go next.