55cm Prodigy Spinner — Samsonite goes smart

Samsonite have upped their smart luggage game with the latest version of the Prodigy suitcase line.

No, not the old Samsonite 6683 model, also named Prodigy and released in 2016. This new model is the latest Samsonite Prodigy a 55 cm expandable smart luggage packing several features.

Here we’ll take a look at all the smart features available, and have an in-depth review of the new Samsonite Prodigy.

Which one to buy? — Samsonite Prodigy Spinner Expandable 55 cm

Samsonite’s Prodigy comes in four sizes, but our pick of the bunch is the 55 cm expandable version. It’s small enough to fit as a carry-on, on virtually all airlines (32 at current count).

However, discreetly hidden behind the main compartments zip is an additional zip mechanism and fabric. This enables the case to be expanded to fit in more when checking in your luggage or travelling with an airline with larger hand baggage sizes.

Prodigy smart features

samsonite prodigy 55cm exp smart features

Bluetooth tracking

The Samsonite Prodigy comes with a dedicated interior pocket holding a Bluetooth Tile Mate tracking cube. This handy little feature means that you can track — and even ring — your luggage!

The Bluetooth Tile Mate enables you to ring the Samsonite Prodigy luggage when you are within 200 ft (61 m) perfect for locating which part of the garage / loft you have packed it away behind!

However, arguably far more useful for smart luggage is the Tile Mate’s function as a tracking device. The free app enables you to see exactly where your Prodigy luggage last was, by using crowdsourced locating.

This works great at places with huge amounts of footfall, like airports, and means the device uses significantly less power than GPS devices. If your luggage gets lost or doesn’t make the plane — you will be the first one to know. It’s one of those smart luggage features that you rarely use, but when you need it, it makes such a huge difference.

The device fits in a dedicated compartment within the front pocket of the Samsonite Prodigy, and replacement devices — or upgrades to the Tile Pro — can be purchased from Tile Mate. The battery should last a year as is now replaceable (a previous complaint for original generation devices being that they were single use only)

bluetooth tile mate tracker samsonite prodigy 55cm expandable

Removable power-pack

Inbuilt power packs in smart luggage versus manufacturers implementing the USB cabling and leaving you to choose a power pack is a debate that been done before on our smart features guide.

samsonite prodigy 55cm front pocket showing battery and tile mate

With this Prodigy luggage model, Samsonite has arguably got the best of both worlds.

They provide a battery pack and interwoven cabling. You can then choose to upgrade.

There is an inbuilt pocket — stitched to the correct size for a power pack — alongside cabling and a neat rubber covered USB power socket on the exterior of the smart luggage. This allows you to charge your devices without opening the case.

The supplied power pack is the Xtorm Travel model, with an older 12W USB connector and a newer 15W USB-C connector to charge your devices. The removable power pack is 6000 mAh, so while slightly less than the 10,000 mAh found in the Horizn Studios M5, should still fully charge a smartphone twice and fully charge a laptop at least once.

You can buy exact replacements from solarpowersupply, however the great thing about dedicated pockets and cabling is that you aren’t committed to the manufacturers choice of power pack. There’s flex for more room in the dedicated pocket, and you could fit a significantly more powerful battery pack if you desired.

Dedicated device storage

Samsonite have got onboard with a trend started by newer luggage upstarts — decent sized front pockets for dedicated device storage.

If you haven’t used a suitcase with a front pocket like this before, the first time you do you’ll wonder why it took so long to become a thing! With virtually everyone taking some form of smart device onboard now, easy access front pockets so that you don’t have to open up the whole suitcase to grab your tablet on the plane or remove your laptop at security make a world of difference.

samsonite prodigy 55cm review expandable usb socket

Interior cabling to the supplied USB socket means you don’t have to mess around opening your suitcase to charge your devices.

samsonite prodigy 55cm expandable spinner front pocket open

The expandable Samsonite Prodigy has one of the largest front pockets around, virtually covering the entire front of the case.

This means its particularly good if you have any bulky tech or work laptops — up to 16.4 inches laptops fit comfortably. There is also a pouch for up to 10-inch tablet device too, and plenty of pockets for cables and smart accessories.

One thing that’s frequently left off other smart luggage, is the ability to lock the front pocket. As it’s got all your devices in — it’s arguably the compartment you most want secure. That’s not an issue here, as the Samsonite Prodigy has a central TSA approved lock, that fits all four zips enabling you to lock the main case and the front device pocket.

The pocket itself is a very sturdy construction, with a little padding between the interior dividers, so your tech will stay safe.

Quick stats and video overview

Samsonite vs Away vs Horizn Studios?

At thrillofthecase we love all things smart luggage, and frequently enjoy new brands coming onto the scene and improving the overall smart luggage standard.

However, there are some risks with new brands — especially kickstarter and new crowdfunded startups — and it’s great to see the big luggage brands responding and putting out their own smart tech.

Here’s a quick comparison to see how Samsonite’s Prodigy 55cm expandable compares to two newer startups — with highly rated bags in the same size and feature category — Away Travel and Horizn Studios.

All three of the brands suitcases have similar styles and features, so we’ve looked at three differentiators that will affect your day to day use and ownership:

  • Weight (some airlines have strict hand baggage weight limits)
  • Internal Volume (its always nice to be able to pack more in)
  • Refunds & Warranties (incase of airline damage or dissatisfaction)

While the plush interior linings and stylish looks are a fantastic feature of more instagram friendly luggage brands, Samsonite has focused on functionality. By keeping the polycarbonate hard case to the minimum thickness and only providing interior padding in the dedicated smart device pocket, the Prodigy comes up favourably in both the weight and interior size stakes.

Comparing Samsonites Prodigy to similar bags from newer smart luggage manufacturers we can see a clear winner in the functionality stakes.AWAYs Carry-On with pocket, and Horizn Studios M5 both have similar smart features and are a virtually identical size. Samsonite manages to come in significantly lighter than both weights, weighing 2.8 kg versus 4 kg for AWAYs Carry-On with pocket and 3.6 kg for the Horizn M5.

Brand / ModelWeight
Samsonite Prodigy 55cm Expandable2.8 kg
Away Travel Carry-On with pocket (55cm)4 kg
Horizn Studios M5 (55cm)3.6 kg
Smart luggage weight comparison

When looking at interior space — where Samsonite have opted for a quality but slimline interior padding — the contrast is even more stark. The interior space of the case comes in at 40L versus, 33L for the Horizn Studios M5 and 38L for the Away Carry-On with pocket. That’s before we count the fact that the Samsonite Prodigy is expandable, enabling you to fit significantly more in for those longer business or leisure trips.

samsonite prodigy 55cm expandable review interior open displaying straps and zipper
Brand / ModelVolume
Samsonite Prodigy 55cm Expandable40 Litres
Away Travel Carry-On with pocket (55cm)38 Litres
Horizn Studios M5 (55cm)33 Litres
Smart luggage volume comparison

Some people will prefer the plushly lined interiors and sleeker styling of the newer smart luggage brands. However, when it comes to business travellers lugging their suitcases around day-in-day-out, the weight and space gain of the Samsonite looks preferable.

When you buy a Samsonite suitcase, you know it will be built to last. They’ve been making them for over 100 years! You also have the added security that the brand isn’t going anywhere. Samsonite offers a 5-year worldwide warranty with the Prodigy spinner.

samsonite prodigy 55cm expandable spinner wheels

You also have piece of mind that they have the basics right. G-RO luggage had fantastic wheels and smart tech, but suffered with manufacturing consistency.

With this Samsonite Prodigy, you really are getting the best of both worlds — modern design and smart functions, paired with expert construction and manufacture.

Having said all of that — while the chances of Samsonite going bust are arguably slimmer than the newer manufacturers — they actually come up short on the warranty stakes. Both newer brands offer 100 day returns, and Away Travel offers a limited lifetime warranty, as opposed to the Samsonite and Horizn Studios limited 5 years.

BrandWarranty
Samsonite14 days / Limited 5 years (Global)
Away Travel100 day return / Limited lifetime
Horizn Studio’s100 day return / Limited 5 years
Smart luggage warranty comparison

Samsonite Prodigy Spinner — Review summary

The Samsonite Prodigy 55 cm expandable is a really solid case combining great functionality with smart features.

samsonite prodigy 55cm expandable spinner review

It’s taken longer than it should for more traditional brands to embrace smart luggage, but this case is a perfect example of why when they do — it’s a great combination. The dedicated device storage here is the largest in its class, and its one of the few carry on suitcases that comfortably holds laptops larger than 15 inches.

While the case doesn’t have an integrated battery with slick one-touch removability that some brands offer, the dedicated smart charger pocket has the advantage that you can swap it out for a more powerful replacement — and you aren’t stuck with whatever removable battery the manufacturer is offering.

GPS tracking is a great feature, and it’s nice to see it included in this smart luggage. The main interior compartment of the Prodigy spinner is sparser and less plushly finished than some alternatives. However, Samsonite’s knowledge in quality manufacturing has led to a lightweight construction that leaves more room for packing and weighs significantly less than rivals.

A 5-year guarantee, solid construction, renowned luggage manufacturer, and decent smart features, mean you really can’t go wrong with the Samsonite Prodigy.

  • Best in class front storage size + lockable
  • More space and less weight than rivals
  • Upgradeable GPS and removable battery
  • Sparse interior compartment
  • Wish the standard power pack was better (6000 mAh)