Smith’s folded lens lets you see more of the mountain — no question. But it comes with a cost. We reviewed the Smith 4D MAG Goggles for 2 months in this review.
“Woah! You can see your own pocket!” exclaimed Sean McCoy, GearJunkie editor-in-chief, upon donning the Smith 4D MAG Goggles. I suppose seeing your own pocket through a pair of goggles is a big deal.
The 4D MAG Goggles, which release in September, are the first goggles to include a curved lens that folds downward. According to Smith, BirdsEye Vision (the curvature at the bottom of the lens) increases your field of view by 25 percent. It’s that extra 25 percent that lets you see your own pocket through the bottom of the goggles.
We saw the 4D MAG Goggles at this winter’s Outdoor Retailer show. We were so impressed we presented them a Best In Show Award. But wearing them on the tradeshow floor is one thing. Performance on the slopes is another.
Immediately following the tradeshow, we tested the goggles in Colorado and Wyoming, both inbounds and out of bounds. In brief, the goggles work as advertised — you can see a lot of the mountain — but there are some drawbacks.
Smith 4D MAG Goggles Review: Curved Lens Tech
Smith calls the folded lens tech “BirdsEye Vision.” Compared to its I/O MAG goggles, the technology increases the field of view by 25 percent.
The brand sought to reduce peripheral obstructions, provide a more a natural field of view, and aid overall performance on the mountain.
Smith also employs a number of other proprietary technologies, like ChromaPop lens tech, which offers stark clarity and visibility. And as the name implies, the 4D MAG Goggles use Smith’s MAG technology, with magnetic locking mechanisms on the lens for quick and easy lens swaps.
For ventilation, Smith uses its AirEvac ventilation system that pulls warm air out of the goggles through ports. In my use, the goggles didn’t fog up, even when skinning uphill with them on.
The 4D MAG will be available in 12 lens tints, and each pair ships with two ChromaPop lenses for both bright and low-light conditions.
Field Test: Smith 4D MAG Review
As with any goggles with high lens quality, the first thing I noticed with the Smith 4D MAG was the clarity and comfort. These goggles felt good on my face and allowed for great vision without distortion or weird ripples in the distance.
Looking down, it’s easy to see the additional field of view afforded by BirdsEye Vision. I saw more of the mountain looking downward, but there was some slight distortion at the site of the goggles’ bend.
It was only really noticeable when I looked directly down at the crease. But flying down a run, I didn’t notice this distortion. Overall, BirdsEye Vision functions well to improve peripheral vision. Looking straight forward, you can see a lot more of the mountain than with other goggles — there’s no doubting that.
These goggles did suffer one small drawback during my test. After a couple of splitboard laps in Grand Teton National Park, I noticed a bunch of snow had accumulated at the bottom of the goggles. This isn’t overly strange, especially with backcountry skiing where folks may put their goggles on and take them off constantly.
But upon closer inspection, I noticed a slight depression at the base of the 4D MAG’s lens where snow can pool up. And because the 4D MAG isn’t like other goggles, snow can accrue where it would typically fall out through the bottom or into the foam.
Still, this was only a minor distraction — one easily fixed with the wipe of a microfiber towel. And while I experienced it in the backcountry, I didn’t notice the effect when skiing inbounds. So when skiers keep their goggles on for a full day, this effect shouldn’t be an issue.
Overall, I believe the Smith 4D MAG is a great pair of goggles. I’ll continue to reach for them time and again because of their clarity and BirdsEye Vision tech. The downsides were noticeable but not significant enough to prevent the 4D MAG from becoming my go-to goggles for snowboarding!
Smith releases the 4D MAG this September for $280.