Gear Review: Dragon X1S Transition Lenses

By Wendy Clinch •  Updated: 03/22/16 •  4 min read

You can go dizzy from all goggle choices out there. Not only are there dozens of manufacturers to choose from, but there are a whole slew of variables to take into account: Do you want flat or spherical? What color lens? How do they fit on your face? With your helmet? Do they fog? What about optical clarity? Peripheral vision? And how do they look on you? (Because, as we all know, that’s what it’s all about. *kidding alert*)

For me, though, simpler is better. I don’t even want to think about my goggles, once they’re on my face. Heck, I don’t even want to think about them before I put them on. So I want a goggle that’s, as they say, grab-and-go. One that’s easy-peasy, fits well, and doesn’t cause me any grief.

For the past few years I’ve been a devoted Smith IO/S goggle wearer. I actually liked them quite a bit; they fit well with my Smith helmet, don’t fog, and have a cool strap that looks great with my helmet and jacket. And frankly, the lens swapping system is pretty simple. It’s head and shoulders above the old system where you had to line up the lens and insert it into a pretty unyielding frame. Granted, it takes a bit of getting used to. But with some practice, it’s actually pretty easy to deal with.

My Smith IO/S goggles.

My Smith IO/S goggles.

Then I got a new Giro helmet and suddenly, my goggles weren’t that great anymore. They just didn’t fit the way I wanted them to. Plus even the easy lens changing system was becoming a bit of a drag. I mean, sometimes a sunny day can turn into a flat light day in a matter of hours. And if you have the wrong lens in place, you’re stuck.

One of the members on TheSkiDiva community mentioned how she loved her Dragon X1S Transition goggles, so I was intrigued.  These are supposed to change to accommodate varying light conditions. That’s right: the company claims they automatically darken in bright sunlight and lighten in cloudy or snowy conditions. According to Dragon’s website, the darkness of the lens tint will vary between 76% and 16% Visible Light Transmission (VLT). A high percentage rate signifies a lighter lens tint, which allows more natural light into the lens in overcast, shaded or low-light conditions. A lower percent signifies a darker lens tint, and is typically best for glare control in sunny conditions.

Photochromatic lenses are nothing new. But in my experience, the lenses just didn’t seem to offer enough of a change to make them that effective. Would these do the trick?

I had the opportunity to try the Dragon X1S Transitions at the on-snow industry demo days at Stratton in February, and liked them a lot — so much so that I ended up buying a pair. And yes, I have to say that I agree with my fellow forum member: the goggles work as advertised. The first day was sunny and bright, the next day less so, and they really performed. What’s more, I found the clarity of the lens first rate. Peripheral vision was good, too, and I didn’t have any fogging problems. Even better: they work well with my Giro helmet, and they don’t pinch around my nose, which the IO/S always did. The silicone-backed strap is also heftier and more non-slip than the one on the IO/S. A downside: the strap isn’t as graphically pleasing as my old one. But then again, it can go with a lot of things quite easily. So maybe that’s a plus, after all.

So what’d you think, Ski Diva?

I’ve used these now for a month or so, and I have to say I’m still quite pleased. They’re comfortable, easy to deal with, and I don’t even have to think about them at all. Which to me is a major plus. What’s more, they’re great with the flat light we have here in New England, as well as the bluebird days you’ll find out west. And I never, ever, ever have to think about which lens to choose for the day. Which is a pretty liberating experience.

Right now the X1S Transitions are available with a yellow lens, though I think next year they’ll be offering them in a rose lens, too, if that’s your preference. The rep told me the yellow one is better for flat light days, which we get plenty of here in New England.

For more information on the Dragon X1S Transition goggle, go here..

Related Posts