Smith Optics I/O Recon Goggle with Android pictures and hands-on

When Pocket-lint attends the annual Amazon Christmas in July event we always get a chance to play with something that we've not seen before. That could be something that won't even be out until Christmas, or it could be something that Amazon is only just featuring in its UK retail line-up. The Smith Optics I/O Recon Goggle definitely falls into the latter camp.

While the ski goggles have been around for a while - launched in the US at the end of last year - this was the first time chance we've had to check them out. We have seen similar eyewear with Android-based displays before, including customised normal goggles with Recon Instruments' MOD Live system installed, but these are fully integrated and just about the most advanced on the market.

The goggles themselves are chunky yet lightweight. We don't have the exact weight to hand but it is 1.4kg when shipped, box and all. They fit with most of the big helmet brands, especially Smith's, naturally, and are sturdy enough that we would fully expect them to take a fall. There is a 5X inner-lens, and the outer can be hot swapped easily - the model we had a quick play with had the Ignitor Mirror Lens attached.

As comfortable and practical as the goggles are, you can get almost the same for far less than the £560 asking price, so what else do you get for that money?

How much you'll need the in-built GPS monitor will depend on how active you are on the slopes. It's not quite heads-up as it is built into the frame of the goggles, so you have to look down a little to read the information. It can show you speed, jump analytics (which, for us, is more falling over longer distances), altitude and a lot more.

It will tell you your location and, because of the GPS, can help you navigate courses and runs. And because it connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth you can see a caller heads-up and text messages when on the piste.

You can even pair with your friends and track them, in case you get separated. And, with new apps being developed for the MOD Live system, more will be added in time.

Amazon hasn't said when the Smith Optics I/O Recon Goggle will be available on Amazon.co.uk, but from just our quick play in a gallery in a scorching hot London in July, we think anybody who takes their winter sports seriously will have to consider investing in one.



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