Smith I/OS ReviewNovember 29, 2016
- Amazing definition & clarity from ChromaPop lenses
- Pivoting outriggers make on and off easy
- Second sleeve in goggle bag for extra lens
- Lens interchange system is challenging
- Face foam is scratchy and uncomfortable
- Clip buckle on strap isn’t compatible with some helmets
Smith’s new ChromaPop lenses are engineered to enhance visibility, hence these lenses are exceptional. The I/OS is also offered without ChromaPop for a lower price. Unfortunately, the multi-point lens interchange system requires pulling, pushing, and prying to change the lenses. The I/OS is a compact-frame goggle marketed to women and the field of view is average for its size. While the face foam is cushy and pliable, I found the outer layer that lies on the face to be scratchy and uncomfortable. While I can’t say great things about the fit or frame, the ChromaPop lenses on my test model are definitely top-notch.
FIELD OF VIEW
The I/OS is a smaller-frame goggle and has a correspondingly smaller field of view. The peripheral vision is fine and doesn’t have blind spots but don’t buy this goggle for its field of view.
The triple-layer face foam and pliable frame on the I/Os should make for a great fit and contoured on my face nicely. Unfortunately, the foam was scratchy and lacked the cushy feel of other goggles in this class. I never felt at home in this goggle because it just wasn’t comfortable on my face.
No fogging occurred under any conditions. Note that I tested in the relatively dry climes of Colorado and don’t generally overheat when I ski. So use in humidity might yield a different result.
The Smith ChromaPop lens is impressive next-generation technology. While other lenses compensate for distortion, these lenses enhance what you see. The view is more vivid and features really stand out. The landscape truly “pops” when viewed through these lenses.
Smith pioneered the interchangeable lens goggle but I’ve always found the I/O system to require too much work for a lens change. Unfortunately, the I/OS continues this tradition of too many clips, grooves, and notches to make what should be a simple switch of the lenses.
The price of the I/OS is a little on the high side and puts you above $200 for the ChromaPop lens. While the lens is definitely worth the extra cash, I’d like to see better all-around features for this price point goggle.
Dave Ratner is a hard charging telemark skier from Denver. He spends every weekend powering his way through the I-70 corridor to test helmets and ski goggles for the Gear Institute.