I had the chance to try out the new Oakley Airwaves and thought I would share my impressions with you. Although I think Oakley makes quality products, my overall impression was negative and ultimately had to return them.
I won't cover all the features, so if you aren't familiar with them you can check out the website for all the details: Oakley Airwave Goggles | Official Oakley Store
- beautiful looking goggles, in my opinion the nicest looking you can get right now; Airbrakes are pretty close contenders though
- its not obvious on Oakley's website, but if you go to their retail location you can get most of the lenses as replacements, including the H.I. Yellow which covers you when its not bright and sunny outside. Price was decent for replacement lenses, I think about $75 CAD for HI Yellow.
- the remote control requires no charging which was a pleasant surprise; it has a battery which needs replacement after about 3 years
- there's a power saving mode, where you can turn off the HUD but continue collecting stats, this can let you extend the battery of the goggle from 4 hours up to 8 hours
- wireless control of my tunes was the biggest selling feature for me, does anyone know if you can get the remote as a standalone, or if there's a similar wireless remote available for my iphone?
- my biggest problem with the Airwaves, and ultimately the reason why I returned them, is that there's a significant amount of viewing angle blocked off by the HUD device. This might not be that big of a deal for some people, but in my opinion I don't think its worth sacrificing any amount of peripheral vision for the geek stats. I did some comparisons with my Anon Hawkeyes, which have great peripheral vision, and I would lose about 3 feet of vertical vision for objects about 8 feet away in my right eye. The left eye is obviously better because it doesn't have the HUD device blocking you, but the frame outline of the lens is visible which I found distracting. The loss in vision might have bothered me more because I ride goofy, so I lead with my right eye.
- I'm slightly near sighted in my right eye, so the HUD appears blurry on the edges. Most screens this is ok, but some of the text can be annoying for me to read. For me this wasn't a deal breaker and would have put up with this.
- I tried these on a cold day, about -20 C / -4 F, and only got about 2 hours from them, instead of the advertised 4 hours. I imagine the 4 hours requires normal temperatures above -10 C.
- I found out after purchasing the goggles that I needed an iPhone 4s or 5 for the bluetooth hookup, and I only had a 4. Check your phone compatibility before buying
- I really didn't check the HUD at all when ripping down the hill which is when I would most want to see the stats in real time. I have an app called Ski Speed which reads out my speed to me through my headphones, I find this much more convenient than taking my eyes off my line.
So, the Airwaves might be ok for some, but they weren't for me. Ultimately I felt like they were a novelty, not worth dropping the $600 + $75 on them, and not worth losing even a small amount of viewing angle. Time to order a new pair of Airbrakes ...