Back in March, and upsettingly close to April Fool’s Day for those of us deciding what to write about, Dyson announced a pair of headphones that not only doubled as a Halloween costume but also purified the air around you.
Well, now we not only know that Dyson Zone will be on (some) people’s faces next year, but we’ve got a price too.
Good news, Apple: your AirPods Max headphones are no longer the most overpriced product in the space, because Dyson has set a new benchmark in optimism. While AirPods Max will set you back NZ$999, the Dyson Zone will come in at US$949 — which is about NZ$1,482 by today’s conversion.
So how does the Dyson Zone justify its exorbitant price? The cynical answer is that it doesn’t, but there is some clever tech here that’s at least worth exploring.
That mask part, which is magnetic and can be detached if you don’t want to frighten neighbourhood children, can capture up to 99% of particle pollution down to a size of 0.1 microns. Carbon filters, meanwhile, target the general nasties that you might breathe in during a stroll through your average city, like nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide.
The filters are good for 12 months’ worth of use, and the connected app will tell you what the quality of air is like around you at any given time alongside environmental noise levels.
Speaking of environmental noise, the Dyson Zone comes with active noise cancellation, and in fact, eight of the 11 microphones inside are solely for this purpose. They can, Dyson says, check background noise up to 384,000 times a second, helping reduce it by up to 38dB. Another mic is for voice calls, while the final two are to suppress noise coming directly from the air filtration system.
Dyson says that the 2,600mAh battery is good for 50 hours of audio — but this drops dramatically if you want to listen and breathe easily at the same time. With both in use, stamina is reduced to just four hours, which isn’t quite as hot considering it’ll take three hours to fill the battery from empty.
Aside from this weak spot, the price tag and the oddball look of the product, the other thing to bear in mind is the sheer weight of these headphones. Dyson says that with the mask on, the Zone comes to a very hefty 670 grams, and that only drops to 595g with it removed. For context, Bose’s QC35s are 236g, while the Sony WH-1000XM5 weighs in at 250g.
While much of that will be the battery (which is about the size of a smartphone’s) it does hopefully mean you’ll also get excellent sound and chunky bass.
But you may not get the chance to find out. Dyson will launch the Zone headphones in China in January 2023, with plans for it to follow in the US, UK, Hong Kong SAR and Singapore in March. Bluntly, it’s hard to believe it’ll be such a runaway success that a New Zealand launch will ever follow.