This photo shows the author wearing the Smith 4D MAG goggles while skiing during the testing and review process.

Smith 4D MAG Goggles Review

- Field-tested -

Disclosure: Man Makes Fire is reader-supported. When you buy gear using retail links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission that helps pay for our work. Learn more.

The Smith 4D MAG Googles are a high-quality snow goggle that delivers a massive field of view — especially when looking down. Essentially, the 4D MAG Goggles are designed to make buckling boots and finding zippers easy — but they come at a premium price point, which begs the question: Are the 4D MAG goggles worth it?

To get us a closer look, Smith sent Man Makes Fire a 4D MAG review unit with ChromaPop Sun Red Mirror and ChromaPop Storm Yellow Flash lenses. After skiing with the 4D MAG through various on-the-mountain conditions during the testing process, this is what we learned:

Increased Vertical Field of View

This photo shows the side profile of the lens in the Smith 4D MAG goggles.
The curve at the lower edge of the Smith 4D MAG delivers increased field of view when glancing down.

The most important design element of the 4D MAG goggle is Smith’s ‘BirdsEye Vision’ design that increases the vertical field of view. The horizontal field of view is also very wide — and it’s particularly good for a goggle that’s not overly bulky in size.

What sets the 4D MAG apart from the goggle competition, however, is the shape of lens at the bottom. The lens is curved inward, and it lets you more easily see down without needing to bend your neck as much as you do with other goggles. For me, it makes it a bit easier to buckle and unbuckle my boots, as well as get into and out of pockets in my ski jacket shells and layers.

Admittedly, because I’m often testing and reviewing new gear, I likely access and mess with pockets a bit more frequently than the average guy. The Smith 4D MAG goggles definitely reduce my irritation at finding zippers and zipper pulls on unfamiliar new ski jackets.

 

The Must-Have Goggle for Parents?

This photo shows the author wearing the Smith 4D MAG goggle during the review process.
The Smith 4D MAG goggles fit the profile of Smith helmets and work with Smith’s ventilation system perfectly — including the entry-level Smith Mission in the photo above.

Meanwhile, I think the Smith 4D MAG is potentially most important for parents of young skiers. Yes, you read that right. When it comes to parents, ski gear performance is critical because it lets you more easily manage tired, frustrated, and distracted kids on the hill.

For example, parents need great ski gloves or ski mittens. Why? You’re going to have to take your gloves off a lot if you have kids. If a parent’s hands get cold, it’s a lot harder to help kids get their mittens back on and adjust their helmets, adjust their skis, adjust their boots, adjust their socks . . . as well as deal with anything and everything that might break, open or just feel annoying to a kid.

The Smith 4D MAG Goggles should be considered must-have gear for all parents skiing with small children. Why? Because you’re constantly getting into pockets and adjusting things on the lift. The extra field of view helps.

Even parents of older kids with phones will spend a lot of time retrieving and stowing their phones to answer questions and keep track of everyone.

In particular, I appreciate the extra vertical field of view the most when I’m on the chairlift. It’s just a bit easier to get into and out of pockets.

Performance on the Hill

While skiing, I can see my skis more easily, but frankly, I tend to look ahead to where I want to go — usually searching for the best snow — so I can’t technically connect the vertical FOV to better skiing performance. At least for me — I’m an intermediate/advanced skier who recognizes there are many levels of advanced still well beyond my personal skill level and tolerance for risk.

If you buy the 4D MAG to gain vertical FOV that will help you ski better . . . your skills and intensity are likely far beyond the vast majority of skiers.

As for clarity, the Smith 4D MAG delivers contrast and pop that everyone can use.

 

4D MAG Review: Fantastic Color & Image Quality

This photo shows the side profile of the curved lens on the Smith 4D MAG goggle.
The curved lens is great for FOV, but Smith’s ChromaPop color tech delivers outstanding vibrancy and contrast.

The thing I appreciate most about Smith googles is the consistently great optical quality. Lots of competing goggles deliver competitive image quality these days, but Smith’s trademarked ChromaPop technology delivers outstanding color with great contrast. To accomplish great color, Smith’s ChromaPop lens tech filters out overlapping wavelengths of red, green and blue light so you can recognize truer colors.

Out and about, what you see is clean, crisp and accurate. So good. What I particularly find interesting is when I take the goggles off and realize that everyone’s ski jackets and pants are same shade of color as they were with the goggles on. With some competing goggles, a dark blue ski jacket, for example, can seem purple.

Off colors and hues are not a thing with Smith’s ChromaPop: The rendition of color in the Smith 4D MAG is just fantastic. Plus, on bluebird days especially, the world just seems much more vibrant when I’m wearing the Smith 4D MAG goggles.

Magnets & Interchangeable Lenses

This photo shows the Smith 4D MAG snow goggle with two lenses and the included carrying case.
Smith offers a wide selection of lens tints. You can also count on Smith to maintain a solid stock of replacement lenses for years to come.

The Smith ‘MAG’ series of goggles utilize magnets to help guide the lens into position and keep it anchored.

The 4D MAG also has an easy-to-use lever that physically locks the lens in place so you don’t disrupt it by adjusting your goggles or lose the lens if you wreck. Both parts of the interchangeable lens system work well.

How fast is it? I can swap out the Smith 4D MAG lenses in 12 seconds. (Yes, I timed it. I could probably get it down to 9 seconds with some intentional practice.) If you need to swap out your lenses even faster than 12 seconds — or if you have some pressing need to swap lenses with your helmet on — try the Anon M3 goggles that use magnets without a physical locking mechanism.

Don’t want to swap lenses at all?!? Choose the ChromaPop ‘Photochromic Red Mirror‘ lens option that automatically lightens and darkens with the conditions!

Fit, Foam, Comfort & the Flexible Frame

This review photo shows the flexible interior frame on the Smith 4D MAG goggles.
The flexible ribbed frame design (top) delivers a great fit for a variety of heads.

The Smith 4D MAG has a surprisingly versatile medium fit as well as a 4D MAG Low Bridge Fit option for those who have lower nose bridges or wider or higher cheekbone shapes.

I’m a reasonably big guy with a larger-than-average face, but the 4D MAG fits well and feels good. Interestingly, it also fits smaller gear testers well, too. I credit Smith’s ‘Responsive Fit‘ frame design for this. The frame is built with a lattice-like structure that can flex to adapt to your face — and it seems to work well.

As for the foam, Smith uses a three-layer foam that wicks moisture, which helps reduce fogging.

Speaking of fogging, the Smith 4D MAG goggles haven’t fogged up on me yet. Smith’s anti-fogging system, which includes an inner lens with airflow works great.

Are the Smith 4D MAG Goggles worth it?

The biggest question you might have is this:

Should I buy the Smith 4D MAG goggles or the Smith I/O MAG goggles?

The Smith I/O MAG and 4D MAG have very similar designs. The key difference is that the 4D MAG has a 25% greater overall field of view. The most notable increase in FOV comes from the curved bottom lens, which lets you see more when you’re looking down.

In the I/O and 4D goggles, the interchangeable lens latching systems both use magnets with a physical locking mechanism. The process is slightly different, but both are fast and easy to use.

The I/O MAG comes in more size options than the 4D MAG. So far in the 4D MAG, you can only choose between a medium-fit 4D MAG and a medium-fit 4D MAG Low Bridge Fit.

The I/O MAG, on the other hand, is available in the standard medium version, an XL version, an XL Low Bridge Fit version, as well as a Small version and a Small Low Bridge Fit Version.

Shop the many I/O MAG size options direct from Smith and get FREE Shipping!

Pricing is another differentiator. The I/O MAG starts at $270 and ramps up to $300 if you choose an automatic shade-changing photochromic lens option. The 4D MAG is basically $50 more than the I/O MAG series. It starts at $320 and goes to $350 with the photochromic lens option.

But wait, there is one more key difference: The 4D MAG comes with a hard-sided goggle case while the I/O MAG goggles only come with a microfiber cloth goggle bag.

This photo shows the included Smith 4D MAG goggle case.
I’m surprised how much I appreciate the included Smith 4D MAG goggle hard case. It lets me pack and stow the goggles with complete confidence.

Personally, I like the Smith hard case quite a bit. I usually stow my goggles inside my helmet, but the hard case lets me pack the 4D MAG goggles without fear or care. Of course, you can buy a third-party goggle case like the DAKINE Goggles Case for about $22. So if you want a good case, the included case shifts the price difference calculation just a bit.

 

Smith 4D MAG Recommendation

Most people can get a very similar Smith experience by choosing the Smith I/O MAG over the Smith 4D MAG in order to save a bit of money. However, if you want maximum field of view, and in particular want to increase your lower vertical field of view, the Smith 4D MAG googles are your best option. If you’re a skier or snowboarder who frequently gets into your pockets while on the hill or on the lift — you’ll appreciate the extra BirdsEve Vision in the Smith 4D MAG goggles. Very highly recommended.

Get the Gear:

Check shipping/pricing:

Backcountry.com | evoMoosejaw | REI | Smith

Smith 4D MAG
Benefits
BirdsEye Vision with curved bottom lens shape increases vertical field of view
Stellar image quality in both color and contrast
Magnetic interchangeable lenses system is fast and secure
Drawbacks
Costs more than the (also excellent) Smith I/O MAG
4.8

 

Disclosure: Reviews and Gear Links:

In addition to Man Makes Fire buying gear for reviews and guides, gear manufacturers occasionally ship review units to Man Makes Fire. If we like it, we spend some quality time with the gear and review it, noting if it was provided to Man Makes Fire. After the review, we return it, give it away, or work on longer-term review follow-ups when applicable to reader interest.

We do not accept any gear in exchange for coverage. If we do not truly appreciate the gear, we don't write about it at all -- bad gear will fade into obscurity on its own if everyone ignores it. In addition, we focus on gear from reputable companies, reputable brands, and reputable retailers we trust.

The gear links on Man Makes Fire are focused on what we are willing to recommend to our own family and friends. Many of our specific gear links connect to industry-standard affiliate advertising programs. When you buy something using the retail links in our guides and reviews, we may earn a small affiliate commission that helps pay for our work.

Basically, we deliver the advice and insight you need, you get the gear you want, and then everyone wins. Pretty straightforward.

Complete Site Details & Disclosures Here