- Price: £225 / €240
- Frame/Lens: Austin Smith / Chromapop Everyday Violet Mirror
Before you’re put off by the Smith I/O’s relatively high price tag, it’s worth checking out what you get for all that dosh. If it’s quality you’re after - the kind that costs - then look no further than this ideal blend of tech and style, which spawned a whole series of Smith goggles.
The lens changing system is not only fast, but also highly satisfying for those who prefer good old levers and latches even in this Age Of The Magnet. Release the lens via the switches on the top of the frame, and then it’s just a case of lifting it out and putting the new one in.
"The lens changing system is not only fast, but also highly satisfying for those who prefer good old levers and latches"
Smith’s version of enhanced-contrast lenses (something that’s so hot right now) is called ChromaPop. Grouped into three key, easy-to-understand categories (Sun, Storm and Everyday), getting the right one for the conditions is a piece of cake - and while changing the lens in a Smith I/O is no problem, the range of ChromaPop means that you won’t need to do it quite so often as with regular lenses.
The lens itself is thinner at each side in order to allow light to reach your eye with minimal distortion. That wouldn’t me much good if the lens itself warped as you changed altitude, which can happen, so a small valve is there on the lens to prevent the build-up of pressure and keep your vision clear all day.
The model pictured is Austin Smith’s signature colourway, but there are more than a dozen alternatives if this particular one doesn’t float your boat.
“I do sometimes wonder if anyone should be paying more than two hundred quid for a pair of goggles. It’s not that you have to, of course, with lots of quality affordable models available, but when you try a premium pair it’s often easy to see where your money’s gone.
So it is with the I/O. It’s truly a great piece of kit; the lens-change system is simple once you get the hang of it, and the frame sits comfortable on your face.
"ChromaPop is among the best of the new breed of high-def lenses"
The vision is perfect too - ChromaPop is among the best of the new breed of high-def lenses. All in all, you’re certainly not wasting your money if you shell out for this one."