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Dragon NFX Review
Cons: Bulky, style not for everyone
Bottom line: A must have for riding at the resort or occasional use in the backcountry.
A modern, sleek, bold, and flashy goggle for resort riders and occasional users in the backcountry. Heavy duty protection with an assortment of color options for the style-conscious skier or boarder. The NFX has better than expected ventilation to accompany its substantial protection and durability. If the POC Lobes are too small and something a little flashier than the Oakley Flight Deck is your style, this model is for you. We tested it alongside eight other goggles and you can see how this goggle stacked up against the others in our complete review.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Dragon NFX is a burly and stylish goggle that is sure to please snowboarders and skiers with its bombproof construction, easy to change lenses, and great optical quality. A little bulky and heavy for the backcountry crowd, the NFX is a top performer for resort-based snow pursuits.
Not surprisingly, the breathability is not this goggle's forte, but was still acceptable, especially for inbounds skiing. For greater breathability, other goggles in our lineup would keep you cooler. For similar protection with greater breathability, the Editors' Choice Oakley Airbrake or Smith's I/OX would preferable. An indicator of this model's intended use is in the armored vents at the top of the goggle.
Nothing is getting through the perforated plastic covers which protect the light open cell beneath. This armored coating is actually an integrated portion of the frame. Burly. To increase the ventilation of the NFX, all lenses have vents along the entire top portion of the goggle. While we wouldn't recommend the NFX for most backcountry riders, for in-bounds riders, the ventilation is a winner.
With the emphasis on protection, we didn't expect the NFX to be overly comfortable, but were pleasantly surprised. Most of our testers were in agreement that with the three-layer padding and microfleece lining, the NFX is quite comfortable. As you may expect, similar to the Oakley Flight Deck, our larger testers enjoyed the fit and comfort more than our smaller testers, but with that said, our smaller testers felt the NFX was a goggle they'd enjoy wearing as well.
If the frameless style is something you're after, but with less bulk, the POC Lobes is worth checking out. While researching our goggle selection, we saw some reviews saying the NFX didn't fit well with some helmets, but we didn't experience any problems at all. We skied and boarded with the NFX combined with several brands of helmet, including Smith, Giro, and Bern, as well as with various beanies, and found they were compatible with all that we tried. The strap is similar to others in our test, comfortably wide, with three beads of silicone integrated into the strap material and didn't require excessive strap tension to secure the goggles.
All of our test goggles have dual lens construction and the NFX is no exception. The overall lens quality of the NFX seems adequate, although the Iridium lenses of the Oakley Airbrake, Flight Deck, and A-Frame 2.0, as well as Smith's Chromapop lenses, had a somewhat sharper view in all but the brightest conditions. Consistently bright and sunny conditions were where we felt the NFX Red Ion lens performed the best, but the Oakley and Smith lenses seemed to provide a crisper view once we were in the trees and shade.
Dragon also makes lower light lenses like the Yellow Blue Ion model that we tested. This lens did well in comparison to our Smith and Oakley lenses, giving us a view that was similar to Smith's Chromapop Storm and Oakley's Persimmon lenses. Similar to the Smith I/OX and Oakley Airbrake, the NFX lenses are extremely easy to change, taking only seconds.
The NFX lenses have ten inserts that easily push into the front of the frame. Thought easy to change, the Oakley Airbrake narrowly edged the NFX out for easiest lens swap. All of the NFX lenses also incorporate small ventilation ports across the top of the goggle.
With the stout construction of the NFX, we can only assume that durability will be high. Like our other test goggles, we used and abused our Dragons just looking for a weak spot. We weren't shocked to find out that the NFX's lived up to our expectations. The only potential weak spot we could find was the mirror coating of the Red Ion lens. We found one tiny superficial scratch, approximately 2mm in length on the edge of the lens. But other than that one minor blemish, the Dragon's emerged unscathed and had better durability than Oakley's Flight Deck.
When compared with the POC Lobes, the NFX has a more solid and durable feel. The strap retained full elasticity, the frames look untouched, and the lenses, with the one small exception, look great as well. We suspect that with the extremely substantial construction, this model will have a long life and should you experience lens scratches, replacements are available.
As far as protection goes, the NFX takes top honors in our test, scoring a near perfect 9 out of 10. Immediately after unpacking the goggle, we could see this is one substantial piece of protective eye armor. Everything from the strap to the beefy lexan lenses says "Bring it on!" The frame is a rigid frameless design that even has armored venting to increase the protective factor and nothing will get through it and ruin the foam underneath. While not quite as substantial, Oakley's Flight Deck is similar in its coverage and all-around beefiness.
As is the case with our other goggles, the NFX successfully blocks UV light as well as visible light, depending on the lens. The Red Ion lens provides the most light protection and is intended for bright conditions, whereas the Onus Gray is suited to low light conditions. All of the NFX lenses are thermo-formed cylindrical lenses, made with heavy duty lexan which provides good impact protection. The NFX frame has a decent degree of curvature that hugs the face without pressuring cheekbones and keeps airflow to a minimum. For those riders and skiers seeking a virtually indestructible goggle, this may be the ticket.
This is definitely a subjective review criteria and our mixed reviews from testers reinforced that principle. Overall, feedback was positive and there were a lot of "Wow's" at first glance. The NFX is a sleek, modern, frameless goggle, geared to aggressive resort riders. Keeping the intended user in mind, the NFX scored an 8 out of 10. Not quite a perfect 10, due to the bold style, even though most testers and observers at the resorts were impressed, a few were put off by the flashiness.
Whether you like the style or not, the Dragon's style is distinctive, even more so than the POC Lobes or Oakley Flight Deck goggles. For resort riders looking to make a statement, this may be your goggle of choice.
A bold looking goggle for bold riders and our Top Pick for Resort. The Dragon NFX is most at home at the resort with a little light backcountry thrown in now and then.
— Jason Cronk
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