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Smith I/O7 ChromaPop Review
Cons: Interchangeability of lens is slower
Bottom line: Ideal for smaller faces in the resort or backcountry, this is a high performing all-around choice.
The Smith I/O7 ChromaPop is an all-around goggle, performing well in all conditions, snow or shine. A sturdy frame and quick release strap are the foundation of this goggle and high-quality, easy to change lenses top them off nicely. This competitor will perform equally well while resort skiing or in the backcountry and is a solid performer with multiple lens options.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Smith I/O7 ChromaPop, like its larger relative, the Smith I/OX, is a continuance of the classic I/O series of snow goggles. The I/O goggles are a familiar site at ski resorts around the globe and for good reason. The I/O line provides skiers and boarders with reliable, durable eyewear, for all conditions with easily interchangeable lenses.
Other than the uber-ventilated Oakley A-Frame 2.0 and Bolle Carve, Smith's I/O7 was in the running for most breathable goggle, similar to the I/OX, with its thin open cell foam on top and bottom of the goggle. The I/O7 strikes a good balance between good airflow while still maintaining good protection from the wind, much like the Oakley Airbrake.
Testers noted that the breathability of the I/O7 was actually slightly better than Oakley's Airbrake, which may be desirable either on warmer days or when hiking for turns while wearing goggles.
Depending on the skier's facial structure, the I/O7 was a top pick for comfort and fit. The I/OX and other goggles like the Oakley Flight Deck favor medium to large faces while the I/O7's fit small to medium. As with the Smith I/OX, some testers found the goggle was prone to gapping at the bottom of the goggle across the bridge of their nose. The overall feel was similar to that of the POC Lobes. The three-layer foam padding with a baby soft brushed outer layer against the skin ensures a comfortable fit and pads the face from the stiffer frame. One tester did complain that the brushed foam layer made her face "itchy" after several minutes, although the same material on the I/OX did not give her that itchy sensation. Strap comfort was good, although we experienced some slippage from the wide and thin silicone strip when the goggles were used with a helmet. However, once they settled into place, there was no movement. The strap also comes with the quick release system shared with the Smith I/OX.
We have high marks for lens quality. They have two layers like Oakley lens. We found crisp definition on bluebird days. It has excellent surface differentiation and even small irregularities pop. The Chromapop Storm lens performs great on snowy, stormy days. It gives crisp detail when lighting is challenging.
While testing the I/O7, testers had no complaints with fogging at all, either uphill or downhill. Perhaps this is due to the Porex lens filter and 5X anti-fogging layer on the inner lens. Inside or out, neither lens showed more than micro scratches. They easily outscored the Oakley Flight Deck Prizm which was easy to scratch the inner lens.
Changing lenses is again relatively easy, thanks to the single-pivot quick release lens change system This system was preferred by some testers, while others preferred the I/OX dual lever system, but ultimately neither was as popular as the Oakley Airbrake Switchlock technology.
Smith again nailed the durability factor with the I/O7's quality build. We didn't experience any issues during our testing and the goggles look good-as-new after all was said and done. The lenses remain scratch-free, unlike the Oakley Flight Deck's Prizm lens. These goggles should last several seasons, especially with the ability to swap lenses easily. The frame and strap should provide years of reliable service, likely outlasting the average skier's interest. Sure they work, but look at those shiny new goggles on the shelf!
The I/O7's style is somewhat similar to Oakley's Airbrake with the dual outriggers on the sides of the frame. While not a true frameless goggle, the I/O7 is close, with a nice low profile appearance and a flush-fit lens that enables easy moisture shedding. Smith makes the I/O7 in several frame and lens color options that should appeal to a good portion of skiers and riders.
The overall protection of the I/O7 is similar to that of the I/OX, just in a slightly smaller package. Included with the frame, like the Smith I/OX, are two lenses that provide UV light protection. The frame of the I/O7 is slightly stiffer than the I/OX, though definitely not rigid like the Dragon NFX or Oakley Flight Deck. Similar to the Oakley Airbrake, in overall size and dimensions, the I/O7 also has side outriggers that add to the stability. The I/O7 provided excellent protection from the elements, just as its sibling, the I/OX did.
Another great all-arounder from Smith, geared toward skiers and riders with small-medium face size. If the fit is a bit smaller than you like, check out the Smith I/OX for similar performance in all conditions.
— Jason Cronk
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