If you swear by air purifiers for indoor use, now you can wear one on your head when you’re out and about. Starting at $949.99, the futuristic Dyson Zone noise-cancelling headphones feature two tiny air purifiers that pull outside air through a filter and distribute it through a removable visor that sits in front of your nose and mouth. The Zone significantly cuts down on odors, while reducing (but not completely eliminating) your exposure to inhalable particles and dangerous gases. The Zone works as advertised and deserves accolades for innovation, but its usefulness as an air purifier is limited since it’s not a sealed mask. As for the audio, the Zone delivers rich lows and crisp highs in a balanced sound signature, but it’s hard to say the sonics alone could justify the price. This niche product may still appeal to those seeking cleaner air to breathe outside of their home. Dyson’s Editors’ Choice-winning Purifier Cool TP07 ($549.99) more effectively captures indoor air pollutants, while the Bose QuietComfort 45 ($330) offers best-in-class active noise cancellation for a third the price. Dyson’s latest engineering marvel is hard to recommend due to the cost, but if you’re so concerned about outdoor air quality that you’re willing to look like Bane(Opens in a new window), there’s no other device quite like the Zone.
An Air Purifier You Can Wear
The Zone marks Dyson’s first venture into both audio and wearable technology. The company first unveiled the unique air-purifying headphones in the spring of 2022, garnering widespread intrigue, and initially planned to launch the product that same year. Now, a year and several delays after their debut, the Zone is finally available for purchase.
The base model ($949.99) features an Ultra Blue/Prussian Blue colorway. In addition to the headphones and removable face visor for air purification, the base model includes one set of electrostatic carbon filters, a USB-C charging cable, a hard case, and a visor cleaning brush.
Unboxing the Zone Absolute
(Credit: Angela Moscaritolo )
For this review, Dyson sent the premium Zone Absolute ($999.99), which features a Prussian Blue/Bright Copper colorway. The Absolute model comes with a few extras in the box, including two sets of air filters, a premium hard case, an in-flight adapter kit, and a soft pouch. The adapter kit lets you use the headphones with in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems and charge them while flying. Using the headphones with the IFE adapter suspends Bluetooth communications, so you can only control them using the buttons on the headset.
The third Zone colorway, Satin Silver/Ultra Blue, is not available in the US.
(Credit: Angela Moscaritolo)
Housed within each of the Zone’s ear cups is a tiny compressor motor and a dual-layer air filter measuring 3.5 inches in diameter. The first layer, a negatively charged electrostatic filter, promises to capture 99% of inhalable particles down to 0.1 micron in size (PM0.1), particularly brake dust emitted from cars, as well as pollen and bacteria. The second layer, made of potassium-enriched carbon, absorbs vehicle fumes and other odors and dangerous gases, including nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and ozone (O3). A duct on each ear cup allows clean air to flow into the visor, which sits around the lower half of your face without touching it. Depending on use and air pollution levels, the Zone’s filters should last about 12 months before needing to be replaced.
The Zone offers three air purification levels: rest (level 1, recommended for sitting and standing), light (level 2, meant for when you’re moving around), and moderate (level 3, recommended for light exercise), as well as an Auto mode that automatically adjusts the airflow speed based on movement data captured by a built-in accelerometer.
(Credit: Angela Moscaritolo)
Inside the earcups, cloth grilles demarcate left and right channels—an L and R are woven into the pattern. It can be easy to miss at first, but it looks cool, as does the not-necessary-but-fun driver spec info that is proudly displayed where companies typically plaster a logo. As the circular graphic gracing the transparent window on each earcup will tell you, the 40mm neodymium drivers deliver a frequency range of 6Hz to 21kHz. The fit of the headphones alone is secure and comfortable. These earpads are exceptionally plush, and the overall weight without the air filter attached is relatively normal for a chunky circumaural (over ear) design.
The joystick-style controls for playback, volume, and track navigation located on the right earpiece are intuitive and easy to use. Too often, headphones are cluttered with various individual buttons or capacitive touch panels that don’t register touch as well as they should, so we welcome the simple, straightforward layout here.
The headphones can be set to Isolation (a.k.a. ANC, the default mode), Transparency mode, or Off. Transparency mode amplifies outside sounds so you can be more aware of your surroundings, and Off disables both modes (but is available only when the visor isn’t attached). A fourth mode, Conversation, automatically kicks in when the visor is attached but lowered—it pauses music and airflow, and amplifies surrounding noise. (Conversation isn’t available when the visor isn’t attached, but is essentially the same as Transparency mode, with the addition of pausing audio/airflow.)
The Zone features Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity (somewhat dated for 2023), and supports AAC, LHDC, and SBC Bluetooth codecs. This means iOS devices will get standard playback quality, while playback quality on Android devices will vary, depending on whether your phone supports LHDC. For the price, it would’ve been nice to see support for some version of AptX in addition to these codecs.
The Zone works with the MyDyson mobile app (available for Android and iOS).
The visor magnetically attaches to the headphones.
(Credit: Angela Moscaritolo)
The Zone has been the butt of many jokes due to its strange aesthetics, but I have to admit, the device truly is a feat of engineering. Dyson already makes some of the best and most popular air purifiers on the market, but all the components had to be miniaturized for the Zone. Not to mention the acoustic challenge of putting a spinning motor so close to a human ear, a problem Dyson largely overcomes with the headphone’s ANC.
The visor magnetically attaches to the headphones, allowing you to quickly snap it on and pull it off depending on whether or not you want to use the air purification feature. Use caution when carrying the headphones in your hand with the visor attached, as it can easily detach.
With purification enabled, you can feel the clean air gently blowing towards your nose and mouth. It feels refreshing, like a splash of cool water. Just keep in mind that it blows ambient-temperature air and doesn’t have a heating function, so if you wear the Zone outside with air purification enabled in the winter, it might make you colder.
(Credit: Angela Moscaritolo)
The headband and the visor are both adjustable to accommodate a range of head sizes. It takes some practice figuring out how to attach the visor to the headphones and fit it to size, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it.
To correctly position the visor so it’s in front of both your nose and mouth, you may need to move the headband slightly back, so it sits over the crown of your head. When I place the headband closer to my forehead, where I’d normally wear headphones for optimal comfort, the visor only covers my mouth, leaving my nose exposed.
(Credit: Ali Jaber )
My biggest gripe about the Zone is that it’s heavy. The face visor is lightweight at less than 0.2 pound, but the headphones on their own weigh 1.3 pounds. I’m starting to get used to the weight, but at first I could only wear the device for short periods of time.
Other than the weight, the Zone feels comfortable to wear thanks to its microfiber-lined headband and the ear cushions. I wouldn’t trust the Zone to remain secure on my head for an intense workout, but it’s fine for brisk walking.
Given its air purification abilities, the Zone may appeal to people with asthma and allergies; frequent users of public transportation; or those who live in big cities, wildfire-prone regions, or other areas with high air pollution levels. Further, since it partially conceals your face and cools it, the Zone could be helpful for anxiety sufferers.
The Zone fits a range of head sizes, but should be worn covering your nose and mouth.
(Credit: Angela Moscaritolo)
Runtime varies depending on the mode. Dyson says the Zone’s 2,600mAh battery will last up to 50 hours on a charge with audio only. With air purification enabled, battery life drops significantly: to 4 hours on the lowest airflow setting, 2.5 hours on medium, and 1.5 hours on high.
In testing, I used them on and off for 4.5 hours at various airflow levels before the battery got critically low. At that point, the app said they had insufficient battery to power the air purifier, and recommended I charge them. One small gripe: The app does not display the headphone’s exact battery percentage, only a basic battery icon that indicates approximately how much power is remaining.
COVID Caveats and Other Warnings
The Zone might seem like a reaction to COVID, but Dyson started working on the headset years before the pandemic, and cautions that it’s not intended to protect you from the virus. Since the Zone’s face visor doesn’t actually touch your skin, you can still potentially breathe in polluted cross wind while wearing it.
Following the controversy over Razer’s misleading Zephyr wearable air purifier marketing, Dyson has been careful to caution that the Zone isn’t a medical device, and instead calls it a “personal hygiene product.”
“Do not use the appliance to protect against toxic gases, chemical fumes etc., or to support breathing functions,” Dyson notes in a regulatory compliance and safety data booklet included in the box.
The headset has drawn criticism from some who worry it may actually spread COVID-19(Opens in a new window) especially if worn indoors, concerns Dyson has downplayed. The company says the Zone won’t project germs from the mouth outward since it directs the airflow toward a wearer’s face.
Wearing the Zone with an N95 mask underneath (not included)
(Credit: Angela Moscaritolo)
Dyson recommends leaving about a finger’s width distance between the visor and your face, which I find leaves enough room to wear an N95 or cloth face mask (not included) underneath, if you want a sealed solution for protection against COVID-19. I tested it with this purple N95(Opens in a new window), which perfectly matches the Prussian Blue/Bright Copper model. As a nice bonus, the Zone can help you stay cool and avoid overheating when you’re wearing an N95.
As another important safety note, Dyson warns that the Zone’s magnets may affect implanted medical devices such as pacemakers, programmable shunt valves, and defibrillators. “Do not place the appliance close to persons who use such medical devices,” Dyson advises. “Consult your doctor before using the appliance if you use any such medical device.”
Additionally, Dyson notes that credit cards and electronic storage media may also be affected by the Zone’s magnets, and should be kept away from the appliance.
The outside layer is a HEPA-like particle filter, and the inside layer is a carbon filter for odor and gases.
(Credit: Angela Moscaritolo)
Also keep in mind that the Zone’s tiny air filters fall short of the high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) standard, which requires the removal of at least 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 micron. Dyson says that shrinking a HEPA filter that small would impede airflow, whereas its electrostatic filter pulls air in, and allows it to easily flow through. It’s also worth noting that Dyson cautions against using the Zone without filters installed.
Wearing the Zone for a long period of time with purification enabled can cause your eyes, nose, and mouth to dry out. Dyson says to use it for no more than 8 hours a day and recommends taking frequent breaks and staying hydrated. After wearing it for about 30 minutes on max purification, I could start to feel my nose drying out.
I’ll add another warning: If you have long hair, be careful to move it out of the way when snapping the visor on. A couple times, I accidentally got my hair stuck between the magnets. When this happens, you can remove the visor to release your strands, but this could cause some hair breakage if you’re not careful.
Getting Into the Zone
The Zone has two buttons, one situated on the back side of each ear cup. The buttons are easily accessible with your thumbs when you’re wearing the Zone.
(Credit: Angela Moscaritolo)
The left button lets you cycle through airflow speeds (levels 1, 2, 3, Auto, and off). The right button is a joystick that lets you control the audio (move it up/down to adjust the volume, press left/right to skip tracks, hold right to fast forward, hold left to rewind, press it to play/pause, or hold it down to activate Siri or Google Assistant on your smartphone).
To switch between Isolation and Transparency modes, firmly double-tap the side of either air cup. To activate Conversation mode, lower the visor. For audio only, remove the visor.
Depending on your audio mode, music volume, and airflow mode, you may hear the motor running when purification is enabled. It sounds like a fan, and the higher the airflow level, the louder it is. The motor sound doesn’t really bother me because it’s white noise. You can only turn the ANC completely off if the airflow is disabled.
Inside each ear cup is a tiny motor that powers the air purifiers.
(Credit: Angela Moscaritolo)
On the lowest airflow setting, without music playing through the headphones, I can clearly hear the motor running in Transparency mode while wearing the Zone. Isolation mode significantly reduces motor noise, but I can still softly hear it when music is not playing through the headphones. With music playing through the Zone, I can barely hear the motor noise, especially in Isolation mode.
To accept an incoming call on the Zone, press the audio joystick. To end a call, hold down the audio joystick.
The Zone offers a battery-conserving auto on/off function that automatically puts the headphones into a low-power idle state when you remove them from your head. Putting them back on takes them out of idle mode. To fully power the headphones off, hold the airflow button for 5 seconds until the light flashes twice. To turn them back on, hold the airflow button for 2 seconds.
For sanitary purposes, the Zone’s visor is completely washable with cool water and soap. When it gets dirty, you can take the visor apart (it breaks down into four pieces), and wash it with the included cleaning brush.
MyDyson Mobile App Experience
From the MyDyson companion app (available for Android and iOS), you can control the Zone’s air purification and audio modes, monitor real-time air and noise pollution levels, and check their remaining battery level and filter life. The app also offers detailed written and illustrated instructions and video demonstrations for setting up and operating the device, changing the filters, washing the visor, and more.
In testing, I had no problem connecting the Zone with the MyDyson iOS app, and they worked together flawlessly. One small smart feature I like: If the visor is partially but improperly attached to the headphones, the app will display a warning message alongside a red triangle with an exclamation mark inside.
To connect the Zone with the MyDyson app, press the airflow button on the left ear cup for two seconds to enable Bluetooth, then open the app, and tap Add Machine. After it finds your unit, the app will instruct you to press and hold the airflow button on the headphones to activate the pairing process. To connect the audio, it will instruct you to open the Bluetooth settings on your phone and select Dyson Zone from the list.
At this point, the app will walk you through the rest of the setup process, which involves installing an included air filter into each ear cup, adjusting them for your head, and attaching the visor. I had no problem removing the outside cover of each ear cup, installing the filters, then screwing the covers back on.
(Credit: Angela Moscaritolo)
Atop the app, it shows the information about the current average outdoor air quality in your region, which requires access to your location. This includes the outdoor temperature, relative humidity, pollen levels, PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns, including smoke, industrial emissions, and burning candles), PM10 (particulate matter smaller than 10 microns, including pollen and other allergens), and NO2 (nitrogen dioxide and oxidizing gases, including cooking gas and vehicle emissions).
While you’re wearing the headset, the app also displays live graphs of the surrounding air quality and sound levels over the last 30 seconds, measured by the Zone’s onboard NO2 sensor and microphones, respectively.
Dyson’s live air quality graph is color-coded, so you can quickly gauge real-time NO2 levels(Opens in a new window). Green means the air quality is good (NO2 readings between 0 and 3.9), yellow indicates a fair rating (4.0 to 6.9), orange means poor (7.0 to 8.9), and red means very poor (9.0+). The app clearly explains the Zone’s live air quality and sound measurements, so you can easily interpret the data.
The app’s Sound Control section comprises ANC and EQ screens. The features are straightforward and well-designed, but somewhat limited in scope, especially at this high price. In the noise cancellation section, you can switch among Isolation, Transparency, and Off (which is only an option when AirFlow is disabled). Switching modes is accompanied by overly loud audio prompts—we didn’t see a way to disable these in the settings menu. We’ll discuss our thoughts on the various Sound Control modes in the ANC section of this review.
The EQ section displays three curves you can choose from: Enhanced (some bass boosting and plenty of higher frequency sculpting—this is the default mode), Bass Boost (adds some extra thump to the Enhanced curve), and Neutral (a near-flat EQ curve). It’s nice to see these graphed out, but there’s no ability to adjust them, and you can’t create any EQ presets of your own. At this point, customizable EQ in apps may not be a given (especially, oddly enough, with more expensive headphones), but it’s quite common, and adds some real control to the user experience that’s missing here.
Also in the app, there’s a read-out of the measured audio levels both in-ear and around you, in decibels. The graph will show you your daily levels, show a streaming graph of the last 30 seconds, and let you know if things veer into Loud territory (85dB or higher). I tested this live update by shouting a couple of times, and the curve updated with a spike corresponding to my vocal performance. Interestingly, this can’t be disabled. Even with ANC and Transparency modes off, those mics are at work, and for some users, knowing that your audio is constantly being monitored by the app may not be an ideal feature. In the settings menu, you can choose to enable or disable auto-pause when the visor is lowered, as well as enable or disable the noise limiter, which limits audio to 85dB (by default it’s off), but there’s nowhere to disable the mics.
Below the live graphs is a History section where you can track your purification and headphone usage, as well as recorded air quality and sound measurements for each day over the last week.
Breathing Easier With the Zone
From an air purification standpoint, the Zone is a first-of-its-kind device, so there’s no apples-to-apples competitor with which to compare it. We here at PCMag review connected air purifiers and noise-cancelling headphones, but this is the first time we have seen a mashup of the two.
Dyson wants you to wear this thing outside in public, so with some hesitation, that’s what I did. I had to work up the nerve to be seen wearing it in the wild, and brought a friend for moral support.
The Zone significantly reduced odors at the fish market.
(Credit: Ali Jaber )
For my first test of its purification abilities, I took the Zone to a smelly fish market to see if it could cut down on the odor, and it did, significantly. With the Zone’s air purification set to the highest level, I could barely smell the pungent aroma around me. As soon as I lowered the visor, which pauses the purified airflow, the fishy smell hit my nose like a ton of bricks. I can confidently say that wearing the Zone makes meandering through a fish market a much more pleasant olfactory experience. And to my surprise, nobody at the fish market seemed to bat an eye at the sight of me wearing the helmet-like Zone.
Auto purification mode works as advertised. When I’m sitting down, it sets the airflow to level 1. When I get up and start walking, it increases the airflow to level 2 within seconds. When I start jogging, it quickly raises the airflow to level 3. Auto mode automatically increases the airflow if you jump up and down, or climb a flight of stairs.
Most traditional air purifiers also offer an Auto mode, but adjust the airflow based on real-time pollution levels detected by an onboard particulate matter (PM) sensor. Given that the Zone is a wearable device, I get why its Auto mode is based on your activity level, but I think it’s a shame that it doesn’t automatically increase the purified airflow when its NO2 sensor detects a high level of dangerous gases.
Next, I tested the Zone’s PM filtration performance in a closed 50-square-foot bathroom using Palo Santo incense smoke to pollute the air. During this test, I used the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor to track real-time PM levels.
I lit the Palo Santo, waited for the monitor to report a high level of PM in the air, extinguished the incense, and turned the Zone’s purification level to max. PM levels slowly and steadily declined as I sat in the small bathroom wearing the Zone running on full blast. After about 45 minutes, the air quality indicator light on the Amazon monitoring device changed back to green, indicating that the Zone had successfully cleared the PM back to a low level.
For the sake of comparison, I then repeated this test under the same conditions using a traditional indoor air purifier, the out-of-stock Dyson Pure Cool Cryptomic TP06 purifying fan, which took just 7.5 minutes to purify the PM from the incense smoke (with an aging filter, no less). Considering that it has a much larger filter, 10 airflow speeds, and a 360-degree oscillating fan, it’s no surprise that the TP06 absolutely crushed the Zone on this test. (Of course, the Zone is not meant to clear the air of an entire room, just the area around your head. This test simply demonstrates that the filters do in fact have some air-scrubbing power.)
The app clearly explains the Zone’s air quality measurements, so you can easily interpret the data.
Finally, to test its live air quality readings, I took the Zone to a few different places where I thought I might encounter high NO2 levels here in the Tampa Bay area, including a busy gas station and a drive-through oil change shop. At the gas station, the highest NO2 reading I saw from the Zone was 0.3, which classifies as a good rating on Dyson’s air quality scale.
At the oil change station, and sat in my car with the windows down and the AC off, wearing the Zone, while the automotive tech serviced my vehicle. As an aside, the automotive tech noticed my strange headset, but didn’t question me about it. While there, I closely monitored the live air quality graph in the MyDyson app, and NO2 levels only crept up to 0.5 in the open garage, another good air quality rating.
Finally, I wore the Zone for a walk along a heavily trafficked beach thoroughfare on a sunny spring day, garnering a few confused looks from passersby in cars. During that walk, nearby NO2 levels reached 0.8, according to the Zone. This is the worst air quality value I’ve seen from the Zone yet, and it’s still a good rating.
Besides the Zone, the TP06 is the only other air purifier I have on hand that measures real-time NO2 levels. Both devices generally report similar indoor N02 measurements in my testing, but the Zone offers a more limited picture of the overall air quality than most other connected air purifiers since it lacks a PM sensor. While the air was filled with Palo Santo smoke, for instance, the Zone continued to show a good air quality reading while the TP06 and the Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor detected high levels of air pollution.
A Dyson spokesperson tells me that the company decided against outfitting the Zone with a PM sensor to save space, as this component would have made the entire system larger. To me, this is a big omission, especially since PM2.5 is the primary air pollutant(Opens in a new window) in the Tampa Bay Area, where I live. The good news is that even if the Zone does not report PM2.5 levels, its tiny HEPA-like air filters do capture this type of pollution.
ANC & Voice Mics
Contributing Editor Tim Gideon tested the Zone’s ANC and audio performance, and reports that the eight-ANC-mic array delivers strong (but not elite-level) noise cancellation.
Since the Zone can be used as standalone headphones sans visor, we tested the ANC without it first, and then with it attached and airflow running. The difference in performance was less about the quality of the ANC itself and more about the loudness of the airflow. Even at the lowest airflow setting, the Zone makes some obvious whirring noise—not unpleasant, but noise nonetheless. There’s only so much the ANC can do with the airflow running. It dials back the whir to a degree, but you will still hear it. This is true even in Rest mode, which produces less of a higher-frequency whir and more of a gentle, lower-frequency drone. Thus, out of the gate, with the visor attached, the Zone is at a disadvantage and can’t be compared fairly to other ANC headphones. The competition doesn’t produce whir-like noise because of a second (or primary) feature, therefore competing models have one less obstacle to overcome. That said, the airflow, particularly at its highest setting, does seem to drown out a lot of the surrounding noise, but the ANC has a hard time dialing back the whir itself.
Remove the visor, and we can have a more meaningful head-to-head ANC evaluation. Powerful low-frequency rumble (like you’d hear on an airplane) is dialed back significantly. A recording of a busy restaurant with dishes clanging and boisterous conversation was lowered notably, as well, but the mids and highs made it past the ANC with more ease than the lower frequencies in our tests did. (That is common. Most ANC models are relatively good at dialing back deep rumble; it’s the less consistent, more complex mids and highs that can cause problems.) We performed these same tests with the visor on, and the results were predictable, with the whir becoming the loudest noise.
The Zone, with or without the visor, tends to add in a slight high-frequency hiss when the ANC is enabled. It’s not unpleasant, but also somewhat ironic given the ANC’s presence is ostensibly due to noise the airflow creates. ANC or Transparency modes are the only two options when airflow is running, so it’s essentially part of the airflow feature. Also, ANC seemed to have no impact on audio playback, which is the way it should be, but never a given.
Compared to the top-performing Bose QuietComfort 45, the Zone is not quite as effective. The QC45 dials back deep low-frequency rumble a little more effectively and is far better at tamping down more complex noises, like a noisy restaurant. In a head-to-head test, the Zone did lower the overall volume of the restaurant recording played at high volumes, but it let through a wide swath of mids and highs that the QC45 dialed back dramatically.
The Zone’s ANC dials back surrounding noise quite well and its own noise to a degree, but you can get better ANC for far less.
The mic array for calls and commands delivers solid voice intelligibility. Using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone SE (2022), we could understand every word we recorded clearly. The signal is strong and seems EQ-ed slightly, with outside noise dialed back by the mics.
The visor’s airflow can be heard over music if the audio volume is moderate and the airflow is on a higher setting. At a moderate volume, the audio did seem to mostly overcome the lowest airflow mode, Rest, but Light and Moderate were notably audible. Other than competing with the music a bit, the airflow being on doesn’t seem to change the sound signature in any obvious way.
With the visor removed, and ANC and Transparency modes off, we tested the audio in the default Enhanced EQ mode, as well as Bass Boost and Neutral. The results described below are in Enhanced, unless otherwise indicated.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the Zone delivers powerful low-frequency response. The lows are well-matched by some sculpted highs, and the audio doesn’t distort at top (and unwise) volume levels.
The Zone has no issues reproducing the sub-bass beginning at the 34-second mark of Kendrick Lamar’s “Loyalty.” In both Enhanced and Bass Boost, the deep lows came through with a solid sense of rumble and definition, while the various vocal performances on the track are delivered with strong clarity.
Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with far less deep bass in the mix, gives us a better sense of the Zone’s general sound signature. The drums on this track can sound overly thunderous on bass-forward over-ears, but here the drums sound relatively natural—full and rounded, but not overbearing. Even in Bass Boost mode, the drums never sound too over-the-top. Callahan’s baritone vocals receive an ideal blend of low-mid richness and high-mid crispness, and the acoustic strums are bright and detailed. This is a sculpted sound signature regardless of the mode you’re in, but the Neutral setting does come far closer to an accurate listen than the other two modes. Regardless, all three modes are balanced. It’s not hard to imagine plenty of listeners enjoying Bass Boost the most, regardless of whether it’s the most accurate.
On orchestral tracks, like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, the lower-register instrumentation is pushed forward in the mix ever so slightly, while the primary focus remains on the higher-register brass, strings, and vocals.
Other than the lack of customizable EQ presets, we have no qualms with the audio performance here; the drivers deliver a strong listening experience. Do they sound like $950 headphones? No. Do they sound like $400 headphones with a $550 air filtration system built in? That’s less of a stretch, but ultimately, this may be a jack-of-all-trades product that does three things well (audio, ANC, air filtration), but isn’t the best at any of these features alone.
A First of Its Kind
The Zone is an exciting product not just because it’s Dyson’s first release in both the audio and wearable segments, but because it’s different from anything else on the market. The air-purifying headphones look a bit outlandish, but outdoor air pollution is a serious concern(Opens in a new window), and the Zone can reduce your exposure to harmful inhalable particles, gases, and foul odors while keeping your face cool.
Priced from $949.99, though, it’s wildly expensive, and it won’t completely eliminate pollutants in the air you breathe, or protect against COVID-19, making this headset more of a novelty than a must-have air purifier. The Zone works flawlessly with its companion app, but you should take its live air quality readings with a grain of salt since the headset only measures NO2 gas levels, not PM2.5. And while the drivers deliver deep bass, detailed highs, and a solid balance—and the ANC is quite good, too—neither is an elite-level feature despite the elite price.
The Dyson Zone is a compelling option if you want some control over the air you breathe, so long as you have the confidence to wear it in public. Most people, however, are better off spending their money on an indoor air purifier like the Editors’ Choice-winning Dyson Purifier Cool TP07 and a pair of traditional noise-cancelling headphones like the Bose QuietComfort 45.
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