Smart Face Masks Reviews

It was bound to happen. Smart masks have taken over at this year’s virtual tech megashow. Smart Face Masks Reviews

Good news, everyone, I’m still breathing. At least, that’s what my smart mask says.

In fact, it tells everyone around me, via a small color-customizable LED light. (I chose purple.) It illuminates when it’s recording my respiratory cycle.


Smart Face Masks Reviews

WSJ’s Joanna Stern Tested The Airpop Active+, A Connected Mask Released At CES 2021


Look, do I have the coolest mask at the supermarket? 100%. Do I need it? 100% not.

The connected $150 AirPop Active+ mask, which I’ve been testing for the past few days, was officially announced this week at what can now only be called CPS—the Covid Protection Show. Bye-bye, CES!



It was bound to happen. Every year, tech companies and entrepreneurs show up at the tech show in Vegas with new ideas of how gadgets can solve our everyday problems. The biggest difference this year? Everyone seems focused on the same problem. Well, that and everyone showed up via the web. The show is entirely digital.

But I don’t put all the Covid-19 prevention gear—everything from smart air-purifiers to temperature-taking video doorbells—into the same category as the smart fork (a real CES product I once reviewed) or the smart toothbrush (another real CES product I once reviewed). This year’s devices are aimed at helping us understand a very clear and present danger. Even better, some are built to annihilate it.

Since the best part of CES is actually touching and feeling the gadgets (talk about germs!), I had companies ship some of these to the CPS 2021 show floor—aka my basement. Here are some of my thoughts on what is, and isn’t, worth it.

Masking The Tech

I wouldn’t buy the $150 AirPop Active+ but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it. Six years ago, company founder Chris Hosmer was living in China, where his young daughter suffered acute respiratory reactions to noxious air. He set out to build a mask that addressed human-made, ecological and pathogenic threats—essentially pollution, wildfires and disease.

The quarter-size doodad integrated into the front of the mask has sensors that capture breathing-related data, temperature and humidity. It pairs via Bluetooth to your smartphone to tell you your breathing rate, how much pollutants were blocked, the air-quality index and more. Since it knows how long you’ve worn the mask, it can also tell you when to change its filter. The mask’s snap-in filters are good for 40 hours of wear.

Though I feel like a superhero every time I put the mask on, it’s too much data for me. I just want a good mask to protect myself—and others—from getting sick. (I also had a buggy first unit, but the replacement is working fine.) If you’re interested, the mask begins shipping in February. Or you can get a “dumb” version—no sensor—for $56 right now.

LG’s PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier, which looks straight out of “The Dark Knight Rises,” goes a step further. In addition to a respiratory sensor, it has built-in fans, a HEPA filter and an air-purification system to protect you. I haven’t tested it myself—for now, it’s available only in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Iraq. It’s coming to other countries soon.

I can recommend a cheaper connected mask that I’ve been testing for a few months. The $50 MaskFone, as I said in the WSJ Personal Tech 2020 gift guide, is no more than a Motorola Bluetooth headset draped through a mask, but it does make talking on the phone while masked a more pleasant experience. Plus, it’s great for running: The earbuds stay in because they’re attached to the ear loops.

Apple, it’s worth noting, has a mask of its own that I have also been using. Except there is nothing “smart” about it—it’s a simple white mask made out of a thick material with adjustable ear loops. It isn’t for sale; it’s made for Apple employees.


Smart Face Masks Reviews

The maskFone, left, has a built-in microphone and headset for phone calls; the airpop active+ mask, center, records breathing info; the apple mask, right, is just a regular mask (but isn’t for sale)


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