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Image credit: Chris Velazco / Engadget

An infrared hairdryer could make hairdrying less hot

The Volo Go is ready to take on the Dyson Supersonic.
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Chris Velazco / Engadget

This might shock many of you, but it takes me about 30 minutes to dry my hair every night. I have long, coarse hair, a lot of it, and spending that much time shooting hot air at my head gets really heated after awhile. Volo's promise of a hairdryer that could cut that time down as well as keep me cool is intriguing, but it comes with some caveats.

Gallery: VOLO Go infrared hair dryer hands-on | 6 Photos

Unlike traditional hairdryers, Volo uses infrared bulbs and radiant heat to dry your hair "from the inside out." This way, it can supposedly cut down the time you need to completely dry your tresses, and it's also meant to cut down frizz. I don't usually walk around with wet hair, especially not while I'm working a convention, so I couldn't test those claims.

But from my experience, the Volo Go didn't get as hot as my regular hairdryer (the first-gen Dyson Supersonic) at max power. It was still plenty warm, though that leaves me dubious as to whether it can truly cut down my drying time.

According to the company's CEO and founder, Ryan Goldman, the Volo System should be able to finish drying my thick, long hair in about 11 minutes, based on testing it has done on others with similar tresses. But I'd have to first make sure to dab my hair with the Volo Hero -- a microfiber towel, which costs $40 retail but will be bundled with Kickstarter purchases.

Volo Go infrared hairdryer at CES 2019

That brings me to the Volo Go's other standout feature. It's a cordless device, which is handy. But that also means it's reliant on a lithium-ion battery to keep it running. It can last up to 13 minutes on high heat and 24 minutes on medium, so if the company's promises of cutting down drying time don't come true, I definitely won't be able to finish drying my hair before having to put the Volo Go back on the charging dock.

Another reason the Go better not take too long to dry my hair is its weight. It's quite a heavy device thanks to its battery, which Goldman said is similar to those in electric cars and offers safety benefits. But it also makes the hairdryer quite unwieldy and significantly heftier than my Dyson. I could see myself getting tired pretty quickly if I had to use the Go. To make the device a little easier to hold, Volo designed a more ergonomically friendly grip and weighted the top and bottom for better balance. That helps, but frankly I still found it too heavy for prolonged use.

The grip is something Volo tweaked since it first showed off a protoype last CES, based on feedback it received. Now the Volo Go is ready for launch and will be available via Kickstarter, though it only starts shipping in mid-2019. I'm curious enough to get it in for testing to see if it will indeed drastically reduce my time drying my hair, but for now I'd hold off spending money on it, even if at $399 it's much cheaper than the Dyson.

Follow all the latest news from CES 2019 here!

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