Bolle Emperor 2016 Review by A Better Ski
The Bolle Emperor goggle is one of our favorites because it combines good looks, a comfortable fit, great anti-fog, and ventilation, with fantastic optics and lens options. About the only thing we don’t like about this goggle is that it doesn’t come with an easy on-mountain lens interchange system. Still, we found some of the lens options to be so good, that you really wouldn’t have to change out the lens very often, making it pretty easy for us to overlook this minor shortcoming. If you’re looking for a medium to large frame spherical goggle with fantastic optics and anti-fog, the Emperor could be it.
Bolle Emperor Ski Goggle On-Mountain Review Video
Optics: Bolle goggles have been around since 1960, so it’s no surprise that their optics are top notch. We were very impressed with the color, clarity, and look of the Bolle lenses that we were able to test. We tested the Emperor with the Modulator Citrus Gun lens, and it was probably are favorite of all the modulator lenses. The Citrus Gun is a category 1-3 lens giving it the biggest range of VLT. Bolle claims 26%-66% VLT and although I can’t necessarily back the exact numbers I can say that this lens killed it in low light, moderate low light, mixed light, moderate bright light, and bright light. I’ve spent more than 10 days on mountain with the Emperor and so far I haven’t had any light condition that the Citrus Gun lens couldn’t handle. Is it perfect in all conditions? Of course not! However, if all I can bring is one lens, I’m bringing this one! It just does such a good job in such a large range of light conditions. It does have a bit of an orange tint to it at first, but my eyes adjust really quickly to the lens and I found clarity to be fantastic. The light just looks natural. Colors weren’t faded or intensified, they just looked good, and differences in terrain were easy to see. It does take a bit of time for the lens to change (it’s not instant), but if it’s sunny and clouds roll in at the bottom of the run, the goggles are ready to go by the time I get to the top. The only downside of the Emperor is that it’s not easy to change lens on the mountain. Sure the lenses are replaceable, but it’s not an easy or quick process.
Fit and Field of View: The Bolle Emperor is a medium/large frame, but the goggle looks bigger than you might expect. The frame fit perfectly fine, but I do get a bit of that bug-eyed look. It’s not overly “buggy”, and I must say that I actually do appreciate that extra coverage on colder days. The frame is very comfortable with three layers of face foam. It seemed to integrate well (no gap) with the Bolle Millennium helmet, as well as my Smith Vantage helmet. The goggle does seem to sit a little bit further from my face (less compressed) than the Nova II, and I feel like it enhances my field of view just a touch. For my medium+ sized face, the Emperor had great field of view, but won’t exactly compete with the Smith IOX or Anon M2 with their oversized frame and lens. Still for those with a smaller face the field of view will be quite good.
Ventilation and Anti-Fog: The Bolle Emperor has Flow-Tech venting and P80+ anti-fog. I was quite impressed with both ventilation and anti-fog. I spent the last day with the Emperor hiking over a mile to in-bounds terrain in 40+ degree temps. I run pretty warm, so it’s easy to say that I was sweating pretty heavy by the end of the hike. While my head was full of sweat, I was surprised that my face didn’t feel overly sweaty. In addition, the lens never fogged once, and clarity was just as good as it was before the hike. I haven’t been able to do a a/b comparison with other companies yet, but I can say that the anti-fog on Bolle is fantastic, and easily on par (or even better) than other goggles we have tested.
Final Thoughts: The Bolle Emperor is a fantastic medium/large frame spherical goggle for the price. I found the frame to fit comfortably, and it integrated well with several helmet brands. The ventilation is fantastic, and anti-fog is top of the line. The optic quality is also top notch, and can compete with any other high end goggle brands out there. Sure they don’t have an easy or convenient interchangeable lens system, but several of the stock lenses (the modulator) are so good that you won’t have to change out the lens very often. If you need to replace a lens, you’re still able to do so, it just won’t happen on mountain. As long as you don’t mind only bringing one lens, the Bolle Emperor is one of the better goggle options we have tested.
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