Undoing the atmospheric damage caused by centuries of unchecked industrialization would never be easy. Encouraging the use of low-emission vehicles, aggressive levies on outdated industrial practices, investment in public transportation infrastructure, city-wide re-engineering and rapidly evolving technological innovation will all help, but why bother when a personal air filter device can keep you healthy?
Coming back to the product, the chrome-effect plastic mouthpiece sits away from your face, making it considerably more comfortable than a traditional face mask, and thankfully it can be removed quickly if you need to talk to someone. And despite its considerable size, the whole device is surprisingly well-balanced and comfortable to wear, although we didn’t try the Zone for more than a few minutes.
How does it work? Two small, precision-engineered compressors in each earcup draw air through dual-layer filters. The negatively charged electrostatic filters trap ultra-fine particles such as allergens, while a potassium-enriched carbon layer traps gas contaminants such as nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide.
It’s a quintessential Dysonesque feat of engineering, and the execution – if not the aesthetics – is impressive. The Zone has four air purification settings, including Auto, which uses onboard accelerometers to assess how quickly you need your clean air.
It’s worth noting that, despite pumping perfectly clean air over your face, the Zone is not a substitute for a surgical facemask, but Dyson does supply a face-covering attachment (we didn’t get to see this) that forms a seal and meets FFP2 filtration standards .
As for the headphones, behind the fans and filters, Dyson has squeezed a neodymium electro-acoustic driver, with multi-level active noise cancellation and all the features we’ve come to expect, including mics for calling, ambient pass-through modes and app-based EQ. tweak.
But why combine headphones and air purification? Because those fans on the side of your head are noisy, and without the ANC you hear nothing but a buzz in your ear. Dyson readily admits it’s a problem he created himself, and as a result, the ANC and passive noise isolation on the Zone (in our limited preview) look impressive, and you can barely hear the fans, if at all, while wearing them.
However, it is a very different situation for the person sitting next to you. Who cares though? This is personal protection, and to hell with the rest of the population. It’s a case of, “I’m fine, Jack,” or maybe, given the chief engineer involved, that Jake should be? The Zone is apparently Jake Dyson’s baby. Jake is the son of James Dyson and he designed the company’s innovative CSYS desk lamp.
In the few minutes we had with the Dyson Zone, we could tell the headphones were well made, but the sound performance was definitely on the safe side. Neutral, if you will. The ANC didn’t seem to cloud the music as it often can, but we weren’t impressed with the grandeur of the audio. Since these headphones are designed to be your favorite commuter pair, we were hoping for more, but we’re waiting for a verdict for a full review. They’re also functional, and if you don’t care about sonic subtleties – and many don’t – you’ll be fine.