Third mask of the X-Ray column is the long waited and very innovative Mares Viper.

Already presented in the column First Impressions, the Viper is the top of the line mask of the Italian company, for the freediving and spearfishing sectors.

In brief

Chassis glued to facial and lenses and incorporated inside the silicone of the facial, extremely pleasant design, with extremely clean lines, without discontinuities, details and finishes of extremely high level, the Viper contains almost all the possible innovative solutions. The silicone, which is very soft, is matt externally and internally, to avoid fastidious reflexes, especially towards the eyes. At the touch, the quality of such material appears of a superior level.

The only one among the main competitors, the Viper is designed with no internal sealing lip, to offer maximum comfort and adherence to the face. To optimize this last aspect, the internal frame of the facial is polished instead of matt, as the rest of the silicone surface. To avoid any possible detachment, more likely on masks with chassis-lens-facial glued together, Mares has decided to incorporate the chassis inside the silicone of the facial. Design shows a continuous and almost straight line from the forehead to the top of the nose, a solution that Mares sustains increases hydrodynamic penetration of the mask.

The ergonomic rear buckles with double button are connected directly to the facial, a solution which is much used today, as it improves the adherence of the mask to the face.

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Test in the sea

The Viper has for sure on its side a very comfortable silicone, while the absence of the internal lip offers a different sensation on the face compared to other masks. Viper can, and must, be well tightened with the rear buckle to the face, so that the facial adheres well to the skin and the upper part of the facial can be almost parallel to the forehead. Extremely positive is the total absence of contact between eye lashes and lens, even when the buckle is extremely tight.

Visibility, despite the solution with the glued and incorporated chassis, is good, but not excellent. It is positive there are no particular blind points, but if on the two sides visibility is quite in line with the best competition, above and below field of view is quite reduced.

Positioning the mask with the maximum adherence to the face, the chassis in the central area, between the two lenses, is extremely close to the upper part of the nose (nasal bone). It will be important to try well the mask, to be sure that on ones face such area does not actually touch the nose.

Water sealing of the mask is good and the absence of the internal lip does not lead to infiltration. Equalization can be done easily, with no disadvantages respect to the traditional solution with internal lip. The evident advantage is, instead, the almost total absence of signs on the face, even after 4 hours of diving.

Internal volume measurement

Once more it is the internal volume to be one of the key values of masks, especially with the one that have facial-lens-chassis glued together. Results of the Viper, even though positive respect to traditional masks with removable chassis, are not at the level of Noah and M70. If on one side the Viper permits, as said, to fully tighten the rear buckle to obtain maximum adherence of the facial to the face, without having problems of eyelashes touching the lenses, on the other side the final internal volume is considerably superior to Noah and M70, with a final value of 113 ml (o cc).

Field of view measurement

Measurement of the field of view, or visibility, is another important aspect of the mask, and is one of the reasons for which the glued together facial-lens-chassis solution is used. AP has applied, just as for Noah and M70, the field of view measurement system based on the photo made with a GOPRO3 with wifi connection, controlled through smart phone. The parameters of positioning of the dummy and the mask respect to the target have clearly been maintained identical to the ones utilized for the other masks.

From the analysis of the GOPRO image, the field of view of the Viper, even though it has no particular blind spots, and is very uniform at 360°, does not excel. Lens of the Viper are first of all considerably smaller than competition. In addition, the system of incorporation of the chassis, which has the silicone of the facial going round the chassis until it reaches the lens externally, determines a narrowing of the field of view by the reduction of about 1 mm of the lens area all around the lens perimeter. This evidently does not permit the Viper to excel in the field of view. If on one side Mares Pure Instinct has wanted to assure strength of the product, by incorporating the chassis inside the silicone, instead of limiting the connection chassis-lenses-facial to a glued solution, certainly an important aspect for the duration of the product, on the other side this has additionally reduced field of view. In conclusion, the final value of the field of view is:

North: 55, Nort-East: 60, East: 50, South-East:45, South: 50, South-West: 65, West: 55, North-West: 70, for a total value of 450, considerably inferior to the first in class, the Seac M70first with a field of view equal to 560.

Final votes

The Mares Viper is a product that goes towards innovation, with a glued construction system, no internal sealing lip and a soft silicone, which is matt both externally and internally. Moreover, to this we must underline a very high construction quality and a very pleasant design. Unfortunately, respect to competition, internal volume and field of view are weak, at least from our measurements and tests in the sea. These, it must be underlined, are good on a general basis, but they do not excel.  Very positive, respect to some competition, is the total absence of contact between eyelashes and lens, when the rear buckle is tightened to maximum, a limit that instead the Seac M70 may have on some faces. The votes chart synthesizes  what just said.