This is a really cool iPod accesories. The Kenpo jacket lets you plug in your iPod and control it right from the sleeve of the jacket. No fumbling with gloves in the winter time to change your tunes or worrying about dropping your iPod in a mud puddle.
Here’s a review copy of one of the jackets and put it to the test over the course of a week of commuting with a 3rd generation iPod. Here’s what we experienced:
* The jacket itself is really high quality. We had the MKT-010 model. It is well made and comfortable.
* Hooking up the iPod on the inside of the jacket wasn’t 100% intuitive. We were able to plug all the connectors in correctly, but we had a hard time understanding how to put it in the inside protective pocket. We checked the pictures on the tags and on the website. We ended up bending one of the cords (the one that connects to the bottom docking slot). It would be nice if there were openings in the top and bottom of the pocket.
* There is an extra headphone guide loop about halfway up the inside of the jacket near the zipper. Very helpful! It prevents your earphones from just falling out of your jacket if you take them off.
* The controls on the arm are relatively intuitive. Once we figured out the 7-second lock functionality, we were generally able to listen to and change music. Occasionaly we would have to pull the iPod out and toggle the hold switch.
* While the controls are intuitive, the actual buttons don’t always align with the printed controls on the sleeve. It took a bit of fiddling to figure out where to press the buttons to get a result.
* Some jacket models have a protective flap over the controls on the arm. This seems to be a good idea from a security perspective. As one of the testers put it “I felt a little conspicuous standing downtown late at night fiddling with easily fence-able electronics”.
* Those of us who tested it tended to be somewhat ambivalent and felt that once you got used to it, it was a probably a useful device, depending on your lifestyle. However, our youngest tester, a 10-year old girl, loves it unabashedly and wants one immediately in her size and style!
Kenpo’s Jacket for iPod is available in 15 men’s and women’s styles, has a suggested retail price range depending on style from $89 to $189 and is available from a variety of retailers.