A Guide’s Review of the Anon M4 Goggles
Easy on the eyes is an understatement with the Anon M4 goggles. Tech and comfort meet in the middle (of your face) with a choice of 9 lens tints, two lens shapes, and a host of frame and strap colors. The Anon M4 goggles are your best bet for premium optics with an exceptionally quick change magnetic lens system.
- Lenses Tested: Toric Perceive Cloudy Burst and Variable Green
- Padding: Triple-layer face foam
- Magnets: 9
- Country of Origin: China
Who is Anon?
Anon is short for Anonymous, so I guess we shouldn’t know who they are. In reality, Anon is a subsidiary of Burton snowboards. Starting in 2001, their goal was to make stylish and technical goggles that would meet the demands of their pro team and riders worldwide. With the M4 I can vouch they have made a goggle that certainly meets my demands as a splitboard guide and can’t think of anyone on snow whose demands they wouldn’t.
The Lenses, oh, the lenses!
Two lens shapes, 9 different tints, and 12 magnets give you a lot of choices to match any condition you may experience. All 9 tints feature Anon’s proprietary Perceive technology. It is a hydrophobic and oleophobic coating that Anon says enhances clarity and contrast. I’ve no way to prove the efficacy of this coating but I can say, there are some fantastic lenses in the Anon line-up.
Anon divides its lens tints into three different categories, sunny, variable conditions and cloudy. Sunny lenses have a VLT range from 6 to 17%, Variable Conditions lenses have a VLT range of 34 to 21%, and Cloudy lenses have a VLt range of 53 to 72%.
I got the opportunity to use two of the tints extensively, Variable Green and Cloudy Burst. Variable Green, with a VLT of 22%, as I’m sure you can guess from the name, is a part of the variable conditions line of lenses. It has a green reflective outer perceive coating and a somewhat reddish base on the inside. It handles sunny spells well and performs decently in low-light situations. If the forecast calls for 75% sun or more, this is the lens that would be my choice. I’ve even taken it out on bluebird spring days and it has done very well since I can then ride into the shade and still see well.
Cloudy Burst may be my all-time favorite lens. It has a VLT of 59% and is spectacular in low-light situations and is hands down the best low-light lens I have ever used. The Cloudy Burst lens leaves almost permanently on both pairs of Anon goggles I am currently testing. I reach for it when the forecast calls for anything less than 75% sun. I find it does a decent job of cutting all but the brightest of glare. There is nothing I don’t like about it other than the very first day I peeled the fresh plastic off its front, I walloped it with my board, scratching it.
Curved or Very Curved
Anon offers two shapes of lenses with the M4, classic cylindrical and toric, though they do not offer them together. Cylindrical is curved from side to side but flat from top to bottom. It looks like the side of a cylinder, hence the name. This is the typical shape of most goggles. It was the preferred shape of two of my guests who also rode with Anon M4s this season.
Toric lenses are a blend of cylindrical lenses and spherical lenses (think fishbowl-style goggles). A toric lens is curved from left to right, just like a cylindrical lens, but also very subtly from top to bottom. The idea behind Toric lenses is that the vertical curve increases vision as well as provides extra room for goggle venting, decreasing the likelihood of fogging.
On a trip to Japan this year, three of us rode Anon M4’s. My two guests with cylindrical lenses and I with Toric. My guests removed their goggles occasionally as they encountered slight fogging but nevertheless, maintained that these were their favorite goggles of all time. Both of them have 20 years of snowboarding experience. Their reasoning to stick with the cylindrical lens was due to their preference for the appearance of the shape of the lens. I only rode with toric lenses on the trip. It never fogged the inside of the lens once, though I did fog the outside occasionally. Perhaps I am too much of a mouth breather. Regardless, a quick wipe with my glove and I was back in business.
Both the cylindrical and toric lenses have 9 magnets embedded in them. There are no levers, no clips, and no locks to keep the lens attached. It attaches solely with the power of very strong magnets. When “installing” the lens hold it near the frame and the magnets will pull the lens onto the frame with a good thud.
There are tabs to hold when removing the lens but I find them quite hard to use, especially when wearing goggles and gloves. The best technique to remove the lens is to hold one side of the goggle and twist the other gently. This will pop loose a few attachment points and make it simple to grab the lens and remove it.
Frame, Foam, and a Strap
Triple-layer face foam features two layers of foam, including a slightly denser layer closest to the face, and a layer of Burton’s own Outlast fleece to provide a comfortable fit. A dual-molded PC-ABS/TPU frame provides a strong frame to house all those magnets. The M4 goggles also fit neatly over glasses, though I don’t wear glasses to test this out. The straps have silicone on the top and bottom to keep from sliding off the top of your helmet.
Lens Compression Case
Most goggles come with a lens bag and spare lenses these days. What they do not come with is Anon’s spectacular lens case. Shaped exactly to the lens, the case is hard-sided with an elastic that keeps the lens from moving and well protected from scratches. I wish I could buy these individually to put any and all my spare goggle lenses in.
Wait, there are more Magnets?
There’s one more feature to the Anon M4 goggles, MFI technology. Embedded on the underside of the goggles are four more magnets. These attach to your choice of face mask or balaclava that has the receiving four magnets. Hang tight for our upcoming review of two MFI pieces.
Overview of the Anon M4 goggles
I’ve used the Anon M4 extensively for the past season. On the resort, splitboarding and heli boarding. It is the goggle I reach for on the shelf first. Its subtle looks and fantastic field of view are hard to beat. Coupled with the Cloudy Burst lens and I’m a very happy camper.
There is a great selection of lens tints to match all light conditions. Magnatech works like a charm and I can swap lenses from run to run if need be. I can confidently put a spare lens in my bag in its compression case and not have to give any thought to how close it is to the sharper objects in my bag.
The only fogging issue I’ve had is on the outside of the lens, perhaps due to the slight bulge of the Toric lens protruding out far, but a quick wipe gets rid of it. Riders with smaller faces will want to look into the M4s. Riders with low-nose bridges will want to look at the Low Bridge fit M4. I wasn’t able to test either of these models as I have a massive head and decent-sized nose bride.
To date, these are the best premium goggle I have used. If the M4 is within your budget, they are a no-brainer.
Who are the Anon M4 goggles for?
The Anon M4 goggles are for riders that are looking for the largest view possible with fantastic optics and MFI facemasks.
Who are the Anon M4 goggles not for?
Budget-minded riders, these goggles aren’t cheap but you really do get what you pay for.
If you are interested in picking up a pair of M4 goggles head on over to Anon and pick one up.
Black Sheep Adventure sports was provided with a free sample of the Anon M4. This in no way affected our opinion and review.