Adding to the H2 smart clothing range, the CommEnts jacket offers a tantalising combination of style, function and technology.
Like the rucksacks in the CommEnts range, the core of the jackets operating system is the H2 control hub, operated by the left-arm mounted ElekTex smart-keypad. As before, charge the lithium-ion batteries in the hub, attach the ribbon cable to keypad and attach your iPod, and you can control your music player's functions via the sleeve.
The hub and the iPod are securely stowed away in a pocket on the left hand side of the jacket with the headphone cable being run through the special rubberised port above, to minimise the chance of water getting to the electronics. The hub also contains a Bluetooth transmitter, so your mobile phone can be paired with the player. Any inbound calls will interrupt the music being listened to and calls can be answered by a touch of the sleeve's smart-keys. Your voice can be heard via the integrated microphone in the left of the collar.
The jacket is available in hi-visibility canary yellow, a more muted dark-grey or stealthy black. The fleece lining and advanced material construction will keep the elements at bay and for added protection a detachable semi-rigid hood and a wind-cheater button up skirt have been added. The four large main external pockets all unzip upwards to reduce the chance of them accidentally opening and your possessions falling out. The under arm section also has large zip-open vents to allow the jacket to breathe better when you get overheated from your exertions. Interestingly, the cuffs have been equipped with ninja-style thumbhole neoprene extensions which, we've been informed, are to allow the wearer to use wrist protectors while snowboarding.
Gripes, well very few, the phone functions vary depending on age and type of handset you're trying to pair and even though a call-drop key is offered on the sleeve array, this doesn't work if the phone selects a ‘headset' profile when paired to the H2 unit. It's a shame it only works with the iPod, but to create a universal music player remote control system is asking too much.
Overall, a well designed piece of clothing with the added benefit of integrated iPod controls. The weather-proofing makes it well suited to the outside world, especially catering to snowboarders and skiers, whose hands will be in gloves and unable to operate fiddly electronics. The price is a little disconcerting, but if you compare it to the top-end sailing, skiing or winter jackets you aren't paying a lot more and that's without any of the integrated H2 technology.