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Touchscreen Gloves - warm gifts for smartphone users

Video by Michael Oryl on Friday November 26, 2010.

video · accessory news · michael oryl

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If you are a smartphone user that lives in a cold part of the world, you will probably be interested in these touchscreen compatible glove solutions. We test out Isotoner's Smartouch gloves, AGloves, and the GloveTips.com kit.

If you live in a part of the world that tends to get cold during the winter, and you are one of the many people using one of those cool new touchscreen equipped smartphones, then you might already know where I am going here. Regular gloves just don't work with the capacitive touchscreen(INFO) displays used on most new smartphones these days. You can tap and swipe all day long, but you won't get anywhere.

Unless, of course, you use one of these new touchscreen compatible glove products. I took a look at three different solutions: Isotoner's Smartouch gloves ($20 to $35), Agloves ($17.99), and a conversion kit from GloveTips.com ($19.99).

The Isotoner Smartouch gloves are very traditional looking fleece lined gloves. They are fairly warm, good looking, and comfortable to wear. A big plus for smartphone wearers is that each glove has three fingers and its palm covered with a grippy material that ensures you won't drop your phone. Wearers can use both their thumb and index fingers (from either hand) to operate a smartphone, and the contact area seems to be reasonably shaped, leading to mostly accurate interactions with the phone.

The Agloves are stretchy, thin gloves that have silver thread woven throughout (hence the Ag in the name). This ensures that any part of any finger or thumb (or palm or wrist...) can be used to control a smartphone. That feature is really nice, as you can use whatever part of your finger or thumb that comes naturally. It makes them very accurate with a touchscreen. The downside is that the gloves are not particularly warm, and they are very, very slippery with glossy devices. Unless you have a ruggedized phone or some other phone with a rubber-like coating, you should be very, very careful when wearing the Agloves.

The last system I looked at was the GloveTips.com glove conversion kit. The company sent me a generic pair of men's leather gloves that I could then apply the touch sensitive glove tips to. Each kit includes a number of tips that allow you to touch enable a handful (ahem) of fingers or thumbs, as well as an installation kit. That kit includes a very nasty looking needle, which you'll see in the video. Installation for me was not that easy, and the end result is that the contact area on the tips were too small. I also was unimpressed with the need to stuff some conductive thread and cloth into the gloves.

In the end, the Isotoner Smartouch gloves offered the best suite of features for me personally. They are fairly warm, won't have you dropping your precious smartphone, and are reasonably accurate to use.

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