But after three days of use, the I/O Recons started to show some flaws. That was the day a friend, Patricia, was using them. For an hour or so, the display kept running through a tutorial on how to use the goggles and wouldn't stop, no matter how often she pressed a button, any button, on the controller. And then it stopped on its own. And then it restarted, without any help, and ran through the tutorial again. Evidently, according to Recon, if Patricia had pressed Up, then Down, then Back on the remote, she could have skipped the tutorial. Hmmm, OK. Seems a lot to ask of someone in the middle of a ski run. And resetting the device should also have worked, though pressing the power button didn't seem to do the trick on slopes.
Eventually, during lunch, we were able to turn the goggles off, and stop the madness, When she tried them after lunch, Patricia got a new message, This time, the device was trying to update the firmware, and having no success, of course, because it wasn't connected to a computer, She was able to turn the display off this time, and just skied with a very nice set of goggles that had an entirely unusable heads-up display, The Zeals were the most reliable of mandala 595 iphone case the batch I used, The $550 Z3 goggles I tried came out a year ago, and come with an earlier version of Recon's technology, The display is a bit different, with fewer options to capture data and no ability to connect to a smartphone to see incoming calls or control music, The goggles themselves aren't quite as sleek as the Smiths or Oakleys, They didn't quite fit my POC Receptor Bug helmet, pushing down a little uncomfortably on my nose, The Z3s come with what Zeal calls "Polarized Automatic" lenses, which change with the light so skiers don't need to swap lenses for different conditions..
I had only the slightest of hardware issues with the Recon unit in the Z3 goggles. There were times it took the device several runs to display altitude data. One day the power ran out before I was done for the day. So I was unable to track my last few runs. The bigger problems came when I uploaded data from the goggles to Recon's Web site. The site listed my Whistler runs as being in November, even though I had set up the goggles with the correct date previously. The Web site also showed that I skied 257.5 miles that day, about the distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. I like to cover a lot of ground when I ski, but honestly, I probably covered about a tenth of that distance. The spokesman for Recon attributed that to a "very rare" anomaly in GPS signals that didn't get detected by the software, and added that the company's engineers are "tightening up the algorithms."That said, the Zeals were dependable enough to give me a sense about of was cool and what was lacking in the technology -- when it does work more smoothly.
With both the Zeal and Smith goggles, I was surprised at how unobtrusive the heads-up display was, I thought it might be distracting, but it's entirely in the periphery, glance-able without screaming for attention, And my survival instinct kept me from focusing on the display when I was topping 40 mph, It was too important to focus on the undulations in the run itself, I was also pleased at how easy it was to read the display, I ski with contact lenses because my middle-aged eyes don't see distance as well as they once did, But that means I can't read a menu or even e-mails on my iPhone without some mandala 595 iphone case strain, I had no such problems with the heads-up display, though, which sits less than an inch from my right eye..
Even when working well, the Recon units have a few design flaws that can be frustrating. Turning on the displays means tapping a button on the right side of the goggles' frame, a spot that I found was relatively easy to inadvertently hit when packing them away. When I did that, I wound up using precious power on the heads-up display unit, running out of juice before I finished my skiing for the day. The controller is a bit cumbersome as well. It's a six-button gadget, a little larger than a box of matches, that users can attach around their wrists or on the side of the goggle strap. But six buttons is way too much, particularly for skiers who wear mittens and then need to pull them off to navigate from one screen to another on the display.
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