I was really excited for my Bragi The Dash Review. If you haven’t heard of Bragi, it’s a relatively new startup that raised over $3 million on kickstarter (I believe that’s a record). These earphones looked awesome and everything about them sounded so cool. They’re fully wireless, which is the big trend in earphones now. Unfortunately, products often fail to live up to their hype and the Bragi The Dash Earphones are better left on the shelf. Here’s what I discovered.
Big plus here. The packaging is appealing and useful as the box doubles as a user manual. It gives a feel of a quality product.
The package includes, the earphones, charging pod and cable and different sizes of earpieces that slip on over the earphones. So far, so good.
There was a sticker on the box that said to update to the newest Bragi OS before using the earphones. What they left out is that updating is a tedious process which will require you to have a paperclip handy, as they didn’t include one in the box. Oh, and once the update starts, don’t put away that paperclip and walk away, thinking it will just update. You will need to use that paperclip and click some buttons again in a few minutes. Annoying, for sure, but I’d be willing to go through that process if the earphones lived up to the hype.
Connecting the earphones to my iPhone was relatively simple. I did run into a small problem getting the Bragi app to connect though. I quick email to tech support solved the problem. Not the best connection process I’ve seen, but not too bad.
The earphones come with a little charging box, which connects to a USB cable for charging. It also doubles as a battery, so you can charge the earphones when no power outlets are available. Charging time is decent and the process is straightforward. Perhaps their best working feature.
Getting the earphones in properly is extremely easy. Just tilt them forward a bit, insert and rotate backwards. It creates a tight seal on your ear, which I found to be uncomfortable, as it makes it hard to hear what’s going on around you. I felt like the earphones would fall out of my ears if I moved too much. I tried all the different sizes, but none felt quite right. Still, I stuck with it, wearing them all day for a couple of days, hoping that I’d get used to the feel. I didn’t. There is a setting for Audio Transparency that is supposed to make it easier to hear what’s going on around you. It works, but it also makes an annoying static kind of noise when it’s on.
I was a little worried about how it would look walking around in these all day, and it is noticeable, but surprisingly doesn’t stick out so much. Sorry about my appearance in the picture below, I might’ve missed a few days of shaving. Oops!
Aside from my issues with the ambient noise (or lack thereof if not using audio transparency), the audio was not horrible. I would say it’s about what I’d expect from a $50 pair of Skullcandy earphones. Not nearly the quality that you’d expect from a $170+ pair of earphones. I could tolerate barely passable audio, if all the other features worked perfectly, alas, they did not.
The earphones are controlled by touching a portion of the earphone in different ways. The right earphone controls the songs, volume and connectivity. The left controls activities. There are three built in activities that can be tracked with the earphones. I found the controls to be incredibly difficult to operate. Even while standing still and tapping the same area of the earphone, sometimes it worked, other times it did not. I got more used to it after using it for a while, to the point that I could get it to do what I wanted about 80% of the time, if I was standing still. While moving, I’d be lucky to get 50%. The idea is cool and other companies are copying it, but when running, I want controls that will work close to 100% of the time and touch controls are not there yet.
Cool New Control Options
Bragi has been working on a couple new ways to control the earphones, presumably because the touch controls are so awful. The first option, is the Virtual 4D control. With this option, you control the earphones by moving your head in different ways. It makes you look like an idiot moving your head all around when trying to pick an option, but who cares, if it works? Not me. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work! After reading the manual, watching the videos and practicing over and over, I was able to get it to work a few times, for short periods of times. I think I got whiplash from moving my head so much 🙂
The second new option, allows you to tap on your cheekbone to access SIRI (or other similar assistants). I found this to work more consistently than the Virtual 4D option, but still far from accurate. I had to hit myself rather hard to start it and all it does is activate SIRI. Still, there is hope that Bragi will perfect these two options and salvage this product. In the meantime, I’m left wondering if this was a serious product release, or a practical joke, making me move my head and smack my cheek like a crazy person!
Running With Bragi The Dash
Even though my first couple days with the Dash were disappointing, I decided to continue my review into the area most important to me, running. Unfortunately, that was an even bigger disappointment and the final nail in the coffin. Carrying my iPhone in a running belt, as I always do, I was not able to make it through even one song, while running at a casual pace, without the audio skipping.
For all the promise the Bragi The Dash had, it failed to deliver in every important way. I hope they fix these issues, as the product has real potential, but I’m not sure if it’s salvageable at this point. My prediction is that they’ll sell off the technology and any patents they might have to a bigger earphone company and I hope they do well with that. I wish them well, as they clearly put a lot of time and effort into the product and they seem like great people. I just can’t recommend a product that’s so flawed.
Do you listen to music when you run?
What earphones do you run with?