Pros: Breathabilty exceeds Gore; thoughtful design
Cons: None thus far.
I purchased this jacket in late February. It replaced a 2.5 layer stretch shell with H2No (Stretch Ascent Shell). I have been using Gore shells for 34 years (first one acquired in 1979 from Early Winters). With 2 layer Gore products, I suppose that I never noticed lots of condensation due to the hanging inner layer holding moisture. However, on the (non-gore) 2.5 layer H2No shell, condensation was terrible, it felt clammy from the get-go, especially in the summer with a short sleeve shirt. Generally, when I needed breathabilty the most with that shell (above freezing days with rain), my mid-layer (a down or primaloft shirt) would be drenched, even with pit-zips and pockets open for ventiliation.
I have a week to 10 days with this shell right now, so the review is preliminary. The construction quality is very high, certainly rivaling any product from Patagonia, North Face, Marmot or the like. The pockets are useful, although I don't know why there is a bicep pocket on the right arm, I just haven't used it yet. The water-resistant zippers slide well, with less resistance than other similar zippers I've used. Pit zips are generous and open with only moderate resistance. The hood on this jacket is really a gem. The Patagonia jacket this replaced had a best in class hood, that is single pull adjustment and helmet compatible. I looked at the Marmot Zion, but Marmot admitted (in a phone call) that the Zion's hood was not helmet compatible (Why???). Whereas other shells I have used have a "fixed" hood (meaning the hood has no internal collar), the Apoc has an "articulated" hood. The jacket has a fixed collar that comes up to the chin and the hood itself is attached to this collar at its base. The hood fits over a helmet (Smith Variant) with ease. There are 3 sets of adjustments (versus only 1 on the Patagonia). Two are on the rear of the hood and snug up the hood around the head. The remaining adjustment is made via the two cords in front, which cinch up the opening. But, what is very useful (and ingenious, really), is that when the hood is not in use (and subject to filling with snow), these two cords can be pulled, and the hood snugs up, or collapses up against the the back of the neck collar, keeping its interior relatively dry.
Impressions. First, this is a very high quality product with well thought out design features. Second, for NeoShell, it is relatively lightweight (a function of the fabric NeoShell is laminated to I suppose) and it rolls up to the size of a Nalgene (weight is 16 oz or less), whereas the Zion was in the 24 oz plus range and I would guess bulkier like my Cloudveil softshell. Third, early results suggest it is pretty durable (I nailed a tree in a glade at Cannon, probably bruising some ribs) and the jacket shows no signs from impact. Fourth, most importantly, initial use in about freezing, mixed precipitation days with high humidity left down or primaloft underlayers noticeably dryer than its predecessor Patagonia shell.
I am interested to see how this shell functions in a four season environment (hiking in N.H.'s White Mountains), especially breathabilty. I would also add that I started using Mountain Hardwear's DryQ Elite (in the snowtastic pant, I think) this season, and that is a great product. The fit and finish on the MHW product is first rate. The pant has been worn in snow and rain, without wetting out. So, NeoShell and DryQ would both be better than H2No (although I can't say I've ever experienced or been aware of excessive condensation in pants before), and Gore.
Hope to add more comments with more use. My hope is that the Apoc proves to be a true 4 season all weather shell.