In this post I'm going to review the Smith I/O Mag goggles.
I've had these goggles for a couple of season's now and they've served me well.
These are the Smith I/O Mag XL, which I found to fit me best, but everyone has a different face, so the regular I/O Mag, the I/O Mag S (small) or the I/O Mag Asian Fit are also options depending on your face shape/size.
In this post I'm going to review the Smith Squad Mag goggles.
These goggles were provided to me by Smith so I could try them out.
But this review is completely unbiased and independent. All views expressed are mine and mine only.
Overall I really liked them. Versus the I/O Mag that I've been riding in for the last 3 years, they were a little better or as good in most departments, making them overall preferable, IMO, to the I/O Mag.
Given they come in at $30 cheaper than the I/O Mag, I was quite surprised with that conclusion.
But maybe my 3 year old I/O mags aren't quite up to the new versions?
Quick Specs for the Squad Mag
Lens Type: Cylindrical
Lens change: Quickchanging with magnets (works a little differently to the I/O mag - see video below)
Fog Protection: 5X™ Anti-Fog Inner Lens plus AirEvac™ Integration Ventilation Tech
Foam: 3 layer DriWix face foam
Comes with: 2 lenses, micro-fiber goggle bag with separate lens sleeve for spare lens and a goggle sock lens protector (Smith's gogglesoc™)
The most important part of any goggles, IMO, are the lenses.
Clarity of vision, particularly in low light conditions is such a huge factor for me. I find if I have bad goggles or the wrong lens, that I really struggle to see and end up just taking my goggles off. This isn't a great option when it's snowing and in general for eye protection against both the sun and as a physical barrier (e.g. in trees).
How the Squad and I/O Lenses Compared
I was already happy with how my old lens (on the I/O Mag) was in low light conditions, and was a darn sight (pun intended) better that any of my previous low light lenses (they were my first experience with ChromaPop), but I found even more clarity from the Storm Rose Flash lens on the Squad Mag.
Now, I don't know if part of that was to do with the fact it was a brand new lens and lacked the scratches (mostly from tree branches) that my old lens has, but I was surprised given the Cylindrical Lens on it versus the Spherical Lens on the I/O Mag.
What is consistent between both low light lenses though, is that I found my vision in low conditions was actually better (better contrast in particular) than it was when I took the goggles off - and that's what you want for a couple of reasons.
- Chances of fogging are less when you keep them on your face and not moving them onto the top of the helmet;
- You get that physical protection for your eyes
- You don't have to think about your goggles too much
This is all surrounding the low light lens - I really didn't notice too much advantage or disadvantage between the bright light lenses. They both produced a different tint color but were a similar amount of VLT. So, I really couldn't choose between them.
I don't find it matters as much which bright light lens I use.
Low Light and Bright Light Lenses
The Squad Mag I got came with the following lenses:
Low Light Lens: ChromaPop Storm Rose Flash (50% VLT)
Bright Lens: ChromaPop Everyday Rose Gold Mirror (22% VLT)
Whilst to the naked eye the Squad Mag lens looks taller than the I/O Mag lens (to me anyway) it's actually the opposite. The I/O Mag lens reads:
Circumference of width: 8 1/2" (22cm)
Height to Bride of Nose: 2 1/2" (6.3cm)
Height at tallest point: 3 1/2: (9.1cm)
Height at sides: 2 3/4" (7cm)
The main reason why the Squad Mag lens looks just as big or slightly bigger is that the I/O Mag is frameless right around the outer lens. The Squad Mag has frameless sections, but has framing on the top, around the bridge of the nose and on the sides.
LENS CHANGEOVER PROCEDURE
Check out the video below for the Lens change procedure.
It's a little different to how the I/O Mag works, with 2 little clips on the sides of the lens. But I found that it was a little easier to figure out. Though both systems are really easy once you've done it a couple of times.
FIT WITH FACE/HELMET
I found the Squad Mag fit my face just a little better then the I/O Mag XL. Not much in it, but there was just a little less pressure I felt on my nose, making them more comfortable.
Both goggles fit well with helmet and I didn't get any gaper gap or anything with either, but the Squad Mag I just found a touch more comfortable.
Because of the variety of sizes, there should be one that fits you well:
- Squad S
- Squad XL
- Squad Low Bridge
FIELD OF VISION
From what I've heard Spherical lenses are supposed to provide a better field of vision - and with the size of the I/O Mags lens (because of it being frameless largely), I should have expected the Squad Mag to have a poorer field of vision.
When I first took out the Squad, I felt they actually had a better field of vision, strangely. Then when I took out the I/O Mag to compare they actually seemed about the same. I found it hard to notice any discernable difference.
If there was one area that I did find the I/O Mag a little better it was with fog protection. I have noticed the Squad begin to fog up on me a couple of times, when leaning over to strap in - all be it, when I had a face mask on - so basically in the situation where I'm most likely to incur fog.
Otherwise they seemed really good. But I do know that the I/O mag tends not to fog up much ever. So, that one I'd give to the I/O mag. That's supposed to be another pro to the Spherical lens over the Cylindrical lens, so in this case I feel like that one held true.
TIP: If you get fog on the inside of your lens, especially if it freezes, never wipe it - as you can damage the anti-fog.
Even though in theory I shouldn't, I really did like the Squad Mag vs the I/O Mag. And I have no issues with the I/O Mag, whatsoever. In fact, before trying the Squad Mag, I had no reason to want to replace them. Would've happily kept riding them for several more seasons.
But now the Squad Mag are my go to. This should be considered with some notable conditions, though. Namely:
- The latest I/O Mag goggles might have been a different story compared my 3 year old I/O mags.
- The lenses were brand new in the Squad mag, so no scratches or anything.
- The lenses are different, so part of the clarity that I experienced is likely due to the lens type being better suited to my particular vision. And ChromaPop lenses may have been developed and improved since my I/O mags.
The low light clarity and comfort were the two biggest factors for me preferring the Squad over the I/O. With the biggest downside being the fogging in comparison, but still really good in terms of anti-fog - just not quite up to the I/O mag, in my experience.
The biggest differences between the I/O and the Squad, as far as I can tell, is:
- Cylindrical vs Spherical Lens
- Frameless lens on the I/O versus partly framed on the Squad
But interestingly I didn't feel those downgrades from the I/O affected the clarity or field of vision. The only real thin was the fogging factor.
Overall, pretty stoked on these goggles, for sure.
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