The accuracy of this review is disputed. Please see discussion below.
Period of Product Use:
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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Comfortable, secure fit
Excellent field of vision
Will fog under extreme conditions without fan
Too small for players with large heads
After over a year, this JT Flex-8 full-head goggle remains my favorite paintball mask by far. I have one in black & grey, and one in camo.
Its most obvious feature that sets it apart from the vast majority of other masks out there is that it covers your whole head and makes your noggin impervious to paint in 360 degrees! Not that you want to give up the back of your head as a target in general, but when you do by accident, it's awfully nice not to have to peel paintball shell fragments out of your scalp after a good bunkering. The mask uses an adjustable clamshell structure to adjust around and comfortably protect different-sized heads, from ultra-pinhead on up to somewhat above average. It is NOT recommended for players with fairly big heads! I had one big-headed friend try it on and barely get it back off! But if you are in the normal range, it is extremely comfortable. The over-the-head design makes it fit even better than the standard JT Flex-8 mask (which I also own).
The mask itself provides excellent protection top to bottom. Your brow is covered by a ball-deflecting visor as well as the head cage, and it has a nice long drop down over your chin. From side to side, the cheeks of the mask fit nice and close to your face, giving better-than-average goggle clearance for woodsballers who use a stock. In front, the profile of the mask is not as low as some other top-line models, but it is still reasonable. The Flex-8 has a secure, comfortable chin strap and a good, durable back strap. The foam inside is standard for higher-end masks, but it is comfy and hodls up well to abuse.
The Flex-8 uses a Spectra two-pane thermal lens, available in a wide variety of tints as well as clear. It holds up well to play and resists scratches pretty well, and under most conditions the dead air in the middle of the two panes resists fogging under hard play. Under the fogging torture-test conditions of rainy spring weather in the Pacific Northwest, I have occasionally gotten it to fog up a bit under hard play when I wasn't paying attention to my breathing. Fortunately, the Flex-8 accepts a JT Vortex II goggle fan (about $29) which I strongly recommend -- that thing is durable, vents both in and out, and will eliminate any fog problems you have with just a short run. (It sounds like a Cesna is inside your helmet, but it's not actually loud to those around you...) Lens removal is not as easy as many other masks out there, but you won't have to do that too often.
It's too bad the full-head model only comes in black/grey and camo. I would love to see this mask in other tactical colors, like black/olive and olive/khaki (similar to the new VForce Grill in Lizard(!)).
As I said at the start of this review, I love this mask. The Flex-8 full-head may not have the bling or the status of the top-line, but it fits well, plays well, and holds up well. If you shop the 'Net, you can find this mask for under $50, and even at full price, I think it's worth every penny. It's not perfect, but it is a very good mask and a great value. Get one, and get a Vortex -- then go play!