Texting While Ice Skating, and the Surprising Luxury of Touchscreen Gloves

Mujjo is onto something big here.

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Mujjo touchscreen gloves

Smartphones and cold weather don’t mix. When Steve Jobs reasoned that fingers were a more natural mode of interaction for the iPhone than the stylus, there was a bone-chilling trade-off involved: Every time you need to interact with the phone, you have to expose your digits to the elements to quickly tap your request. iPhone-enabled styluses and touchscreen gloves can circumvent this issue, but most gloves only offer touch capabilities in one or two fingers, while modern phones were designed with multi-touch in mind.

Enter the Mujjo Touchscreen Glove. The redesigned hand-wear is designed to enable Jobs’ original vision, where people can use their whole hand to interact with the phone while also keeping their fingers warm.

The Dutch design firm has made a name for itself with a focus on high-quality accessories, with an occasional unique twist that adds extra functionality over the competition. The firm’s leather case offers a protective pouch for credit cards, which in our previous review turned out to be a welcome addition.

I went hands-on (no pun intended) with the gloves for seven days, and came away suitably impressed — to the point where I forgot I was even wearing them.

  • Product: Mujjo Touchscreen Gloves
  • Price: $57.38.
  • Perfect for: People looking to get the most out of their face-scanning phone.

Friday

The gloves look and feel fantastic. They come in a resealable pouch, inviting the buyer to try them on and get acquainted. It uses a triple-layer top fitted with 3M’s “Thinsulate” synthetic insulation. It has a fleece fabric that stretches over the hand, with a cuff connected to the palm. Mujjo claims the cuff “seals snugly” around the wrist, but I didn’t find it particularly tight. The firm offers a size guide to print out and determine the correct fit. I chose medium based on this, and found it to be a satisfactory size.

Saturday

It’s my first time out with the gloves, and I’m already getting to grips with them. I quickly realize that these are ideal for Face ID and similar face-sensing technologies. Fingerprint scanning still doesn’t work through the gloves, and unlocking my iPhone 7 Plus is a case of either taking off the glove (defeating the whole purpose) or punching in my access code. Owners of an iPhone X, XS, XS Max or XR will be pleased by the fact they no longer have to expose their hands to the chill, as will owners of phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9, OnePlus 6 or LG G7.

Sunday

The gloves look impressive, and people will notice them. They’re not leather, but I did receive comments from people complimenting me on their design. These are definitely a cut above the sort of touchscreen gloves you find in a department store, and they strike a nice balance of smart and casual.

Mujjo's official product shot for the gloves.
Mujjo's official product shot for the gloves.

Monday

It’s Christmas Eve, and I have plans to go ice skating at a temporary open-air rink in Brighton. Fortunately, the gloves keep the cold air out from the ice and nearby sea breeze. At this point, the gloves have become so natural I don’t think twice about taking a phone call midway through the session, until an attendant skates over to get me off the phone.

Tuesday

It’s day five with the gloves, and I’m punching out text wishes while keeping out the cold on Christmas Day. Unfortunately, you will lose a little dexterity, an unavoidable by-product of putting gloves on. Mujjo has done a decent job of balancing warm gloves with an unobtrusively thin design, but you do lose some degree of dexterity. However, I must say that I never had any problems with missed inputs or hard presses, even on the tips where the fabric stitched together to make a thicker seam. It really is like poking your phone with your same fingers, but bigger.

Wednesday

It’s Boxing Day here in the U.K., and I’m out for a post-Christmas Day walk on the South Downs. At this stage I’ve been in enough situations where the gloves have come in handy, but have only really used my thumb and finger to interact with the device. That’s because touching with every finger is incredibly rare.

Mujjo's gloves come in a sleek design.
Mujjo's gloves come in a sleek design.

It’s a shame really, but not really Mujjo’s fault. Modern smartphones and tablets rarely use gestures with more than three fingers, and even two-finger ones like pinch to zoom normally offer a one-finger alternative like double tap. The app industry seems aware that multi-finger gestures just aren’t very good, and bar a few developments like the iPad’s four-finger multitasking swipe or drawing apps that enable artists to splodge out big squiggles, you’re probably not going to need to use your baby finger for tasks like making a phone call.

Thursday

Even by day seven I had to remember to keep my gloves on when using my phone. Old habits die hard, but by the end I was tapping away with the best of them. That’s perhaps the best aspect of these gloves, and a sign they can make a difference: they disrupt your daily life in a way that makes sense, removing the barrier between your hand and your phone. The multi-touch functionality is perhaps hard to appreciate, but it did make the gloves feel as if they disappear, as I never had to consider where I was holding the phone or how I used it.

Conclusion

Mujjo’s gloves are gorgeous, warm and work very well with a touchscreen. While multi-touch may have not lived up to Jeff Han’s legendary 2006 TED talk, where he used all his fingers to make puppets dance on a giant slate, the promise of being able to use all fingers removes a key barrier between the phone and the user. As far as tech products go, it’s perhaps the best promise any firm could make.

Media via Mujjo, Mike Brown/Inverse, Inverse