Player's view of the Dye i4 Mask :
I've been in the paintball industry for 19 years. Over that time I've seen tremendous product innovation but one axiom remains constant: the most important piece of paintball equipment you'll own is your mask.
I'm a cheap guy. I buy the store brand toothpaste and I reuse the salsa containers as sort of a poor man's Tupperware. This is why my girlfriend's jaw dropped when I bought a $450 Gore-Tex jacket and a $350 pair of Asolo hiking boots. She was dumbfounded. I explained I was willing to pay the premium because both are highly important (it's very very wet here in the Pacific Northwest) and that both the jacket and the boots will provide over a decade of comfort and performance. I told her that the "cost per wear" would actually be less than a cheaper less comfortable product.
I think about paintball goggles in the same context. In its lifetime, your mask will see thousands of .68 caliber pellets being hurled towards your eyes at 300 feet per second. Many of those, despite your best efforts, will be direct lens hits. You could save 30-40% and buy a mask that is 70% as good as the i4, but this is the piece of equipment that is either fogged up (leaving you frustrated and out of the game) or clear, comfortable or scratchy (leaving you distracted and with a red rash on your forehead at the end of the day). Remember the old adage, "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten." If you want to save money in paintball, buy cheap tubes, but don't get stuck on the field regretting the fact that you're wearing a poorly fitted mask so you could save $40. In that regard, remember that any mask that you buy from PaintballOnline.com you can try on, in your home, to ensure a perfect fit. If it doesn't fit your face perfectly, send it back for a refund.
Enough of my ranting, let's examine what makes the Dye i4 Mask different and unique:
- Dye's patented (and awesome!) rapid lens changing system: If you've ever bloodied your knuckles trying to get the last damn lens tab in to the frame, you'll know how amazing this feature is. Most goggles have 4 or 6 tabs, Dye's system uses only 2 and the process takes 10% of the time and 0% of the frustration compared to competitors. Yes, you rarely have to change a lens these days, but when you do, you won't dread it.
- 290 degrees of vision (can you even see that wide?): The i4 paintball mask holds the current record for having the largest horizontal (peripheral) and vertical range of view of any paintball goggles on the market. Cheap paintball masks make you feel "boxed in", with the i4 you'll feel like you're not wearing goggles at all. Dye also uses a lens they call a "Tirodial Impact Lens" which allows for a conical shape while still maintaining optical clarity. The stock lens also has a field tested scratch resistance coating to protect both side of the lens against minor scratches and abrasions. The mirrored lenses are optically correct, allowing clear views in bright lighting conditions.
- A "featherweight" with a low profile design: A compact design minimizes your profile and the chances that you'll be hit, but that smaller design typically comes at the cost of comfort. By using a one piece tool for their injection molding, Dye has created a mask that is lightweight (20% less than the i3), comfortable, and still allows freedom of movement.
- Facial fit for everyone: The i4 paintball mask uses premium sweat wicking foam for both the face foam and the ear pads (which are backed with a CoolMaxÂ® liner). The space where the face interfaces with the mask is highly flexible allowing an anatomically correct fit for all facial contours.
- Easy retention strap system (this rubber won't slip): Once you adjust the mask for a good fit, it stays in that position and doesn't require constant adjustment due to slipping. The woven rubber in the back of the mask prevents slipping even during off the break sprints.
- Aerodynamic venting for fog prevention and on field communication (because when you yell, others should listen): Dye angled the blades in the i4 mask to maximize airflow and sound to minimize fogging and muffling of speech. Team communication in paintball is critical and the i4 will allow you to throw your voice more clearly and further down the field than ever before.
- A crazy variety of colors:With over 15 color choices, there will be a color to match your existing gear or gun. The i4 paintball goggle comes in the standard fare of blue, black, red, white and moves on to the more exotic color schemes of Bomber Steel, Airstrike Cyan, Airstrike Red, Barracks Black, Barracks Olive, Skinned Lime, Skinned Navy, Skinned Red, UL (or Ultralight) Navy, UL Purple, Black with Gold lens (my personal favorite), the legendary DyeCam, and for the player bold enough (and good enough) to wear it, the White with Gold. If one of these colors don't work for you, you might want to trade in your paintball gun for some ballet shoes.