Editor's Note: January 10, 11:29 a.m. ET: Razer has removed all mention of N95 protection from its website for both the original Razer Zephyr and the upcoming Zephyr Pro. The company still claims (opens in new tab) that the mask and its filters meet a number or standards under "guidance from regulatory agencies." However, all mentions of N95 protection should be disregarded, which is a major change you should consider when deciding which mask to wear.
Most masks muffle your voice, but Razer's Zephyr Pro, an update the Razer Zephyr that released earlier this year (and debuted as a concept at last CES) should make you even louder.
When Razer showed off Project Hazel at CES 2021, one feature that didn't make it to the final product was voice amplification. Zephyr Pro, which is set to release sometime in 2022, has two speaker grilles dedicated to increase your volume from a microphone inside the mask. The company claims that the speakers can go up to 60 decibels at a one-meter range.
This does lead to a higher price. The Zephyr started at $99.99, or $149.99 for a "starter pack" with 33 filters to use for 99 days. The Zephyr Pro will begin at $149.99 and cost $199.99 with 33 sets of filters, which allow for 99 days of usage. Both still will require new filters eventually, and Razer sells those for $29.99 per pack of 30.
Razer isn't making any other significant changes to the Zephyr Pro. It will have the same strap system, intake fans and a transparent design with RGB illumination. The company claims that it won't be "significantly" heavier than the original, which was roughly half a pound.
When we reviewed the original Zephyr, we liked that it didn't feel too heavy on the head and boasted a cool RGB aesthetic. But we found it uncomfortable to wear, that it blocked peripheral vision and that the one-size-fits-all design meant that many people wouldn't be adequately protected with a strong seal. It seems that this version won't improve any of that.
Of course, that didn't keep the original Zephyr from selling out as soon as Razer could sell them in a series of "drops." Razer has confirmed it will sell the Zephyr Pro in a similar fashion, so potential buyers who want one will have to stay glued to the internet and register for updates.
Razer is announcing the new mask at CES 2022, itself seeing repercussions from the latest COVID-19 variant, Omicron. Several companies (including T-Mobile, Amazon and Meta), media outlets (including Tom's Hardware, CNN, The Verge and PCMag) and others have pulled out and gone remote.
As cases spiked in December, some states and institutions reinstituted or introduced mask mandates, and some experts called for people to stick to N95 and KN95 masks. Razer claims the disposable filters on its mask are "N95-grade," though a good seal is just as important.