Razer has quietly pulled mentions of "N95 grade" protection from the web page for its Zephyr face mask following online criticism.
As recently as January 5, per the Wayback Machine, Razer's website read that mask used "N95 grade filters with two-way protection." That language is no longer on the site. The current page now reads that "Razer Zephyr is not a certified N95 mask, medical device, respirator, surgical mask or personal protective equipment (PPE) and is not meant to be used on medical or clinical settings."
The change in language comes following disapproval on social media. Over the weekend, YouTuber Naomi Wu led the charge with a series of tweets on the topic. PCMag had previously drawn attention to the labeling, as well. Razer had suggested it was using N95-grade filters while also claiming that the mask was not personal protective equipment, or PPE, suggesting it didn't meet the standard of protection it promised.
"Razer would like to clarify that while the filters used in the Razer Zephyr Wearable Air Purifier have been tested for 95% Particulate Filtration Efficiency (PFE) and 99% Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE), per the statements on the website and documentation for the product, the wearable by itself is not a medical device nor certified as an N95 mask," the company said in a statement to Tom's Hardware. "To avoid any confusion, we are in the process of removing all references to “N95 Grade Filter” from our marketing material. We will also directly reach out shortly to existing customers to clarify. Customers with any further questions about the Razer Zephyr Wearable Air Purifier should contact our Customer Service at https://support.razer.com/."
On social media, Razer highlighted a page called "The Science Behind Razer Zephyr," which lists a series of standards that the company claims to have met and the results for its testing. Here, too, the page now carries the fine print that the filters, which are disposable and sold separately from the mask after the initial pack is used up, are neither N95 nor PPE.
In our review of the Razer Zephyr, I complained about problems with fit, including the seal on my face, as well as discomfort, which made me less likely to want to wear the mask. But the lack of protection is another blow to the mask.
That may not affect Razer, however. The company has been releasing the Zephyr in limited-edition "drops," which have been going out of stock immediately and becoming valuable showpieces on Instagram and other social media sites.
At CES 2022, Razer announced its Zephyr Pro mask, which adds voice amplification through a microphone and speaker. It will start at $149.99, which is $50 more than the original Zephyr. Razer's site for that mask also used N95 language, but now reads that Razer has "adopted standards" from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is run under the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC spokesperson Jade Fulce told Tom's Hardware that "NIOSH has not been in contact with Razer."
As the Omicron variant of Covid-19 rages through the United States and the rest of the world, experts have called for people to wear medical masks or N95 or KN95 masks for better protection and to prevent spreading illness. It is now clear that Razer's Zephyr does not meet that kind of standard.
Updated January 11 at 9:13 a.m. ET with comment from Razer and confirmation from the CDC that NIOSH did not reach out about the Zephyr.
Updated January 11, at 9:42 a.m. ET Additionally, Naomi Wu states she contacted NIOSH, and claims NIOSH contacted the FDA. We regret the error.