Gloves have a simple, yet critical mission: to protect and warm your hands. But the Kjus BT 2.0 Gloves do more. These smart gloves with an OLED display serve as an extension of the smartphone, so that you can always be connected while skiing without having to dig out the smartphone. We tested the Bluetooth gloves to see how useful they could really be.
- ✓Long battery life, fast charging
- ✓Efficient communication
- ✓Good workmanship, very warm
- ✕High price
- ✕Awkward placement of earpiece and microphone
Release date and price
The Bluetooth gloves from Kjus aren't exactly a bargain. The recommended retail price is $399, though some retailers might also offer them at a slightly lower price, usually not from stock, but only on request. However, really good ski gloves are not necessarily cheap even without Bluetooth technology.
Design and build quality
Lasse Kjus, the former Olympic champion and part of a golden generation of skiers from Scandinavia, has long since unstrapped his competition skis. Meanwhile, the retired champion sells a collection of ski clothing under his own name. These include the Kjus BT 2.0 gloves, which are available in different versions for men and women. But the gloves have more to offer than warm materials and a chic cut. They also pack modern technology: in the thumb we find loudspeaker at the top, and further down, a microphone. Both are waterproof and serve as a telephone handset.
Anyone who has ever skied before can guess why this makes sense: it's cold and wet, you're encumbered by layers, the smartphone is somewhere in a bag or backpack. When the bell rings, you never manage to dry your hands and dig into your pockets in time to answer the call. With the Bluetooth gloves, all you have to do is press the LED-illuminated button on the top of the glove to answer the call. In addition, the glove vibrates for incoming calls.
The workmanship is pleasing, only the component that houses the display and the battery is loosely seated in the glove and is not sewn tightly to the upper fabric layer. The cut of the Kjus gloves is sporty and tight, in my normal glove size 10 they fit me just so. The straps on the wrists are removable, the wrist area is lightly padded - practical for slalom skiers or for après-skiing. A Velcro fastener ensures a pleasant fit.
The material mix of leather and textile is convincing, not only because all surfaces look high-quality and are sufficiently resistant to snow and ice. The leather surfaces, which also cover the fingertips, are touch-ready, so you can also operate your smartphone with the gloves in an emergency.
Incidentally, the all the technology is in the right glove. However, this is not noticeable when you wear it, because the components are small, the cables are flat and everything put together is quite comfortable. Since the components are all waterproof, no one needs to be afraid of snow, wetness or ice—but that would always be a no-go for any ski gloves.
On the right glove there is a small display, just three centimeters in size. The manufacturer emphasizes that the mini display is an OLED panel. The resolution is not particularly high, but it doesn't have to be, since the screen only displays basic data: battery status, Bluetooth connection, the name of the connected smartphone, caller and phone number. This is sufficient, even in the two-color representation. The brightness is good, and the font is always clearly visible.
There is no special app for the Kjus gloves. The Bluetooth connection is established via Android, and more software is neither necessary nor available.
The Kjus gloves are only really unique because of their built-in headphones. You can even listen to music with them theoretically, but nobody will want to do that for many reasons, such as comfort, lack of shielding against ambient noise, restriction to one ear—and also sound quality. It's just not enough for music, but it doesn't have to be, as that isn't the point.
However, pure telephone calls with the glove headphones are anything but pleasant. A telephone call sounds more like a conversation with walkie-talkies and by no means as natural and pleasant as with modern smartphones. The Kjus BT 2.0 also works half-duplex, which means that while one person is talking, he or she no longer hears the other person. The volume is sufficient, but can only be adjusted via the smartphone. So, if the phone is too quiet for the current environment, you have to dig it out again.
It is also clear, however, that these gloves are not necessarily made for hours of conversation. It's about easy accessibility on the slopes and making quick arrangements, for example to the next meeting point. For this purpose, what is offered is sufficient, but not for more. Nevertheless, it is somewhat mysterious why the manufacturer did not place the microphone in the tip of the pinky finger. This would have made it possible to make phone calls more comfortably and intuitively.
The battery in the gloves is charged via a Micro USB port near the opening. The connection is housed in a sturdy plastic part. The manufacturer does not mention the exact capacity and running time, but in the test, the battery of the Kjus BT 2.0 lasts for a very long time—especially in standby mode, which is what it will be on most of the time. Charging is done via computer or power supply. This takes less than an hour via PC with a completely empty battery.
Lasse Kjus knows what a ski glove should look like and what it needs to do. In fact, the Kjus BT 2.0 is a really good pair of gloves. All in all, the technology behind it is neither particularly complex nor extraordinary—but nevertheless reasonably suitable for everyday use. The battery lasts a long time, the operation is uncomplicated and the call quality is sufficient for making quick arrangements. The Bluetooth gloves are not necessarily good for more than that, but usually that is enough. Every skier has to decide for themselves whether being relatively easy to reach on the slopes justifies a $399 price tag.