The Dragon NFX is a burly and stylish goggle that is sure to please snowboarders and skiers with its bombproof construction, easy to change lenses, and great optical quality. A little bulky and heavy for the backcountry crowd, the NFX is a top performer for resort-based snow pursuits.
All of our test goggles have dual lens construction and the NFX is no exception. The overall lens quality of the NFX seems adequate, although the Prizm lenses of the Oakley Airbrake XL, as well as Smith's Chromapop lenses, had a somewhat sharper view in all but the brightest conditions. Consistently bright and sunny conditions were where we felt the NFX Red Ion lens performed the best, but the Oakley, Anon, and Smith lenses seemed to provide a crisper view once we were in the trees and shade.
Dragon also makes lower light lenses like the Yellow Blue Ion model that we tested. This lens did well in comparison to our Smith and Oakley lenses, giving us a view that was similar to Smith's Chromapop Storm and Oakley's Prizm Rose lenses. Similar to the Oakley Airbrake, the NFX lenses are quite easy to change, taking only seconds.
View through the Red Ion bright light lens on a low light day.
With the emphasis on protection, we didn't expect the NFX to be overly comfortable but were pleasantly surprised. Most of our testers were in agreement that with the three-layer padding and microfleece lining, the NFX is quite comfortable. As you may expect, similar to the Anon M4, our larger testers enjoyed the fit and comfort more than our smaller testers, but with that said, our smaller testers felt the NFX was a goggle they'd enjoy wearing as well.
While researching our goggle selection, we saw some reviews saying the NFX didn't fit well with some helmets, but we didn't experience any problems at all. We skied and boarded with the NFX combined with several brands of helmet, including Smith, Giro, and Bern, as well as with various beanies, and found they were compatible with all that we tried. The strap is similar to others in our test, comfortably wide, with three beads of silicone integrated into the strap material and didn't require excessive strap tension to secure the goggles.
The NFX Red Ionized lens where it belongs, soaking up the sun.
Ventilation and Breathability
Not surprisingly, the breathability is not this goggle's forte, but was still acceptable, especially for inbounds skiing. For greater breathability, other goggles in our lineup would keep you cooler. For similar protection with greater breathability, the Oakley Airbrake would preferable. An indicator of this model's intended use is in the armored vents at the top of the goggle.
Nothing is getting through the perforated plastic covers which protect the light open cell foam beneath. This armored coating is actually an integrated portion of the frame. Burly. To increase the ventilation of the NFX, most lenses Dragon offers for this model have vents along the entire top portion of the goggle lens. While we wouldn't recommend the NFX for most backcountry rider who wear their goggles while hiking uphill, we would recommend it for those who don't and for all in-bounds riders, the ventilation is a winner.
Maybe a little beefy for general touring, but they sure are fun!
Ease of Changing Lenses
Dragon uses a unique system of pegs attached to the inside edge of the lens around its perimeter that slot into the frame of the NFX goggle. Swapping lenses is relatively simple, quick, and painless. The task can easily be performed in under a minute and changing lenses on the chairlift is not out of the question.
Though easy to change, the Anon M4, Smith I/O Mag, and the Oakley Airbrake XL all edge out the NFX for ease of swapping lenses. That said, the lenses are far easier to change than those on goggles with a more traditional notched edge lens like the Giro Blok or the Smith Squad.
The view through the low light Onus Gray lens on a snowy day.
With the stout construction of the NFX, we can only assume that durability will be high. Like our other test goggles, we used and abused our Dragons just looking for a weak spot. We weren't shocked to find out that the NFX's lived up to our expectations. The only potential weak spot we could find was the mirror coating of the Red Ion lens. We found one tiny superficial scratch, approximately 2mm in length on the edge of the lens. But other than that one minor blemish, the Dragon's emerged unscathed.
The NFX has a solid and durable feel. The strap retained full elasticity, the frames look untouched, and the lenses, with the one small exception, look great as well. We suspect that with the extremely substantial construction, this model will have a long life and should you experience lens scratches, replacements are available.
The red Ion lens on the NFX on a sunny day.
This is definitely a subjective review criteria and our mixed reviews from testers reinforced that principle. Overall, feedback was positive and there were a lot of "Wow's" at first glance. The NFX is a sleek, modern, frameless goggle, geared to aggressive resort riders. Keeping the intended user in mind, the NFX scores high in style. Not quite a perfect 10, due to the bold style, even though most testers and observers at the resorts were impressed, a few were put off by the flashiness.
Whether you like the style or not, the Dragon's style is distinctive, even more so than the Oakley Airbrake XL goggles. For resort riders looking to make a statement, this may be your goggle of choice.
The low light Blue Ion lens on an overcast day.
The NFX is a great option for the skier or snowboarder looking to make a statement with their style. The large frameless lens and their bright reflective coatings will definitely turn some heads. We recommend this goggle mostly for resort use, although they are still plenty useful in a backcountry setting as well.
At a retail price of only $130 for a stylish modern goggle that comes with 2 lenses, we feel that the Dragon NFX is a pretty good value. Most of their competition costs closer to the $200 mark, although our Best Buy Smith Squad comes in slightly less expensive and with a similar level of performance.
The NFX provides excellent bright light performance.
A bold looking goggle for bold riders. The Dragon NFX is most at home at the resort with a little light backcountry thrown in now and then.