Smith Optics was one of the first manufacturers to establish and promote goggles for skiing many decades ago. Smith is still at the forefront of the business today, creating some of the best quality and performance goggles on the market. The I/O Mag is the newest edition to I/O’s line of computer components, which has been available for many years. This Smith I/O MAG review will discuss the comfort, style, ventilation, lense quality, durability, value, and other features of this ski goggle.  

Our Verdict

Smith debuted its first steps into the magnetic lens market with the I/O Mag (and now the 4D Mag) and a few other goggle manufacturers. With the I/O Mag, Smith has continued their tradition of high-performance optics with the I/O goggles, and they include two spherical Chromapop lenses for bright and low-light situations. The lenses are coated with an anti-fog treatment, and the goggles are vented to prevent fogging. The lens interface is powered by magnets, making these some of the most user-friendly goggles we’ve ever used in that respect. Thanks to the triple-layer face foam due to which I/O Mag has a medium fit and a comfortable shape. They also gain points for their slick, almost frameless appearance. They will cost you a bit of money, but it’s an excellent new goggle with two lenses from one of the best manufacturers in the business. We like the magnetic balaclava that comes with it and the adjustable straps. However, because the I/O Mag is more expensive, we must pass many safety features. 

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Technical Details of Smith I/O Mag

SizeMedium 
Lense2
ShapeSpherical
StyleFrameless
OTGNo
Price$162.00 – $270.00

Pros and Cons of Smith I/O Mag

Pros  Cons 
Magnetic lense Pricey
Great optics Medium fit glasses
Megntic lens are easy to change with locking tabs

Are you in Hurry? Here is a Quick Review of Smith I/O Mag

Smith’s I/O Mag is one of their most well-rounded goggles. It offers excellent optics and fit. It comes with two lenses so that you can use it during different conditions like winter or springtime skiing (depending on your preferences). In addition, it vented very nicely, which was a great unexpected bonus. 

Smith’s I/O Mag snow goggles are the latest example of a company at the forefront of making on-the-fly lens changes quickly and painlessly. With lenses for every light condition, it makes sense that you would want an easily interchangeable pair like these to be able to change one lens with another when visibility conditions change in real-time during your ride up or down mountain slopes as well.

See More: Best Ski and Snowboard Goggles 2022

Smith I/O Mag Review : Detail Analysis

Lens Quality

The Smith I/O Mag is manufactured from two spherical Chroma pop carbonic-x lenses with their TLT technology, which Smith has made for a long time. Let me break that down for you.

Decrease distortion

The spherical lenses at Smith Optic are based on a 6×4 toric design meant to correct distortion by matching the eye’s curvature.

TLT technology

This pair of designer sunglasses technology is called TLT (Tapered Lens Technology). It works by taper-dipping the lens from the optical centre out towards the edge to minimize light refraction as it passes through them.

Smith’s Chromapop technology Smith’s Chromapop technology is his proprietary lens technology intended to improve contrast and definition so you can see better in all but incredibly challenging light situations.

Carbonic-x

Smith’s I/O MAG includes a carbonic-x layer on the outside lens, which offers the highest degree of scratch and impact resistance. Smith also consists of a tiny “Porex filter” in the lens intended to balance pressure between the lenses as they rise and descend, causing their form to distort.

 The I/O Mag lenses showed excellent, distortion-free vision during testing. The Chromapop lenses provide a clearer view with increased contrast in changing light conditions.

 On sunny days, the Chromapop Sun Red Mirror high-intensity lens performed best, but it worked well in the shade and when the sky became overcast. The Chromapop Storm low-light lens is ideal for stormy weather and incredibly dark conditions, which helps to brighten up and define. Excellent peripheral vision is present, with hardly any distortion.

The optics and lenses of all of our top-rated goggle versions are exceptional. There are differences in their hues and tints, although, for the most part, they provide clear and distortion-free vision. The I/O Mag lenses have a slightly greener hue in the lens combinations we tested, while other models feature shades like amber or pink.

 Lens Change System

What does MAG mean for goggles? Mag stands for magnetic and refers to the lens attachment system in these goggles. Smith’s introduction of I/O Mag is one of several magnetic lens systems presently available on the market.

 

Magnetic system in Ski goggle

Magnetic lens systems, like that found on the Smith I/O Mag, make changing lenses quick and easy.

How do I change the lens on my Smith IO magazine? The 9 tiny yet robust magnets and a small clip-on on both sides of the lens by the strap attachment point hold the lenses to the frame. To remove the lens from the edge, press a tab on either side of the lens near where the strap joins to it, then pull away from the frame. The lens is rather stubborn, but it does come off with some force. It’s a little challenging to remove the lens because of this, but it’s not impossible. Starting on one side and gradually working your way across until you reach the other side is how you’ll usually do it.

 Compared to most non-magnetic lens systems, changing the I/O Mag’s lenses is extremely simple and user-friendly. This is one of the simplest lenses to replace that we’ve ever seen.

Smith held off on releasing a fast-change lens design for a long time. As a result, the original I/O was (and still is) excruciatingly sluggish, and the I/O7 was merely marginally better. But now, with their Mag system on the I/O Mag Goggles, they have a class leader.

Remove the goggles, push one of the side locking levers, and pull the lens away from the frame to use it. Reinserting the lenses is just as simple as the magnets indeed pull them into position; nevertheless, we had to press both levers to get it completely locked.

 Fit and Comfort

The Smith I/O Mag is a comfortable goggle. The three-layer foam is incredibly soft and well-made, with no discomfort, chafing, or need to loosen the straps after wearing the goggles for an entire day. Our testers did not feel uncomfortable while wearing it for the whole day.

Fitting of Smith I/O Mag

Assuming the medium fit of the I/O Mag works for you these are a very comfortable set of goggles no matter type of skiing you’re doing.

The frame is flexible and moulds to your face nicely, with the option to tighten down firmly and comfortably (the only potential issue here would be an imprint along your forehead). The standard I/O Mag has a medium fit, which was great for my face size and shape.

Testers with medium to small-sized faces found the width of the I/O Mag to be most appropriate for them, while those with large faces could still make them work, but it wasn’t ideal.

 The face foam is triple-layer, and moisture-wicking DriWix technology helps draw moisture away from your face. A single thick bead of silicone runs along the inside of the strap to help keep the goggles in place on your helmet or head.

 The goggles have a good form that is compatible and pleasant when used with a helmet. The strap is adjustable and has a quick fit with your helmet. Moreover, QuickFit Strap is located at the back of the helmet.

 We feel the I/O Mag is a comfortable goggle, but it’s best suited for people with a medium-sized facial structure. People with more prominent faces will likely benefit more from one of the more giant goggles we tested.

 Ventilation and Breathability

The I/O Mag has excellent ventilation, and we never encountered any fogging problems while testing them. Smith claims that the interior surface of the twin lenses is treated with a five-layer anti-fog agent and a Fog-X hydrophilic etched surface, ensuring that the lens treatment does not wipe off. All of this sounds complex, but we found it effective in practice. The face foam on this helmet is also triple-layered. It’s covered in a thin layer of open-cell foam, allowing for optimal ventilation and breathability as things heat up around you. The DirWix face foam also aids in sweat absorption and removal by forming a three-layer system.

Smith made ventilated goggles

The I/O Mag has ventilation all the way around the frame, these goggles are unlikely to fog under normal circumstances.

We found the ventilation and breathability to be comparable to most of the other high-end models we tested. Premium goggles all perform well in this area, and you’re unlikely to fog them up unless you wear them while hiking uphill for an extended amount of time.

Durability

We didn’t go easy on the I/O Mag goggle during our testing. We stuffed them repeatedly into our backcountry packs and took them for countless resort laps in a range of weather conditions. They emerged from our testing unscathed, with absolutely no damage to speak of. Both lenses are completely scratch-free and look as good as the day we got them. The face foam and the vents covering are all in satisfactory condition, and the goggle strap has maintained its full elasticity with all of the silicone beads intact. The magnets all appear to be functioning correctly, and we can see no separation of the lens from its small magnetic frame. We have seen one report online of one of the small plastic clips on the side of the lens breaking from regular use. However, we haven’t experienced this issue ourselves, and that connection point appears plenty durable to us.

Durability of Smith I/O Mag

After lots of time testing at the resort and in the backcountry, the I/O Mag seems plenty durable to us, on par with the other Smith goggles in this review.

The apparent quality of the I/O Mag scores them among the best in the durability test. Additionally, we feel these goggles will provide you with several years of dependable service if taken care of and used correctly.

Style

The I/O Mag is a beautiful pair of goggles, and its design is likely to appeal to a wide range of skiers and snowboarders. It’s nearly frameless save for a tiny bit visible near the nose and on top and bottom of the lens where you grab it to remove it. They balance things nicely with this goggle because they appear big and modern yet seem enormous like other frameless versions. They’re also available in a wide selection of frame and strap colours, patterns, and coatings, as well as lenses that have varying degrees of light-scattering properties.

Stylish Smith I/O Goggle

The I/O Mag has a good style, nearly frameless but not quite as massive as some of the other competitors.

The I/O Mag is also available in various colours, including black and white. If you want the most distinctive fashion statement, look elsewhere, but individuals who prefer a more modest style may find it appealing. There are even more conservative choices if you’re looking for a less fashionable goggle.

Value

Are Smith 4D mags worth it? The I/O Mag is one of the most costly models we tested. They are, however, less expensive than our other magnetic lens competitors. Therefore, we believe the I/O Mag to be an excellent value for a high-performance, stylish mask with magnetic lens technology and would not hesitate to suggest it to anybody who can afford it.

Other Versions of the Smith I/O Mag

Smith expanded the lineup last season to include small (S) and extra-large (XL) frame sizes, which we tested the standard medium-fit I/O Mag Goggles. All goggles are priced at $250-$280 and have a similar feature set. It includes a quick-change mechanism, triple-layer foam construction, and optically correct, anti-fog lenses.

What We Like of Smith I/O Mag

  • Premium field of vision, long-lasting construction, and all-day comfort in a medium-fit goggle.
  • ChromaPop lenses are fantastic; they improve natural hues, suit in low light, and have exceptional visibility in most extreme circumstances.
  • The venting design allows for plenty of airflows, which helps to prevent fogging.
  • The I/O Mag series is divided into tiny (S) and larger (XL) versions.

What We Don’t like of Smith I/O Mag

  • It’s not cheap, coming in at $250. It does not include a hard-sided case for storage and is rather bulky.
  • With the new I/O’s quick-change mechanism, it’s possible to change cables much more quickly than before, but it isn’t as simple or intuitive as its rivals (Anon’s M Series).
  • Technically, the field of vision isn’t at the top (for that, you’ll need to upgrade to Smith’s I/O Mag XL or the new 4D Mag).

The Competition of Smith I/O Mag with Other Similar Products

The Smith I/O Mag is our top ski goggle pick for this season’s selection, featuring excellent optics, good ventilation, and a comfortable fit. Smith’s 4D Mag is a favourite among Smith enthusiasts, with good reason. It offers the same excellent build quality as other Smith products, as well as medium/large fit, hard-sided case, and—most significantly—a curved lens at the bottom that improves visibility directly below you. The large lens and enormous form not only hide the goggle, but they also hide it well when looking out. However, at $300, it isn’t easy to justify spending more than the I/O Mag, which performs nearly as effectively for approximately $50 less.

1. Smith Squad MAG

Smith’s line has remained consistent, and for 2020-2021 they’ve launched another magnetic quick-change model in the Squad Mag. The Mag takes its smooth look and cylindrical lens from the popular Squad goggle and adds Smith’s now-familiar locking magnetic system. The Squad’s thinner frame restricts peripheral vision, whereas the I/O obstructs more expansive fields of view. When compared to the I/O, we discovered that the Squad has a lower field of views—the thicker frame prevents peripheral vision—but you still get excellent optical quality from the two ChromaPop lenses.

2. Anon M3MFI

The M3MFI from Anon is yet another one of our favourites, which was replaced as the brand’s top model a few years ago by the M4 but remained a good performer. Despite having cylindrical lenses and a slim frame, the M3’s field of vision is nearly equivalent to that of the I/O Mag.
Additionally, the Smith is a more breathable helmet—we experienced fog and dampness getting into the two lenses of our M3. On the other hand, Anon has a superior magnetic replacement system that can be done without taking off the goggle from your face.

3. Giro

Giro is another notable snow goggle competitor, and their Contact was one of the first magnetic quick-change designs. The push button-style release is less intuitive than the Smith and Anon (although better than the lever on the Oakley below), but it’s simple to snap back into position. On the other hand, the Giro’s lenses are excellent (the goggles contain Zeiss glass) but not as distinct as Smith or Oakley’s lenses. Finally, build quality was a little lower – we’ve had to repair stitching on our straps on a few occasions. But, again, Smith has a transparent pricing advantage at $10 less.

4. Oakley Airbrake XL

The Oakley Airbrake XL is an excellent option for those who want to take advantage of cutting-edge design elements. In terms of field of vision, the Airbrake XL outperforms the I/O Mag (which has a smaller fit that boosts its overall field of view), and Prizm lenses are a good choice over Chroma.
The I/O Mag’s lens-change system is slower than Smith and Anon’s, necessitating the removal of gloves to displace lenses. It can also be challenging to determine whether or not the lens is securely fastened. Finally, although the Airbrake XL seems to keep fogging at bay better than the Smith (for more information,

Comparison Smith I/O MAG to Similar Products

NameSizeLenseShapeStylePrice
Smith I/O Mag Chroma PopMedium2 SphericalFramelessCheck Price
Smith 4D MagMedium/Large2 BirdsEyesFramelessCheck Price
Smith Squad MagMedium/Large2 CylindricalSemi-framelessCheck Price
Anon M3 MFIMedium/Large2 CylindricalFramedCheck Price
Giro ContactLarge2 ToricSemi-framelessCheck Price


Final Thoughts

The I/O Mag is a fantastic goggle, and it’s a beautiful addition to Smith’s I/O line. These goggles come with two high-quality lenses and a great design, as well as an easy magnetic lens replacement system. The Smith I/O MAG is one of our favorite goggles in this test, but competitors edged them out with simpler lens-changing systems, integrated face masks, and greater comfort. Nevertheless, the I/O Mag is one of our favorite goggles in this group, and it should be on everyone’s list when shopping for a new pair.

Price Comparison of Smith I/O MAG

Seller  Price 
Backcountry  $300
REI Co-op $270
Amazon  $270

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