It sent me a couple of colour variations of its new X-Vision LiquidSkin mask to test and evaluate, and I took them to the Indian Ocean and also tried them out in the Atlantic.

The Design
Evolution as opposed to revolution is the keyword here. Mares has applied this principle to its ever-popular Quattro fins, and the same can be said for this model of mask.

The new version of the X-Vision comes in a variety of bi-colour formats with new anatomical skirts and a claimed 20% increase in its field of vision, along with being 45% softer
and offering 270% more elasticity. I can’t corroborate those figures, but I can comment on the comfort factor on the many occasions I took this mask diving.
The skirt is made from a combination of two types of silicon, one stiff, the other extremely soft and pliable.
Mares has incorporated small horizontal ribs around the nose-pocket between the skirt and frame, and these help to absorb any mask movement and improve the comfort.
The bi-silicon material, which uses the firmer silicon for the support structure and the softer portion in contact with the diver’s face, are intended to create a mask that will be supremely comfortable to wear.

In Use
The mask was a great fit on my weatherbeaten face (which is always a good start on any test). The nose pocket is generous, and it needed to be, to fit my well-documented large proboscis.
I’ve always had problems with nose-fit in the past, but nearly all the masks I’ve tested recently have engulfed it easily.
Does that mean that mask-designers are actually listening to the large-hootered brigade, or has my conk shrunk without me realising it?
The skirt was as soft and pliable as the makers claimed it to be. It felt very comfortable on my face, so long dives were no problem. I found that I could get away with a slightly looser fit, too, which had the added bonus of not leaving any post-dive marks on my face.
The slide-and-lock buckles were a doddle to adjust, even when wearing gloves in the temperate Atlantic. They locked the strap firmly in position, and its 3D rear support spider was large enough to stop it slipping and becoming misplaced.
The lenses are large and shaped to enable good peripheral vision, so I could easily see what was happening around me and also view my instruments without too much head movement.
Raking the lenses down at a slight angle and placing them close to the eyes enhances this effect, and also reduces the internal volume.
Throughout all the dives I carried out with this mask I had little or no internal leakage, so
I didn’t have to swim around with a puddle in the bottom of the nose pocket.
I dived mainly with the black-and-white model (the vibrant pink-and-white combo clashed too much with my early-morning eyes).
I normally dive with an all-black skirt to prevent unwanted light interfering with what I’m seeing through a camera viewfinder, and was concerned that the white portion around the inside of the lenses would cause a problem, but that just didn’t happen.
I did however find that the mask felt a lot less claustrophobic in use than my regular model.

Conclusion
This innovative mask design has been around for quite some time, but Mares has done an excellent job with the revamp. Using state-of-the-art silicon-moulding techniques, it’s bang up to date.
The two-tone colours are available with white and clear skirts as well as black. This mask is available with both positive and negative dioptre optical lens choices, too.
The comfort factor becomes ever more important to me as I get older but I still like to be fashionable.
The X-Vision Liquidskin mask gives me both options, combined in one neat little package.

PRICE £60
COLOURS Black skirt with red, white, yellow or grey inserts. White skirt with pink or blue inserts. Clear skirt with yellow or blue inserts
OPTICAL LENSES Yes
CONTACT www.mares.com
DIVER GUIDE width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%width=100%