Zeal Slate 2017 - 2016 Review by A Better Ski
The Zeal Slate is a solid goggle that should work well for those who need a medium fit frame with a wide field of view. It also has premium optics, a comfortable fit, and good ventilation and anti-fog.
Zeal Slate Goggle On-Mountain Video Review
Helmet: Smith Vantage
Jacket: Trew Cosmic
Optics: Zeal’s optics are definitely on par with the best in the industry. I was pretty excited to test out the Zeal Slate with a Polarized Dark Grey lens. Every Zeal goggle I have used has provided clear vision and good detail, and this lens definitely didn’t disappoint in this category. The Polarized lens cuts glare quite well, and I found it pretty easy to see definition in the snow. The lens has 10% VLT making it more ideal for a sunny day than a cloudy day, but I actually found it works decently well in the middle as well. When I first put on the lens I do get a slightly blue tint. I will admit that personally this isn’t my favorite tint, but it does work decently well on snow. When comparing it to other low VLT lenses, the dark grey makes details pop pretty well. The only thing I don’t like is that colors don’t pop as much as other tints. I think for most people it will come down to personal preference over performance. I would definitely choose Zeals Automatic+ lens over this because I like the color better. However, the auto+ doesn’t have as low of a VLT and isn’t quite as good in really bright light. If you want the best for a bright day, and don’t mind changing for cloudy days, then this isn’t a bad option.
Fit and Field of View: The Zeal Slate probably has the widest view of any of the medium fit goggles I have tested. When looking from side to side it’s difficult to see the frame on either side. This is great if you need a really wide field of view. My only complaint with this frame is that it seems quite narrow top to bottom. It’s not bad by any means, but it is noticeable when looking up and down. I should also note that the nose piece seems slightly larger than others I have tested with a medium fit. I don’t mean the foam, but the actual frame itself. Again, it’s not bad necessarily, but it is worth mentioning. The foam on the other hand is quite comfortable. It is a bit on the tighter side, but should work really well for those with a slimmer nose. The face foam is nice and plush, and even with the goggle tightened over my face it still feels quite comfy. I think if this frame fits your face well, it would probably be one of the most comfortable goggles out there. For me, it just isn’t quite the right fit. Still, if you need a goggle with a very wide field of view, and don’t mind the narrower fit top to bottom, this could be a really great fit.
Ventilation and Anti-Fog: I will say that since the face foam feels so comfortable it can also feel a bit warm when working hard on the mountain. On the plus side, Zeal’s face foam is wicking and helps to pull moisture from your face when sweating. The ventilation on the Zeal Slate is also quite solid, helping to keep your face a bit cooler. The frame itself is deep, sticking out a bit further from the face. The benefit of that is there is more space for ventilation. If you look at the top of the goggle you’ll see the vents are quite large when compared to something like the Zeal Forecast, or Native Upslope. The Slate also has ventilation on the front top of the goggle. This definitely helps with ventilation over goggles without those vents. The Anti-Fog is also pretty solid. I have yet to come across a goggle that blows me away in this category, but I’ve also yet to find any that truly disappoint. The Slate definitely holds true to that statement, as it’s quite solid most of the time. Like most other lens anti-fog the most difficult situation seems to be when I’m working really hard (and sweating) on really cold snowy days. It seems to resist fogging pretty well, but it does happen. The plus side is that the ventilation helps to remove any fogging quickly, and even if it does fog, it doesn’t last. Bottom line, I’d say it’s definitely on par with any of the best anti-fog coatings on the market.
Final Thoughts: The Zeal Slate is certainly on par with any of the high end goggles on the market. It stands out for me as having one of the widest fields of view for a medium fit goggle, but this wide design doesn’t work the best for my face. I think if you find it works for you, this may be one of the better options out there. Zeal’s optics are quite solid. The Polarized Dark Grey lens provided clear and detailed vision on the brightest days, and does decently well on moderately bright days. If you like the blue tint, this lens would be a very good option if you spend a lot of time skiing bluebird days. Personally I like the color of the Auto+ lens better, and I love having a wider range of VLT%, but could certainly use this lens on quite a few days. Ventilation is quite solid, and anti-fog is just as good as other high end goggles. If you’re in the market for a medium fit frame with a very wide field of view, then the Slate could be exactly what you’re looking for.
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