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Zeal Portal RLS Review

A frameless goggle with all of the features you'd hope for but at a lower price
Zeal Portal RLS
Photo: REI Co-op
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $179 List | $174.30 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Magnetic lens for fast swapping, great comfort, clear optics, lower price for higher tech
Cons:  Not as easy to swap lenses as other models with magnetic lenses
Manufacturer:   Zeal
By Jason Cronk ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 9, 2020
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Lens Quality - 20% 8
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Ventilation and Breathability - 20% 7
  • Ease of Changing Lenses - 15% 7
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Style - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Zeal Portal RLS goggles bring current magnetic, photochromic lens swapping tech to the market in a more affordable package than the competition. For the price, you get two high-quality magnetic lenses, both a bright and a low light option, with excellent, optics that adapt to changing light conditions and are much easier to swap than non-magnetic models. Combine that with a medium fit, anti-fogging technologies, and a sleek frameless appearance. These goggles have features you'd expect to find in models that cost nearly as much as your season pass but for a significantly lower price. If you want a taste of the latest technology without breaking your bank account, check these out.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Zeal Portal RLS
This Product
Zeal Portal RLS
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $174.30 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$180.00 at Backcountry
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$299.95 at Amazon$150.00 at Backcountry
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$178.50 at Amazon
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Pros Magnetic lens for fast swapping, great comfort, clear optics, lower price for higher techHigh quality optics, easy lens changes, field of visionMagnetic lenses, magnetic facemask, 2 lenses included, great optics, best performance for large facesMagnetic lenses, 2 lenses included, great opticsExcellent optics, durable, easy to change lenses
Cons Not as easy to swap lenses as other models with magnetic lensesPriceExpensive, larger fit not for everyoneExpensive, medium fitExpensive, visible frame around nose, drafty
Bottom Line Goggles that deliver today's modern technology but at a lower priceThe best optics, lens changeability, style, and durability in a medium-fit goggleThis model knocks our socks off with great optics, user-friendly features, and an excellent fit for large facesWith a new magnetic lens system, this is the newest member of a classic and progressive lineAn impressive goggle with excellent optics and solid all-around performance
Rating Categories Zeal Portal RLS Smith 4D Mag Anon M4 Toric Smith I/O Mag Oakley Airbrake XL
Lens Quality (20%)
8
9
9
9
9
Comfort (20%)
7
9
8
8
8
Ventilation And Breathability (20%)
7
7
7
7
7
Ease Of Changing Lenses (15%)
7
8
9
8
6
Durability (15%)
8
9
8
8
8
Style (10%)
8
7
8
9
8
Specs Zeal Portal RLS Smith 4D Mag Anon M4 Toric Smith I/O Mag Oakley Airbrake XL
Number of lenses included 2 2 2 2 2
Lens tested Persimmon/Sky Blue Mirror Chromapop Sun Red Mirror, Chromapop Storm SONAR Red, SONAR Infared Chromapop Sun Red Mirror, Chromapop Storm Prizm Snow Torch Iridium, Prizm Rose
Lens Shape Spherical Spherical Toric. Frame is compatible with both Cylindrical and Toric lenses. Spherical Spherical
Frame size M/L Medium Large Medium Large
Layers of foam Triple layer Triple layer Triple layer Triple layer Triple layer
Ventilation Dual vent with anti-fog coating AirEvac Full Preimeter Channel venting, Outlast Fog Management Face Fleece Anti-fog treated Dual-Vented Lens with F3 Anti-fog coating
Warranty 2 year Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime 1 year

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Portal RLS provides an impressive field of view through several different lens choices and are among the easiest lenses to swap. They're perhaps not as smooth as other magnetic models, but they are a definite step up over non-magnetic models and could be a happy medium if you don't want to spend that extra cash for the top of the line. The goggles feel solid with beefy lenses, frames, and straps and are made with a medium fit that is sure to appeal to a majority of skiers and riders.

Performance Comparison


We are more than stoked at the great value the Portal provides. We...
We are more than stoked at the great value the Portal provides. We tested these in challenging light conditions, and they performed at a high level.
Photo: Robyn Cronk

Lens Quality


As far as visual quality goes, the Portal lenses were top-notch, providing a clear, non-distorted view with the Optimum lenses we chose for our testing purposes. The photochromic bright light lens performed well, adjusting to fluctuating levels of light well under varying cloud coverage. We found these lenses possess superior clarity when compared to a less expensive cylindrical lens and keep pace with the high-end models well.


Zeal also has polarized (more expensive) and even prescription lenses available in several different tints. These goggles have more lens options than you'd expect at this price point. A couple of our testers were able to fit their prescription glasses under the goggles with varying degrees of success. Still, with prescription lenses available, that may be a better option.

Our only complaint with lens quality was that some testers found the two tabs on the bottom of the lens to be somewhat distracting, although minimal.

The low light Persimmon Sky Blue lens included with the Portal...
The low light Persimmon Sky Blue lens included with the Portal goggles look great and performed very well under cloud-covered skies.
Photo: Jason Cronk

Comfort


These goggles were a favorite for overall comfort, providing a good fit for several skiers with a medium fit.


Our reviewers universally found the three-layer foam and strap with a triple bead grip to be comfortable even after several hours of use. Whether with a helmet or beanie, it didn't matter. One of our female testers with a smaller face, though, experienced a small gap between the goggle interface and her face below. Be sure to match your face shape to the Medium size of these goggles, and we think you'll appreciate the great comfort this model provides.

The fit may be a little larger on smaller skiers and boarders, but...
The fit may be a little larger on smaller skiers and boarders, but for most testers, the fit was ideal.
Photo: Jason Cronk

Ventilation and Breathability


As we've found with other frameless goggles, they sometimes tend to fog more since they usually are made with fewer ventilation ports. The dual lenses have an anti-fogging coating and the frames have venting on top and bottom. We were pleased to find that the Portals experienced only minor temporary fogging when worn with a face mask. We were able to clear it easily. They stayed clear for every other condition that we experienced.


The Portal's triple layer foam and the upper and lower vents...
The Portal's triple layer foam and the upper and lower vents provided ample ventilation and breathability during our testing period.
Photo: Jason Cronk

Ease of Changing Lenses


The Portal was a strong contender when compared with more traditional models. The RLS (Rail Lock System) does lock the lenses in place very securely with its hybrid design. We thankfully didn't test them with any head plant falls, but we were confident in their security once locked in place.


These magnetic lenses are more straightforward to swap than non-magnetic lenses, hands down. However, we must also mention that these are the least easy to swap lenses compared against other magnetic-lensed goggles we have tested. The easiest swapping models allow changing lenses on the fly, even while wearing the goggles with a helmet and gloves on. With the Portal, the lens needs to be seated in the channels on either side at the top of the goggle, which we couldn't do while wearing under a helmet brim. The lens contacts the helmet before we were able to slide the lens all the way along the rail. Placing the goggles up on top of the helmet did work, but finding the grooved rails is tricky until you have done it several times and master the small learning curve. Once you get the lens in the right spot, you simply slide the lens down, and it locks into place securely. If changing lenses while on your head isn't high on your list, just take the goggles off, and lens swaps are very easy.

The Portal lenses are definitely easier to exchange than other "old school" designs that often feel like you're about to break the lens or frame when wrestling the lens out. Still, they are not as easy as the models that rely solely on magnets without a locking system. And considering those models cost significantly more, we think this middle-ground is in line with the pricepoint.

It's a bit more finicky versus other magnetic models. The edges need...
It's a bit more finicky versus other magnetic models. The edges need to be lined up just right at the top of the goggle, then slide into place. Swapping lenses is still much easier than traditional designs.
Photo: Robyn Cronk

Durability


Substantial is the first word that came to mind when we unpacked the Portals. The dual-lens construction's sturdiness is apparent when you pick up the lens or goggles. That's not to say they're heavy but just a bit more heavy-duty than several other goggles. After skiing several days in the Portals, we didn't find any issues with durability. The strap remained solid, elastic, and provided good grip, the frame was as sturdy as ever, and both of our lenses remained defect-free.


This goggle's durability seems like it's in the same league as the top performers in our test. They should provide several seasons of worry-free skiing and boarding. If you should have any issues, Zeal delivers a two-year manufacturer's warranty with proof of purchase.

After testing wrapped up, we didn't find any visible wear or tear on...
After testing wrapped up, we didn't find any visible wear or tear on the Portal RLS.
Photo: Jason Cronk

Style


For skiers and boarders who are looking for a modern and frameless design, look no further. These goggles have a contemporary look with several strap and lens color combinations along with a stylish frameless construction. They're not over the top with huge lenses but provide a large field of view through a medium no frame fit.


The modern frameless design provides a sleek appearance that looks...
The modern frameless design provides a sleek appearance that looks like the high-end models.
Photo: Jason Cronk

Value


We think Zeal struck an incredible balance between performance and price with this model. By adding high-end features like photochromic lens tech and magnetic lens security but still keeping the price mid-range, we were overall impressed with the value this model presents. Compared side by side, the high-end models we tested are superior. But if you want to try newer goggle tech but can't afford the accompanying high prices, get this pair.

Conclusion


The Zeal Portal RLS is a moderately-priced goggle that features durable construction, advanced optics, and relatively easy lens swaps. If you're looking for a more current goggle with magnetic lenses but don't want to break the bank, this is our top recommendation.

Jason Cronk