This new Atomic mask will change the way you think about dive masks. Before Atomic Aquatics (division of Huish Outdoors) released the Venom Frameless mask there was little you could say about scuba masks. It fit or didn’t fit; maybe it came in a pretty color. Boring. But this mask is a sexy leap in mask technology.
Most prominently every ScubaGadget tester that tried this mask immediately said this is the “most comfortable mask I have ever worn.” Two testers immediately went to their local dive shop to purchase the mask. The exclusive “Gummi Bear UltraSoft” silicone creates an incredibly soft and comfortable face seal. It feels almost as if you have an invisible force field holding the water just millimeters from your eyes. At first some testers had the urge to over-tighten the strap. I never thought of any mask before the Venom as being uncomfortable. But as soon as you try the Venom you get what you’ve been missing.
It would be an amazing leap if comfort was the only outstanding feature of the Venom. But the field of view and clarity are also at wow factor levels. I first noticed that I could see my BCD chest strap and drysuit hose. Many people buy translucent skirt masks so they don’t feel confined. But the field of view is so wide in this mask you have to think about it to really notice you are wearing a mask with an opaque skirt.
I did wonder if the exclusive Schott Superwite™ UltraClear lens was just marketing hype. I have to admit my low expectations and readiness to write off this cost boosting feature. But again I was caught off guard. Even though we did not mention the UltraClear lens to testers, most used clarity as the second descriptor of the experience after comfort. It adds to the “force-field experience.”
Atomic claims that other dive masks have “a visible green tint caused by iron particles remaining in the glass after processing. These green iron particles significantly block light transmission through the lens. The Atomic optical glass comes from the Schott Glass Company in Germany and is said to allow 96% light transmission. Other masks we have researched quote in the high 80% and low 90% range.
The design and the Gummi Bear ultra-soft silicone seems to extend the fit range of this mask. When ScubaGadget reporter Chaela started diving, a surgical scar on her forehead gave her fits when trying to find a mask that would not leak. She purchased six masks before finding one that worked for her. But the Venom Frameless seals perfectly for her. It also seemed to be better for the testers sporting a mustache. The only caveat to the wide fit range is for Asian faces. While both of our Asian testers loved the other features of the Venom Frameless they both found that the lens hit their forehead.
The strap and the adjusters are also extremely well designed. The low profile squeeze-to-adjust buckles are designed to minimize drag. The mask was simple and smooth to adjust in both directions using gloves, even without removing the mask. The wide split strap cradles the back of your head to prevent strap slippage.
The mask comes in grey and black, and red and black. Atomic calls the styling “Wicked” which is what you may call the $169 price. But we have to admit that you are getting quality and features not found in those standard priced masks. We found reviews online like this one: “after the first time putting it on, I’m glad I spent the extra money.”
Confusion Alert; Shop Carefully
Make sure you when ordering or requesting this mask you communicate clearly what you want. We found a surprisingly significant confusion among dealers and even at Atomic headquarters when ordering this mask. This is not the Venom Mask and not Frameless mask; it is the “Venom Frameless Mask.” You can confirm you have the correct mask by noting the words “Gummi Bear” in the description and the retail price of $169. We discussed this with Atomic and even held off in publishing this article until we got assurance that Atomic sales staff could find and deliver the mask. Even so, we are still confused as to why, at the time of this writing the mask cannot be found on the Atomic website.
The quality design, super clear lens, wide vision and unparalleled comfort of the Venom Frameless give this nearly perfect dive mask a ScubaGadget Editors Choice and a 4.75. out of 5.