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This tech apparel I didn't know I needed for the winter is $300 off right now

Here's a stylish way to stay warm as the temperatures outside drop.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
UZE heated jacket, modeled by Amy Kingsley-Hughes.

UZE heated jacket, modeled by Amy Kingsley-Hughes.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The UZE heated jacket is available over on Kickstarter right now for $299, and jackets are shipping now.
  • The four seasons jacket has great heating, is waterproof and weatherproof, and comes packed with great features.
  • The power bank is a bit bulky, and the heater pads on the shoulders make wearing a backpack a bit uncomfortable. I wish the jacket could run from a standard USB-C power bank.

Winter is coming, and why go around wearing a regular jacket when you can have a heated jacket powered by a high-speed power bank that can also be used to charge your gadgets?

And what about a jacket that adjusts so you can use it all year round?

Also: How to build a winter emergency kit (and why you should)

You need to take a closer look at the UZE heated jacket -- a jacket designed to be flexible enough for four seasons' use. 

View at Kickstarter

UZE heated jacket features

  • Four heated zones
  • Three heat levels
  • Eight pockets
  • 45-minute charge, 10 hours runtime
  • Magnetic snaps
  • Waterproof
  • Four seasons
  • Detachable liner
  • Detachable snow skirt
  • Detachable hood
  • Foldable rain hem
  • Adjustable cuffs transform into fingerless gloves
  • Underarm vent 
UZE jacket features.

UZE jacket features.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET
UZE power bank features.

UZE power bank features.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

OK, I'm not a fashion guy. I'm also not normally associated with concepts such as "style," but since this jacket is packed with tech, I said that I've give reviewing this a go. And to help with this review, I recruited my daughter, Amy, to put this heated jacket through its paces. 

Also: This $300 tiny satellite communicator impressed me during an off-grid adventure

The UZE heated jacket impressed me right out of the box. In fact, the box was nice -- it presented the jacket well and made the instructions clear. Everything was also easily recyclable. 

I was expecting a simple jacket with some heating elements retrofitted into it (yes, I've seen a few prior to this one that were very disappointing), but this was not the case with the  UZE heated jacket. My first impressions were that this is a nicely designed, well-built, robust jacket featuring some super cool features.

Closeup of the cuffs

The cuffs transform into fingerless gloves!

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

And those first impressions held true the more I looked at it.

For example, the magnetic poppers that keep the front of the jacket closed are far easier than faffing about with poppers or Velcro. It also features a detachable liner for when the weather warms, under arm vents for ties when things get a bit sweaty, a detachable snow skirt for when you're not on the slopes, detachable faux fur for when you're not in the arctic, a detachable hood for warmer, drier months, and pockets for your hands and belongings.

Magnetic poppers on the front of the jacket.

Cool magnetic poppers on the front of the jacket.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Lots of pockets.

There are pockets on the arms, heated pockets, and even pockets that contain a key holder and sunglasses wiper.

Closeup of pockets

Lots of pockets!

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

To keep the wind out, the cuffs are adjustable and also feature built-in fingerless gloves for added warmth, which is a nice touch and something I've not seen on any other jacket.

Oh, and the jacket is built such that it shrugs off wind and repels rain.

It's a well-made jacket, tough, and capable of protecting the wearer from bad weather. Yet, at the same time, it is stylish no matter where you find yourself. The heated part of this jacket that intrigued me the most.

Let's start with the power pack. It is a 10,000mAh unit that charges very quickly -- under an hour -- when using a 100W charger. That can power the jacket for up to 10 hours from a 9V jack or while also keeping your phone and other devices charged using the USB-A and USB-C ports that are also built into the pack.

The jacket's power source.

The jacket's power source.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The longevity of the power bank, combined with the fast charge capability, is a huge plus point for this jacket. You could live run this jacket on a single power bank, as long as you were judicious about charging it.

As for heating, it's subtle but effective. You have two heater pads down low by the pockets. They're aimed at keeping your hands and core warm, and there are two more on the shoulders that warm your back and torso.

Pocket for a power bank

So many pockets... even one for the power bank.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

There are three heat settings (well, four if you count off), and these approximately equate to 120°F/50°C, 140°F/60°C, and 160°F/70°C. The settings are controlled by pressing the emblem on the front of the jacket, which is a cool, Star Trek way to operate.

Temperature settings controlled by the emblem

Temperature settings controlled by the emblem on the front of the jacket.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The graphene pads heat up fast and do a good job of keeping the wearer warm without making you feel like you're being cooked by the jacket. 

Thermal imaging of the front and rear of the UZE jacket.

Thermal imaging of the front and rear of the UZE jacket.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Any negatives? A couple.

First, I'd love if the jacket could be powered from a regular USB-C power bank. I understand why the makers chose to use 9V using a barrel jack connector, but making it USB-C would be handy in terms of being able to make powering it more flexible.

Amy also tells me that the heater pads on the shoulders can get a bit uncomfortable when wearing a heavy-ish backpack, so this might be something to bear in mind if you wear one regularly. 

Still, those two points aside, this is a quality bit of kit, solidly made, with some really neat features. It's one of the most interesting outdoor jackets that I've come across.

ZDNET's buying advice

Hands down, this is the best quality heated jacket that I've seen, and I've seen a few over the past two or three years. It's well-thought-out, and the feature such as the magnetic poppers, the cuffs that transform into fingerless gloves, and the removable liner make this a jacket that you could be wearing all year -- or at least all of the year you would need a jacket. The sticking and materials are top notch, and a lot of thought has been put into the design.

The heat output is good, the power bank big enough to keep it going for hours, and the power bank charges up fast enough so you never have to be out in the cold.

With a retail price of $599, this is an expensive jacket, but decent outdoor clothing isn't cheap. I have to say that if you want to spend that sort of money on a jacket, you wouldn't be disappointed. 

The good news is that you can currently pick up the UZE heated jacket for $299, and at that price, it's hard to beat. Yes, you can find cheaper ones, but in my experience, cheap heated jackets are pretty poor quality. Sure, you might get a winter or so out of one. But unless it's properly windproof and waterproof, it's going to be a bit of a miserable experience. You're paying more for the UZE heated jacket, but this is something that you should get a few years or wears out of with no problems.

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