Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer REVIEW
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer REVIEW
PAT PILCHER calls in the experts to help him – and his thinning thatch – properly assess the Supersonic, Dyson’s fabbo new hairdryer.
Dyson has a knack for taking the mundane and making it perform better, and dare I say it, become just that much more exciting. They’re well known for the magic they’ve already worked on both the humble vacuum cleaner and hand dryers. Now it’s the hair dryer’s turn.
Dyson’s hairdryer is called the Supersonic. They say that they’ve spent four years designing, refining and testing to come up with the finished product. The figures behind this are boggling. They’ve spent a whopping £50 million (NZ$93 million) with which they created over 600 prototypes, which they tested on a boggling 1000 miles of hair (which is about 999.9999 miles more hair than this reviewer has on his scalp).
So, what did they come up with? Dyson reckon the Supersonic is the fastest, quietest, lightest and most hair-friendly hairdryer ever.
Claims aside, it’s a tasty looking piece of gear. While I’m not a fan of fuchsia-pink accents, the Supersonic sports an unmistakable industrial design that shouts the Dyson brand name.
Futuristic looks aside, you’re probably wondering just what it is about the Supersonic that warrants the hype? Is it super? What about its sonics? Is it all that and a bag of (blow-dried) chips?
The short answer is an emphatic yes – if you can afford it.
“They created over 600 prototypes, which they tested on a boggling 1000 miles of hair”
A key innovation is what Dyson calls the digital motor. It’s small enough that it can be housed in the Supersonic handle, instead of weighing like a brick and being mounted on the back of the dryer as with most hairdryers.
Dyson says that this shifts the Supersonic’s centre of gravity closer to your wrist, which helps to make it feel more balanced in use. While a smaller motor should confer some weight advantages, the Supersonic weighs in at 700g (without attachments), which is roughly the same as many old school hair dryers. That said, it’s significantly more compact. This is a good thing for travellers as it consumes bugger-all space, making it small enough to squeeze into luggage.
The clever bit is that air gets drawn into the motor from the bottom of the handgrip. From there, Dyson’s Air Multiplier tech amplifies its volume, which makes for a fast and targeted stream of air. This means that the Supersonic will dry hair more quickly than other conventional hair dryers. And crucially, it’ll also dry using much less heat, so it’ll not damage your hair.
The bundled attachments are all magnetic. Instead of having to wrestle with the dryer, the Supersonic’s bits literally just snap into place – no effort whatsoever is needed. Supplied attachments consist of a Smoothing Nozzle (which dries and gives a smooth finish), a smaller Concentrator for more precise styling, and a diffuser (the largest attachment), which can add volume to the hair and is also useful for defrizzing.
“And crucially, it’ll also dry using much less heat, so it’ll not damage your hair”
So, how well does it work? In the interests of giving you, our beloved reader, the lowdown on this gadgety goodness, I did what any sane reviewer lacking much hair would do: I got my hairdresser to test it. The team from Wellington’s Calibre salon have been achieving the impossible by keeping what little hair I still possess tidy for years. To make sure there wasn’t any professional bias, I also gave it to my wife, and she tested it out too.
It turned out that the verdict from both the professionals and my better half was a balanced mix of both good and bad.
Both agreed that it’s a doodle to use. Simply switch it on and dry your hair (who’d have thunk?). Heat levels and fan speed are adjusted by tapping buttons on the back of the dryer. There are four intensity levels, and these get shown via LEDs. The good news, according to the hairdressers, is that it’s super intuitive and works. They did say they’d have preferred that the controls were on the handle. This would have allowed them to flick between them without interrupting their workflow by checking the LED indicators.
Another positive is the Supersonic’s power. Everyone agreed that it belted out serious air. This is thanks to Dyson’s air Multiplier tech. The volumes of air cranked out by the Supersonic meant that hair dried quickly. It dried my hair in around half the time of an old school hair dryer (your mileage will vary depending on your hair volume and type). Hair also looked a lot shinier.
“It dried my hair in around half the time of an old school hair dryer“
Because the attachments are double insulated, they don’t get hot. Having a play with the Supersonic, I got distracted by a text message. As I replied, I realised with horror that the dryer and and diffuser was resting on my scalp, and its temperature was turned up. Fearing that I’d burnt what little hair I still had upstairs, I checked. There was no burnt hair smell, and my scalp was not uncomfortably hot. A quick check in the mirror revealed that the few rare and precious wisps of hair I’d been testing the hairdryer on were both un-scorched and intact. Crucially, the double insulation allowed me to swap attachments without burning my fingers or waiting for the Supersonic to cool down.
As you’d expect with Dyson gear, some seriously smart engineering has gone into making the Supersonic run as quietly as possible. The digital motor sits on a rubber mount, which reduces vibration between the motor and the handle. Dyson also gave the impeller (the bit that pulls air into the dryer) more blades. These tweaks help lift the noise up a few octaves. Some of it goes beyond the range of human hearing. What is audible is much quieter. This results in the Supersonic running at a higher and gentler pitch so I could talk over it without shouting.
A grizzle from both the team at Calibre and my wife was that the power cord shifted the balance. This upsets the re-balancing achieved by putting the motor in the Supersonic’s handle. Perhaps Dyson should look at a battery-powered version for its next release?
The other gripe was price. With cheap hair dryers starting at a shade under $30, the $750 sticker price does seem a tad excessive. However, you do get a hell of a lot of hair dryer for your money. If having great hair is a priority, then the Supersonic’s ability to quickly dry your locks without damaging them makes it well worth choosing over cheaper products. The other side benefit of it leaving hair smooth and shiny is that it could save you a tonne in styling goop while doing less damage than other more affordable hair drying products.