Back in March 2022, Dyson revealed that it was working on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones with wearable air purifier called Zone. Although we attended an event to get the inside track and some Dyson Zone hands-on time, the company was vague about revealing the full specs and giving out the likely release date.
Update (April 2023): March has come and passed, but Dyson confirmed that the Dyson Zone will be available in the U.S. starting April 27.
Dyson Zone: Price and availability
Prices for the British company's latest innovation start at $949 (£749/AU$1,360), and will go on sale in China from January 2023. You'll be able to get it in either an Ultra Blue/Prussian Blue color or a Prussian Blue/Bright Copper model.
The Zone air-purifying headphones were originally going to be on sale in late 2022; this date was pushed back to March 2023, but is now confirmed for April 27, 2023, according to PCMag.
Dyson Zone: Wearable air purifier
Dyson is perhaps best known to the world for the bagless vacuum cleaner, not noise-cancelling headphones. When I first saw the news on the Dyson Zone, I figured it was a bizarre-looking innovation developed to provide a solution to the strange masked-up world we all inhabited throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
But a closer inspection of the full specification sheet just released tells the story of a product that's been in development for 5 years, and engineered to tackle the dual challenges of city noise and air pollution, not airborne virus particles and droplets.
Dyson's Zone air purification headphones claim high-efficiency filtration to tackle pollution on-the-go. The detachable visor projects purified air to the wearer’s nose and mouth, while potassium-enriched carbon filters target the most prevalent gases associated with city pollution.
As audio editor, I'm not qualified to comment on the Zone's air purification claims, but from a noise-cancelling headphone perspective they tick plenty of boxes, and the specs appear comparable to the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market.
Dyson Zone: Audio and battery life
Frequency range claims to cover 6Hz to 21kHz, which seems reasonable enough. Dyson says that the drivers deliver detail, and a unique EQ setting optimizes the frequency curve for clear, pure audio across the full frequency range. There are 8 microphones taking care of noise cancelling and are said to monitor surrounding sounds 384,000 times a second. Hear-through transparency and auto-detect modes are on board.
The MyDyson app can be used to adjust airflow speed and noise-cancellation mode as well as adapt the audio equalization to preference, choosing from three modes: Dyson EQ (enhanced), Bass Boost, and Neutral. You can also opt-in to loudness limit in line with aural health guidance.
Battery life is said to provide up to 50 hours in noise cancelling mode only, or 4 hours of combined purification and audio run-time. Recharging takes around 3 hours and is via USB-C.
Dyson Zone: Design
The audio credentials look all well and good, but from what images I've seen of the styling I'm not much of a fan the earcups — they almost look like they come from one of the company's vacuum cleaners and appear to be far too chunky to me. Nor do I like the color combos as they stand, which run to two colorway options available at retailers in satin silver/ultra blue, and ultra blue/Prussian blue. A Prussian blue/bright copper will be available only from Dyson directly.
One thing that really strikes me as odd about the design is the overall weight. Dyson claims the weight without the air purification visor is 595g (around 1.3 pounds), which is twice the weight of the top noise-cancelling headphones I've worn from popular brands such as Sony, Bose, and Sennheiser.
Add on the air purification visor and the weight jumps up to over 1.4 pounds, which by my calculations is heading towards the average weight of a motorcycle helmet. This seems pretty heavy for long city commutes, so I'll be interested to assess comfort levels when the time comes. Look out for my full review coming in 2023.
Dyson Zone: Outlook
For now I reserve any judgement or further analysis until I experience the Dyson Zone air-purifying headphones in the flesh and place them on my ears.
The air-purifying headphones will be available at dyson.com, Dyson Demo Stores and Dyson Mall Demo Zones.
Next: Here are 7 ways to get more out of your existing air purifier.