The Bragi Dash is, in our eyes, the original hearable. After raising over $3 million through crowdfunding, the smart earbud is on sale and was named our Hearable of the Year at the first Wareable Tech Awards.
Whether you're thinking of picking the Dash, or just wondering what exactly it can do, here's our breakdown of what you can do with the buds, plus a few tips that will make them even easier to use.
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Any questions? Let us know in the comments section below.
What is Bragi Dash?
Technically, we should be calling them Bragi The Dash, but we imagine most people are more used to them being referred to as Bragi Dash. Like Apple's AirPods or Samsung's Gear IconX, they are set of truly wireless earbuds so there's absolutely no cables flailing around or in between.
Read this: Why Bragi Dash is our Hearable of the Year
Compatible with iPhones, Android phones and some Windows 10 Mobile smartphones, you can stream music from them, answer calls and track three sports; running, cycling and swimming. They also work as an MP3 player so you can load up music and leave your smartphone behind at home.
Now that the Dash has arrived with backers, you can pick a pair up directly from the Bragi website or online retailers like Amazon for $229, so that's roughly the same price as a pair of Apple AirPods or the Jabra Sport Elite wireless buds.
Bragi recently also announced The Headphone, another pair of wireless buds that cost significantly less than the Dash, but does lack the activity tracking skills of the original.
Setting up Bragi Dash
If you're just going to use the Dash to listen to music from Spotify, Apple Music or another music streaming service then pairing is really easy. It's essentially the same as connecting a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Once they're all charged up, there's proximity sensors that are able to detect when they've been taken out of the charging case and turn themselves on when you pop them inside your ear. Go into your Bluetooth settings on your smartphone and search out for the Dash name, hit connect and you should be good to go.
Get your next hearables fix
To tinker with all of the settings and activate sports tracking modes, you'll need to download the Bragi app where you'll be able to calibrate the earbuds. It's worth noting that when you need to update to the latest version of Bragi's OS, you'll need to drop them back into their case and plug it into your computer using the micro USB cable. There's also a Bragi Dash installer program you need to download to get those new features and fixes over to the Dash earbuds.
What can Bragi Dash do?
Quite a lot and we're going to start with the sports tracking first because that's what really makes the Dash a bit special.
Packing in a series of motion sensors including accelerometers and gyroscopes in both buds, the Dash is able to record a collection of metrics including, distance covered, steps, average pace and calories if you're running with them in. For swimming it'll measure breathing rate (thanks to the onboard pulse oximeter sensors), pool lengths and duration. When you go cycling it'll also record cadence and duration data.
In addition to recording motion, there's also an optical heart rate sensor as well that works in a similar fashion to the one included in Jabra's heart rate monitoring Sport headphones. This means you can get an indication of workout intensity across the three supported sports.
Unfortunately, there's no GPS on board and you can't feed data into third party apps like Strava or Runkeeper (yet). You can enable the app to share location data to improve tracking accuracy.
Listening to music
These buds are built for listening to music as well serving up up to 4 hours of playback time with 4GB of storage to load up tracks, which has to be done via your computer. The waterproof design means you can also use them for swimming too. Just make sure you've put on the right sleeves before you jump in the pool.
When you first try them out, you might feel like they are a little on the quiet side, so make sure you head into the Bragi app and tinker with the Master Volume and you should get a lot more power.
If you're working out with the Dash buds plugged into your ears and don't like the idea of drowning out the world around you, there's a useful audio transparency mode that'll let you hear your surroundings. It also means you can still listen to music and have a conversation with someone at the same time.
Bragi has adopted the philosophy of rolling out software updates to improve what the Dash are capable of. A big feature on the way later this year will add 360-degree 3D audio, which uses the audio transparency feature and turns it into a mixed reality feature. It's being developed in partnership with hearing aid manufacturer Starkey Technologies and aims to create the sense of directional sound. It could potentially be a good fit for watching movies, virtual reality or even navigation.
Control by touch and gestures
With no cables to place an inline remote, Bragi relies on using optical touch sensors, which are placed on the outside of the earbuds letting you swipe and tap to control music playback features, activate sports tracking modes, turn on the audio transparency mode or launch smartphone assistants like Siri and Google Assistant.
Read this: A quick and dirty guide to ambient computing
Bragi has recently introduced a set of new control options that the company is calling the Kinetic User Interface, that is able to use gestures that don't require touching the buds at all. So you can shake your head to skip a music track, nod to answer a call, and even use head gestures to navigate the Dash menus.
A new MyTap features also lets you activate Siri or Google Now by tapping on your cheek, rather than the earbuds themselves.
Bragi Dash tips and tricks
Swimming with The Dash
If you are planning to go swimming make sure you use the biggest sleeves included as these will ensure they stay secure in the ears. We'd even suggest wearing them underneath a swimming cap for that added touch of security.
Good luck trying to stream music via Bluetooth with your phone nearby because it just doesn't work. You'll need to bring the music player feature into action, which can be summoned from the right earbud. Hold the right bud down for one second to access your playlist and you can find out the key music playback features here.
Running with a hoodie
The one problem we found running with the Dash is that the touch controls are very sensitive and are easily set of. To lock the controls, hold down on both the left and right buds at the same time.
Start tracking an activity
You can entirely bypass the app to start recording a run, swim or cycling session simply by pressing down on the left bud for more than one second and double tapping to skip through the activities. When you're ready to go, tap to confirm the selection and get moving.
Checking in on the battery
This is a really handy feature to determine whether you need to top up before leaving the charging case behind. Give the buds a little light shake and the notification lights on the outside illuminate to determine battery level. Blue means full, green is high, yellow is medium and red means get charging.
Just use one bud
You can use the right earbud one its own in a standalone mode simply by double tapping on the touch controls. Perfect if you only have a bit of power remaining on the left one.
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