It was only a matter of time before the tech wizards caught up to everyday essentials like face masks. Razer has already been sending out its concept mask in limited quantities. With RGB and a look that could very easily be a uniform for Banksy, the Razer Project Hazel is anything but understated. The Philips Fresh Air Mask, on the other hand, is discreet and useful in more ways than one. Unfortunately, I am not a big fan of its shortcomings.
I spent two weeks with the Philips Fresh Air Mask and this is everything you need to know about the mask with a fan that throws out bad breath.
1) What is Philips Fresh Air Mask?
Good question. It’s essentially a double mask with a fan built-in to throw out warm and bad air from the left side. It has two parts. One is the black mask you see outside which is washable and houses the fan module and the other is your regular filter mask that latches on behind the black mask to filter out impurities.
2) So there are two masks, which one is N95 certified?
Yes, two masks. Unfortunately, none of them are N95 certified. The first one is essentially a black mesh mask that holds the shape of the mask and houses the fan module. The second one sits inside this black mask and is responsible for filtering the air before you breathe it in.
3) Double mask? Won’t that feel stuffy?
You’re not wrong but the fan is there for exactly that reason. It circulates air and keeps the stuffy feeling away. The white filter mask that goes inside latches over the fan module and sucks out bad air, while also pulling in cold air from the opposite side. As long as the fan is on, you won’t feel congested or uncomfortable inside the mask.
4) What do you mean by as long as the fan is on?
You thought this thing runs indefinitely? Like all tech products, this one too inevitably falls into the ‘ugh, I forgot to charge this’ category. The fan has three-speed modes. Fast, faster and wooooshhh. We made that up but the point is, the fast can go really fast if need be. For daily use you won’t be going above the first fan setting but if you start working out in this, ramping up the fan speed really helps.
5) Quit blabbering and tell me the battery life!
You got me. The battery life is not meant for everyday use. We barely got through the day with a full charge where we used the fan for 2-3hours during our encounter with the outside world. In fact, everything we love about the Philips Fresh Air Mask turns upside down as soon as the fan stops spinning. That stuffy feeling is back and if you’re stuck in traffic, there’s no way to charge this thing quick and easy.
6) Define quick and easy…
You have to pull out the filter mask, then unclip the fan module to charge it. You can be efficient and just unhinge the filter from the right side without removing the whole thing and charge it with the micro USB cable. But it’s the micro USB port and slow charging that doesn’t feel right in 2021. We wished it used some type of fast charging, and don’t even get us started on the micro USB port. If you land up at a friend’s house, good luck finding a charging cable!
7) The fan module must make the mask heavy, right?
Absolutely. The mask is heavier than your usual N95 mask. Thankfully the ear bands on the black mesh are adjustable and can help get the correct fit. If your face is longer than the Great Khali then the mask can be a tad smaller for your face.
8) What if I can’t find the extra filter masks?
Yes, that’s a real problem. After a point, the filter masks tend to lose their effectiveness for filtering the air and you must replace it. The only issue is that you cannot use any and every N95 mask with it, the Philips Fresh Air Mask uses a special filter mask that latches over the fan module and effectively sucks out exhaled air away. We tried using it with the Adidas washable mask and the fan wasn’t half as effective, even at full speed.
9) I still want it because it’ll make my gym life safer and breathing easier
Your wish. It’s going for ₹6,990 on the Amazon India website.