2013 – 2014 Anon M1 Snow Goggle
Magna-Tech Quick Lens Change Technology
Triple Layer Face Foam
Spare Greybird Lens Included
Nylon Compression Molded Case Included
Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley, Las Leñas Ski Resort, Crested Butte, Summit County.
Days Tested: 40+
[Editor’s Note: Having spent more time in the M1, Will Brown has updated his review. Pay particular attention to the Optics section.]
In my review of the Smith I/O goggle two years ago, I mentioned that having multiple lenses at your disposal is crucial if you’re serious about shredding hard in all conditions, from whiteout to bluebird, or you just want to be as safe and prepared as possible on the mountain. This is still true, but now number of other brands sell goggles with interchangeable lens systems. Smith is no longer alone, and arguably no longer the best in the game.
Last season, Anon came out with the M1 Goggle and an impressive interchangeable lens technology that’s free of a mechanical locking system. Unlike Smith’s I/O, I/OX, I/OS, Oakley’s Airbrake, and Scott’s LCG (review to come), which all use a latching mechanism of some kind, Anon’s “Magna-Tech” system uses six neodymium magnets seated around the perimeter of the goggle’s frame to hold the lens in place.
This season, Anon released the M2, a rimless version of the M1 with a larger fit and the same magnetic lens retention.
Compared to the competition, we’ve found that both the M1 and M2 undoubtedly offer the quickest, simplest interchangeable lens system on the market, and are two of the best goggles we’ve tested to date.
But the newer M2 is not necessarily a better M1. The M2’s larger fit will suit some people better than others (just as some prefer the fit of the I/OX over the I/O).
This review mainly covers the functionality and performance of the M1 alone. You can read more about the notable differences in fit and the differences in function (which are extremely minor) between the M1 and M2 in our review of the M2.
After the first day of testing, one thing was very clear: the M1’s “Magna-Tech” system is incredibly easy to use. No real surprise there. Prying at either of the lens’ bottom, outer magnets will partially detach it from the frame. With one of the corner magnets lifted, you can pull the lens free in a second (literally).
To drop in a lens, generally align the magnets on the top of the frame with those on the lens and let go; everything snaps in nicely. Yes, you can pull the lens on and off while the goggles are still on your face (and, yes, the look people give on the chairlift will be one of confusion).
The M1’s entire lens swap procedure is far less involved than the Smith’s I/O’s or the Switchlock system on the Oakley Airbrake, but it still requires a little finesse. There is a basic method to changing the M1’s lens—it’s not easy to yank off any which way. (Try peeling a sticker without first lifting one of the corners.) The video below makes swapping the lens out while wearing the goggle look incredibly easy, and I can vouch—once you get a feel for the frame and where the lower magnets are, it is that easy.
I should point out that because the M1 lens’ bottom magnets and their surrounding housing fit into designated notches / sockets on the frame, it’s not impossible for the lens to seat slightly off so that not all the magnets are engaged fully, and small gaps are left between the lens and frame. This doesn’t happen often, but if it does you’ll just need to lift and reseat the lens, which is not a big deal, not at all.
In this respect, if we’re splitting hairs, the “frameless/rimless” design of the M2 makes correctly swapping in a lens 100% foolproof because there are no tabs and notches to be seated poorly, where it’s 99.8% foolproof on the M1 for this reason.
I would not buy the M2 over the M1 on those grounds – the difference in fit between the two will probably be a deciding factor for some people, and is ultimately way more important.
Swapping lenses on the M1 is insanely easy, and it’s insanely, ridiculously easy on the M2.
Like the Smith I/O, the M1’s frame is pretty flexible on its own; it bends and twists to a certain degree. Torquing either end of the frame doesn’t cause the lens to dislodge whatsoever but I’ve found that if I pinch the goggles under the nose piece and the top of the frame while pulling hard on the strap (as you might do in pulling the goggles on over a helmet), some of the magnets can disengage momentarily as the frame gives slightly. This rarely happens, and when it does the lens is always secure once the goggles were are place.
This brings me to what is probably the most important point about the M1, and something that most people are likely to be skeptical about: lens retention.
The M1’s lens may be wonderfully simple to swap out, but if there’s a good chance it won’t stay put when you need it to (i.e. during a nice tomahawk) then what’s the point?
Anon says they didn’t have any problems with lens retention during testing:
“The goggle design has 6 magnet connection points, and when all are fully bonded, the combined retention can hold up to 20 lbs. Our pro riders have been testing the product on snow for months. To date, we have yet to hear a complaint about the lens coming off of the goggle on impact. In addition, we’ve been putting the goggle through lab retention tests that are very similar to the way Burton tests the retention of their snowboard bindings. So far, we’ve yet to find the maximum retention level, but we’re up to an impact of over 75Gs without failure.”
My experience with the M1—which has included one particularly brutal wipeout (think face to frozen slush at ~40 mph, with jeers from the chairlift)—has been consistent with Anon’s claims.
Of course, the hypothetical, “Well, what if” crash scenarios are endless in trying to think about potential failure points of such a design. Apart from what has already been explained, I will say this: If you find yourself in a situation in which you do somehow manage to separate the M1’s lens from the frame, the whereabouts of the lens will probably be the least of your concerns.
Bottom line: I am not at all worried about the M1’s lens retention.
Vision, Fit & Venting
In terms of peripheral vision, the M1 seems identical to the I/O: both are awesome.
I have noticed that the M2’s frame doesn’t seem to protrude quite as far into my periphery as the M1’s, particularly on either side or on the bottom of the frame. This isn’t a huge difference, and both the M1 and M2 offer a sufficiently clear, unobstructed field of vision. If the standard frame size of the M1 happens to fit you better than the M2, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to see just fine with the M1.
The M1 fits very similarly to the face as the I/O, with a nearly identical outrigger system and comfy, triple-density face foam. The M1 is slightly deeper, with more venting area behind the front of the frame. People who have experienced fogging issues with the I/O may be glad to hear this.
The M1 does offer a slightly narrower fit than the M2, like the Smith I/OX compared to the I/O, so if you know you prefer a goggle with a decidedly larger fit, you may want to consider the M2 over the M1. (Again, you can read more about this differences in fit in our review of the M2).
The M1 integrated perfectly with a Bern Watts helmet, Smith Variant Brim, and RED Mutiny. I have had some minor fit issues wearing the goggle with my Smith Gage: there is a small gap between the top of the goggle frame and the helmet. This isn’t very noticeable though, and it’s never bothered me.
The M1’s venting and fog-prevention seem every bit as good as the well respected I/O. In over 40 days of testing, I haven’t identified any shortcomings in this area, and at this point I don’t expect to. Now on to optics/lens options.