At a Glance
Thin gloves that allow you to use an iPod Click Wheel.
Ask any active iPod user for his or her favorite iPod use, and the answer you’re likely to get will revolve around adding a soundtrack to exercise or other active pursuits: running, biking, snowboarding, etc. But here’s the thing about iPods and outdoor activities in cooler months and climates: Gloves and iPods don’t mix. Because the iPod’s Click Wheel uses capacitance — an electrical interaction between your fingertip and the Click Wheel itself — to detect the movement of your finger, glove-clad hands simply don’t elicit a response. Sure, you can press the Click Wheel’s physical buttons, but the iPod’s famous scrolling action is unavailable. (If you’ve got an iPod shuffle, which uses only physical buttons, you can stop reading now.)
PlayPoint’s new taevo gloves offer a unique solution to this dilemma by adding a special “touch” patch to the tip of the index finger and thumb of each glove that mimics the electrical properties of human fingertips. With the taevo gloves on, you can use your iPod’s Click Wheel normally. In my testing, this feature of the gloves worked very well; I noticed no real difference between my bare fingers and the taevo gloves in terms of the ability to control my iPod.
Although these special fingertips would be especially welcome by winter sports enthusiasts such as snowboarders and skiers, the first taevo offering from PlayPoint comes in the form of much thinner gloves. The company advertises the gloves as being made of “thermal stretch fabric” suitable for cool-weather activities such as running, biking, and walking rather than true winter sports. (Although they do make excellent substitutes for traditional glove liners.) The gloves remind me of the thin neoprene/nylon “running gloves” available at dedicated sporting good stores: good for keeping your hands warm in cool weather or when running or biking hard in the cold. For this purpose, they worked well in my testing, and were actually warmer that I expected. And a nice touch — no pun intended — is the silicone “dimples” on the palms and fingers that offer an improved grip.
An unknown is how the taevo gloves’ special iPod-friendly fingertips will hold up over time. I plan on using them for some long-term testing and will update this review if I notice any such degradation of functionality.
UPDATE 3/28/2006: In our original review, published in December 2005, we wondered how the taevo gloves’ iPod-friendly fingertips would hold up over time. After several months of occasional use, they held up quite well. However, we then used them as glove liners on a ski/snowboard trip, where the gloves came in occasional contact with Velcro-type fabrics. The Velcro caught the fibers of the taevo glove fingertips, which resulted in a fair amount of unraveling. The iPod-friendly fabric still works, but doesn’t look like it would make it through too many more uses of this nature. We still recommend the taevo gloves for use in cool weather or as glove liners, but we caution you not to use them in scenarios where they may come in contact with Velcro.–Dan Frakes