Over here at the RUN Singapore HQ, we’ve had many wireless sports earphones pass through the door. Some work as advertised, some are disappointing, some defy expectations and some are downright frustrating to pair up with the Bluetooth connection.
Bragi’s The Dash Pro is something of a wildcard. Born from a Kickstarter funded project, with a few evolutions along the way, this version pictured here promises to be all the earphones that a sports person needs.
It features five hours of playback, Bluetooth connectivity, 4GB of onboard music storage, an in-ear heart rate monitor, is properly waterproof, and stores in its own charging case that packs an additional 25 hours of battery charge.
On top of that, it’s tunable with the Bragi OS app and has onboard firmware that’s designed to be updated with new features as they come online.
There’s a reasonable learning curve with these, and while installing the app on your smartphone isn’t compulsory, we discovered something really cool about it. The app requests that you calibrate the motion sensors in the earphones, and that’s done by wearing them and following the audio cues. It’s just simple stuff like looking straight, up, down and around. Once it’s done, the app now tells you that you can navigate the menu by moving your head.
That’s right, instead of using the touch surfaces on the earpieces, you can actually go through the menus and play songs by looking left and right, and nodding your head. It actually works. You’ll undoubtedly look silly if you do it on the train or bus, so we’re switching back to the conventional controls, but if you want to get a taste of the future, here it is.
Once paired, getting them to work is quite effortless. Remove them from the case and they’ll immediately start searching for the strongest recognisable Bluetooth signal. There’s nothing to press or hold, and so far it’s been very quick about connecting to phones and laptops.
If there are no devices in range, you can simply play music from the unit’s internal storage, which is loaded by connecting the charging case to your computer through the USB cable, and then just drag-and-drop files straight in. The control interfaces are touch-sensitive panels on the lower half of the right earbud. Tap once to play, tap twice to pause, swipe forwards to increase volume and swipe back to decrease it, you get the idea.
Swiping the left earbud’s touch panel opens up the audio transparency function. This activates the microphones on each unit, which mixes and passes the ambient environmental noise through to the speaker drivers along with the music. You can hold a conversation with your friend and still listen to your music, but because of the non-selective nature of the microphones, everything sounds at about the same volume. This means that in the gym, the sound of clanking equipment can become quite an annoyance when they sound just as loud as a friend’s voice through the earpiece.
When connected via Bluetooth, the connection is stable and has a surprisingly long range. The left earbud is linked to the right master unit via magnetic waves the same way hearing aids are, and the use of proximity sensors means that they activate when both are placed in your ears.
There are no other steps other than to take them out of the case and put them on. They immediately power up, link to each other, and your phone automatically. From experience, it works every time without fail.
With a selection of different sized ear tips to choose from, a decent fit can be achieved by most users. The audio quality is well-balanced, though we wouldn’t go as far as to class it as audiophile quality. For all other purposes, it’s more than adequate though.
You shake each earbud to check the battery level remaining, and the colour of the light emanating from the back informs you accordingly. The light also pulses slowly while charging, and is visible through a slot on the carrying case.
Costing upwards of S$500 it isn’t cheap, but for what it can do, Bragi’s The Dash Pro is pretty awesome.