Bragi just launched its newest set of Bluetooth headphones the Dash Pro. The headphones are fully wireless just like Apple’s AirPods, but they do not make you look like an android. The buds fit right in your ear and come with seven tips to get the fit just right, four silicone “FitSleeves,” and three foam tips. There is even a Starkey Signature version that can be custom fitted to your ear.
The headphone can last for up to five hours on a charge, and the Dash carrying case will recharge the buds up to five times without plugging in, just like the AirPods. The headphones can even sense when you are using them and turn themselves on and off.
However, that is about all the Dash Pro has in common with AirPods. Bragi’s headset is packed with other features that you cannot find in any single set of wireless headphones.
To start with, the Dash Pro has an onboard computer with an independent operating system, which just updated to version 3.0 for the launch. The Bragi OS (BOS3) is what drives all of the Dash Pro’s features. From the integrated music player to gesture controls, the headset’s computer offers a completely handsfree experience.
The Dash Pro has a built-in MP3 player with 4 GB of storage. So you do not even need to be connected to your phone to listen to music. The player is controlled with head gestures. Pivoting and nodding your head is all it takes to start, stop, and skip tracks.
The headphones feature “Audio Transparency” technology. Transparency allows the Dash Pro to let you listen to your music while still being aware of your surroundings such as your boss telling you to get back to work. Optionally, you can turn Transparency off, and the headphones will filter out the background noise so that you can enjoy your tunes and ignore your boss. When activated, Audio Transparency will also filter out wind noise when jogging or riding a bike, a problem suffered by many other headsets.
The Bragi OS has an AI assistant that speaks to you creating a gesture-controlled "Virtual 4D Menu” for the headset’s various functions. However, you can also activate your phone’s assistant by tapping your cheek, and when connected to your iPhone, Android, or Windows device, you have access to all of your phone’s functions.
With the help of the Bragi App, the earphones can track your workout just like an Apple Watch or other fitness trackers. The headset can tell when you are performing exercise activities and will automatically start monitoring when you begin. The fitness tracker is fully featured including heart and respiratory rates. The earpieces are also water resistant to three feet so can be used to track while swimming as well.
The Dash Pro is also integrated with iTranslate to provide real-time translation in 40 different languages. Translation is activated by tapping the lower part of the left earphone. Engadget's Rob LeFebvre got to try out the iTranslate feature in Mandarin but said the translation was not accurate. However, Rob did admit that he was speaking informally. He also noted that the translator struggled in noisy environments.
There are a couple of other downsides to the Bragi headphones as well. Last December, the Verge reported that the Dash (not the Dash Pro) had a hard time holding a stable Bluetooth connection. Bragi promised to fix this problem with firmware and OS updates. As of version 2.2 of the OS, the Bluetooth connectivity was vastly improved indoors, but outside it was still spotty. Hopefully, all Bluetooth issues have been fixed in the Dash Pro version and with the upgrade to BOS3.
The other drawback of Bragi headphones is the price. Even the original Dash runs $299. The Pro is $349 and $499 if you want the Starkey Signature custom-fitted version. Considering everything that the headset offers, the price is not that far off what many other high-end brands charge.