Update January 11, 2022: There is some controversy surrounding Razer’s marketing of the Zephyr with an N95-rated filter, which could lead customers to believe that the mask itself is tested to N95-rated standards. It is not.
Razer’s official response read: “Razer would like to clarify that while the filters used in the Razer Zephyr wearable air purifiers have been tested for 95% Particulate Filtration Efficiency (PFE) and 99% Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE), According to the website and product documentation, the wearable device itself is not a medical device, nor is it N95 mask certified.
“To avoid any confusion, we are removing all references to ‘N95 Class Filters’ from our marketing materials. We will also be reaching out to existing customers directly for clarification. Customers have any further questions about the Razer Zephyr Wearable Air Purifiers should contact our customer service by https://support.razer.com/. “
Original Story October 21, 2021: My face was stuck with a Razer Zephyr mask, and I was tearing up Bane’s quote to the clerk and my son’s nursery staff all week. And, to be honest, I don’t believe I can actually make it or that the idyllic Old World England Bath is ready.
With my hood on, to keep out the rain, I’m sure people are crossing the road to get away from me. Even on a dry, bright day, I can find quite a few doubles in the aisles of my local supermarket when shopping for diapers for an upcoming baby.
From PC gaming high chairs to triple-screen laptops to toasters, Razer has its fair share of weird and sometimes brilliant concept projects. seriously. Bread wins. But the pandemic has created another problem for CES 2021. Project Hazel, a new type of protective face shield, is now available worldwide.
The original Hazel concept and Razer Zephyr It’s morphed into a striking resemblance, missing the one piece that would make it the ultimate Halloween bane costume accessory: a voice amplifier. Beyond that, we’re still working on a partially transparent mask with dual intake fans, with N95-rated filters, and of course RGB lighting. Yes, you can connect it to your phone via bluetooth and modify it with Chroma RGB lighting.
Razer now lists Zephyr in its store, which launched today at RazerCon. You can order one now for $99.99, or $149.99 if you want a starter pack with a replacement N95 filter.
Although the Zephyr was born in the midst of the pandemic, it was advertised as a wearable air purifier, especially no Medical-grade masks designed to be worn in a hospital setting. So it’s more about air pollution than protection against Covid-19. That said, the N95-rated filtration system is designed to filter at least 99% of airborne particles, and while it’s not classified as PPE or specifically tested for the Covid-19 virus, Razer says it “provides 99% of the airborne particles due to its BFE rating with the same functionality and adequate protection.”
And it will also comply with the wearing of masks in the US and the UK.
But what about that vaunted voice amplifier? One of the problems with wearing a mask is that it makes the wearer somewhat inaudible, and Project Hazel promises sound amplification to fix that. I was hoping it would also offer some interesting voice modulation capabilities via the phone app, but sadly neither of those are there.
Razer says it ditched the voice amplifier to make the final Zephyr design lighter and more durable.
For me, the most important part of the Hazel prototype was preserved: the transparent front. I’m an elderly guy who’s spent so much of his youth burying his head in a field in speaker towers and subwoofers at 4am, so my hearing isn’t what it used to be. For me, masks make a lot of human interactions more difficult. Honestly, I didn’t realize how much I rely on lip reading until now.
Internal lighting and clear plastic front allow you to see the wearer’s mouth moving even in the dark. It also means you can see people smiling. I can’t count the number of times I’ve worn a mask and smiled warmly at someone in a thank-you way that rendered the gesture pointless. Zephyr’s biggest win for me is visibility.
The biggest problem is that it’s large and far from your face, which means your peripheral vision is hampered, and when you’re running them at full 6,200 RPM mode, the two little fans can get pretty loud. It’s also a little weird to hear the pitch change of the fans as you inhale and exhale. Thankfully, there’s a quieter 4,200 RPM mode and the ability to turn them off completely.
You can also do the same with the RGB lighting around them, but if you’re going to buy a $100 Razer face shield, you’re honestly turning on those LEDs.
Another problem with the Zephyr vs. washable cloth face masks, when I’m not wearing it, I can keep it in the back pocket… well, assuming I don’t have a pocket big enough in my jeans to tuck in.
This means that if I’m traveling with the Zephyr, I have to spend more time thinking about making sure I’m carrying my mask, let alone making sure it’s charged. I mean, I wouldn’t be wearing an RGB-enabled mask without turning the damn thing on, bright sunlight or not.
There’s also the fact that if I have to spend more time thinking about wearing my mask, I’ll inevitably spend more time thinking about what I look like in a mask.
I would say this for the Zephyr, it is very comfortable to wear. As a glasses wearer, it really solved my problem of getting them to smoke when I put on standard cloth masks. The Zephyr is lightweight and easy to put on and take off for a secure fit on your face. Even a man with a beard.
But as much as I enjoy the bizarre chant “Nobody cares who I am until I put on a mask” rocking a neat sheepskin coat while scaring the shopkeeper, it seems to be actively scaring people The truth may be a little off-putting. That said, my two year old loves it and keeps asking me to put it back on.
Although this is offensive in itself, the more I think about it.