Pros: Ease of use
Cons: No grip on strap backing
Sensor Lens (70%)
Ignitor Lens (35%)
Suggested Retail: $160.00
Over the past 10 years I have had many of goggles such as Spy, Marker, and Zeal. In that time I was never blown away by any of them, some didn’t fit the helmet well, some were too dark and some didn’t do what I expected them to do what they advertised. Smith is a brand that I have seen around for years, in the 80’s I really (unfairly) thought of them as a Scott knockoff and past that just a company that made an OTG goggle, the size of a bay window, with a fan in them.
The I/O is nothing near what I thought of Smith producing, it was sleek, stylish and looked line nothing else on the market. The frameless design had two adjustment straps on the back, allowing the clip to be centered at all times, this design worked very well with my Giro Fuse helmet with no “gaper gap”. Before I even put the goggle on, I was impressed by the case that the goggle came in, not just a microfiber bag, but a nice hard case that not only has venting for the goggle to dry off, but special slots for holding extra lenses. I particularly like this in the design, because the Smith comes with two lenses the and the intense Mirror, more on these lenses in a moment. I have always liked to be able to switch lenses in and out of goggles due to light conditions, I never was successful in finding a lens for all conditions, the Zeal PPX was the last to not past the muster. If I cannot expect one ski to do it all, how can I expect one lens to be able to cover the spectrum of light that we ski in.
The first lens I used was the Sensor. The day I fried these, light conditions were flat, overcast and snowing. This is the type of conditions that I usually resorted a trusted yellow lens. I have always fallen back to a yellow lens, because it enhances the contrast in the snow, the Intense lens not only did this, but also was much better in showing the depth, the light and the view of the snow in this lens looked truer than a yellow ever could.
Switching the lenses was also very easy with the frameless design of the I/O. Two clips on top of the frame flip open and the lens comes out very easy, insertion in the new lens is just as easy and there was minimal finger prints on the lens having to be wiped off.
Day two of skiing was completely opposite in light than the previous day, out came the Ignitor Lens. We had bitter cold temps with 20+MPH winds, the sky though was bluebird. I don’t recall seeing the sky so blue for a long time. For this day I chose the regular lens. Granted most lenses would work fine for a day like this, but I really that this lens looked clearer and more refined than any lens I recall looking through. As the day moved on, even in the afternoon when the sun started going down some, the trails had more and more shading and that didn’t affect my vision at all. I was till able to see good snow contrast and where there was ice and piles of snow. I never that this type of vision with any goggle I had in the past.
Summery: Damn nice goggle system that is not only stylish but very functional.