Dyson Zone headphones come with an air-purifying face shield

Dyson’s expertise seems to focus on moving air – vacuums, hairdryers, fans – so it was confusing at first to come across the company’s wireless headphones. But the Dyson Zone is unlike any pair of headphones on the market today. Built into each ear cup is a miniature air purifier that pumps cool air to the wearer through a visor covering their mouth and nose.

In addition to his high end vacuum cleaners, styling productsand blast-force bathroom hand dryers, Dyson is also known for its air purifiers with a bladeless design that makes them quieter and safer, but also a glass HEPA filter inside that promises to remove 99.97% of unwanted air particles in a home like pollen, mold, bacteria, pollution and odors. There’s even one that can remove formaldehyde. That’s great when you’re at home or in the office, but a four-foot-tall purifier hooked up to a power outlet offers no pollution protection elsewhere.

The Dyson Zone is the company’s first personal air purifier, and it comes with headphones as an accompaniment. A Trojan horse in high-end Bluetooth headphones, the Zone provides a filtration buffer between the wearer and the outside world. When worn in public, users may feel a bit like Scourge of Batman. There may be a few awkward looks, but maybe there will be less than expected, thanks to the presence of the headphones.

In the Dyson area

The company started working in the area six years ago. The initial prototype was a “snorkel-like clean-air mouthpiece paired with a backpack to hold the motor and inner workings,” according to a press release. The final product – over 500 iterations later – is a huge improvement in design and usability. It still seems like it might take some getting used to, but perhaps less so in the age of Covid-19 than when Dyson engineers first started getting used to it.

Inside each earbud are two of the smallest electric motors Dyson has ever developed, powering compressors that draw air through dual-layer filters. One layer uses electrostatic filtration to capture and retain 99% of particles measuring just 0.1 microns, including pollen, bacteria and even dust from brakes and construction sites. The other layer uses a “potassium-enriched carbon filter” to capture gases like nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone, which are commonly found in cities where vehicles are heavily used.

Dyson Zone headphones and air purifier

Picture: Dyson

Purified air is then sent to the wearer’s mouth and nose through channels inside a specially designed non-contact face shield by Dyson to keep winds at bay when worn and used outdoors . The user can select one of four purification modes: high, medium, low and automatic, which will automatically switch between medium and low depending on the movements of the user.

The visor is designed to keep everything else out, but as it doesn’t touch the wearer’s face it doesn’t create a tight enough seal to be considered a good option for those looking to minimize Covid risk -19 in public areas. For these situations, Dyson includes an accessory it calls a ‘community face covering’ which creates a tighter seal around the nose and mouth when worn alongside the visor, although it is a a washable, non-N95 rated fabric solution. Dyson is also including a second FFP2 mask option with the zone for those who want as much protection against airborne particles as N95 masks, but it is not washable and will eventually need to be swapped out with replacements as standard. business will sell.

Image for article titled In the Zone: Dyson's first wireless headphones pump cool music into your ears and cool air into your face

Picture: Dyson

But purifying the air is only half of what the Dyson Zone can do. Squeezed into each earcup along with the motors and filters is a “high-performance neodymium electro-acoustic system” that promises excellent audio performance with high-frequency response, along with microphones powering an advanced active noise-cancellation system that’s essential for headphones with electric motors sitting right in front of a user’s ears. The Zone offers three different noise cancellation modes: Isolation which completely silences the world around the wearer, Talk which amplifies voices and turns off air purification when the wearer dips the visor down to talk, and Transparency which helps users to become aware of the world around them by intelligently amplifying the sounds of sirens or public announcements on the music listened to.

How much does it cost, though?

The biggest unknown swirling around Dyson’s first wireless headphones is their cost. The company’s other products already come at premium prices – $950 vacuum cleaners, $430 hair dryers and $670 air purifiers, oh my – and the fact that Dyson has yet to officially reveal the Zone’s price seems to indicate that they won’t be cheap. The apprehension recalls the collective gasp when Apple revealed the $550 price of its AirPods Max Headphones, but Apple has backed up the sticker shock with one of the most impressive sets of noise-cancelling wireless headphones you can buy today. If Dyson can deliver an equally good product when the Zone becomes available in August, it might be able to raise the bar for what consumers expect from their headphones. Maybe they won’t be happy with headphones that only work as headphones. Will the Zone be another breath of fresh air or a real breath of fresh air?