If you’ve been following along you know I’m on a dual mission to both simplify my running experience through the number of gadgets I lug along and to locate the absolute best listening devices for my music immersion. It’s been a process, starting way back in May of 2015 when I first reviewed the Plantronics BackBeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones. I still love the Plantronics, but have since moved on to bigger and better things because my main objective is to carry only a music listening device, my Microsoft Band 2, and a pair of sunglasses (currently sporting the Oakley Flak 2.0).
Fortunately, with each review my options keep getting better. Here’s the last few to catch up:
As you can read in the review for the Sony Walkman, even though these provided excellent capability I was still missing one piece. Even though I am still fully enamored with the Sony device, it would be nice to have a headset that offers both MP3 capability and a Bluetooth streaming function, because I’d still need two different devices to provides both features.
For the past couple weeks, I’ve been testing the Dash earbuds from Bragi. These earbuds are completely innovative and the first of their kind. It didn’t take long to duplicate, either. I saw an article earlier today talking about the VerveOnes and VerveOnes+ from Motorola that attempts to mimic the Bragi Dash almost completely. I guess that’s a huge compliment. The folks at Bragi may not think so, considering their innovations are showing up elsewhere.
Still, the Dash offers a complete set of features that will be difficult to completely duplicate.
Here’s the tech you get with the Dash:
- True wireless design! The Dash are a set of earbuds, connected together wirelessly. They provide stereo sound without wires!
- 4GB onboard MP3 storage (playing music without Bluetooth).
- Bluetooth connectivity (streaming from a phone or tablet).
- Touch controls on both earbuds (tap, double-tap, triple-tap, tap and hold, swipe).
- Automatic power-on and shutdown. Sensors in the earbuds know when you've inserted them into your ears.
- Transparency mode. This is really cool. You can choose to block out nearby sounds or allow them in – to ensure safety in traffic areas. If you have the music off and transparency mode enabled, it’s like having a Miracle Ear. I’ve enabled it in my house and just sat there to listen to sounds in the far reaches of my home. It’s actually pretty amazing.
- Heart rate monitoring and activity tracking. Yep…these earbuds actually offer the ability to track your activities through internal and external sensors. The tracking capability is not as complete as the Microsoft Band, but it’s there if you want to try it. And, yes – these are waterproof so you can track swim activities.
- A self-contained charging unit. This durable metal charging pod allows you to charge the Dash up to 5 times without having to replenish the charge for the pod. The pod is small enough to carry in your front pocket and it’s definitely strong enough the protect the Dash. Charging the earbuds is easy. They are held in place by magnets - you just drop them into the pod and they start charging.
- IFTTT-type functionality. There’s even more potential for these earbuds through software updates. Currently, you can accept a phone call when you nod your head, and ignore a phone call by shaking your head side-to-side. There’s more of this planned in future updates.
For running outside, I’m now using the Dash’s MP3 player so I don’t have to carry my smartphone or rely on my smartphone for music. For running on the treadmill, I connect the Dash over Bluetooth to my Surface Pro 4 to hear my streaming movies or TV shows. So, now I have a single set that supplies both my needs. To me that’s fantastic.
As futuristic and feature rich as the Bragi Dash is, there are some cons – and one in particular that may be the deciding factor for most.
- The Bragi Dash suffers from the same problem all Bluetooth devices have, and that’s a solid music bass. These are not the worst, and even though the sound is not as “tinny” as some, it’s still not the power bass you might want. However, Bragi continues to provide software updates, so I think this could actually be enhanced through a future update.
- Finding the right fit is difficult. Bragi provides “sleeves” for the earbuds that come in extra small, small, medium, and large. The sleeves are difficult to install and position just right. I found through the process that my ears are different sizes. I have extra small for my right ear and small for my left. Unless you find the right fit, you still get environment noise leakage.
- Price. Price is probably the biggest determining factor here. These earbuds range from $299 to $349, depending on where you look. That’s a pretty significant investment. Fortunately for Bragi, the copycat devices are all in the same price range, otherwise Bragi could quickly lose any hope of a market. Are these worth the price? Even I have a tough time with that one. But, it boils down to what you want, how much of a gadget freak you are, and how dedicated Bragi is to continually updating the software for the device for new features and enhancements. Time will tell.
The bottom line is that I love the Bragi Dash. These will continue to be my favorites and the ones I opt to carry when running or biking. If I had easy access to a swimming pool, I’d use them there, too. Price is definitely a concern, but if you have a hunger for the latest tech and latest gadgets, the Bragi Dash will definitely scratch the itch.
If you’re willing to pay the price for taking a plunge into the future, you can find the Bragi Dash on Amazon: Bragi The Dash, App Enabled Headphones