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The Guru

Review: KIT4 Magic Gloves

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The Guru

Recently our friends at Clove Technology gave customers an unusual offer, a free pair of Bluetooth Gloves (worth £10) when you placed an order over £25 inc VAT. This seemed intriguing as they are described as:

Ultimately they are like a normal pair of gloves in that they keep your hands warm and protected from the cold, but these allow you to take phone calls without needing to access your phone and take your hands out of the gloves.After a simple setup procedure you can comfortably take calls by holding your thumb to your ear and index finger in front of your mouth.

These thick and warm gloves are green in colour with grey fingertips on the thumb and index finger of both hands.

The right hand glove contains a speaker in the tip of the thumb hole and a microphone in the tip of the index finger hole.

On the collar of the glove is a black panel with a power and call button. These can be used for switching on and off the Bluetooth gloves and answering a call.

So I approached Clove to see if they would be willing to supply a pair for a mini-review! Needless to say a pair arrived a few days later!

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The packaging is minimal as you can see, basically a sealed plastic bag which a cardboard stiffening piece which holds a description of the gloves and gives a few technical specifications. Inside is a set of operating instructions written in 'pigeon English' and the gloves themselves.

One thing that any owners should be aware of the gloves are one size only, which I'd describe as 'medium', my hands are not that large and although I can get the gloves on they must be described as extremely snug. Saying that they are very comfortable and the tight fit does allow you to do work with the gloves without any problems of having space in the glove tips without any finger in there.

The concern here is that once the gloves are on the hand significant effort is needed to pull them off again. The amount of force involved causes the fingers to stretch and elongate and this is likely to damage the wiring internal to the powered glove.

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The light grey finger tips are constructed of a slightly different material which allows interaction with capacitive touch screens. As a Lumia 930 / 950XL owner however (which have glove friendly screens) all fingers worked for me when working with the phones but the grey tipped fingers did seem to be slightly more accurate. The glove material itself looks to be double knitted and they do keep the hands / fingers warm on a cold winters day.

Before getting round to actually using the gloves the manual was perused which caused a certain level of hilarity as the English used was obviously translated from another language (Chinese?) and it looks like an automatic translation system was used with no manual correction carried out afterwards:

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It should be noted that only the 'right handed' glove is 'powered', then again it could be worn on the left hand but the control panel would then be on the inside of the wrist.

A micro-USB lead (not supplied) was plugged into the port on the glove:

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The multi-function LED on the control panel flashed red to indicate it was charging. Charging was completed after 2 3/4 hours when the LED stopped flashing.

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Pressing and holding the 'power' button for 5 seconds caused the LED to rapidly flash blue and put the gloves in pairing mode (I didn't see the red LED flash at all - contrary to the manual).

The Lumia 950XL detected the gloves as KIT4:

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and on tapping the 'pair' option (entering 0000) the gloves were successfully paired:

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The multi-function LED remained blue but flashed less rapidly which indicated a paired connection to the phone.

You can initiate a call from the phone and the gloves will be used as a microphone / speaker, there seems to be no method to initiate a call from the gloves (i.e. invoke Cortana on Windows 10 Mobile). If an incoming call is received pressing the 'phone' button will answer the call and pressing it again will terminate it.

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Once a call is in progress you have to get used to talking to your little finger with your thumb in your ear. You will feel somewhat strange at first and will get some strange looks from folk around you!

Be warmed wives in particular seem to find the gloves extremely amusing!

Call quality, as seen from the caller at the other end, was good with the call being clear and of decent volume. The call at the glove end was not so good as my speech was fed back to me via the earpiece with a very slight delay which made the conversations painful. I've no ideas here if this was expected of whether my gloves are faulty.

Battery life seems to be good as I've worn the gloves four times this week (but only had two phone calls), and there is was plenty of power left, with recharging time taking just over 10 minutes.

Pros:

:tu: Double knitted for warmth

:tu: Good battery life

:tu: If you are outdoors they do allow you to receive calls and leave the phone in the pocket

Cons:

:td: Only one size

:td: Voice echo in the earpiece when making a call

:td: No way to initiate a call

:td: Poor instruction manual

Conclusion:

In the end I'd consider the gloves a fun item to play around with but the concerns as to the longevity of the life of the internal wiring (due to stretching while removing the gloves), and the echo problem when making a call stop them being used seriously. However, that said if out for a walk in the country-side in winter then yes I'd use them to avoid struggling through layers of clothing to get at the phone.

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The Guru

Grin the scariness of the last photo!

A pity the technology is not better as the idea I can see being workable!

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Michael_Mcr

In all seriousness, it is an ingenious use of Bluetooth and Touch tech and i am sure it will be spot-on usefull for some people. 

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The Guru

If the gloves were a bit larger and didn't have the echo problem I'd see them as a very useful addition to the mobile armoury.

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fowljr

I think I am speechless too. As you say Mike, a novel use for Bluetooth and quite functional, reminding me of the remade Total Recall movie where the phone is embedded in your hand!! I don't think I'll be buying a pair though!! :-)

 

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The Guru

If the echo problem was resolved then they'd be cool. There is also the issue that you can't use headphones while utilizing the gloves.

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