Following our two previous publications on material synthesis and on ex situ characterization, we present an experimental in situ study to evaluate the effects of using gas diffusion layers with patterned wettability at the cathode side of polymer electrolyte fuel cells. The operando performance was assessed using traditional electrochemical diagnostics (such as polarization curves) combined with the pulsed gas analysis (PGA) method, which allows measuring the mass transport losses. Neutron radiography was performed simultaneously in order to image the water distribution during operation. Using this methodology, the effects of changing the pattern, including a microporous layer (MPL), and varying the operation conditions (temperature and relative humidity of the cathode gas) have been systematically evaluated. It has been confirmed that water redistributes according to the engineered pattern and that the power density is significantly increased thanks to reduced mass transport losses under various conditions.