Dyson Zone: £749. That's what Dyson's wearable air purifier and headphones combo will set you back. You'll get the chance to try it out in March 2023 in the UK, US, Ireland, Hong Kong and Singapore. Lucky Chinese people can try it from January. Dyson has now announced a load of spec and an approximate price. To be totally accurate it's described as 'from £749', with the note that 'exact pricing will be confirmed closer to launch,‘ so it could be a bit more, or a bit less.
There are a few misconceptions about Dyson Zone. A lot of people seem to think it's an anti-covid device but it's not. It's a mask designed to filter out air pollution, not bacteria or viruses, and for whatever reason, it's attached to a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, like something made by Bose or Sony. It's essentially an air purifier that you wear on your face, conjoined to a pair of headphones. Or perhaps it's a pair fo premium noise cancelling headphones with an air purifying mask attached to it – or a 'visor' as Dyson insists on putting it.
You can read my Dyson Zone review (of the ‘early hands on‘ variety), but I’ll try to sum up how I feel about it here. On one level, I think it's very nice that Dyson is trying out new ideas. On another level, I find it really weird that they are releasing a pair of headphones, given that they have no pedigree at all in audio products. And on another level beyond that, I find it extra weird that they've decided to strap a Bane-style mask to the headphones, and are selling it as a personal air purifier.
But, you know, as Henry Ford said, if he'd asked the public what they wanted around road transport, they'd have just asked for a faster horse.
It's hard to say here if Dyson is taking a gamble by releasing premium noise cancelling headphones into a saturated market just as the economy stumbles into recession. Or if they're taking a gamble by releasing a premium air purifier that you wear on your face, and which happens to have some headphones attached to it.
What you can’t question is that Dyson has clearly put a lot of effort into designing the Zone. It’s surprisingly comfortable and light. They‘ve also put a lot of effort into marketing it, with carefully timed announcements, product reveals to select journalists – me, for instance – and now a full spec splurge and price reveal.
If you want to be first to try the Zone you can sign up for more precise announcements about availability now.
Dyson Zone key spec
Weight 670g with vizor attached (595g without)
Colour options Satin Silver and Ultra Blue
Ultra Blue and Prussian Blue
Prussian Blue and Bright Copper
Dyson Zone headphones spec
Battery life 'Up to 50 hours' of battery life is claimed for the Zone, and that's with noise cancelling turned on. That is without the air purifier element however. With it on, you get '4 hours of combined purification and audio run-time.'
Dyson has leveraged its expertise in cordless vacuums and hair straighteners to make headphones with very good battery life. Headphones with an air purifier mask attached is a new product category so in that field, battery life is best in class. Dyson says the Zone can be charged from zero to 100% in 3 hours, so keeping it topped up throughout the day shouldn’t be too hard..
To prolong battery life as much as possible, the Zone goes into standby when you take it off – this is detected via accelerometers. Similarly when you pull down the visor to speak, the purifying and music playing elements are turned off, and the headphones let in the sound of whoever you’re talking to instead.
Active noise cancelling This uses 8 microphones to monitor surrounding sounds as you walk down the street wearing headphones with a mask attached to them 384,000 times per second. The noise cancelling software then reduces those background sounds by 'up to 38 dB'. From what I've heard of them, the Zone headphones have very effective noise cancellation, but I've only used them indoors. Perhaps the important point here is that the air purifier element of the Zone involves using a pair of small motors to pull in polluted air and push it through filters. The noise cancelling has to be good to ensure you can't hear those motors.
Voice calls and control A further two microphones use beamforming and noise suppression to enable clear voice calls, voice recording and voice control.
Frequency range 6Hz-21kHz. That's beyond the range of human hearing, which Dyson says ensures that, 'every note or word is heard.'
Distortion Dyson says that digital signal processing, in conjunction with the noise cancellation, 'neutralises harmonic distortion to inaudible levels across the full frequency range – 0.08% @ 94dB @1kHz'.
EQ tuning 'A unique EQ setting optimises the frequency curve for clear, pure audio across the full audible frequency range,' Dyson says.
Dyson Zone air purifier spec
Filtering as described by Dyson 'Electrostatic filters capture 99% of particle pollution as small as 0.1 microns, whilst K-Carbon, potassium-enriched carbon filters target prevalent acidic gases most associated with city pollution.'
If you're struggling to understand this concept, the simplest way I can put it is that air is sucked in via the earcups of the headphones, filtered, and then relayed to the mask portion of Dyson Zone, so you are breathing purified air, even in a polluted city centre. Dyson says it removes, 'Ultrafine particles such as allergens, and particles from sources such as brake dust, industry combustion and construction… city gas pollutants like NO2, SO2 and O3, as well as nasty city odours, like construction fumes, sewage or stale air in metro systems'
Filter life Up to 12 months, 'depending on geographical location.' Which is to say, if you live in central London or Mumbai it may be less, if you live in Newfoundland, probably longer.
The mask part of the Zone can be pulled down to activate 'conversation mode' – this turns off the purification bit and pauses any music that may be playing through the headphones.
Dyson Zone: clever tech stuff
Okay, here we go.
'An on-board sensor monitors the air for NO2 levels, tracking these live via the MyDyson app, alongside real-time environmental noise levels… An on-board accelerometer monitors the user’s activity, adjusting the purified airflow appropriately when in auto mode with the visor attached.'
The MyDyson app can also be used to adjust airflow speed and noise-cancellation mode as well as switching between three EQ modes: Dyson EQ (enhanced), Bass Boost (bassy) and Neutral (flatter response curve). Basically, Dyson has decided what it thinks the ideal EQ for a pair of headphones is, and called it Dyson EQ. I am pretty sure that at some point down the line, they'll change this so you can choose your own EQ curve.
Dyson Zone: release date and price
Dyson Zone will be released in China in January (exact date TBC) and in the UK, US, Ireland, Hong Kong and Singapore in March 2023 (exact date TBC). The price is quoted as £749 which roughly translates as $915 or AU$1,360.