Zeal Portal RLS Review
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
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Zeal Portal RLS
|Price||$179.00 at REI|
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|$233.99 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Magnetic lens for fast swapping, great comfort, clear optics, lower price for higher tech||High quality optics, easy lens changes, field of vision||Magnetic lenses, magnetic facemask, 2 lenses included, great optics, best performance for large faces||Magnetic lenses, 2 lenses included, great optics||Excellent optics, durable, easy to change lenses|
|Cons||Not as easy to swap lenses as other models with magnetic lenses||Price||Expensive, larger fit not for everyone||Expensive, medium fit||Expensive, visible frame around nose, drafty|
|Bottom Line||Goggles that deliver today's modern technology but at a lower price||The best optics, lens changeability, style, and durability in a medium-fit goggle||This model knocks our socks off with great optics, user-friendly features, and an excellent fit for large faces||With a new magnetic lens system, this is the newest member of a classic and progressive line||An 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%)|
|Ventilation And Breathability (20%)|
|Ease Of Changing Lenses (15%)|
|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|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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