A thought popped into my mind the other day: when was the last time a piece of tech launched that was so audacious, so leftfield in its thinking, so unlikely to be an actual hey-you-can-buy-it product? Google Glass was the obvious contender in my brain, the since-discontinued smart glasses from the search giant which caused all kinds of controversy.
But, no, that was a decade ago in 2013. Fast-forward to now and we've got the Dyson Zone: a headphones-meets-air-purifier product that absolutely does not look like a hey-you-can-buy-it product. But indeed you can if you're willing to part with £749 or $949. Which is a pretty incredible amount of money that surpasses even some of the best headphones on the market today.
You'll take one look at the Dyson Zone and think, "nah, that's not real". But it really is. And, you know what? I really can't wait to try them. A bunch of reviews in the States have already dropped, with headlines including the words "weird", "wild", and "absurd". Which only makes me want to try them out all the more.
It's so rare in the world of tech that a product appears that makes you go "what the-" – but that's exactly what Dyson Zone has done for me. Just as Google Glass did back in the day. Gimme, gimme, gimme.
And to stick with that analogy, I do think that despite one being both headphones and an air purifier combined and the other smart glasses, that actually the two products have one thing in common: they're surely for people who want to be seen, right?
Just as Google Glass made people ask strangers questions – like, on the actual street, which never happens in city mechas like London or New York – so, too, will Dyson Zone if you head out into the world in 2023 and don the full overhead headphones and face-covering air-purifying components (the latter you don't have to, though, so you could just use them as pricey noise-cancelling headphones instead).
Except, of course, my comparison is a little flawed: Dyson describes Zone as a "wearable purifier, capturing city pollution including gas, allergens and particulate matter and cancelling unwanted noise with advanced noise cancellation and pure, high-fidelity audio." In essence, then, it's a product to cancel out the outside world and ensure nobody asks your questions or, how very dare they, pollutes your air or audio consumption.
Every time I look at a Dyson Zone promo shot I think it's computer generated (see gallery above). Whether there's any post-production shenanigans afoot or not, I don't really care, as that's how the product actually looks.
And I can fully understand why: in, y'know, the midst of 2020 when what I'll call 'a certain detrimental world event' occurred, I think the Dyson Zone will have flown off the shelves. It would be the must-have product of the moment. We could have all lived in a dystopian sci-fi movie for reals (although we kinda did anyway).
Thing is, we're thankfully not living in mid-2020 any longer, and as life begins to return to a supposed 'normal' (whatever that is), the Dyson Zone do have this eerie 'world event' reminder about them. But I'll block that out of my mind for the time being because, as I say, I can't wait to try out this weird, wild and absurd product. Seems like a 2023 highlight already – and I'm yet to even touch a pair.