I needed some goggles for a trip to Tahoe because my Spy Soldiers didn't have a lens and the replacement wouldn't arrive until after I was in the mountains. Since I have been eyeballing the Smith I/O for some time I decided to call around and see if anyone still had a set in stock.
I was hoping to get the I/O in one of the intersection colors, or grey alexandrite, but the only set I could find within 100 miles was the I/O Evolve in tan & sage. I went up and checked it out and actually found that they looked great in that scheme. The shop was asking $99 for them (they told me $90 over the phone but meh) so I went ahead and grabbed them.
First impression was that they were very well made. At least as good as my Spy Soldiers as far as quality goes. The cocona bag it came with, as well as the bamboo accents etc. on the goggles were really nice "green" touches. Unfortuantely the Evolve doesn't come with the hard case.
The mechanism to change lenses is indeed as easy as it looks. You flip two levers, pop the lens out, reverse the process for the new lens and you're done. It takes about 20 seconds.
The lenses are of remarkable quality. You can't wipe the antifog off (it's etched into the lens), the porex filter for the inside of the lens is ingenious and the ventilation was amazing. I could literally feel the cool breeze flowing from the top of the goggle and out the bottom while riding on the lift. I always have fogged goggles, so much so that I had resigned myself to always having to deal with poor vision on the mountain. I now resign that resignation!
Saturday morning it was 31F in the morning and 55F when I left that afternoon. I didn't get any fog whatsoever at any point.
It was a perfect California bluebird day Saturday so I installed the darker of the two lenses, the Ignitor Mirror. It maintained brightness while keeping the sun from burning my eyes. You could nearly look directly at the sun with these lenses. On the runs the contrast was amazing. I was very confident as I could see every detail in the snow. I wasn't caught off guard once, whereas usually because of foggy lenses I get launched off a mogul or something I couldn't see at least once a day.
I didn't get a chance to try the sensor as it was too bright.
Visibility was superb. I had plenty of peripheral vision and the optics were perfectly clear.
I/O Evolve Frame: A++ (two pluses because it's made from recycled materials with no drawbacks)
Ignitor Lens: A+
Value: A+ (paid $99 for $180 goggles, if paying $180 I'd say value is still an A, as good vision on the mountain is very nearly the most important aspect of skiing/snowboarding and is almost pricless - I would be willing pay full retail for the I/O if there was no option to get them cheaper)