8 January 2015

REVIEW: Touch screen gloves

Warm fingers, message sent.

We've all been there; you're at the bus stop, in the freezing cold, and you phone chirps. You pull it from your pocket to read the message, only to find that your gloved hands are useless on the touch screen. Damn you modern technology, with your need for conductive surfaces! If only there were a pair of gloves that you keep on all day in the cold and still be able to use your mobile or tablet. There is, several in fact, and we've tested two such pairs.

To see if there is actually a difference in the many different brands and types of touch screen gloves out there, we had a go with the Isotoner Smartouch Gloves (from Firebox.com) and the Proporta Touch Screen Gloves. Fortunately we have an abundance of touch screen gadgets and, thanks to the seasonal tilt of the planet, a crap-load of cold weather. Mitts on!

First up, the Isotoner gloves. These come in sizes for both men and women (although the chaps get just black, whereas the ladies can choose from black, grey and pink) and feature a suede trim on the palms. The thumb, index and middle finger tips are woven through with what we can only assume is the conductive filament, which gives the gloves a subtle Minority Report feel. Therefore, while standing at the bus stop, we were also able to detect several pre-crimes. Win.

The gloves are comfy and certainly warm enough to keep your digits toasty for long periods of time, but how about actual use on a phone? In practice we found the Isotoner Smartouch Gloves were effective about 95% of the time, with the occasional blip where we pressed and nothing happened. We found them pretty good for typing, although as the gloves are quite thick they tend to make your finger tips wider, therefore expect the odd incorrect keystroke.

Next up, the Proporta Touch Screen Gloves. These come in just one size with a choice of either beige or pink colour. Just like the ones from Firebox, these gloves feature highlighted first-three fingertips, but we can't see any actual conductive filament woven in. There's no suede grip on the palms, but the Proporta gloves feel ever so slightly thicker there than the Isotoner pair. Because of this, they are reversible.

Due to the unisex sizing, the Proportas felt a little tighter on our big man hands, but not at all uncomfortable. Because of that slight stretch our fingertips were thinner and the gloves seemed to make our typing a little more responsive. Also, because of the reversible quality of the gloves, pulling them from your pocket and slipping them onto your hands is quick and easy.

So, out of the two, we'd have to push for the Proporta pair. Giant-handed people might have trouble getting them on, but for most of us the thinner fingers make for far better typing.

Istoner Smartouch Gloves: £14.99 from www.firebox.com

Proporta Touch Screen Gloves: £9.95 from www.proporta.co.uk

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