Updated: Nov 17
When the LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier mask came out back in 2020, it was a bit of a mixed experience. Sure, it was cool, I looked like Darth Vader going around but there were plenty of pain points too. The two most obvious ones were that first, my voice was incredibly muffled when I was wearing the mask. Second, the mask was rather heavy, thanks to the fans inside and the filters and all.
But that's changing with the 2nd gen mask. LG has now made it lighter, at 118g with the face guard, ear bands and filters included as opposed to 126g on the 1st gen, and it's quite obvious when wearing it. The mask is also slightly smaller, thanks to the integration of the replaceable filters inside the mask itself, instead of needing those two rectangular protrusions on the front.
That being said, the mask still juts out quite a bit from your face, although that's a good thing since it'll help reduce the dreadful maskne that many people have been suffering from by ensuring only the silicone face guard touches the face.
If you're wondering about which accessories are compatible between the 1st gen and 2nd gen, I'm sad to report that only the filter and ear bands are cross-compatible. The face guard's magnetic connectors are different, and the inner cover is also a new shape.
That being said, I'm very happy with the new inner cover. There are now two tiny holes and two notches above in the cover for alignment with four raised stubs on the mask, which means there's no awkward folding or creasing of the inner cover. The new face guard also attaches to the mask much more securely than the old one did.
All in all, it's a very comfortable wearing experience. Even so, I'd like to see LG improve even further if possible, to make the mask thinner and lighter for future generations.
Moving on, LG has also fixed the problem with wearers' voices being muffled. There's now a built-in mic on the mask, which can be activated with a press of the button on the bottom when the mask is turned on. You'll know the mic is activated when two short beeps sound off.
I was in a lift with my parents and they mentioned I sounded quite muffled, so I turned on the mic and they were honestly shocked. It sounded much clearer, especially in that enclosed space.
When I was out in a restaurant with a friend though, he couldn't quite tell the difference between when my mic was on and when it was off, presumably because of how noisy it was. But in quieter situations, you'll definitely be able to tell the difference. Personally, I did still find myself raising my voice a bit when speaking with the mask on, even with the new mic, but it definitely helped people hear me better. Good job on listening to customer feedback, LG.
Aside from these changes though, the 2nd gen mask performs just as well as the 1st gen. Even better, actually, because the fan speed is now automatically handled by the mask. In the 1st gen, you had to press the buttons to toggle between the three fan speeds. With this new mask, it's automatic. That being said, I did notice that the fans ramped up to the max occasionally even when I wasn't breathing particularly heavily.
The fan noise is also quite audible at the maximum speed. At the minimum speed though, there's essentially no noise at all that can be heard by people around you. Like before, breathing with this mask on feels like I'm not even wearing a mask. It's not hot or humid either, since exhaled air ends up getting out of the mask through the exhaust vent at the bottom. I wore the mask while out and about for around an hour, and there was pretty much no sweat on my face or any sort of stickiness even after that.
It's really quite amazing, and even though I do feel a bit self-conscious wearing the mask out, it's no longer as eye-catching. My one minor annoyance is that skin oils tend to smudge quite obviously on the front of the mask, resulting in a bit of shine on the otherwise matte surface. It's a small matter, of course, nothing that a quick wipe with a cloth can't take care of.
On the bottom, you also get a button that serves to turn on the mask on and off, as well as activate the mic. As for charging, there's a USB-C port right next to the button. Another big peeve I had when I first unboxed this mask was that I immediately noticed there's no way to use the UV charging case that LG sold alongside the 1st gen mask anymore because the charging port changed locations. It's definitely a bit of a shame, especially since the charging case was a S$200 purchase.
Moving on, there's actually even Bluetooth connectivity on the mask, for use with pairing with your phone and LG's app that's supposed to help track when you'll need to replace the filters and such.
The problem is that the app isn't ready yet. It's a bit of a bummer, especially since I feel like it's a pretty big oversight on LG's part. LG's website says the app is in development and will be launched in the second half of 2021, but... well, we're pretty much at the end of 2021 and it's still not here. Therefore, I didn't actually get to try out the Bluetooth connectivity or app, but I'll certainly be waiting to see how the app works when it launches.
All in all, I'd say the upgrades are definitely worth the S$249 price tag. It's ever so slightly (S$20) more expensive than the 1st gen, but the inclusion of the mic and the reduction in weight is well worth that money in my opinion.
For more information on the LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier 2nd Gen, check out LG's website.