Review: MaskFone a pandemic kludge of mask and wireless headset that we probably didn’t need
A good idea for those who don’t own true wireless earbuds, but for those who do, just buy a good mask with multiple layers and use your own earbuds.
MaskFone: An integration of protection and communications
Review Maskfone: I never thought I would own so many masks. Of the ones I own, Maskfone is the most comfortable, and perhaps even the most protective. The attempt to integrate a wireless headset into a mask, while a valiant effort, leaves much room for improvement, as well as questions about market need. Do you need a MaskFone? If you already own a good mask with wireless earbuds, the answer is no.
What we like
The current 3-star rating on Amazon says it all. Meh. While the well-constructed mask is very nice, the concept executes as one left over from 2017–save the fact that they only reason I’m writing about a mask is the global pandemic. The mask is good. It is comfortable, it fits well, and of all my masks, it is the one that feels the least claustrophobic inducing. I don’t need headphones to get a good mask.
That’s it for good features.
What could be improved
A short list of good features usually means a long list of suggested improvements. And that is the case with MaskFone.
The Motorola headset fits into the mask with Velcro-like loops. They are supposed to align with the embroidered control on the front. And for the most part, they do, but not always.
The headphones offer OK sound, but they are kind of superfluous, so the value prepositions against audio quality and battery longevity prove moot in practice. Owners could install any wireless earbuds, and those with true wireless, can, as I have done, remove the headphones altogether. The one selling point for wireless versus true wireless in the MaskFone configuration is the ability to just dangle the earbuds when not in use. In real-world use cases that probably isn’t enough to argue for the value of a wired headset embedded in the mask over or two true wireless earbuds planted securely in the ear.
With the wired “wireless” earbuds comes managing the wireless headset cables, which quickly reminded me why I like true wireless earbuds. I found putting on the Maskfone much more time consuming than just putting on a mask. I often found the headset wire slightly twisted, either generally or specifically around the ear strap. Either way, I had to remove the mask, adjust the wires, and put it on again.
I also found the included filters much smaller than the box illustrations. They need to be carefully placed to cover the breathing area because they are too small to fill the entire pocket. If you talk while wearing the mask, the filters can drift, which is not good for an item designed to protect one’s health. The packing shows a filter that would fill the entire pocket, but that’s not what was in the box. On a good note, the filters appear to be of good quality and should suffice with newer recommendations to double-up on masking. They should come with full-sized filters, though.
The nearly unreadable tiny turquoise type on the instructions does nothing to help the design cause. That it comes printed on the packaging rather than in a tiny, unreadable pamphlet, however, is a good thing.
Maskfone Review: The bottom line
When I first saw the MaskFone, I thought it clever and well-timed. After review, I found the wireless headphones more than a bit anachronistic in a world where everyone is chasing Apple with true wireless earbuds. Save for the fear of an earbud falling out and getting lost, there is no reason to buy MaskFone for its headset. And that means for most, buying a really good, multi-layered mask is a better investment.
The bottom bottom line for MaskFone: one of those products that wasn’t needed.
Serious Insights recevied MaskFone fore review. Images courtesy of MaskFone.
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Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.