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Review : Bolle T-800 VS ESS Profile



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Old August 23rd, 2006, 16:08   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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Review : Bolle T-800 VS ESS Profile

Two very popular, good quality goggles here. I'm writing this review/standoff because I couldn't decide which one to buy, after buying one, then being disappointed and buying the other, I realized Id made a huge mistake. Which was the mistake? Read and find out.

ESS NVG Profile Goggles
Retail Price : $120

Bolle T-800 Tactical Goggles
Retail Price : $80 @ ASC Armory

ESS Profile, Out of The Box
The first thing I noticed when I took the ESS goggles out of the box was how solid they looked and felt. Various layers of rubber, plastic and foam built around the lens to make what was a well designed and put together pair of goggles. Aside from just the goggles I also got a small booklet, carrying case (velcro with belt straps) and a second tinted lens with its own silk pouch as well. Suffice it to say any buyer will immediately feel like he got his moneys worth.

Bolle T-800, Out of The Box
At first glance, the goggles looked and felt unimpressive. The lens rests on a small plastic and rubber frame. This makes the goggles a bit more flexible then the ESS goggles but with the only thing to grab onto being the rubber guard or the lens itself, the goggles feel very unimpressive. The goggles came with a small carrying pouch, no fancy velcro straps, but what else do you need right?

Round 1, Out of the box winner : ESS Profile by a landslide.

ESS Profile, Durability
The lenses that came with these things were really, REALLY thick. I was told by someone at ESS that they can survive a shotgun blast from six feet away. Now I don't know about you but I don't plan on getting shot in the face with a real shotgun during my next game. And if I do, well I carry a wallet on me with ID, so when my eyes are the only thing left of my face, you still won't need to do a retinal scan to find out my identity. Still the claim that they are that durable is very reassuring. Bending and pulling on the goggles every which way, they are very sturdy, you wont need to worry about any of the plastic getting separated or cracked. I definitely can't imagine them getting broken by accident. If the elastic band on the goggle does rip, the entire side of the goggles clip off and can be replaced. However the band is built right into the plastic clips, so replacing the band might be expensive as it would have to be a custom order from ESS.

Bolle T-800, Durability
The lens that comes with these goggles, while not as thick as the ESS lens, is still plenty thick and nothing to underestimate. However as I said before, the goggles are essentially just the lenses with a small plastic frame and rubber. The lens does slide out to be replaced, however I have to confess I havenít tried to take them out as I'm afraid to break the plastic frame. The plastic isn't cheap, but because of how thin it is Iím afraid to apply too much force in the wrong direction. The rubber is also much thinner then the rubber on the ESS goggles, and I am worried it will tear on me one of these days. That being said, I can't imagine these things breaking while your out on the field, I wouldnít play too rough with them while they are off my head.

Round 2, Durability winner : ESS Profile

ESS Profile, Comfort and Protection
After putting the ESS goggles on for the first time I was really surprised to see how loose they were. Tightening them to a 'comfortable' amount, they were still really loose, after walking around for awhile the band loosed up and they started to slide off. Also sharp head turns had the same effect, they kept loosening up and sliding down. Tightening them further helped to keep them on but it hurt like a bitch, the plastic clips that attach the band to the goggles pressed very tightly into my temples, and even after a bit of action they kept having to be tightened. These goggles are specifically designed to be worn over a Kevlar helmet, not on a bare head. I don't wear a helmet so this was a huge downer for me. I was able to borrow a friends helmet at a match and the goggles fit like a charm, and held tight. With or without a helmet on, the goggles create a perfect seal around my face.

Bolle T-800, Comfort and Protection
Like the ESS goggles, the Bolle T-800s are also designed to be worn over a helmet, but unlike the ESS goggles, the Bolles are very comfortable either way. With or without a helmet the Bolles are very comfortable, the cheap squishy rubber keeps them from sliding around on my face and compresses so that I can tighten the band quite a bit before I feel any tension at all on my head. The band also stays where I want it to, and I have never had to loosen or tighten it during a game, ever. There are small openings on the top and bottom in-between where the lens meets the plastic. It's definitely too small for a BB to get into but it is possible for dust to find it's way in. In order for that to be a nuisance the dust would have to be blown in at a very obscure angle, but it could happen.

Round 3, Comfort and Protection winner : Bolle T-800s

ESS Profile, Practicality and Profile
Where the T-800s have small gaps to prevent sweat and water from collecting the ESS Profile goggles have a foam lining at the top and bottom of the lenses. It is absolutely impossible for drops of water to collect inside these goggles. However it doesn't seem to prevent the goggles from fogging up on me. Thatís right, the ESS Profile goggles actually fog up. Indoor and outdoor, every time I use them, they fog up, more so in indoor games when they become very difficult to see out of. I have actually shot at barrels and tires thinking they were hostile. In the goggles defense however the tires were giving me aggressive looks and insulting my family, but still they were still far from hostile. I also tried the complimentary tinted lenses included with the goggles. The tinted lenses were great at keeping the sun out of my eyes, they did reduce my visual range and made it harder to differentiate between who was who at longer ranges.

Bolle T-800, Practicality and Profile
The Bolle T-800s are significantly smaller then the ESS Profile goggles giving them a lighter profile. The FoV however remains identical for each pair of goggles. The biggest difference I noticed between the two was however, that the Bolle T-800s never once fogged up on me. Even in tight, hot indoor buildings, they remained clear. Also as I said before, I have never had to adjust them, they stay on tight.

Round 4, Practicality and Profile winner : Bolle T-800 by a landslide.


Both are very good goggles, the ESS Profile goggles are more professional and durable where as the Bolle T-800s don't fog up and have a lower profile. Both goggles are made to be worn with a helmet, but without a helmet the ESS Profiles are horribly uncomfortable and donít stay on properly.

At the start of the review I said Id bought one pair, then bought the other and realized Id made a mistake. The first one I bought was the ESS Profile goggles and for me, buying them instead of the Bolle T-800s was the mistake. Without a helmet on the ESS Profile goggles are completely impractical to the point where they were a burden, just wearing them hurt, let alone having to readjust them every 15 minutes or so.

If you plan on wearing a helmet to every single game, like extra durability and donít mind a bit of fog then the ESS goggles might be for you. However with the smaller price tag, greater amount of versatility and practicality, this reviewer is declaring the Bolle T-800s the winner.

Winner : Bolle T-800 Tactical Goggles :salute:

Thanks to Prowler for hosing the images

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Old August 23rd, 2006, 16:41   #2
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Very nice review. I love my Bolle! And the replacement lense are pretty cheap too on ebay.
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 17:34   #3
Brian McIlmoyle
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Bolle a good goggle.. but not for airsoft

Due to their construction they are prone to frame breakage due to BB hits. I have seen 4 pairs broken at TTAC3 every one in the same place, the bracket on the side of the goggle that holds the strap. This bracket is made of plastic.. and will break if a bb hits it.

Also I have personally experienced a bb finding its way inside the goggle... someone pointed out to me that I had one rolling around inside the goggle.

indicating that BBs can get in around the frame.

I have a pair of ESS Thermal (double layer) goggles as well, I agree with the issue about wearing then without a helmet...
to aleviate fogging.. pull out the foam that is over the ventilation ports.. this allows air to flow better and reduces fogging.
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 17:57   #4
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I find the Bolle's to be perfect for airsoft (point taken from Brian, maybe not for extremely close indoor use though), especially seeing as how I lug my 16lbs worth of M24 around 90% of the time on my back, the low profile of them makes them pretty much invisible when a proper rifle cheek weld is necessary. The paintball goggles I had (JT something or others) previously would prevent me from safely looking through the scope with medium mounts, they'd shove off to the left and up, exposing about half an inch of area for BBs to enter. Switching to higher mounts (1/8" higher if that!) helped a bit, but still had problems with cheekweld. SO I bought and cnsistantly use my Bolles the past year and a bit, never had any problems with them. EXCEPT, when lying prone for a while with a hat on (mostly wear my boonie) and when extrememly humid, sweat will collect on the lense, making it very much the same as fogging except you get to look through seat drip lines. Rolling the brim up and leaving it there for a minute or so helps to clear the lense, but still an annoyance at times. Only happen on occasion, not enough to really bitch about, but it does happen. I use decent anti-fog which works most of the time, but that sweat fogging can't really be prevented half the time.

Great comparison though, was hoping the Bolle's would win!

BTW, to take the lense out you pop it out from one side of frame (doesn't take much effort, it won't break), then pop it out the other side and remove from the center. Reinstalling, yo upop one side of the lense in, then the other, and press the center to finsh it. Makes applying anti-fog or even just cleaning a breeze, I remove my lense before and after each game, sometimes in the middle if I have sweat stains. I plan to buy a second lense, and try out some mild car window tinting film on one of them, as my eyes are light sensitive and not having sunglasses really sucks on some days.
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Old August 24th, 2006, 03:47   #5
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my bolle really sucked... all the time it was fogging...
im looking for hatch boss 6000 now...
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Old August 24th, 2006, 07:51   #6
Originally Posted by Spitfire
my bolle really sucked... all the time it was fogging...
im looking for hatch boss 6000 now...
no, please dont.
they fit totally weird...I mean, you need to have a really fudged up head for them to fit comfortably.
the its a dual lense with a vacume inside....unfotunatly the glue that connects the two layers is soluable by sweat. My lenses lost the seal after 1 $140...I expected better. biggest waste of money i had spent on gear.

I went T800 and never looked back.
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Old September 24th, 2006, 21:39   #7
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ESS doesn't recommend their goggles for airsoft. During testing, bb's have slipped in by the nose area to the eye. They are working on a face shield adapter...

but I wear both ESS NVG's and Bolle 800's!
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Old September 24th, 2006, 23:04   #8
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I've presonally worn bolles off and on for 3 or 4 years now. The low profile is outstanding, it's true, but I have to dsiagree with some of the rest from my experience.

Bolle's fit my head rather poorly. Perhaps I just have a freakish melon, but for me when done up tight enough to stay in place, they give me a nasty headache. And I know I'm not the only one. When people first started wearing bolle's for airsoft, there were more than a few players who complained of the "Bolle headache". They also fog up quite regularly for me. Not the worst foggers, not even close - that title is reserved for the Wiley SG-1s - but definately not as good as my old pair of JT spectras with the thermal lenses. Those are the best goggles I've ever owned in terms of fogging. Too bad they're so big you can't get your damn head anywhere near your rifle!

I'm waiting for a pair of ESS Profile Turbofans right now to try them out. And if that doesn't work, I'm going to try the turbofans with the thermal lenses...and if that doesn't work, I'll just learn to play blind like some sort of airsoft-jedi I guess...or get shot alot.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 00:04   #9
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I gamed with the bolle for a whole day, and in that period of time I could not see a damn thing. I was inching to take them off. Any cures for the fogging effect on the bolle?
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Old September 25th, 2006, 00:30   #10
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Originally Posted by stokes
I gamed with the bolle for a whole day, and in that period of time I could not see a damn thing. I was inching to take them off. Any cures for the fogging effect on the bolle?
Personally, I only find the bolle fog up when I breath into them accidently while wearing a balaclava. Even then, they clear up pretty quick after getting some fresh air into them. (Just a quick lift off the face like you were adjusting your goggles, obviously do it when you're in cover)

I also have a pair of ESS NVG that I just got in, the only problem I find with them so far (haven't gamed with) is those goggles are meant to use with a helmet since the strap is too loose. (And my head isn't exactly small either)
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