Isotoner smarTouch Diamond Grid Fleece Lined Touchscreen Gloves

2_5stars

Isotoner – smarTouch Fleece Lined Touchscreen Gloves (2012)

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Price: $15.95 - $31.50 (list price $42.00)

The Isotoner smarTouch Diamond Grid Gloves (Fleece Lined) are warm, comfortable, and well constructed, but they underperform in their touchscreen capacity.

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ISOTONER, once known as the Aris Glove Company, has been making gloves since 1910.  With over 100 years of experience under their belt, they know gloves like Tony Soprano knows marinara.  Unfortunately, this century of institutional knowledge has not translated seamlessly into the company’s foray into capacitive touchscreen glove market (at least with this model).

The Isotoner smarTouch Gloves (Fleece Lined) are warm, comfortable, and well constructed, but they under perform in their touchscreen capacity.

Conductivity

Isotoner uses a silver conductive thread which is embroidered into just the thumb and index finger of each glove.  For single-tap or single-swipe interactions (like answering a phone call) they are sufficient, but for more involved maneuvers such as typing a text or entering an address into a maps app, this model of glove is a bit clunky and do not perform well due to design issues (detailed below).  Some models of gloves from Isotoner have conductive material in three fingers, while others have the material throughout the entire glove.

Construction

The gloves are very well constructed and sturdy, combining a nylon/polyurethane back with a very comfortable fleece.  Plus, Isontoner will replace the gloves with a similar item for one year from purchase if the materials or workmanship prove defective.  Isotoner has made a great glove, just not a great conductive glove.

Warmth and Dexterity

If nothing else, these gloves are warm.  The fleece lining is comfortable and they are rated as ‘Medium Warmth’ in Isotoner’s online Glove Lining Warmth Ratings.  The warm material is a tradeoff with the dexterity of the glove, but this is inevitable and not at all a reflection of the workmanship.

Design

As capacitive touchscreen gloves, these gloves could benefit from some improvements.  Indeed, one gets the impression that ISOTONER  repurposed a good pair without the design additional consideration that must go into conductive gloves.

First, the undyed conductive thread is its original silver color and screams “I am a touchscreen glove”.  While this was okay for the first couple of years that touchscreen gloves were on the market, and is still fine for inexpensive gloves now, in higher end conductive gloves it feels a bit tacky and outdated.

Second, the design of the conductive area is problematic. The ridges of the surrounding fleece extend above the height of the actual conductive material, so the fact that the conductive material is pinched in and ‘focused’ at the tip of the finger (presumably to give the impression of precision) is moot.  Additionally, the two arrows on each conductive finger pad do not add to the functionality of the glove, rather they look like an attempt at ‘high tech’ ornamentation.

Finally, ISOTONER neglected to take into consideration how users interact with smaller touchscreen devices such as phones.  Instead of placing the conductive material on the tip and inside of the thumbs, where people touch the screens (especially when typing), it runs only through the middle and top.  This means the user has to conform to the glove rather than vice versa.

There is, however, one redeeming touchscreen related feature.  The palm and the three non-conductive fingers of the glove have a diamond patterned silicone grip affixed to them to help hold a touchscreen device.  While this feature could have been implemented much more effectively by using slightly stickier material, it is better than nothing.

Overall Value and Conclusion

Isotoner smarTouch Gloves (Fleece Lined) are relatively expensive, but do not perform their niche product goal well.  As a glove, they are warm, comfortable and well-constructed, but as a touchscreen compatible accessory they miss the mark.  If ISOTONER is able to successfully redesign the conductive portion of the gloves with a focus on the user instead of ‘high tech’ design, they could have an outstanding product.  At the moment, however, they are in the growing pains phase and will need some time to work out the kinks in this model.

Specs

Materials

  • Fleece
  • Polyester
  • Lycra spandex
  • Conductive material (undisclosed)
  • Nylon
  • Polyurethane

Styles

There are a number of styles available in both men’s and women’s.

Sizing

  • Men’s: med, lrg, x-lrg
  • Women’s: there are a number of similar styles for women in xtra small/small, medium/large, xtra large

Gender

  • Men
  • Women (there are a number of very similar models for women with a wide variety of style choices)

Washing

  • hand wash cold,
  • do not tumble dry,
  • do not bleach,
  • do not iron, and
  • do not dry clean.

About Isotoner

The Aris Glove Company was founded in 1910 as a manufacturer of leather gloves and knit accessories. Aris created the ISOTONER glove In the 1970’s and changed its name to ARIS ISOTONER, Incorporated. Totes and ISOTONER merged in 1997 forming the totes ISOTONER Corporation.

Conclusion Rating
Conductivity
2 stars
Construction
4 stars
Warmth
4 stars
Dexterity
3 stars
Design
2 stars
Value for Price
2 stars

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