I tend to scroll past most social media ads. But when an outdoor brand mentions the video game Halo, my inner nerd gets stuck. Which is exactly what drew Rekkie’s attention to smart glasses. Rekkie claimed to have incorporated a Heads Up Display (HUD) similar to that of Halo’s main character, Masterchief, into its new smart ski goggles.
My interest was more than piqued. As a former Apache pilot, I had flown similar technology. So I wanted to assess its viability and potential applications for both in-bounds skiing and backcountry excursions.
Rekkie is an independent company based in Ohio. The brand’s entrepreneurs wanted an efficient solution to reduce the time spent hanging out with friends or tracking each other in off-piste terrain. They achieved this by integrating augmented reality (AR) into top-quality ski goggles that display all kinds of relevant data. Simply put, Rekkie seeks to enhance reality with digital information.
Testing these on Whiteface Mountain in upstate New York with spectacular spring conditions was incredible. After countless runs, accidental durability checks (sometimes you have to go full broadcast) and some solid goggle tan lines, I’m excited about these glasses.
Briefly: Premium glasses can top $300, but none offer the patent-pending features that Rekkie Smart snow goggles leveraged through technology and at a competitive price of $350. The technology was intuitive, the features were useful and the product delivered on Rekkie’s promises. Despite small drawbacks (such as the screen being difficult to read on the brightest days and batteries that only last a few hours), these glasses are a smart option for skiers and riders who want information and data at hand on the slopes.
Spherical gray lens, 23% VLT (Visual Light Transmission)
iPhone and Android compatible via Bluetooth with GPS and mobile data
- 915 MHz radio transceiver for direct goggle-to-goggle networking
Rekkie Smart Snow Goggles review
Ski optics have not changed conceptually since 1965 when Dr. Bob Smith invented the double lens. The recipe is similar to Smith, Oakley and Rekkie’s current designs. Rekkie uses quality materials to construct the interchangeable dual lenses housed in an injection molded frame with a helmet compatible non-slip strap.
The deviation occurs with the latest technology 3D manufacturing. 3D printing produces the nylon constructed package that contains the electronic components, power supply and HUD mount that are attached to the Rekkie lens frame.
Despite the manufacturing complexity, the user interface is simple. Rekkie’s design allows the wearer to access various information by pressing the glove-compatible button on the electronic housing.
Without getting too deep in the weeds, HUD is impressive. Rekkie displays the digital information above your line of sight without obstructing your field of vision. The app allows you to control HUD brightness based on ambient light conditions.
The primary information displayed on the dashboard includes time, compass, notifications, ground speed (mph), altitude, and group information. The compass is a 160-degree arc that rotates as you move.
If you have a group set up with Rekkie app users, you will receive a signal with their name and show their bearing and distance relative to your position. This feature is immediately applicable in large resorts but also in the backcountry. I found it useful when my friend decided to cut through some clearings as I navigated the trail back to the lift. It was easy to find them.
And contrary to what some might expect, the HUD was never an annoyance and never obscured my field of vision. Most of the time when I was skiing, I pretty much saw right through it.
For backcountry applications with little or no cell service, the 915MHz transceiver gives you the same signal, but all members of the group must wear the goggles to connect. Note: This product is not a substitute for a avalanche beacon.
It’s intuitive to access other information, such as your music, notifications and daily stats (vertical feet and top speed). Press the button and look in the direction (up, down, left or right) of the information you want to select. This action selects that information. Once set, release the button and the selected information will be displayed.
Other eyewear manufacturers have tried to integrate computer shows in snow goggles before. But this is one of the most seamless and functional designs to date. And that’s just Rekkie’s first iteration.
Battery charging and power
Powering the glasses is a lithium polymer battery that uses a USB-C charger. Achieving a full charge takes 3-4 hours. But skiing in mild temperatures and using them for about 6-8 hours a day, charging times did not exceed 2 hours.
Temperatures below freezing will almost certainly affect battery life. It might not be too much of a problem for warmer spring days but can be problematic on the mountain in the colder months.
The functions of the app are simple. You set up your profile and connect your glasses. You can create a group to track friends. Once the invitation has been sent and accepted, their location will be displayed on the Google Maps feature of the app.
Where it falls short
On the brightest bluebird days, the HUD does not have enough brightness with the current lenses. Rekkie plans to offer a solution to this during the 2023/24 season.
Additionally, a USB-C port powers the built-in battery and while I love this choice, the port isn’t protected from the elements. Despite being exposed after days of spring skiing, I experienced no problems. But it is a vulnerability that caught my attention.
Rekkie Smart Goggles: Conclusion
Overall, I am impressed with the quality, fit and function of the Rekkie Smart Goggles. The intuitive design gives the user a first-class experience, and modern manufacturing and technology make these futuristic ski goggles competitively priced.
Rekkie’s ski goggles won’t appeal to everyone, but this technology is far less niche than I first gave it credit for. It has useful applications within the confines of the resort as well as beyond the confines of the backcountry.
With trips to the White Mountains and the San Juans coming up this season, I’m excited to get more time with these goggles in the field.
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