Omni-tech soft touchI'm going to put my two cents in for some of the lower end "waterproof/breathable" fabrics based upon a recent elbow water submersion test.
Oneil Freedom series: EPIC by Nextec Amphibious Cotton 10,000/5,000
Descente Bat Shell: Oxkin fabric 10,000/10,000
Columbia Powderkeg Parka: Omni-tech soft touch Performance 3000/2000
The omni-tech was by far the best- no water leaked in any seams for extended periods of submersion, and from jumping around in the jacket a bit, I'm fairly convinced that it is plenty breathable.
The Oneil jacket leaked right through the fabric fairly quickly, and the seams were even worse- plus the water soaked into the fabric and took a while to dry out instead of beading up. These guys should stick with wetsuits!
The descente jacket was better than Oneil, but leaked fairly quickly at the seam running the length of the arm to the armpit. Water did bead up though, and the fabric seems pretty durable.
My tentative conclusion is that so much of the marketing done by these companies is a lot of hype, and the numbers don't mean much. I suggest anyone buying new outerwear go through the same kind of test that I did so you can see for yourself. I have goretex pants courtesy of the Air Force, and they are awesome, but I'm not convinced that other fabrics haven't repeated the same level of performance. I think in the end you have to test it our for yourself, or rely on someone else's experience- I wouldn't believe anything the manufactures say about ratings, etc as in my case the 'lower end' jacket proved far superior.
On the lower end omni tech seems to be great- the only concern I have is it's durability, but I'm taking my chances as I can't afford a gore-tex jacket, and the other jackets in my price range, though advertised as much better than the omni-tech, clearly are not! Plus it comes with sealed waterproof zippers, a fleece inner liner for use on really cold days, or alone in the spring, and I like the soft/light feel of the fabric versus the stiff/bulkier feel of many other ski jackets. It's well designed throughout in terms of fit, hood closure, pocket placement, etc.