The face mask looks like it is going to be with us for a while, with the Covid-19 Omicron variant throwing everyone a curved ball. As such, the search for the perfect face mask continues.
And the Philips Fresh Air Mask Series 6000 might just be the perfect reusable face mask. It is designed with UPF 50+ level protection, providing protection from ultra-violet rays while offering much breathability and comfort.
PRICE: S$159, available in Philips Store
When you first look at the Fresh Air Mask, it looks like any other reusable face mask. It does not have the outlandish looks of the Razer Zephyr or the industrial feel of LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier (2nd Gen).
The mask’s front cover is made of a tough mesh fabric that Philips claimed to be flexible, elastic and durable while being very breathable. In fact, the only tell-tale sign that this mask needs battery power is the silver panel on the left frontal side of the mask.
This panel is actually the fan module that uses Philips Air Power technology to provide airflow of up to 41 litres per minute for better breathing comfort. There is a small round button on this panel to activate the fan.
On the interior of the front cover, you will see the fan module being connected to a small square-ish rechargeable battery. This battery itself is secured to the front cover via a magnetic connection. This entire module along with the battery can be removed, so you can wash the front cover.
To “complete” the mask, you need to install the replaceable Air Mask filter, which is supposed to block out 95 per cent of pollen and up to 99 per cent of bacteria.
It is very easy to install the filter with the hooks sited on the left and right sides on the mask’s interior. First ensure, the fan outlet of the filter is attached to the fan module.
Next, thread the filter’s side holes over the hooks and pull to attach it to the front cover nicely. And it is ready for use.
Once you have the Air Mask filter installed, you can actually use it as a normal mask. The straps of the mask are easily adjustable. Thus, you can tighten or loosen them to suit your face.
+ Looks like an ordinary reusable face mask
+ Very comfortable
+ Fan offers great breathability
– Battery life can be better
– Filters are a tad expensive
On its own, the mask is already very comfortable. And it feels really lightweight despite the fan module. I guess having no voice amplification or RGB lights really make a difference. Breathability is also pretty good.
The fan just adds the icing on the cake providing much needed ventilation in Singapore’s searing heat. The fan has three speeds – low, medium and high. Press the panel button once to turn on the fan and it will start spinning at low speed. To set to medium, press it again. For the highest speed, press the button again.
In other words, press two times to go to medium or press three times to go the highest speed. A ring light around the button lights up to indicate the fan is working.
And the result is fantastic. The fan offers great breathability and much needed comfort when you are out in the Singapore sun. There was practically no sweat even when I wore it for a late afternoon stroll in my HDB neighbourhood. But I would not recommend wearing it for runs, as the resulting sweat will soak into the filter rendering it useless. And the filters are not cheap.
You can get replacement filters in a pack of five for S$39. So, you really do not want to waste the filter by going for a run, despite the prospect of being much more breathable.
Each filter can last 122 hours or two weeks if you use it for 8 hours per day. Thus, it is a bit expensive to maintain. You probably can get several boxes of disposable face mask with S$39 at current rate.
The biggest downer of the Fresh Air Mask though is the fan’s rather short battery life. It is rated to last only 3 hours 30 minutes on its lowest speed and 2 hours on its highest.
During the review, I found the stated battery life to be quite accurate. The fan stopped spinning at the end of a 3-hour event I attended, which took me half an hour to get there. You probably might want to turn on the fan when you are outside, and not when you are in an air-conditioned space.
By comparison, the LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier (2nd Gen) can last 8 hours. Furthermore, it takes 3 hours to charge the Fresh Air Mask’s battery from nought to full. I think you probably want to charge it when you go to sleep.
If not of its less-than-stellar battery life, the Philips Fresh Air Mask would have been the perfect reusable face mask. It is lightweight, comfortable and the fan module allows for superb breathability in Singapore’s hot weather. Still, it might be the reusable face mask you have been waiting for.
BATTERY LIFE: 6/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: 8/10