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Gear Review: Cressi A1 and F-Dual Masks

We may have a problem when it comes to buying dive masks. Check our review of the new Cressi A1 and F-Dual masks, great additions to the growing collection.

I collect dive masks like some women collect purses. But, unlike swapping out a new bag for a new season, when I find a mask that fits well, and doesn’t flood or fog, it stays in pretty much permanent rotation. I’ve long been a fan of frameless masks, such as the Cressi Z1, my long-time go-to. So, when I received two new Cressi masks to review — one of which is also frameless — I was excited to try them. We’ll start with the A1.

Unboxing the A1 Mask

A1 Cressi mask
The pink frame and yellow lenses on this A1 mask make it eye catching above and below the water (photo by Chris Miskavitch)

The first thing I notice is the Cressi Antifog Lens Coating sticker. There’s a note in the mask box that advises wearers not to use toothpaste on the mask to remove the protective coating, something I’ve long done. Wearers are also told not to rub the lenses or use any anti-fog solution. I’m guessing this means I won’t be burning this mask either, which I usually do. I’m skeptical about whether or not the mask will fog without any treatment, but I’m willing to give it a try.

The A1 comes in several cool color combos, and some models feature yellow lenses. I’ve got the black/pink mask with yellow lenses, which is also new for me. The pink is a pretty iridescent shade, and the mask, while it does have a frame, also has a single lens, which I prefer. It creates a nice seal on my face when I test it out and seems like a good fit for my face size and shape. The nose pocket is soft and seems like it will make equalizing all the easier.

I wonder what effect these yellow lenses will have underwater. The Cressi materials say the yellow increases the contrast and makes objects more visible, as well as increasing the vibrancy of the colors underwater.

The inclined lenses are shaped like inverted teardrops, which makes for enhanced downward visibility. The skirt and strap are flexible and soft without sacrificing durability or quality, and the top of the internal skirt has a nifty double edge that seems like it will create an even more secure seal.

I don’t typically switch out my mask strap for a fabric one, so I always look for one that’s easy to manage. The buckle on the A1 has two buttons that allow for easy strap adjustment, and it seems like it will be a breeze to adjust the strap to my preferred fit. Overall, this is a sharp-looking mask that I can’t wait to try out on my upcoming dive trip.

Unboxing the F-Dual Mask

Stay tuned for an in-water review of the F-Dual, a sharp new frameless mask from Cressi.

The F-Dual comes in eight different color combinations. I’m looking at a solid white one with a small pink outline around the inside of the mask. On first glance, it’s the kind of mask I would have picked out for myself — frameless, single-lens, and simple. The mask design features a silicone double-feathered edge skirt, according to Cressi, which is bonded directly to the single pane of tempered glass — hence no need for a frame.

It’s also a low-volume mask, which I typically prefer. The nose pocket is nice and soft, which will make for easier clearing, and the buckles look to be as easy to maneuver as the A1 buckles I mentioned above. Just like the A1, the F-Dual creates a nice seal when I test it on my face. The F-Dual does seem to lack the antifog coating of the A1, so it’ll be the toothpaste and possible burning route for this one.

Both the A1 and the F-Dual look like solid contenders for trips to come, but I’m most excited to see what — if any — difference the yellow lenses make on the A1. 

Post-Trip Update

I took the A1 to Florida and—despite my initial skepticism—I did not need to defog the mask with toothpaste or burn it, after a liberal coating with spit to prevent fogging, of course. The A1 fit well and did great out in the field, and I found the yellow lenses to function similar to polarized sunglasses—you don’t realize how cool things look with them on until you take them off.

Colors popped, and, when I took the mask off at the surface, I realized just how much of a difference the yellow lenses made underwater. I did notice that the mask would often briefly fog upon descent, but was easily fixed with a brief flood-and-clear, although that could have had something to do with the fit, not the anti-fog properties of the mask. Either way, the A1 is coming with me on dive trips to come — stay tuned for a post-dive report on the F-Dual.