I have no real complaints about the optics performance or the quality of the I/O7’s lenses. I tested the goggles with the Red-Solex lens (for bright, sunny conditions) and the Blue Sensor Mirror (for low, flat light conditions). To read up on the performance of those lenses and others in Smith’s line, see our Smith Len Guide.
Hiking along ridges and boot packing up bowls in New Zealand in warm, spring conditions, there were a few situations in which I would have expected the goggles to fog up, but they didn’t. I actually kept my shell, helmet, and goggles on during one long, sustained bootpack out of Mt. Cheeseman’s Tarn basin, trying to get the I/O7 to fog, but I couldn’t. I’m not willing to say that the I/O7 worked better than the Anon M2 goggles would have in that situation, but I was very pleased with how they 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]
The most significant difference between the original I/O and the new I/O7, to me, is the price. The I/O retails for $175 and Smith is asking $225 for the I/O7. I’ve been very happy with the I/O7, but I’m not sure I could bring myself to spend $50 more to buy it over the I/O.
I can’t say the I/O7’s fit (which, again I found to be quite similar to the old I/O), slightly simpler lens-change system, or dual-pivoting outrigger (which didn’t really do much for me) justify that price difference.
If I was going to shell out over $200 for a pair of goggles, I’d buy a pair of $220 Anon M2s; changing lenses on the M2 is decidedly easier and the field of view is a little bit better, plus, the M2’s come with a compression molded carrying case (which the I/O7s do not), and I prefer Anon’s Blue Lagoon lens over Smith’s Blue Sensor Mirror as a low light option.
The new Smith I/O7 offers some slight improvements over the original I/O goggle, with good anti-fogging performance and optics. For almost the same price, the Anon M2 features a lens-change system that’s a bit easier and quicker to use. But if you like to wear your goggles’ strap low under your helmet, the I/O7 may be worth the money.