Will.i.am Wants to Sell You a $299 Face Mask

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Sure the Xupermask is expensive, but with ANC headphones built in there is some serious tech behind the hype.

Xupermask

Musician Will.i.am and tech giant Honeywell have developed a futuristic HEPA face mask with built-in Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) headphones. Developed in tandem with Jose Fernandez, a Hollywood costume designer, Xupermask packs in a bit more technology than the mask Razer teased at CES earlier this year.

Xupermask: Breathe Easy For a Price

The Xupermask has a strong visual element, which is unsurprising given the “Style without compromising safety” promotional tagline. It comes in two color variations, black/orange and white/grey/orange, both of which feature forward-facing ring LEDs for the full cyberpunk aesthetic.

Xupermasks

The silicone face seal is ventilated using a similar system to LG’s wearable air purifier. Both masks use dual 3-speed fans with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, though it is unclear if the Xupermask senses breath rate to adjust fan speed like the LG model. However, it does claim a similar battery life with the Xupermask promising up to 7 hours of use on a single charge.

A Mask for Audiophiles?

The Xupermask strays from similar products with its custom ANC earbuds, which magnetically dock to the mask and feature a microphone and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. Will.i.am’s Buttons earbuds hold their own as high fidelity headphones, even if they do look silly, and it’s fair to assume the audio quality here will also be good.

Whether the onboard microphone will do any better than other earbuds at picking up a muffled voice remains to be seen. The mic is placed within the silicone face seal so should be some improvement, though there is no information on whether the fan noise is mitigated. The mask comes in a carry case though there is no mention of UV sterilization, something the Razer and LG masks claim as features.

Starting April 8, 2021, Xupermask will be available from the official website for $299. At the time of writing, the official website is down, but you can follow the launch on the official Xupermask Instagram page.

Style for the New Normal

It may seem like a bold move to launch a mask during widespread vaccination, but Will.i.am has a track record of creating hype behind products. Here’s hoping the Xupermask is remembered more fondly than the doomed Puls and Dial smartwatches.

The concept of face masks will be a hard one to shake. With some areas still needing them for some time to come, and many people wondering if they’ll ever truly ditch the mask, maybe Xupermask is the functional fashion item we’ve all been waiting for.

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