Razer walks back N95 claims for gaming accessory mask, but has the damage been done?

Razer Zephyr mask
(Image credit: Razer)
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Razer has had to retract claims that its Zephyr Pro mask features N95 grade filters following accusations of being misleading.

Razer unveiled the Zephyr Pro – an upgraded version of the original Zephyr mask – earlier this week. Advertised as an air purifier, the Zephyr Pro also comes with a voice amplifier – and Razer's characteristic RGB colored lighting.

However, as pointed out by the likes of PCMag (opens in new tab) and tech YouTuber Naomi Wu (opens in new tab), Razer's claims that the mask has "N95-grade" filters does not make it a viable alternative to actual PPE.

Razer's website (opens in new tab) originally and repeatedly mentioned the N95-grade filters, but has since quietly removed them. It hasn't offered an official statement, but it did update the fine print to read "The Razer Zephyr and Zephyr Pro are not certified N95 masks, medical devices, respirators, surgical masks, or personal protective equipment (PPE) and are not meant to be used in medical or clinical settings."

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Sorry not sorry

Ultimately, what the problem was here was that Razer was advertising its mask as a viable means of protection against the coronavirus. Beforehand, Razer referred to the filters as N95 grade because they passed its own testing.

Apparently, the filters met a 95% particulate filtration efficiency (PFE), but it was technically never approved by regulators. Plus, the entire mask would need to block 95% of the particles, not just the filters.

Razer was essentially misleading consumers and while it has since corrected itself, it already successfully advertised the product as a genuine N95 mask.

"Media outlets have labelled it an N95 mask, immune-compromised individuals and healthcare workers all over social media are calling it an N95 mask," says Wu (opens in new tab).

"These people have ordered or are actively seeking the Zephyr as an alternative to real N95 masks. This was Razer's intent and they got what they wanted. All that marketing language is out there and SEOed, the benefits now reaped for Razer and the harm done to the public."

Michael is a freelance writer with bylines at the Metro, TechRaptor, and Game Rant. A Computer Games Design and Creative Writing graduate, he's been passionate about video games since the Game Boy Color, particularly Nintendo games, with Xenoblade Chronicles being his favorite game ever. Despite everything, he's still a Sonic the Hedgehog fan.