Field of Vision & Fit
Compared to the M1, the M2 does offer a noticeably increased field of vision, and a slightly larger, wider fit.
I do notice 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. There isn’t a huge difference, however, and both offer a sufficiently clear, unobstructed field of vision.
So if you like the standard frame size of the M1, you’ll still be able to see fine. It’s field of vision is very good. But the M2’s is a touch better—it’s very very good.
The M2’s frame is 96mm high, only 3mm more than that of the M1, and as far as fit is concerned, this difference in height seems negligible. However, I do notice that the frame of the M2 seems a little wider than the M1. With the M1, I have a little less room on either side of my eyes than with the M2, where the foam rests a bit more toward the outside of my face. All and all, both goggles happen to fit my face well, but I suppose I do find the fit of the M2 a little more comfortable.
This is a little odd, because while I like the fit of the Smith I/O, the I/OX is definitely a little too large for my face (the frame seems too tall, as the face foam rests too low on my nose) and the field of vision it offers seems the same as the M2. Swapping the two back and forth, I can’t notice any appreciable difference between the M2 and the I/OX.
The fit of the M2 may still be too large for some people, but even if you know that other larger spherical goggles don’t fit you well, and you really like the look of the M2, you should probably still try a pair on. There’s always a chance the M2 will suit you while a similar, larger goggle like the I/OX will not.
(JE: I had the exact same experience, and agree 100% with the above paragraph.)
At the same time, if you know you like the more compact, frames look of the M1 more than the M2, go for it. You’ll still be getting a very nice spherical goggle with a super-fast lens change system. I’m not usually a fan of the “bug-eye,” “fighter-pilot” goggle steeze, but the clean, sharp look of the M2 has really grown on me.
As far as helmet compatibility goes, I have had some minor fit issues wearing the M2 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 M2 fits perfectly with the Smith Variant Brim and R.E.D. Mutiny (re-branded and renamed the Anon Blitz for 13/14).
(JE: And I can vouch for the compatibility of the M2 with the Smith Vantage helmet.)
The M2 model / colorway reviewed here is the Landvik Pro, Mark Landvik’s pro model, which wears his signature on the outside of the lens. The M2 will come in a variety of other frame colors and styles, each of which includes a low-light and a bright-light lens, and a compression-molded case.
The Landvik comes with Anon’s Dark Smoke lens (pictured above) for bright light conditions, and the Blue Lagoon lens for flat / low light. I’ve also tested a few other lenses that you might be looking into (depending on the frame color you’re considering), so I’ll share some thoughts on those as well.
I was familiar with the Blue Lagoon already, having tested it with the M1, and my praises still stand.
Anon describes the Blue Lagoon as a “high-contrast Yellow base lens tint with a multi-layer Blue Mirror” that “enhances color definition and increases depth perception in varying levels of low light conditions.”
At first, the lens looks very similar to Oakley’s H.I. Yellow lens, which Jason Hutchins speaks highly of in his review of the Oakley Airbrake. I agree with Jason, it is a great low-light lens. I used the H.I. Yellow lens in a pair of Oakley Crowbars as my low-light lens for a few seasons in the past.
Similar to it, the Blue Lagoon has a nice, warm tint for those storm days when flat light can be a problem. However, as the ultimate low-light lens option, I think the Anon’s Blue Lagoon wins out over the H.I. Yellow.
In a back-to-back comparison, I found the Blue Lagoon to provide better, more faithful color transmission and even better contrast and detail in low and flat light. Again, Oakley’s H.I. Yellow is a very good lens for storm riding—it just shows how good a job I think Anon has done.
All and all, I think the Blue Lagoon is my favorite low light lens to date—better than the Smith Sensor Mirror (which uses a light rose base tint instead of yellow), and better than Oakley’s H.I. Yellow.
(JE: I haven’t used the Oakley H.I. Yellow, but I have used the Smith Sensor, and I agree with Will.)
As my bluebird option, I was also very happy with the Dark Smoke lens, which is pretty much identical to Smith’s Blackout lens. (You can read more about the array of lens options from Smith in our Smith Lens Guide.) Both are a dark grey tinted lens that do superbly in super bright conditions. If anything, the Dark Smoke is a tiny bit darker, but it’s a negligible difference – they’re effectively the same.
(JE: Agreed. Both are great in bright light.)
Even as a dedicated sunny-day lens, Anon’s Red Solex lens is a bit more versatile than the Dark Smoke, and might be preferable on a mountain that is heavily shadowed in the afternoon.
Anon describes the Red Solex lens as having a “dark bronze base tint with a multi-layer Red mirror” that “maximizes color definition and increases depth perception in varying levels of medium light to bright conditions.” I would describe the Red Solex lens as having (or looking like it has) a yellow/amber color to it, which has performed flawlessly in sunny conditions. Even if you’re a dedicated fan of a true rose, grey, or blueish bright-light lens, I’d still recommend taking a look at this Red Solex lens—the glare reduction and contrast are top-notch. It sufficiently reduces the intensity of bright, sunny conditions, but doesn’t seem to have a grey, “cold” hue that markedly darkens one’s view. Anon’s Red Solex is definitely one of my favorite bright-light lenses.
The Red Ice low light lens is somewhat unusual. Anon describes it as a “clear base lens with a Red Mirror to flush out depth perception under night pipe lights”. Usually low light lenses have some tint to them to help with contrast in flat light, like the Blue Lagoon. But the Red Ice still does very well as a storm day lens, when visibility is at its worst, even though I would have thought its clear base would only really be useful while night skiing, as Anon mentions. While I think I still prefer a rose or yellow tinted lens, the Red Ice is a really nice alternative low light option especially if you do happen to do a fair amount of night skiing.
I was initially pretty skeptical about this lens. Gradient tints aren’t something you typically find on any kind of performance eyewear, especially goggles. But Anon gave it a try, and I think they’ve done a great job making this design work as essentially a bright light lens. This lens has a “dark gray tint applied to the top of the lens [which] reduces glare from direct sunlight, while the yellow lower lens tint provides a brighter view of the terrain.” And it really does work well, just as Anon says. The gradient is fairly dramatic, and definitely noticeable when the sun is directly in your face. They darkest, grey portion at the top of the lens does a nice job of reducing glare from above, yet terrain in front of you is kept sharp through the contrast-boosting yellow tint. I don’t think I would prefer use this lens for seriously bright conditions (on a glacier, for example), but I’ve really come to like it on partly cloudy days. So if you’re looking at a certain frame color of the M1/M2 that comes with this tint, don’t be turned away just because it’s a little unconventional.
Anon’s optics still seem top-notch with the M2. The general quality of their lenses is stellar, and I’ve never run into any sort of fogging issues with the M2. Speaking of fogging…
Even while skiing over-layered and sweaty in a spring storm where, if the temperature was any higher, snow would have turned to rain, only the tiniest strip of condensation began to form at the top of the M2’s frame. If the goggle didn’t fog up badly there, I’m not inclined to think it’s prone to doing so in general.
I’ve never needed to do this, but if you were to get some fogging on the inside of the M2’s lens, just pop it out on the lift and wave it around for a bit. The direct airflow would clear up any moisture on the lens and your perspiring forehead very quickly.
(JE: In tricky conditions at Wolf Creek last weekend, I had a very similar experience. I’m not willing to say that the M2’s worked better than the Smith I/OX goggles would have, but I was pleased with how the M2’s performed.)
[Editor’s Note: For those that typically ski with glasses under their goggles and are interested in prescription inserts, check out SportRx, which makes inserts for many popular goggle frames. We haven’t tested them yet, but are planning to review them in the near future and will post an update when we do]
MSRP for the M2 is $240, and that’s not cheap. It is $20 more than the Oakley Airbrake, which retails at $220, and $65 more than both the I/O and I/OX, which go for $175. (The M1 is more competitively priced, at $200 and $220). Even then, price isn’t a deal-breaker for me. I’d make a point to save up some funds for this goggle. Needless to say, I’m a big fan.
(JE: If I was buying a goggle tomorrow, this is what I’d buy. But if I didn’t care as much about the interchangeability, then I’d at least be more open to looking elsewhere, since other companies are also putting out some nice optics. I also put a premium on goggle/helmet compatibility, so if the M2 happened not to sync well with my helmet, I would also be more open to looking elsewhere.)
It’s also worth noting that the M1 and M2 both come with very nice hard cases. So does the Airbrake, but you won’t get a case with a pair of I/Os or I/OXs, that’ll cost you $30 more (so a truly equivalent setup with the I/OX would be $205, no longer so much cheaper than $240 for the M2).
Replacement / additional M2 lenses will cost $75 – $90, depending on the lens. That’s also pretty steep. The majority of Smith’s spare lenses are $55 or less (though some cost as much as $100) and Oakley’s top-end mirrored lenses ring in at $75 a piece. Honestly, though, as I said about the M1, given the quality of the optics in the M2 and the number of lens options, I doubt many people will really be looking for a third lens—I don’t think I would be.
If you’re in the market for a goggle with interchangeable lenses, you have to take a look at the M1 and M2. Anon has thrown together awesome optics and great engineering to yield two of the simplest, easiest-to-use interchangeable goggles we’ve ever tested.