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beanbreaker Tuesday, July 31st, 2007
Period of
Product Use:
3 months
3 months
Products Used:
JT Spectra, V-Force Profiler
Marker Setup: '04 WGP Autococker VF (Prostock)
E2 Frame
Orracle Tickler LPR
Custom Products Stubby HPR
CCM Lexan back block
Slik Edge III Nylatron Bolt
VLocity Hopper
45/3000psi PMI Steelie
Strengths: Great visibility
Great ventilation
Soft Ears
More bounces
Looks great!
Weaknesses: Hard to disassemble
No stock thermal lens
Stock lens fogs after a while
Review: The Purchase: When I went to the local proshop to take a look at what was there, I had almost narrowed my search down prior to even going. My friend had a V-Force Grill, and it looked pretty good, but felt a little odd on my face. It was either the Grill or the i3. After trying them both on, it just felt like the i3 fit my head better, and offered a little more protection.

Overview: The lens view area is actually REALLY good, although I just can't believe that Dye above ALL companies wouldn't include a thermal lens with the stock mask. I mean, come on. You pay $100 for this mask (I actually got it for $80), and it comes with a "fog resistant" lens. Don't fool yourself!!! THIS IS NOT A THERMAL LENS! I bought an identical mask for my girlfriend as she liked them also. We had the same experience.... the first time out was great. No fog, no problems at all.

Cleaning: Took them home after the first time out, and discovered to my horror.... these things take some time to get them apart! And when i say some time... I mean the first time it took me like 30 minutes! You have to wrench on the mask so hard that it feels like you're going to break the lens or the frame! When the manual says, "use your fingers and thumbs to roll back the rubber around the lens", I think they mean use a crow-bar! By the time I'm done removing the lens, my thumbs are raw, and remember... this is to be done w/in hours of finishing your game play, so you're already tired and wanting to relax. ;) In all honesty, after the first few times cleaning them, they aren't quite as difficult. It just becomes a bit of a chore and an expected part of the routine. I don't want this aspect to mislead people about the mask. It's a very minimal part of the whole picture.

Anti-Fogging: Anyhow, after realizing that the anti-fog coating was gone, I still attempted to play another day with the stock lens. Do yourself a favor... when you realize your mask has fogging problems... don't attempt to use the same lens unless you plan on horking on them like a scuba diver, or have some soapy water to dip the lens in (which is a pain to remove frequently. Long story short... I bought a couple thermal lenses for both me and my girlfriend. No fog anymore. We've been out 4 times... and still work like a charm. Well, I won't say ZERO fog, but nothing noticable. When we go out, we usually play for like 6-7 hours, and from time to time there is a little trace of fog, but nothing distracting or impeding vision. It's probably because I sweat like a pig and the sweat starts to evaporate from the foam as the day goes on. I know... gross. Anyhow.. the other option to solve the fog mystery, is to buy the Dye Turbine i3 fan. it fits right above the mask, and I think it runs off a single AAA, but I'm not sure. I bought the thermals, so I didn't need the fan, but if worse came to worse... better safe than sorry.

Safety: I've taken multiple gog hits. I have never felt as if they didn't give me great protection. The other day, I even took one on the ear. Now... while I can say that the soft ears do offer protection, and if I hadn't had any ear protections, i would've been surely deaf, they're not rigid, and thus, it still freakin hurts taking one directly to the ear. Can you say "ringing"? There is an upside to them as well.... you don't get any echo from your voice bouncing off plastic/rubber on the mask. They're essentially a tough foam/fabric with holes cut in them so you can hear, and let me say, you can hear quite well. As far as any neck protection goes... this is the only aspect I really think lacks as far as safety. I see time after time guys walk off the field because of taking a direct hit to the neck. When you put this mask on, that is the ONLY place I'm actually a little afraid to get hit. It covers your jawline PERFECTLY, but the buck stops there as it doesn't extend much, if any, below your chin. And while this is a small downfall in my opinion, it looks much better that way.

Ventilation: Awesome. There are vents cut into almost EVERY section of the mast. Front, sides, and even right below the lens. The ONLY disadvantage to this is that if you take a direct hit to anywhere but the lens, a bit of paint will probably get thru. There's also no echo when talking. Which is nice.
Conclusion: Despite it's downfalls, I still think it's one of the top masks of the game. I feel safe when wearing it, and I have no fogging problems since the thermal lens change. Sure... the soft ears don't offer much protection, but they serve their purpose - to save your hearing. Yeah, it doesn't come with a thermal lens, but if you replace the lens, it's clarity is amazing. Yeah, it doesn't offer ANY neck protection, but it looks great. Yeah... it's a pain in the butt to thoroughly clean, but... uh... i guess there's no buts on that one. While I think it's a great mask, it still ticks me off watching my friend pop two clips and remove his lens for cleaning. I'm giving it an 8. I'd definately reccommend it, but Dye needs to improve the disassembly process.... take a lesson from V-Force.
8 out of 10

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