UNBOXED: Reviewing the Bragi The Dash Pro Wireless Earbuds
It’s not that long ago that we were reviewing Bragi’s The Dash on UNBOXED. Yet, less than a year later, the German based wireless earbud maker has launched the updated version of their flagship earbud—The Dash Pro.
Their timing was perfect.
Launched in May, The Dash Pro fixes everything that was less than ideal about the original product. Specifically, issues with Bluetooth connection, where The Dash would lose contact with the device it was connected to if it was in the user’s wrong pocket or not within clear site of the earbuds, are no longer a concern. Also, the battery life has been improved to a very real five hours on a single charge (the case does still provide additional charges as needed). And glitchy components of the Bragi OS—really just features that were in beta and not quite ready for primetime—have been corrected.
On the surface, The Dash Pro doesn’t look all that different from the original The Dash. Both earbuds resemble black (or white) earplugs that sit in the ear and plug up the entire ear canal. Bragi included a few extra ear tip and sleeve options, and the angle of the earpiece itself is a little less drastic (which results in a slightly more comfortable fit). Oh, and the case is a nice charcoal grayish color instead of all black. But for all intents and purposes, you won’t really notice much of a difference between the newer and original The Dash earbuds.
Game Changing OS
The real champion for Bragi is the updated OS.
Bragi OS 3 adds a whole host of new features that take the idea of “hearable” technology to a much higher level. When I met with Bragi at IFA last September—around the time of the launch of The Dash—they pumped up the dozens of different sensors that they were able to pack into the tiny earpiece. At the time, they showcased their ability to track all kinds of health vitals, but did allude to the fact that the sensors’ abilities hadn’t even been tapped into that deeply.
Bragi OS2 brought with it some of the possibilities of those sensors, albeit in a beta version. Bragi opened up a new way to interact with their headphones that involved simply touching your cheek to access your phone’s voice assistant. That update also included new head shake gestures that allowed the user to accept or decline incoming calls and more.
This latest update, though, gets much more futuristic, and downright cool. Bragi OS 3 introduces a new 4D menu function that allows for 100 percent hands-free control of The Dash Pro. With a shake of your head and a quick nod, you can activate the menu and then choose from a few different options by looking in a certain direction and nodding. What’s crazy is that the earbuds don’t need to be connected to a device to access the function. At first, it seemed a little clunky and involved a bit of a learning curve, but after getting used to it, I found myself bobbing my head and looking in different directions more frequently than I would’ve ever expected.
Further upgrades in Bragi OS 3 include Auto Tracking, which automatically understands when an activity is started (i.e. running, swimming, biking) and will start tracking the user’s data; added head gesture controls; and routines that can be set up to provide alerts, the time, and more.
All of this is great, but we haven’t even touched on the iTranslate integration yet, which is probably the biggest and most impactful update that comes along with Bragi OS 3. For this, Bragi teamed up with the iTranslate app makers to give The Dash wearers access to near-real-time translation through the iTranslate app. There is a monthly fee involved, which is a bit of a downer, but this kind of integration is something we’ve been waiting for in a pair of mainstream wireless earbuds. This is the game changer—being able to wear The Dash Pro on the road, in a foreign country, and not have to worry about the language barrier. It might not be exactly real time translation, but it’s the closest thing I’ve seen thus far, and it works better than you’d expect with this being Bragi’s first crack at something like this.
As for knocks against The Dash Pro, we’ll start with iTranslate. It’s unfortunate that there’s a regular fee associated with the integration, but I get it. I’d rather see it have a one-time fee and work forever, but that’s probably why I’m not in the app business. Further, iTranslate does is pretty sensitive in terms of the translations themselves, meaning it might not offer the best translation when there’s slang involved or anything along those lines.
Then there’s the price. At $349, The Dash Pro is a premium priced wireless earbud. That price point makes sense if you’re going to be someone who has these things plugged in for the better part of the day and you plan on milking The Dash Pro of every possible feature, tracker, sensor, and so on. Otherwise, you’re asking consumer to pay a lot of money for earbuds that do sound great, but wouldn’t really stand out enough from any other wireless earbud on the market.
Drawbacks aside, Bragi has really solidified itself as my favorite wireless earbud on the market, hands down.