Dyson’s air-purifying ANC headphones are really coming to market next year

Move over cyberpunk, the age of Dysonpunk is here

Originally announced earlier this year, appliances giant Dyson has officially unveiled the full specifications for the upcoming Dyson Zone – the company’s first wearable purifier and advanced noise-cancelling headphones.

Reportedly the product of five years of research, the Dyson Zone combines two unique product offerings for the company as both its first foray into audio and wearable tech. And the specs certainly appear to suggest the company will kick things off with a bang.

According to Dyson, the Zone headphones will feature Advanced Noise Cancelling, boosted by the presence of 11 in-built microphones, 8 of which will be monitoring exterior noise at reported rates up to 384,000 times a second. There’s also the promise of full-spectrum audio capable of reproducing frequencies from 6Hz-21kHz and dual microphones enabling clear voice capture for calls or recordings. The company also promises that there’ll be minimal harmonic distortions across the full frequency range thanks to signal processing taking place 48,000 times a second. Moreover, the cans will offer up to 50 hours battery life, depending on usage. 

While these impressive specs alone are plenty to make the Dyson Zone headphones stand out, the real eye-catcher comes via the Zone’s wearable air purifier tagging along for the ride.

In case you don’t remember it from our coverage earlier in the year, the Zone’s purifier is a detachable visor supposedly capable of removing pollutants as small as 0.1 microns, bringing Dyson’s decades-long expertise in airflow to a wearable for the first time. With an estimated 99% of the world’s population living in cities with air pollution levels higher than those judged to be safe according to the World Health Organisation, portable purifying solutions loom as potential game-changers – if consumers can look past the Zone’s bizarre appearance.

(Image credit: Future)

Looking very much like an item ripped straight out of a sci-fi film, launch pricing for the Dyson Zone is not yet known, but the headphones are expected to be available for purchase in various regions from early 2023 – beginning with China in January, before launching in the US, UK, Hong Kong and Singapore from March. Availability for Australia is as yet unconfirmed.

Importantly, Dyson has not suggested that the Zone will be an appropriate defence against the potential spread of Covid-19, although it remains to be seen if future testing of the wearable’s purifying capabilities could bear fruit in this area.

Analysis: Dyson’s wearable purifier could be good, if you don’t mind its look

There’s little denying the novel value of the Dyson Zone, with the appearance of the headset being particularly distinctive. How many potential buyers it will have is anyone’s guess, but it is eye-catching and a conversation starter to say the least. In fact, we weren’t even sure Dyson would go ahead with full-on production and release the Zone to market, but we’ve been put in our place.

When we were first introduced to the Dyson Zone at an event in the UK, it seemed as though the wearable was being pitched more as a portable purifier rather than headphones. However, it seems the company is just as keen on making sure it sounds good too – we’re yet to test its audio prowess, but our curiosity sure has been piqued.

And while wearable air purifiers themselves aren’t new, the combo of audio and a purifier is unique and we’re not sure anyone else would want to keep with the engineering resources Dyson has its disposal. Given the growing frequency of major weather events like wildfires and storms kicking up plenty of soot or dust, there’s certainly the potential that this tech could fulfil a need on the consumer market.

One glance at the impressive performance specs of the Dyson Zone, however, gives an impression of what the headset could end up costing – and odds are it won’t come cheap. Are we really ready for a niche-looking set of wireless headphones with a premium price tag attached? Dyson is hoping so, and at the very least it has backed up the Zone with the performance specs to make it an interesting consideration.

By James Cutler

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