Tested: Oakley Airwave 1.5

Oakley Airwave 1.5
Oakley Airwave 1.5

What it is: High tech ski goggles.
Main use: All kinds of skiing and snowboarding. Best suited for skiing in resorts.
Key specs:

    • Integrated GPS
    • Heads up display inside the lens
    • Connects to smartphones
    • Enables you to see GPS data real-time
    • Receives and displays notifications and messages from you smartphone

The Oakley Airwave 1.5 is a perfect example of the trend “wearable tech”. The integrated GPS gives you detailed information about your skiing session. You also have the opportunity to stay wired in by connecting to your smartphone. Giving you text messages, incoming calls and facebook updates in real-time on the heads up display.

Bottom line is this: These goggles are for gadget freaks and “urban” skiers. Not goggles for guys enjoying the primitive backcountry touring with the main goal of actually beeing physically active outdoors.

The goggles are a lot bigger than average ski goggles. The battery also needs recharging after use. This makes them less convenient to bring along on backcountry trips. Especially if you, like me, prefer to pack as light as possible.

The GPS-data and smartphone connectivity makes them an awesome toy for gadget freaks and urban skiers. You get most possibilities when skiing in ski-resorts. Controlling you music without having to stop or take your gloves off is pretty neat. Having your exact speed and top speed showing in real-time is also pretty cool. Speed along with airtime is probably the most interesting data for kiters. Keeping track of distance and direction can also come in handy for kiters and backcountry skiers. Especially on days with whiteout.


First impression
The Airwave goggles has a pretty classic Oakley design with regards to shape and colors. The thing that really stands out is that they are freaking huge. There are not a lot of loose parts, which is good.

In use:

Oakley Airwave 1.5
Oakley Airwave 1.5

The Oakley Airwave 1.5 is a ski google with an integrated GPS sensor. The GPS data is shown in real-time on a small screen at the bottom of the lens. The core data you get access to are things like speed, altitude, compass for directions, total ascent and descent. You control what data is shown on the display with the remote control that you strap on your arm.

If you connect the goggles to your smartphone you open an even wider range of opportunities. This makes you able to control your music, see incoming messages, calls and Facebook updates.

I tested the goggles while kiting in the backcountry. Since there is no cell-reception where I tested them I did not bring my smartphone. Therefore I only tested out the core functionality. Besides; the smartphone functionality does not really appeal to me. When I am doing sports, I am doing sports. Not checking facebook or making phone calls.

What I really wanted out of these goggles was to see how fast I was going when kiting. And the goggles let you see this in real-time with minimal loss of attention. True, you could get the same data from a GPS-watch, but with a much bigger loss of attention combined with reduced control over the kite. With a watch you would either move your eyesight completely away from the direction you are going or move your arm away from the steering bar. Neither is a very good alternative. The goggles also displays top speed during the session. This makes way for some good speedbattles with friends and setting records.

When it comes to the actual display I have two remarks:

  1. The image quality was good. Text and symbols was easy to read when the screen was in a good position.
  2. It was not really possible to adjust the position of the screen. So if it does not align well with your eyes it will be hard to read the information on the display clearly. This is a big drawback since it takes your attention away from where you are skiing longer, which can be dangerous at high speeds. Also; it is really annoying.

The remote control was really easy to use. The size makes it easy to hit the right buttons effortlessly without being a huge thing stuck to your arm. The navigation is also very intuitive and does not demand a lot of attention.

Oakley Airwave 1.5, Remote control
Oakley Airwave 1.5, Remote control
Oakley Airwave 1.5
Oakley Airwave 1.5

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