Not what I expected
March 3, 2019
Ok sure if you weld in a nice environment where you just do TIG work all day I am sure you would have no issues or very little. But when you find yourself doing more custom work in all kinds of positions you notice some shortcomings with this hood. After about 5 months of on the job use I retired this very expensive hood to home hobby use.
And here is why:
1. Auto adjust feature malfunctioned (mostly flux core MIG use), letting me get flashed in a much lower shade than I should have had. I returned the lens under warranty (customer service was nice) new lens also suffered from same failures after some time. I gave up on using the auto mode all together, worked ok-ish in manual mode.
2. Only 2 sensors! this is ok for maybe a hazard freight hood but not one in this price point, this becomes a problem when you are trying to weld around obstructions and the sensors get blocked, then you get flashed. it should have 4 sensors ( 2 top 2 bottom).
3. Terrible head gear! Again this would be ok on a $50 auto shade form hazard freight but come on, when my $35 Jackson has better headgear its time to go back to the drawing board. The rear ratchet adjuster has the locking points too far apart, so if you have my head size you will never find the right amount of tight without cutting off circulation... and secondly IT HAS NO LOCK UP POSITION!!! all millers, all Jacksons, damn near every modern hood I ever had on has a positive lock up position. I am talking about a lock up that will hold your hood up without needing to tighten the crap out of the pivots to the point it takes 5 head flicks to drop the hood down. And yes I know that is a common fail point of headgear, eventually it stops locking up and you need to replace the headgear or deal with it falling down constantly but if they would just design it right, like maybe be the first company to use aluminum instead of plastic maybe it would work longer......
4. EXTERNAL CONTROLS at first I thought nothing of it like "oh so what the controls are on the outside" yeah well there is a reason its a terrible idea. Like say you are welding on your side and then hit the grind mode button off the work and you are now getting blinded mid weld. This has actually happened to me. Sure many other hoods have an external grind button but they put them in a location on the hood that you typically will never hit off something. Where as this maker puts it right smack dab on the side and then throws it up on the shade knob, you know to make it even easier to hit off things.
5. Just cheap looking build quality, when the retention device for the lens a plastic spring you question where all your money is going, The inside has all kinds of plastic tabs stuck to it form a poor mold design or just failure to clean it up before packaging it up. the external controls have a lot of play in them and don't feel sturdy in the hood at all, and the worst one is the stupid rubber boot over the batteries/brain box, it never seats right and its just waiting to fall off and be lost at any moment. I understand the want to keep it light but don't sacrifice quality for weight, I mean who really complains about their hood being too heavy? Sure it's a light hood but who asked for that? I didn't, all I want is it to fit comfortably on my head, work as intended, and have a awesome lens.
6. viewing area small compared to competitors in this class.
7. External protective lens are not cheep to replace.
So all in all I am not happy with my purchase, I will say that this hood is very light and the lens is very clear but noting much more incredible then a gold passive lens. Other than that I would call it mediocre at best. My hope is Optrel reads this and thinks about making some major changes to its product, maybe give it some quality to match that price.