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Dyson Zone: Everything you need to know about Dyson's crazy air purifying, noise cancelling headphones

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Dyson steps into the world of headphones with an unusual product that combines audio with air purification

James Dyson is no stranger to engineering innovation. His vacuum, fan and hair care products have shaken up what previously were fairly staid industries, but even for a  company that’s used to breaking new ground, Dyson’s latest product is a step into the unknown.

The newly announced Dyson Zone is attempting to disrupt the headphone industry by adding personal air purifier tech to a pair of over-ear noise cancelling headphones. It’s available to buy in “autumn 2022” and although we don’t know the price just yet, given Dyson’s record in elevating the cost of the humble vacuum cleaner over the past decade or so, you can expect it to be pretty high. 

READ NEXT: These are the best noise cancelling heaphones you can buy

To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of the Dyson Zone, and I can’t imagine who might actually want to buy a pair when they do eventually hit the shelves later this year, but Dyson was good enough to give me the chance to go hands- ears- and lungs-on with it and there’s no doubt that it’s an interesting piece of technology.

As a pair of over-ear headphones, they look suitably futuristic. The ear cups are cone-shaped and are punctured with hundreds of small holes to let air through, the headband and ear pads are trimmed in purple and the specifications wouldn’t look out of place in a regular pair of noise cancellers from Bose or Sony.

Inside is a pair of 40mm drivers, angled slightly inwards to deliver audio to your ears. There are 11 microphones, tuned individually on a per-headset basis, and these measure external and internal noise while providing active noise cancellation (ANC).

Those keen to tweak the sound profile can do so via a choice of audio presets in the companion app and battery life stretches to longer than 40 hours with ANC and Bluetooth on. Fast charging, meanwhile, gets you from empty to 60% in around 20 minutes and the headphones support the SBC, AAC and LDAC audio codecs.

Dyson Zone: Clean air on tap

What’s interesting, however, is the air purification bit, which is delivered by a plastic visor that snaps into a pair of slots on the edge of each ear cup. It wraps around the front of your nose and mouth and acts a bit like the face guard on a full-face mountain bike helmet in that it doesn’t make contact with your face at all. 

This can be flipped down below your chin when you want to talk to someone, or detached entirely if you want to conserve battery life – important as with the air filter enabled the battery lasts a mere four and a half hours in “low flow” mode. 

Air is sucked through the ear cups using a tiny compressor at a rate of up to 2.5 litres per second, which is then passed through an electrostatic filter that sifts out allergens such as pollen as well as pollutants such as brake dust, NO2 and SO2. This process then shoots it through the hollow arms of the visor and eventually into the mouthpiece so you can breathe purified air.

This all might sound a bit outlandish and, potentially, a little uncomfortable. However, in practice, when I tried the headset on it felt quite pleasant and there’s some clever tech in place here to regulate airflow with accelerometers that detect when you’re moving or at rest and adjust the flow accordingly. 

I was less impressed by the sound quality of the headphones themselves, unfortunately; in a quick listening session, they sounded a little strained to my ears and lacking in richness and oomph. There is still a while to go before the headphones launch later this year, though, so there’s ample opportunity to improve the sound quality.

READ NEXT: These are the best noise cancelling heaphones you can buy

Dyson Zone: Price and release date

With a product this outlandish, there’s always the risk that it never makes it to market, but Dyson seems confident of an autumn 2022 debut for the Dyson Zone.

Whether or not it will prove successful, however, remains to be seen, especially since the price is likely to be pretty steep when it does eventually appear. Dyson is not typically in the business of producing budget products, after all.

Watch this space for the full review. Rest assured we’ll be badgering Dyson for a sample, just as soon as they become available. 

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