March 2, 2024
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The Dyson Zone is the wackiest yet cleanest pair of headphones I’ve ever owned

The Dyson Zone is the wackiest yet cleanest pair of headphones I’ve ever owned

After waiting nearly a year for the Dyson Zone to come to Canada, I’ve become an early adopter of Dyson’s first audio solution.

The reveal of the Dyzon Zone noise-cancelling headphones felt out of left field. The company is so imbued in high-end home appliances, yet this is a brand-new product that immediately caught my eye. The Dyson Zone are among the most unique wireless headphones I’ve seen in my life.

Sure, they have the same basic design and effect as other premium headsets, but Dyson’s unique engineering spin made me track their launch and regional rollout. Sticking to Dyson’s well-trotted expertise in air purification, the Dyson Zone has built-in purifiers. With an attachable facemask, the device is designed to provide clean sound and clean air when out of the home.

As you can imagine, it’s a statement piece that garners a lot of attention from anyone who sees it.

The Dyson Zone is the wackiest yet cleanest pair of headphones I’ve ever owned

Living in the heart of Toronto, Ontario for the past 10 years, I’m well-adjusted to the sounds and poor air quality of the city. I’m aware of both nearly daily when I’m walking or taking transit. So, of course, I was eager to don the Dyson Zone and hit the big city streets.

This is my journey using the Dyson Zone for a week, catching stares and breathing fresh air.

The Dyzon Zone is a new product category for the company. While supporting a range of lifestyle products ranging from air purifiers to vacuums, lights and hair care, I was surprised when the Dyson Zone was announced. It’s a fully wireless Bluetooth 5.0 audio solution, providing Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and integrated access to Siri and Google Assistant with onboard controls. Only a company like Dyson could pivot into a new sector, covering key bases like usability and comfort.

“The Dyson Zone are one of the most comfortable sets of headphones I’ve used as someone who wears glasses.”

Headphone makers often offer a minimalist design that becomes so obtuse that you’re unsure which buttons control what. I’ve been burned by some major audio brands in the past. Dyson hides its Transparency and ANC activation via tapping either ear cup. It also comes paired with an immensely satisfying hum when swapping modes. The company also offers a fairly straightforward method of controlling volume and playback, all thanks to a small four-point joystick on the right earcup. Skipping tracks, play and pause functions, and volume control are all easily accessible. Pressing and holding it down activates the voice assistant, too.

The Dyson Zone is the wackiest yet cleanest pair of headphones I’ve ever ownedI’m very picky when it comes to over-the-ear headphones. I usually can’t stand to wear them longer than 45 minutes at a time. As someone who wears glasses, the Dyson Zone are one of the most comfortable sets of headphones I’ve used. The band features three ‘Prussian Blue’ cushions, separated by extensions. The micro-suede lined ear cups are also heavily padded yet firm enough to offer a tight seal to keep audio in and noise pollution out. At no point have I felt the discomfort of the headset pushing into the stems of my glasses.

The noise cancellation was apparent as soon as I donned the Dyson Zone. Dyson claims the headphone’s 11 onboard mics help reduce sound by up to 40 decibels. It’s eerily quiet when wearing them without any audio playing. Calls come in crystal clear, so much so that I can’t even hear the sounds of traffic out my window or the dishwasher running while roaming my apartment. The ANC setting is fairly comparable to the Beats Studio Pro, which I’ve used extensively in the past. However, I’d give the Dyson Zone a slight upper edge simply because the snug padding adds an extra layer of noise cancellation. If we’re going further to compare the headset’s ANC to wireless buds, the LG Tone Free or Galaxy Buds Pro do pale in comparison. While I’m not an audiophile, I appreciate headphones that allow users to tweak equalizer settings. For instance, there’s a bass-boosting mode available in the MyDyson app that adds an extra layer of deep bass to tracks. There’s also an enhanced mode and neutral mode. The neutral, more balanced mode is preferred if I’m listening to a podcast or simply watching Netflix on my phone.

“Yes, I’m happy to confirm that you do indeed feel like Bane while wearing the visor.”

While audio is one of the cornerstones of the Dyson Zone, the device’s air purification system begs to be talked about. Hidden within each ear cup are electrostatic filters that help draw in air to filter out pollutants and allergens. To get set up, you twist off the ear cup covers and toss in the replaceable filters. When the visor is magnetically attached, the air is fed through the filters and down toward the mouth and nose. Yes, I’m happy to confirm that you do indeed feel like Bane while wearing the visor. The visor is easy to attach and take off if you don’t need it. There is also a hinge so you can drop it toward the chin while speaking with someone. When attached, it sits an inch or so away from your mouth and nose.

As soon as the cool, clean air hit me, I could immediately tell the difference compared to Toronto’s typically dirty air. The Dyson Zone can capture 99 percent of particles as small as one micron. The built-in air flow compression units spin at roughly 10,000 rpm to deliver clean air. It’s a little disorienting when first using the visor component. The air is so clean that it almost feels artificial in some way.

The Dyson Zone is the wackiest yet cleanest pair of headphones I’ve ever ownedThe downside to using the visor is that it kills the battery in just a few hours. Dyson claims the Zone headset provides up to 50 hours of audio-only playtime. I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the battery life. Recently, I bullishly left the charger at home during an overnight trip to New York City. To my surprise, the battery held strong during hour-long airport waits, flights, Uber rides, and a walk through lower Manhattan for Starbucks. By the time I got home, I still had 20 percent of the battery. None of that would be possible if I used the visor for an extended period. The air purification systems take the 50-hour battery life down to a staggering four. The air purification, while fully functional, is a secondary system. It’s meant to complement a 20-minute-long walk to the grocery store rather than provide clean air for a day-long outing.

To amplify the power of the Dyson Zone, the MyDyson app offers real-time updates within the app. Here, I can gauge air quality levels while walking the streets of Toronto and see the decibels of noise pollution. While walking around, the Dyson app displays a live graph showing the levels of Nitrogen dioxide. The app can also highlight the levels of PM2.5 and PM10, which are inhalable particle matter. There’s a nerdy part of me that likes to check out the levels and see them scale up as I walk down the busy streets of the Entertainment District into the subway. Or compare how the south end of the city compares to northern locations.

The Dyson Zone is the wackiest yet cleanest pair of headphones I’ve ever ownedThe app also has sound levels. Not only is it displaying data from what I’m listening to, but the sounds around me. It’s said that noise above 70 dB can cause hearing damage over time. Even without music playing, the app regularly registered 60-70 dB sounds frequently. That’s, of course, not taking sirens and construction into consideration. The app can provide a nice reminder to be cognisant of listening levels and noise pollution around the wearer. The battery charge state is displayed on the app as well.

The Dyson Zone will certainly draw eyes when wearing it out in public. There’s no shortage of stares I caught riding the TTC or sitting at my gate in Toronto Pearson. The headphone cans are larger than AirPods Max or Beats. While wearing the visor, it’s difficult not to feel like a character in Cyberpunk 2077. Of course, many of us have spent the last few years wearing masks, making the Dyson Zone slightly less unusual.

“If you’re self-conscious about the awkward stares or inevitable “What are you wearing?” the Dyson Zone may not be for you when out in public.”

Unfortunately, the device isn’t designed to filter COVID-19 or other airborne diseases. If you’re self-conscious about the awkward stares or inevitable “What are you wearing?” the Dyson Zone may not be for you when out in public. I’ve always been a fan of experimental tech, and I enjoyed explaining the headset to the two people who’ve approached me so far (to be fair, the headset is also low on the scale of absurd things seen by Torontonians).

The Dyson Zone costs $999.99 in Canada. It’s a steep price, but there’s a high level of engineering prowess packed within the headset. Even when focused on the audio-only experience, this is standout for me. Purely from a comfort and user-friendly experience, I’m constantly looking at the next chance I can wear the Dyson Zone. It hits the mark for a Dyson product by incorporating the visor and air purification. Though, it’s certainly not a killer feature for many users. It’s hard to ignore the proven functions of those who do invest.

Just be prepared for the social aspects when donning the Dyson Zone in public.

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