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|04-05-2013, 04:54 PM||#1 (permalink)|
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A pictorial review - FlexR installation and first impressions
I've been playing paintball off and on since 1992 and have tried/rented/borrowed/bought/sold a lot of gear throughout the years. Markers have consistently improved in terms of efficiency, size and weight, accuracy, clothing has went from army surplus BDUs to softgood designed for paintball players and goggles have increased in comfort, and vision angle, but one thing remains problematic, for me anyway, and that is a proper antifogging solution.
I've tried them all - single and dual pane lens, antifog solutions, pastes, moist towelettes, spit, shaving cream and the plethora of fan solutions out there.
I was happy with the JT Vortex and Vortex 2 and thought that noise was a compromise to deal with. I've tried the Dye Invision Turbine but wasn't a fan (sorry for the pun) of the loudness of the unit. I've seen the Haber Vision Eliminator and was put off by the reviews of very loud fan noise and high pricepoint.
So for the last few years, I've been enjoying fog-free goggles thanks to Ezcreation's Fanz kits. This again had a few compromises. The kit was versatile, as it was compatible with most goggle models and brands on the market, but the battery pack installed on the goggle strap was a negative point for me, as well as the relatively short battery life of the 9V battery.
Still, it worked as advertized and I loved it, as it was by far the quietest fan system I've ever owned.
Then the folks at Ezcreation hinted at something new, something revolutionary. Blurred teaser images surfaced and social networks and message boards discussed the possibilities of this new product. Then the specs came out - an all-in-one dual fan system that installs inside or outside the goggles with TINY fans thay could either suck or blow air independently. Right there and then, I was sold. I preordered one as soon as they became available.
And I got my unit today. So pardon the wall-o-text introduction, no onto the wall-o-pictures:
The kit came in a nice glossy cardboard box with laser-cut foam tray and all the necessary goodies to mount the unit. A Duracell AA battery also comes with it, but forgot to picture it:
Installing is easy breezy. You can use the supplied black tie wraps and velcro strip, or you can use the custom mounting hooks. The kit comes with a pair of small hooks and a pair of longer ones. For my installation, the short ones did the job.
Installed dead center. Bee-yoo-ti-ful.
Some people are against visors because it constricts airflow. I'm an oldschool player and need my visor. In this case, I had to cut the two center tabs to accomodate the FlexR:
Mounting screws are barely visible!
Heck, even the FlexR unit is barely visible, but still has ample room for air:
Not a fan of visors? No worries, here's what it looks like without it:
Don't like the minor vibration the fans produce? No worries, the Ezcreation crew's got your back - the kit contains self-adhesive foam to dampen the vibration. I tried the fan without and then with and was pleased by the difference in sound.
Foam installed, looks clean!
Like every self-respecting paintball company, Ezcreation was kind enough to provide a nice FlexR sticker, because we all know we love ourselves some stickers. Mine is proudly displayed with my other pb-related stickers on my parts toolbox:
Impressions, suggestions and closing thoughts:
After installing the unit, I turned it on and put the mask on. The fan has two settings, low and high. The low setting seems to offer similar airflow as the competing fan products on the market, while being considerably quieter than the Vortex, Turbine and Eliminator, but slightly louder than my older Fanz unit. The difference is minor here and for the difference in battery life (40 hours vs 8), I think this is a fair trade-off.
The High setting however yields a superior amount of airflow, but comes at a price of increased noise. Then again, this setting should only be used is cases of severe fogging, after which the unit would be switched back to the lower setting once fog-free vision has been restored.
This brings me to my second (and last) gripe, switch placement. With my mask on my face, it is possible to turn on and off the unit, as well as selecting airflow direction, but the goggle's foam lining is in the way, making it hard to access the switches. Perhaps future models will come equipped with new/more accessible switches, but for now I will use the unit as it is.
Other than that, the fit and finish of the unit is remarkable. The all-metal construction makes for a VERY durable unit that can withstand pointblank shooting. Simply put, your goggles with break before the FlexR unit fails. It's quite remarkable. Sure, at $69.99, some may be put off by the price, but honestly, try to find a dual-fan, single-unit that does so much in such a small package. Simply put, there is nothing remotely close to this and this is a textbook example that you truly get what you pay for. Well worth every penny.
I am hoping to be able to play this weekend and give the unit a good try on the field. If I manage to do so, I will update this thread accordingly with my results,
But for now, I will leave it at this:
Hook sez: "Thumbs up to the best fan solution out there!"
Last edited by Hook; 04-05-2013 at 05:11 PM.
|04-07-2013, 11:47 PM||#5 (permalink)|
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went to the field to play a few games and put the FlexR unit to the test. I am glad to say that it has surpassed my expectations.
Weather conditions were absolutely perfect for fogging; temperature hovered around 41°F/5°C, with humidity levels at around 82% with mild rain. The field was muddy and wet:
I turned of the FlexR unit a few seconds before playing our first game of the day, around 11am. I was extremely happy to notice that the fan noise was so negligible, that I could easily hear ambient sounds around me, and could easily maintain communication between teammates. Even on the high setting, noise level were still much lower than the JT Vortex or Dye Turbine. I was pleasantly surprised. I could easily see myself using this during an all-day scenario event and leave it turned on non-stop. It's that quiet.
A teammate of mine wore the exact same mask as I, so we compared our lenses after having played for about an hour. While his dual pane lense was completely fogged, mine remained crystal clear. I decided to keep the fan running and continued to play for a few hours.
By the end of the day, I was completely drenched and my lense started to fog around the edges. I switched on the high setting and continued playing and was amazed to see that the fogging had completely vanished after a few minutes. I switched it back to the low setting and the lense remained clear.
All in all, I am extremely pleased with the performance of the FlexR and could not have chosen a better day to test it out. Really impressive stuff!
|04-16-2013, 02:25 PM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Zanesville, Ohio
Great review! My FlexR is on order!
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|04-17-2013, 12:34 PM||#10 (permalink)|
Do your Eflex ever fog? Mine has yet to fog and I live in Atlanta. My glasses however has fogged before.
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