The North Face has since updated its most popular touchscreen gadget compatible hand gloves since the Etip Glove's first introduction a few years ago. As you're all aware, it's cold outside and winter is in full swing at most parts of the world including here in L.A. The weather outside is bone-shivering cold and the recent heavy winds haven't helped either. This cannot stop me from using my beloved iPhone out in the cold any longer. In case you've had enough of your hands and fingers freezing or your gloves just not playing nice with your touchscreen device; fear no more! The North Face's latest and greatest, the Etip Glove, should just do the trick. More after the jump!
The North Face's Etip Gloves come in wide range of different sizes and are available in gray, black and navy blue for $40 and come with a large logo on each free of charge. As other gloves pride themselves with endless padding and materials, the Etip Gloves are fairly thin and extremely form fitting like a pair of latex gloves. After slipping these on I really loved the way they contoured to each and every curve of my aerodynamically shaped hands making them look better than ever. These gloves are unisex styled and look really good on both males and females. It's worth noting that you should look for one size smaller than usual since these are able to stretch four ways and you want to have the tightest fit possible. I wouldn't call myself a glove aficionado, but the Etip Gloves are one of the most comfortable gloves I've worn. The material reminds me a lot of neoprene.
Our touchscreen and other touch sensitive gadgets were all designed to solely work based on inputs from your bare fingers so that's why regular gloves aren't going to cut it. Of course there are styluses and other conductive materials which will work instead. If you want to keep on texting, gaming, tweeting and oh yeah make phone calls out in the freezing cold without losing a finger to a gnarly frost bite, you gotta have the right gear for the task at hand. The Etip Gloves will let you do all that plus keep your hands warm and cozy. Or so they say. Touchscreen friendliness is boldly depicted by a power symbol on the top of the index finger so now everyone will ask you questions about these.
What makes the Etip Gloves work with touchscreen devices is a technology The North Face calls Xstatic. Both your index finger and thumb on each side of the Etip Gloves have this silver fiber tips which lets you fully use any capacitive and resistive touchscreen device including trackpads and touch-sensitive click-wheels. I've testing the Etip Gloves using the iPhone 4S as well as the Magic Trackpad, Magic Mouse and the built-in trackpad on a MacBook and found that I was able to use these devices as if I were using my bare fingers. There's absolutely no interference between touch sensitivity on any of these devices.
There is however, a learning curve that comes with using gloves such as these. Typing with my thumbs wasn't very precise as using my index finger to type on the iPhone's vertical keyboard. You're going to find texting and typing emails very difficult in these at first. But simple tasks like making phone calls, dialog numbers playing Angry Birds, tapping on links and quick Google searches is easily manageable. And because you've got both thumb and index finger covered with that Xstatic material, you can use limited Multi-Touch gestures as well.
Unfortunately, this is where the tiny bit of good comes to an abrupt end. While the Etip Gloves are covered with a silicone grip pattern on the palms that should help you with grip, I found that grip is extremely lacking. The dotted silicone grid isn't grippy enough to give you a secure felling of when you're holding your phone or even going about simple tasks like opening a bottle cap and lifting a drink. What's more is that The North Face totally skipped on adding those silicone dotted grips to the rest of your fingers which are even more useless for getting any traction whatsoever. You can never have enough grippy dots The North Face!
As anyone would in their rightful mind expect out of a pair of winter gloves, the Etip Gloves are the first gloves that I've worn which don't actually warm your hands and fingers. Although The North Face vaguely claims they should provide you with warmth, my hands were as cold as a pair of icicles even after an hour of wearing them in only 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. That's far from freezing temperatures, so I could only imagine how worse it can be for others living in places where it snows and having to use gloves in order to keep their hands warm. I was only able to feel at most a 10% increase of warmth when wearing the Etip Gloves. And that's not acceptable.
In conclusion, the Etip Gloves are far from being on our recommendation list. We expect warmth and a whole lot more grip from touchscreen-friendly gloves, and sadly the Etip Gloves deeply disappoint in that regard. On the other hand, The North Face does know how to make a good looking pair of comfortable to wear gloves. I can only hope these go back to the drawing board. As for you, you'll be better off using your favorite pair of gloves and a good stylus until we review another pair of gadget-friendly gloves.