Review: The Futuristic Razer Zephyr Mask Is Better Suited for Cosplay Than the Pandemic

razer-zephyr-face-mask-review
Courtesy of Razer

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When Razer first debuted their high-tech Zephyr mask at CES in 2021, it seemed like the perfect product for the dystopian hellscape life had become thanks to COVID-19. And, to be totally honest, it seemed like the kind of vaporware product that would never actually see the light of day. Yet Razer quickly made the mask a reality, debuting the Zephyr in limited quantities last fall — and the brand provided SPY a unit to test.

As we approach the second anniversary of COVID-19 lockdowns, most people would be happy to never see a face mask again. Even if you’re suffering from pandemic fatigue or live in a part of the country where life has already returned to normal, you might be curious about the futuristic Razer Zephyr mask, which is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

Keep reading for our full review, and head to Razer to purchase this $99 face mask.

  

Razer Zephyr Mask: What We Liked

The Zephyr definitely isn’t for those who want to be subtle in their mask-wearing. Depending upon your favorite pop cultural reference point, the unit looks like something out of Cyberpunk 2077 or Bane’s mask from The Dark Knight Rises. So if you prefer a barely-there cloth face mask to the best N95 masks, the Zephyr isn’t for you.

You’ll initially notice the dual intake fans on top of the clear faceguard. Inside the guard is a silicone seal that sits over your nose and mouth to provide a snug yet comfortable fit that ensures no air gets out.

The Zephyr attaches to your face with two straps. One goes over the back of your neck and the other around the back of your head. Here’s a picture of your author wearing the mask at my desk; as I said, it definitely makes a statement.

WG Razer Zephyr Mask In-Action Shot (I can’t believe this photo will now live on the Internet forever.) William Goodman | SPY.com

The prominent dual fans serve a few functional purposes. They actively filter the airflow so you, the wearer, can breathe comfortably and safely. In this regard, the Zephyr is definitely a step above traditional cloth masks. The fans also ensure you don’t sweat in the mask too much, which is super helpful considering how bulky it is. Additionally, the Zephyr includes a super handy feature: a transparent layer that allows people to read your lips better.

This is a huge step forward in accessibility, as it lets those who are hard of hearing see your lips move and better understand what you’re saying. That’s bolstered by the RGB lights (customizable, naturally) on the filters, which shine into the mask to provide even more clarity in dark settings.

While the mask took some adjusting to fit my slightly larger face, I found it a considerable upgrade to a standard cloth mask. The fans help avoid some of that unease you get wearing a mask for an extended period. Also, it’s a godsend for those wearing glasses, as the issue with fogging is pretty much gone. That in and of itself might be well worth it for some users.

  

Razer Zephyr Mask: What We Didn’t Like

While there are some pros to the Zephyr, there are quite a few drawbacks. The included filters in the mask (two in the air chamber and one in the bottom chin portion) only hold up for about eight hours of use before needing to be replaced. The only way to get those filters is to purchase them from Razer’s website; a 10-set filter pack is $29.99, which adds to the mask’s $100 price tag.

As comfortable as the mask was, I did find the silicone insert to put a little too much pressure on the bridge of my nose. Hopefully, Razer can either sell different-sized inserts (or, even better, provide them as part of a future refresh) to fix this issue.

The fans will bother folks around you when they’re on full blast, but if you’re wearing the mask to go in and out of stores around town, it probably won’t be much of an issue. Plus, having the fans going all the time with the RGB lights on drains the battery pretty fast, so keep that in mind.

woman wearing razer zephyr face mask in public Courtesy of Razer

Finally, Razer has already backpedaled on some of the messaging of the Zephyr’s effectiveness. PCMag reported that in early January 2022, Razer removed all instances of “N95-grade” level filtration from its website and eventually clarified that the mask is not meant to replace official PPE. In my testing of the device, it was clear the Zephyr wasn’t intended to be donned by a medical professional, but the way Razer originally branded the Zephyr made this a confusing turnaround. That’s a significant blow to early adopters who bought the mask in hopes they were getting a PPE-level product for the consumer audience.

In short, despite its futuristic promise, you would be better off wearing a scratchy and uncomfortable N95 or KN95 mask from Amazon.

  

The Verdict: The Razer Zephyr Shows Promise, But What Is It For?

The Zephyr is a decidedly mixed bag. There’s a lot to like about the futuristic design and accessibility features, but as a replacement for your face mask, it has some major flaws. We’re sure it would be a great addition to a lot of Halloween costumes or cosplay outfits, but as a face mask, we recommend sticking with your N95 masks for now.

Considering this is the product’s first iteration (with a recently announced Pro version already on the way), perhaps Razer can iterate with future versions. If the Razer Zephyr Pro does offer N95-like filtration, then we could definitely see a place for this in the market, even with the $100 price tag.

But, make no mistakes, masks are here to stay, and if Razer can crack the code, the Zephyr could solve a lot of mask-related problems. It’s just not quite there yet.

Razer Zephyr Mask Courtesy of Razer

  

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