If you regularly make calls when you're out and about, and want a way to do so while still being protected by your mask, MaskFone could be the solution you've been waiting for. This revolutionary face mask, introduced at this year's CES, comes with built-in noise-cancelling earbuds and a mic, which means you can easily and safely make calls without needing to remove it. It's being hailed as one of the best face mask designs, and we're inclined to agree.
The mask part conceals a mic and hidden controls, while the lightweight headphones include noise-masking features, and can be easily removed and stowed on the integrated magnetic earbud holder when not in use. On the hygiene front, you've got an a replaceable N95 filter, and the mask fabric itself is machine washable, so we're assuming you can also take out the tech and give it a proper clean when required.
Made by UK-based company Binatone, the MaskFone promises 12 hours of playtime, plus hands-free calls, and it's IPX5 water resistant too. It even works with voice controls: press the voice activation button and it'll wake compatible assistants including Amazon Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.
There are clear benefits. Even if you've invested in a pair of the best wireless earbuds, donning and removing a mask while dodging connecting wires is much more of a faff than you'd think, and if you're wearing glasses too it can all quickly turn into some kind of logic puzzle (although, granted, that problem can be solved by splashing out on some true wireless earbuds).
While most phones won't struggle too much to pick up sound if the speaker is wearing a mask, it'll still muffle your voice, and the temptation is very much to pull it down for the duration of your conversation – not ideal.
The pandemic has stuck around long enough for it to be clear that masks are going to remain part of our lives for some time to come. With most people using their headphones mainly for out-and-about listening, it makes some sense to steamline the mask and earbuds into one. And $49.99 is a reasonable enough price for a pair of headphones that can only be used with the mask in place. Find out more at MaskFone (opens in new tab).