Bragi Dash: A good first step toward our truly wireless future

While the idea of untethered listening seems like a natural progression from the wired earbuds that seem to have become ubiquitous in today's world, the execution of a pair of truly wireless headphones is obviously something that's far more difficult to achieve than simply removing the wires.

Bragi - The Dash

Bragi - The Dash

The Bragi Dash are one of the first big-name entrants into the field, and after spending some time with them, it's clear that they serve as a good model of both what works about the wireless headphone model so far, but also what future products like Apple's upcoming AirPods can do to improve the experience.

Right off the bat, the Dash are far more complicated to set up out of the box than any other connected Bluetooth device I've ever used with my iPhone. They have their own app for managing the device, and pair to the phone with two separate connections: one for syncing health data, and one for streaming music. That's because Bragi has an ambitious goal for the Dash: Far from just playing music, the company envisions them as a digital computing platform, with fitness tracking and onboard music storage.They're meant to be more than just a pair of headphones.

But when compared to the ease of connecting a pair of AirPods, it's clear there's a lot that can be done to improve the experience. Once you've set up the Dash, though, connecting them is as simple as just sliding them out of their case (which also recharges the battery when not in use), and rolling them into your ears. Considering the amount of technology that has to be crammed into the relatively tiny device (Bluetooth chips, batteries, a second wireless connection to connect the two earbuds, and, of course, actual audio equipment), the Dash is impressively light and comfortable to wear. And despite the lack of a cable, I've had no issues even when walking or even running with them in my ears.

The biggest problem with the Dash is that connectivity is spotty. With something like wireless headphones, a rock solid connection needs to be table stakes if you're hoping to replace wired connections. The Dash can store music on the headphones themselves, which helps as a stopgap for when the connection cuts out — but if they can't be relied on for a steady connection, it's going to be difficult to recommend them over a good pair of wired headphones, no matter how convenient the wireless aspect may be.

Ultimately, as a first effort from the company in a very young field, the Bragi Dash are a good starting point. While the first attempt of the Dash may not be the best truly wireless headphones ever, as a proof of concept, it's clear that once the technical issues get solved, this is going to be the future of headphones.

I’ve covered the personal technology beat for more than two decades at places like Gartner, Jupiter Research and Altimeter Group. I’ve also had the fun of contributing my $.02 on the topic at Computerworld, Engadget, Macworld, SlashGear and now iMore. Most recently I spent a few years at Apple as Sr. Director of Worldwide Product Marketing. On Twitter I’m an unverified @gartenberg. I still own some Apple stock.

11 Comments
  • How does connectivity compare to the Air Pods?
  • From the article: "Right off the bat, the Dash are far more complicated to set up out of the box than any other connected Bluetooth device I've ever used with my iPhone. They have their own app for managing the device, and pair to the phone with two separate connections: one for syncing health data, and one for streaming music. [...] when compared to the ease of connecting a pair of AirPods, it's clear there's a lot that can be done to improve the experience."
  • I don't mean the pairing process. I mean how well do they remain connected to the device? The article says these have issues with connectivity. Are the air pods similar in those issues?
  • Sennheiser MX-W1, has since been discontinued however it was truly wireless. Believe you me, nothing in the mainstream hasn't already been ventured into by the hifi audio world. The difference is the mainstream doesn't care how poor their sound quality is, poor sound quality is the only reason they're aren't many, if any, wireless options from big name brands. Sent from the iMore App
  • This x 1000. There are many similar projects to the Bragi Dash on Kickstarter, IndieGogo, etc. They all feature buzzwords like "seamless connectivity, dedicated apps, included charge cases, ear shaped housings, human engineering, direct digital drive, blah-blah. Almost all of them make no mention of actual sound. Not surprising, since they all feature cheap off-the-shelf transducers and even cheaper amplification circuitry. I wouldn't go so far as to dismiss wireless in totality though. Sony has been killing it with their new MDR1000x noise canceling headphone, and while it's not quite there yet for my needs, it sh*ts all over any of the similar priced offerings from Beats and Bose in the sound quality department. Sennheiser and Audio Technica have got a couple of models that compare favorably with their wired offerings in the same price bracket, and the new Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless sounds really good (and I mean audiophile good) in both wired and wireless modes. None of these come anywhere close to my current wired setup, and while the gap between the best wired and wireless setups will continue to exist for the foreseeable future, it won't be as big as it was just a few years ago.
  • I agree, I believe with this new drive for wireless more strides will be made for hifi wireless headphones. I'm thinking about picking up a pair of Audio Technica ones. Sent from the iMore App
  • Connectivity is an issue when not using an armband. I can run just fine with these as long as i'm wearing my armband. The reason I love the dash is that it comes with internal storage. I can leave my phone in the car if I go to the gym. With that said I don't know that they're worth $300 I would say at that price you would need the Bluetooth to be flawless. Haven't really played with the other features too much but the gym alone makes them worth it.
  • I would love to get this but I am not paying $300 for them
  • Bragg Dash are best avoided all together. I've had them since the start and it just been one issue after another.
    They have major connectivity issues. iPhone in the breast pocket and still the connection drops. Voice calls are un usable and you have to take them out to have a conversation. Bragg support is all thats bad in support. Log a call and wait days to get a scripted message. "Have you tried turning them on and off again?"
    For $300 your paying Apple style prices for an alpha product. I sent mine back.
    The wireless EarPods is a huge market but will need another year or two to provide great tech that works. I purchased the Beats Solo 3's the other day and they are amazing! Put this tech into some EarPods and we're all gonna be happy. W1 chips in everything I say and avoid normal bluetooth which sucks.
  • But how much are they? And how do they sound? And are those heartrate sensors? HOW does it want to accomplish all of these things it wants to do? Maybe a link to the manufacturer's site that has these answers if you're not going to write them up? This is a weird writeup - I kept looking for the "more" button...
  • Just check google Bragi Dash and you'll find it. But honest they are crap so avoid them. Or if you love to test products that cost $300 and don't work then go ahead.