There's always some weird piece of tech floating around with a big brand's name attached that just makes you go, "Huh?" Wearables tend to domintate this market for some reason. They often have promise, but look pretty ridiculous. I'm talking about things like the Google Glass—augmented reality glasses that appeared long before their time—or Razer's RGB Zephyr face mask (opens in new tab), which I still kind of want. The stuff that generally ends up in articles about hardware purchasing regrets (opens in new tab), or the way living in the future isn't quite where we imagined (opens in new tab).
Dyson's Zone, spotted pre-release back in March, is the tech I'm putting forward as 2022's best example of "huh?" This set of fairly high-end seeming headphones is indeed made by the kings of vacuum cleaners, Dyson. Being old, I can say their vacuum cleaners are good, but I can't help but wonder if these headphones are going to suck quite as much.
The specs on these things do look legit. They've got up to 50 hours of battery and features like advanced noise cancellation. The Zone also boasts full-spectrum audio and ultra-low distortion, all while looking exactly like the filter in my V6 Animal stick vacuum. It's a choice, that's for sure.
Dyson isn't letting its air purification expertise go to waste with these cans. The filter-like ear cuffs are exactly that, said to be able to capture 99% of pollution particles and then blow it out towards your nose and mouth. There's a whole face panel part to help with this that connects to the headphones and goes over the mouth or nose.
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This also works in conjunction with the app, because of course there's an app. It can be used to control things like volume settings and noise cancellation, and also works with the air-purifying portion of the Zone, giving you a reading of the air quality around you.
Wearing the whole kit gives a sort of futuristic semi open-faced helmet vibe I'd expect from a futuristic anime, and looks fairly heavy. Definitely one of those things that would have to be tried in-person before making any choices on the purchasing front. Especially given these air-cleaning cans are far from cheap.
The official price for the Dyson Zone is $949 USD, and it's going to want to sound great and clean the hell out of some air at that cost. The company's vacuums aren't cheap either, of course. For people working in noisy and polluted environments, maybe the Dyson Zone will be the godsend they've been waiting for.
A bit like the Razer Zephyr, it's clear that this is a product marketed at our current fears. Be it air pollution or illness, people are a lot more concerned about what they're breathing in. It's worth noting that there's no mention of any benefits related to Covid protection in the product description (opens in new tab).