Dyson Supersonic review

Asia's Tech News Daily

© Provided by TechRadar Dyson Supersonic hair dryer with attachments on countertop

One-minute review

The Dyson Supersonic has been around for a long time now, having initially launched in 2016. It came as a surprise from a company that was mostly associated with some of the best vacuum cleaners in the business, but considering it’s been around for so long is proof that the hair dryer is a remarkable piece of engineering.

When it comes to the hair dryer itself, Dyson hasn’t changed a thing since it first launched – it’s still got marvellous air flow that dries hair pretty quickly and styles it just as fast too. It’s also very comfortable to hold, although the control buttons being placed on the outer side of the dryer – within reach of the forefinger – can be awkward to use. We found that we had to stop the drying and styling process to reach for the correct button each time we had to change a setting.

Once you get used to those buttons, however, getting your hair to look its best is pretty easy, especially since Dyson started offering attachments for the dryer (more on these later). There are now a total of six, all of which are magnetic, so getting them on and off the Supersonic takes no time at all.

Unlike some other hair dryers, the Dyson Supersonic doesn’t add a lot of volume, but it definitely leaves hair feeling smooth, looking shiny and perfect for a night out on the town.

That’s if you can actually even afford to buy it. There’s no denying the Supersonic comes with an eye-watering price tag that puts it out of reach for some, but if you can get one, it will blow you away. 

Dyson Supersonic: price and availability

  • First announced in 2016
  • High price of AU$599 / NZ$649
  • Now ships with the Flyaway attachment

When the Dyson Supersonic first arrived, it carried a price tag of AU$449 in Australia. Compared to the current RRP of AU$599 / NZ$649, that feels like a steal. However, that was the listed price for the dryer alone. Today, if you buy the Supersonic, it ships with the Flyaway attachment by default. While the Flyaway attachment is a brilliant accessory for anyone that needs to tame those annoying little flyaways, it’s hard to justify the whopping jump in price.

If you already own a Dyson Supersonic, the attachments are available to buy separately for AU$49 / NZ$59 each, with the exception of the Flyaway option that retails for AU$99 / NZ$109.

Unfortunately Dyson doesn’t even discount the Supersonic, not even during big sales events. You could get it for a little less from other retailers in Australia and New Zealand though, but the chances of scoring a big discount is usually pretty slim.

The Supersonic is available in three different colour schemes – Nickel/Copper, Black/Nickel and Iron Fuschia – directly from Dyson Australia or Dyson New Zealand, and also stocked at other major retailers.

Dyson Supersonic: design and features

  • Futuristic design
  • Lightweight
  • Three speed and heat settings

Hair dryers haven’t really changed in decades; the last significant design change happened all the way back in the ‘60s when the bulky motor was moved into the main casing. While a massive improvement, it resulted in a bulky device that was unbalanced with most of its weight on the rear end. That, in turn, results in weary arms while you’re holding the dryer over your head.

Dyson has overcome this issue with a very interesting design that utilises the company’s smallest motor (a V9 digital motor in case you were wondering) placed in the handle of the Supersonic, just above the rubber mount, instead of the head of the dryer. This has redistributed the weight, making the entire gadget not just more compact, but lighter as well. Removing the chunky rotors, filters and vents that you would find on other hair dryers has also helped Dyson keep the Supersonic compact and aided in making it a futuristic see-through barrel, like Dyson’s fans. 

One thing we have to mention about the V9 motor: despite being just 27mm wide, it’s capable of propelling 13 litres of air per second. That’s plenty to blow the moisture out of your luscious locks in no time!

The motor isn’t the only thing working to get your hair dry – there’s also a microprocessor in the Supersonic’s barrel that monitors temperature 20 times a second, making sure it never overheats. This means you won’t have to deal with that metallic burning smell that you sometimes get when you use other hair dryers for a long period of time. And you also won’t have to deal with the worrying smell of burning hair, as the microprocessor keeps the airflow temperature stable and under 150ºC no matter what, thus reducing heat damage to hair.

The Supersonic’s sleek, thin handle extends to a circular ring, with two buttons on the shaft – the power, and cold shot buttons – and two on the rear of the ring; one that controls its three air speeds, another for selecting one of its three temperature settings. We found the placement of the control buttons to be awkward as they weren’t conveniently placed near the thumb on the inside of the handle. So changing settings while using the dryer meant we had to stop what we were doing, press a button, then resume.

The rubber mount in the handle reduces the amount of vibration making it more comfortable to use for long periods. The handle is also where the filter is, although the downside to it being placed there is that we often blocked it with our hand.

One of the Supersonic’s neatest and most convenient design elements is also its simplest – magnetised attachments. There are now a total of five different attachments, including the new Flyaway one, and these snap on and off really easily. They can be purchased separately if you already own the Supersonic, but there is a pack that comes with all five in the box along with the dryer itself.

Dyson Supersonic: performance

  • Well balanced in use
  • Fast drying times
  • Good for styling

The Dyson Supersonic comes equipped with three temperature settings and three air speed options. The power level on each of these is indicated by three LED lights (white lights for air speed, red lights for heat) right above each button, making it easy to keep track of how powerful and how hot you’ve set the device.

How quickly a dryer is able to dry your hair will depend on how thick and long your locks are. During our testing, we tried the Dyson Supersonic on shoulder-length hair of medium thickness and we were impressed with how quickly it went from towel-dried (aka still pretty wet) to fully dry – 3:52 minutes on the lowest heat setting and fastest fan speed, while bumping up to the highest temperature and fan setting brought down drying time to a quicker 2:35 minutes. Though it doesn’t get as hot as some competing dryers, its sheer blowing power makes sure to get you well-coiffed quickly.

Using an attachment – whether it’s the diffuser for curly hair or the styling nozzle to straighten it – increases drying times, but it’s important to keep in mind that you’re also styling your hair as you go.

During our testing we found that the Dyson Supersonic doesn’t add as much volume for a blow-dry as other hair dryers we’ve tested. This may suit some users, but those who like a bit of volume in their hair may be disappointed with the slight flatness when using the Dyson.

One of the most attractive claims of the Dyson Supersonic is that it’s quieter than other hair dryers thanks to the more efficient motor. We didn’t have a sound meter to confirm, but just listening to the Panasonic Nanoe NA-65 running alongside the Supersonic is clear indication that the latter is quieter. That’s not saying it’s really quiet – it will still wake a sleeping partner if you’re using it in the bedroom.

It’s important to note that the Dyson Supersonic is a corded product, so while it might’ve been extra impressive to have a cordless model in the same vein as the company’s excellent cordless vacuums or the Corrale hair straightener, it would also come with significant drawbacks. The unit would need to be bulkier and heavier to accommodate an in-built battery, and short battery life and long recharge times would make that proposition hardly worth investing in. Most people will be using the Dyson Supersonic in front of a mirror anyway, so being tied to the wall is really no big deal.

Dyson Supersonic Flyaway attachment: is it worth it?

  • Smooths flyaways easily
  • Hard to use on the back of the head

There’s absolutely no doubt that the new Flyaway attachment is a remarkable piece of engineering, something we’ve come to expect from Dyson. It looks just a simple piece of curved plastic, but utilising the Coandă effect – wherein a stream of air attaches itself to a curved surface and flows along it – the attachment does exactly what it says on the tin – flattens annoying little flyaways.

It works remarkably well but has some limitations: While it’s easy enough to use along the sides of the head, we found it near impossible to work along the length of hair along the back. Moreover, Dyson says it’s best used on people with straight hair. So if you’re someone with curly spirals, this isn’t for you, mostly because your flyaways get hidden by the curls. Anyone in between, with wavy hair, will need to straighten their hair first after drying it, then use the Flyaway attachment, which just adds to the morning routine.

If you’re someone who likes a bit of volume in your hair, you might find the Flyaway attachment disappointing as it removes any semblance of weight and volume after use. It’s quite prominent as the Supersonic itself doesn’t quite add as much blow-dry volume as other competitors, and a follow-through with the new attachment flattens what little there is.

While it might ship with the Supersonic by default now, buying it separately may not be worthwhile unless you already have naturally straight hair and can figure out how best to use it on the rear of your head.

Should I buy the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer?

Buy it if…

You really want the best hair dryer money can buy

It is impossible to argue against the Dyson Supersonic being the best hair dryer on the market and has been since it first launched way back when. It keeps temperatures below 150ºC, which is the point at which heat damage becomes an irreversible problem and can be noticeable over time. It’s quieter than some other hair dryers and looks good while it’s doing its thing. All this, however, does come at a steep price.

You want a lightweight and compact hair dryer

It may look unusual, but the Dyson Supersonic is one of the most compact and lightweight hair dryers we’ve tested. It feels lighter than it looks, thanks to the way Dyson has repositioned the components, and it’s comfortable to hold and use. 

Don’t buy it if…

You’re on a budget

Dyson has carved a wonderful niche for itself and everything the company produces is an excellent product – sadly they all cost a pretty penny, including the Supersonic. It’s fair to say it’s the most expensive hair dryer we’ve tested, and although it might be worth every penny, there are cheaper alternatives that will do the job for a lot less.

You want volume

As mentioned earlier, a blow dry with the Supersonic doesn’t add a lot of volume like a lot of other hair dryers on the market. This is not necessarily a dealbreaker, but if you do like a bit of lift, the Dyson might disappoint.

You prefer traditional styling

Let’s be honest, the design of the Dyson Supersonic is certainly out there. You’ll either love it, or you’ll hate it. This is a hair dryer to steer clear of if you prefer a more traditional look for your hair care appliances, plus the placement of its control buttons can take some getting used to.

[First reviewed August 2016]

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