Turbo-Charged Fog Protection
Words By: Jonathan Higgs
Photos: Justin Harvey
Every airsoft player needs quality eye protection, that’s a fact. And if you want to really be protected you should be using a full seal goggle or mask. Lately, more and more fields are moving toward full seal goggles as they provide superior eye protection versus safety or shooting glasses. But there is a problem that comes along with this level of safety: full seal goggles fog. How can you hit your opponents if you can’t see them? Well, ESS has the answer…add air conditioning. Ok, not actual air conditioning, but it is close: They took their flagship Profile Series ballistic goggles, outfitted them with a micro-fan at the top and the Profile Turbofan was born.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: ESS
PRODUCT: Profile Turbofan Goggle
MOLLE COMPATIBLE: NA
MATERIAL/ PATTERN: High-impact polycarbonate lens, plastic perimeter with anti-microbial padding.
OVERALL CONSTRUCTION: Low-profile frame for NVG compatibility with replaceable lens and adjustable strap
CAPABILITIES: Full-seal eye protection with anti-fog fan
MODEL NUMBER: 740-0131
HOW MUCH: $180
REVIEWERS OPINION: These lightweight, low-profile goggles do a great job of mixing protection and comfort for long days on the battlefield. But, when you add in the two-speed fan feature to eliminate fogging, they really shine.
Star rating (1-5) = 4.5
PROS AND CONS
+Fan makes quick work of fogging
+Good peripheral vision
+ Solid battery life
– Battery pack prevents under-helmet wearing
– Fan noise can be an issue for helmet-cam users
I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve had my eye on a set of Turbofans for a while now. I would find myself running for the safe zone at many a big operation just to fight the fog in my goggles, while the ESS Turbofan owners would race by me with their 20/20 vision and get the kills. So, when my review goggles arrived, I was more than ready to see if they could live up to their fogless reputation in my tests.
Inside the package I found the low-profile goggles with a clear Z87-rated lens installed, carrying pouch, extra smoke-colored rated lens, lens bag (that doubles as a soft cleaning cloth) and their Anti-Reflective Speed Sleeve, basically a cloth protective cover that stays with the goggles so they can be protected when not in use, which is a nice bonus to protect your investment.
Looking over the goggles, the build quality was evident. The frames were solid, but still had enough give to be comfortable, and just enough stretch to replace the lens without extra effort. The adjustable strap was soft with plenty of room to fit smaller heads all the way up to wearing the goggles over a helmet. And I liked the addition of a reinforced strap where the wire runs from the controls on the back to the goggle fan up front. This ensures that you won’t overextend the wire sewn into the strap and damage the electronics.
Speaking of electronics, the goggles are easily controlled through a reinforced polymer pack on the rear of the strap that ESS calls the PowerPod. The pack houses the single “AA” battery that runs the unit for up to 150 hours, and has a simple one-button on/off switch. What I really liked is that the PowerPod module didn’t weigh so much that you noticed it was there, which is a huge plus for day-long use.
Inside the goggles you’ll find a thin layer of foam around the rubber seal of the goggle; enough to be comfortable on your face, but not too much to collect sweat and moisture on a hot day. Inside you also have the option to add an insert for Rx, so those that wear glasses can still enjoy the benefits of these goggles.
After giving the goggles a good once-over, I put them on and headed out into the hot, humid Tennessee summer to put them through the paces. I opted to forgo the fan feature until the day heated up, as I wanted to really see how the Profile goggles held up in their native state. I was surprised to see that fogging was kept at a minimum during the early hours of the day, and this was thanks to the built-in anti-fog coating on the lens.
But as the cool of the morning gave way to the afternoon sun, the goggles began to fog up while I sat still waiting for the next opponent to get into my crosshairs. I reached back with my gloved hand and had no issue pressing the large, rubberized button on the PowerPod to turn on the fan. With one press I engaged low mode…. and waited. At first I wasn’t even sure at first I did it right. It was so quiet that if it wasn’t for the fog going away, I really would have had no idea that it was on at all. I was impressed. And with fogging out of the way, the profile’s curved lens offered great peripheral vision without distortion so I could see anyone trying to flank up on my sides.
The day pressed on and the heat picked up, and that meant it was time to kick it into high mode. With a second press, the fan really kicked in and the afternoon humidity didn’t stand a chance. At 13,000 rpm, you can actually feel the flow across your eyes. In this mode I could not get the goggles to fog for the rest of the day, no matter what activity I was doing. But there is a trade off…in high mode the fan did have some noticeable noise. It’s not at a level that would obstruct your hearing or give away your position, but if you run a helmet camera you may pick up the noise on the microphone. So, budding YouTube videographers should take note.
The ESS goggles truly deliver as promised: they clear out the fog while offering Mil-Spec-rated eye protection. With clear optics, a great peripheral view, a low profile and all-day comfort, they truly live up to their famed reputation of being the benchmark in active fog protection eyewear. You can pick them up online or at any ESS authorized retailer for $180 MSRP in Foliage Green, Desert Tan or Black (as tested).
ESS esseyepro.com, (877) 726-4072