Spy Ace 2016 - 2015 Review by A Better Ski
The Spy Ace is a comfortable medium frame goggle with a simple and intuitive lens changing system. It’s not the most flashy or showy frame in Spy’s lineup, but is a very solid option for those in search of a good frame at a reasonable price.
Spy Ace On-Mountain Ski Goggle Video Review
Optics: The Spy Ace is available with Spy’s Happy Lens. The Happy lens filters bad UV rays while still allowing long wave blue light to enter. I’m simply a skier with a gear problem, so I have no idea what any of that means for happiness, but according to Spy, these “good” rays help to increase our overall mood. Now, I’m not sure if I buy any of that, but I have to admit that I was in a good mood every time I had the chance to get out on snow and test out these goggles. My pair of Ace goggles came with a bronze w/ Green Spectra lens, and a Persimmon lens for the cloudy days. This review focuses only on the performance of the Bronze w/ Green Spectra lens. I must admit that personally I am not a big fan of green tints as I find they just don’t work well with my eyes. That being said, we also have testers here that love the green tint, and if you’re like them, there’s is a good chance you will really like this lens. Spy uses what they call SIC (Superior Injected Curve) in their lenses, basically creating a lens that is already curved. This is supposed to increase impact protection and optics. For the most part I find the lens to be of high clarity, and if it wasn’t for the green tint, I may have placed it on the same level as a Bolle lens. However, I find the green tint really messes with the natural color, and don’t look nearly as nice as Smith lenses in that area. I also found they don’t pop as much as I have found with the Native Silver Mirror lenses, which is probably my favorite tint in a lens. That being said, I did find that they work well in distinguishing terrain features (especially in bright light). The VLT is 11.8%, so they are going to filter out quite a bit of light. I definitely found them best in bright sunny conditions, and they do relatively well when things get partly cloudy. When light was flat, I found this lens was way out of place, but the Ace does come with an extra persimmon or yellow lens for those flat days. Overall, I found the optics to be of high quality, even though I don’t like the green tint. I’d love to get this with a silver mirror and see how it compares to some of my favorites from other goggle companies. Still, I think if you like green tints, this frame and lens could be a very solid option.
Fit and Field of View: The Spy Ae is a medium frame with a very comfortable fit. The shape of the frame really seems to work well with my face, and I found it to be one of the most comfortable frames I have used to date. If you find that you like a wider fit such as the Native Upslope or Zeal Slate, you may not find this frame as comfortable as I did. However, if you’re like me and find that wider frames just don’t work well for you, there’s a good chance you’ll love the fit of the Ace. The only other goggle I found that feels this comfortable would probably be the Native Tenmile. Field of view is pretty good. The frame does sit a bit further from your face than the Zeal Forecast which probably has the largest field of view I’ve tested in a medium frame goggle. Despite the goggle sitting further away from your face it still has a pretty large area to see through, and I’d say that it looks and feels a bit more like a large frame goggle when it comes to view. Actually, I’d say that the Native Tenmile and Spy Ace are actually quite similar in feel here as well.
Ventilation and Anti-Fog: Overall, I’d the ventilation on the Spy Ace is quite solid, and definitely on par with other high end goggles. The Ace also has moisture wicking triple-layer face foam that feels very comfortable. This wicking foam also helps to do a really good job of pulling any moisture away from my face, so if I do start sweating it helps keep me more comfortable. Anti-fog is also quite solid, and when in hiking in warm weather I have not had any issues with the goggles fogging. Even on really wet days, I have not had any issues with the anti-fog. I’m not ready to say that it’s the best that i have tested, but so far it has help quite well compared to some competition. I’d be really curious to see how well they hold up when I’m working really hard and sweating on a really cold and snowy day, as this is often when I have the most trouble with anti-fog.
Other Features and Final Thoughts: The Spy Ace comes with the Quick Draw lens change system, which makes it quite simple to change out lenses on the go. It’s not the quickest lens change I have seen in a goggle, and even Spy’s Lock Steady System is probably easier to use. However, I really like this system because it’s simple, moderately quick, and still quite sturdy. I never feel like I’m going to break the lens trying to get it in and out, nor do I ever feel like the lens is going to fall out randomly. The system is not complicated by any means, but may take a bit of practice to become quite efficient with it. My only fear with the Quick Draw system is that I’m going to break a piece of the sliding lever rendering useless. But I’ve had my Ace goggles for half a season now, and have not had any issues with durability of the sliders. Bottom line, I’d say the Ace is a very solid frame, especially for the price. It comes with a lot of cool features, including the Happy Lens, Superior Injected Curve (SIC), solid anti-fog, Scoop ventilation, triple-layer face foam, and the Quick Draw system. I found the optics to be solid, although I personally don’t like the green tint. The SIC shape seems to work pretty well, and the clarity and field of view of the Ace is good. The frame is one of the more comfortable medium sized frames I have used, and the Quick Draw lens change system is easy and intuitive. So Bottom line is if you’re in search of a comfortable medium frame goggle with solid optics, anti-fog, and an easy lens change system, the Ace could be your goggle.
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