Lord help me, but these are fun.
Why ‘Lord help me?’ Because if I have one more thing I have to charge up for skiing, I think I’ll go bonkers. I already have to charge my boot heaters, my heated gloves, and my helmet audio chips. And yes, I covet a heated vest, which would require charging, too.
Do I really need any of these? No. I can ski perfectly well without anything electronic. But what can I say— I’m spoiled. Each one makes the ski day a little bit better, in its own particular way.
Rekkie’s Smart Goggles do that, too, taking ski goggles to a completely different level. Like ordinary goggles, they help you see the snow and protect your eyes from wind and weather. But they also collect stats and project them onto your lenses where you can see them throughout your ski day. And they let you control your music, answer your phone, read your texts, and locate your friends on the mountain.
Again, is this something I need? No. But is it fun? You bet.
I’ll admit, at first I had reservations. Would they interfere with my vision? Would they be difficult to operate? Would there just be, well, too much information? I’ll address all these in a moment. But first…..
How do they work?
It’s really surprisingly simply. Charge ’em up, download the app, turn on the goggles, and pair them with your smart phone. The goggles use HUD (Head Up Display), a transparent display that allows you to view data on the goggle lens, without looking away from your usual viewpoints. If it sounds like it might be intrusive, I didn’t find it that way at all. The display is in the middle and along the top of your lens, so it really doesn’t interfere with your vision.
You can see the main dashboard in the picture above. (The stats that appear on the lens are in white; the blue is simply an explanation of what they mean, for the purpose of this review.) In a nutshell, you see the time, your speed in MPH, your altitude, a compass, how much battery life you have left, your number of unread text messages, and the number of friends you have within 10 yards. Press the housing on the goggle strap and a menu pops up. The movement of your head acts like a mouse, allowing you to choose between screens for Texts, Music, Stats, and the Dashboard.
For example, here’s the Stats screen:
You can also use the goggles to answer your phone (of course, you have to have audio speakers, which are not included). To answer, tap on the housing when a call comes in to answer; to ignore it, tap twice. One caveat: if you have an iPhone, you have to change a setting to hear the call through your speakers. This isn’t the case with other audio systems. As of today, this isn’t mentioned in the manual, but my bet is it will be soon.
Here’s something that’s super cool, too: The goggles can tell you just how far you are from your friends. They don’t even need to have the goggles; they just have to have the Rekkie app installed on their phones. Even better, you’ll be able to see exactly where they are on a map on your smart phone. So you’ll never lose your buddies on the mountain again.
But how do they perform as goggles?
Surprisingly enough, Rekkie hasn’t sacrificed visual quality for technical bells and whistles. This is a seriously nice goggle. Comfortable, well ventilated so it doesn’t fog, with a nice, high quality strap. The field of vision is good, and you can choose from a variety of lens colors. The lenses snap in and out pretty easily, though it took me a bit of practice to master. I think I’ve become a bit spoiled by the magnetic system used in my regular goggles. That’d be a great addition here, Rekkie, so take note.
A few things you should know:
• In bright light, the data can be hard to read. Naturally, this depends on the color of the lens you’re using. I found the pink and orange lenses way too light to read the data in bright sunlight. This was easier in a darker or shaded area. The darker lens, however — which I initially rejected because, hey, I ski in Vermont where the sun never shines — did a much better job.
• The goggles do not include speakers. Though you can control your music and answer calls, you must use an audio component to hear any sound. AirPods, ear buds or other speakers are all fine. That said…..
• I initially had difficulty with the phone feature, but the company managed to get me squared away. Turns out that if you have an iPhone, you have to change a setting to allow calls to come through your speakers, once you answer them through the goggle. This isn’t the case with any other audio system.
• Smart goggles aren’t for everyone. I understand that. To be honest, I didn’t think they were for me, either. But the Rekkie goggles are so easy to use and so much fun; you may be pleasantly surprised.
So what’d you think, Ski Diva?
I sort of wanted to not like these. Do I need all this information? No. That said, the info they present is actually pretty cool. It’s fun to see how fast you’re going, your vertical feet, the direction you’re facing, and so on. And it’s a great way to keep tabs on your friends, too. Could you get a cheaper pair of goggles and still have a good time? Absolutely. Are they a bit pricey? For sure. The list price is $349, but that’s comparable to other high-end goggles, such as Smith’s 4D Mags — and those don’t do any of the cool stuff the Rekkie’s do.
Bottom line: Gear heads and lovers of ski stats, rejoice! These are the goggles for you.