Phone-Charging Purses are Here, But Are They Worth The Price?

Smartphone addicts — aka, pretty much everyone — can relate to this scenario: You're out and about and your phone dies in the middle of your all-time best round of Candy Crush. What's a girl to do? If only you could charge it in your purse... oh wait, it's 2014 and you totally can. Phone-charging purses have arrived, y'all.

Handbags with built in chargers have been around for a while, but they are only now becoming widely available. A number of start-ups are creating models, and the options are surprisingly varied. Empowered sells a leather tote bag version, while Mighty Purse has introduced a line of wristlets in a wide range of colors. The options are pretty sleek, if a little dull, but they are also seriously pricey.

The Empowered tote, for example, retails at $289 for a simple leather tote. Sure, it's compatible with iPhones, Androids, Kindles, and iPads, so you'll never leave a device uncharged again. But you could find a nearly identical purse for half that price, only without charging capabilities. Mighty Purse is sold for $95, an outrageous cost for a wristlet that will hold maybe your phone, keys, and a lipstick. Is the cost really worth it when you can simply carry a charger with you and utilize the nearest outlet?

Smartphone technology has become ubiquitous, so developments like these are inevitable. You'll be left shelling out a lot of money for a style of bag you may only be sort of into. If phone-charging purses become more widely available, their prices will probably go down, and they will be a more feasible solution to our dead-battery woes. For now, they're still a novelty. As Eliza Brook from Fashionista puts it:

The main issue with these bags is that there just aren’t enough of them, which is more of a new market problem than anyone’s fault. Unlike with most other bags, you don’t have the option to find one that you really love — you just have to settle for whatever there is. Maybe one day in the future, when the discomfort of not having a functioning phone becomes totally unbearable to our digitized minds, all bags will come with chargers. Until then, you’re playing by someone else’s rules.

I'd argue that the price outweighs the benefits. Yes, sometimes your phone dies when you're in the subway with no outlet or charging station in sight. But most public businesses, from coffee shops to bars to cell phones stores, have outlets. If you can't survive with a dead phone for more than ten minutes, that's kind of a problem. I love my smartphone as much as the next person, but if it dies, it dies. I'll charge it when I can.