I wore Google's and Levi's $350 smart jacket for a week -- here's the verdict

Levi’s made this denim smart jacket in collaboration with Google’s Project Jacquard. It uses Bluetooth and conductive threads to communicate with a smartphone app. You can program different actions, such as a double tap on the sleeve, to do things like change your music or give you directions. Following is a transcript of the video.

Avery Hartmans: This is the Levi’s Commuter jacket, made in partnership with Google’s Project Jacquard. I’ve been testing this jacket for about a week. I wore it on a bike ride, I wore it on the subway, I wore it to walk around, and I have to say it’s a pretty great jacket. Tech aside, it fits really really well. It looks nice. It’s a great colour — this really dark denim — and I really just like wearing it. The jacket is a totally regular jacket apart from this tab on the sleeve. This tab is what powers the entire jacket. It connects to your phone using Bluetooth. It charges up by sticking in a USB port and this is what makes this jacket tech-enabled versus a pretty standard denim jacket. The other thing that’s special about this is the connected threads that are in the sleeve right here, and this basically turns your cuff into something like a touchscreen.

To get started with the jacket, you’re going to need to download an app and it lives right in the App Store. It’s called the Jacquard app and this is sort of the brains of the operation. There are five different motions that the jacket is capable of doing. It lets you double tap on the sleeve, brush out on the sleeve, brush in on the sleeve, cover the entire sleeve with one hand, and the button on the sleeve lights up depending on if you’re getting a call or text. The great thing about this jacket is that you can set those five different motions to do really whatever you want. One of the issues that I found when using the jacket is that because there are only five different controls you feel like you’re constantly changing them to do different things, which can get confusing and is honestly kind of a hassle. Google made this jacket to be for commuting and specifically for bike commuting, so they added a lot of nice features that aren’t necessarily tech features but it’s really nice to have. For me personally, I really enjoyed using this jacket. It fits really well, it does everything it’s supposed to, and there were no tech glitches when I tried it out. On the flip side of that, it’s $US350 and that’s more than I would spend on a regular jacket. So for now I don’t think I would buy it, but I do think it’s a really exciting first step into tech-enabled fabrics and tech-enabled clothing and I’m really excited to see what’s next.

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