I tried Dyson's air-cleaning Zone headphones – will we all be wearing them in the future?


Dyson is heading in a very different direction for its next big release and it’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. The new Dyson Zone includes headphones that boom music into your ears as well as a detachable visor that blasts clean and purified air into your nose and mouth. With the latest figures from the World Health Organisation suggesting that billions of us are constantly breathing in highly polluted air, the famous vacuum firm believes this technology is the future. The question is: are the Dyson engineers right, or is this a gimmick to grab headlines?

During a recent trip to Dyson’s HQ in Malmesbury, I was lucky enough to be one of the first people outside of Dyson to try on these air-cleaning cans. And they are certainly unique, with the Zone featuring a futuristic face shield that covers your nose and mouth. Although they’ve taken six years to create, the concept is actually pretty simple with fans and filters in each earcup getting rid of dust, pollen and bacteria. This freshly cleaned air is then gently blown towards your nose and mouth.

This means when you head to a busy city, such as London, you’re not sucking in all of the nasty particles that surround you.

Once on your head, they are actually pretty comfy with soft cups surrounding the ears and the headband taking inspiration from a horse’s saddle to help distribute the weight. Dyson has also made sure the mouth guard sits away from the face so it won’t irritate your skin and it can be easily moved down or taken off when you want to hold a conversation.

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The Zone headphones feel very comfortable, despite the amount of technology packed into them, and we’re pretty confident they could be worn for long periods without any issues. The fresh air that blows across your face is so subtle you hardly notice it. When they launch there will be four air purification modes including low, medium and high plus an Auto setting, which monitors how bad the pollution is and tunes things accordingly. 

Of course, it’s not just about breathing more easily as the Zone also offers entertainment via speakers in each cup. Although I wasn’t fully able to test the audio quality, the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) that’s included definitely blocked out the sound of the room I happened to test them in.

The Zone headphones are still in the final stages of development, so there are lots we don’t yet know including how expensive they will be or how long the in-built battery will last. There’s also no word on whether they will kill bugs such as Covid with Dyson still keeping that data under wraps for now.

Some features we did discover at Dyson’s HQ include an app that tells you when the filter needs changing and the fact that they will fast charge when the battery runs flat.

Dyson also says they have tried to make sure the Zone headphone are robust enough to last life on the road and shouldn’t break if dropped on the floor.

It’s certainly reassuring to know the air you’re breathing is as clean as a day in the countryside, but whether that’s enough to get over the social stigma of wearing the Dyson Zone in public remains to be seen. For my money, I’m not sure how happy I would be commuting to work with a whirring pair of headphones, busy filtering the stale around me.

There’s no doubt that Dyson Zone is unique, and I’m sure I’d get plenty of funny looks when stepping onto the Jubilee Line each day. Hopefully, we’ll find out full details about a launch and price in the coming months but, in the meantime, add your comments below if you’d be happy wearing Dyson’s new Zone.



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