In case you were disappointed that Razer axed the voice amp feature from its Zephyr mask that promised to amplify your voice through speakers, don’t worry. Razer plans to upsell you on its Zephyr Pro mask that has been announced at CES 2022. While it looks virtually identical to the Zephyr, it has two speaker grilles that flank its bottom, replaceable filter. Also, one of the Chroma RGB-lined intakes features a new button that can turn voice amplification on or off. Razer says that the feature can pipe out your voice at 60 decibels at a range of one meter.
The Zephyr Pro will cost $149.99 when it releases sometime in 2022, compared to the $99.99 starting price for the standard Zephyr mask. You’ll someday be able to purchase a starter pack that includes the Zephyr Pro and 99 days’ worth of N95-grade filters for $199.99.
The voice amp was a feature that Razer initially intended to include in the Zephyr mask at CES 2021 when it was referred to as Project Hazel. Once it jumped from concept to an actual product, though, Razer removed it due to weight and battery concerns. Yet, Razer says that the Zephyr Pro may have a similar weight and battery life to the regular Zephyr.
Razer told The Verge that with its pre-production units of the Zephyr Pro, it’s targeting the same 206.1-gram weight of the Zephyr. To achieve that, Will Powers, Razer’s US PR lead says “the reduction in mass from the laser milling of the speaker grills should almost cancel out the addition of weight from voice amplification microphone and speakers.” As for battery life, Razer says that it’s aiming for the same five- to six-hour battery life target of the original with fans on, but only if you get in the habit of turning on the voice amp feature when you’re conversing, then shut it off when you’re done talking.
It might seem like Razer deserves some credit for achieving what it didn’t think was possible a year ago. But I won’t try to hide my disappointment here. Razer, like many companies, tends to follow up its standard-tier products with a “Pro” version that has more features and a higher price. Taking that route is excusable and almost expected for consumer products, but it’s the wrong move for a mask which people may opt to buy to feel a little more safe during a pandemic.
And yet, I’m glad that Razer is, at least, committed to delivering fully on the concept that it unveiled in January 2021. Many people will benefit from a mask that can amplify your voice, if they’re willing to accept that the Zephyr will definitely make you stick out.
My colleague Nicole Wetsman and I spoke with Razer about the Zephyr at our On The Verge event in October 2021. You can watch that panel below.
Our Health Tech Reporter @NicoleWetsman and Writer @camfaulkner talk to @Razer's Associate Product Marketing Director Jeff Sandoval about the company's futuristic Zephyr face mask #OnTheVerge https://t.co/9yvV20jXyO— The Verge (@verge) October 23, 2021