So those Watch Dogs-esque, Cyberpunk 2077-lookin’ protective masks from computer manufacturer Razer don’t actually use N95-grade filters as previously promoted, according to updated marketing from the company.
Various outlets, including Engadget and The Verge, note that the company has erased every mention of “N95-grade filters” from the product pages for both the $100 Zephyr and recently announced Zephyr Pro masks. The removal came after tech YouTuber Naomi Wu not only posted a teardown of the Zephyr in November 2021, but also ripped into Razer for promoting what Wu has called a “fraudulent product.”
N95 is a certification issued by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in which respirators must filter at least 95% of airborne particles. This requirement is for the entire product, not just the filters. That’s why neither of Razer’s masks appear on NIOSH’s approved list of N95-grade particle filtering respirators.
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Wu’s detailed breakdown of how ineffective the Zephyr mask is at protecting you from covid-19, its myriad variants, and various other diseases is eye-opening. Wu decried the product as “useless” and accused Razer of “deceptive marketing,” especially since the mask isn’t a valid replacement for genuine personal protective equipment (PPE).
We’ve reached out to Razer for comment and will update if we hear back.
For its part, Razer has opted to update its marketing materials for the Zephyr while scrubbing the phrase “N95-grade filters” from the website’s product page. The company now says the $100 mask is “not an N95 mask/respirator” and “is not meant to be used on medical or clinical settings.”
So sure, it might look cool, like you’re living in the cyberpunk future you’ve always wanted with a mask that lights up and all that jazz. But it doesn’t protect you from the thing that matters: an illness that could literally kill you.
Update 01/13/2022 6:05 p.m. ET: A Razer spokesperson provided this statement to Kotaku:
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.
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.
They suggest that customers with further questions should reach out to Razer customer service.