If you’re feeling AirPods envy but don’t want/can’t find/don’t have ears that work ergonomically with Apple’s white tube option, there’s a new top choice alternative – provided you’re willing to pay the price. Bragi’s Dash Pro is the latest set of fully wireless earbuds from the dedicated headset computing company, and its experience with its first two products really show the company has learned a lot.
The Dash Pro is $329, which is more than double the U.S. price of AirPods, but they’re designed to be more than just wireless earbuds. They include onboard storage for standalone use, and new to this generation, a four-dimension gesture control interface, as well as support for iTranslate, an iOS app that will give you in-ear translation of spoken words provided you have the app installed and sign up for a pro subscription.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks testing out one of the very first pairs of the Bragi Dash Pro, and I’m impressed; like the Bragi Headphone, the Dash Pro nails the basics, including pairing, audio quality, avoiding dropouts and giving you a consistently good connection. That kind of solid performance is something most reviewers found wasn’t nearly as good in the original Dash, so it’s very nice to see Bragi improve things on that front.
But that’s not all you get with the Dash Pro, and it’s the extras that bump them up to my top recommendation for anyone who wants truly wireless audio freedom. The onboard storage and fitness tracking features work very well, and now passively, too, if you enable that feature, detecting workouts automatically using Bragi’s onboard sensors. Plus, that iTranslate feature, while a bit clunky (it’s not real-time translation as people speak, but rather a speak, pause, playback mechanic) is still effective enough to be very useful while traveling.
The motion controls for the Bragi Dash Pro are probably going to be less generally appealing to users, but they’re a nice addition, especially if you’re motion is limited in your arms for touch-based controls. They also can come in handy during activities where touch-sensitive controls aren’t great, and need to be locked out, as when you’re running in the rain (these are water-resistant, too, and can even be used for swimming) and your hood keeps brushing the earbuds and activating/deactivating features like audio transparency.
The Dash Pro also addresses another of the original’s weaknesses, boosting usable battery life up to around five hours. That’s what I found I got out of mine under normal use, which was plenty for use throughout the day. They also include a charging case with up to five additional charges in the built-in battery, a big perk that the more basic Headphone doesn’t include. This makes a dramatic difference for the better when using these while traveling.
Finally, Bragi’s audio transparency is a great feature that you’ll be surprised you ever did without once you experience it. It basically hands off audio from outside, and now includes a windscreen feature that does wonders while you’re doing things like riding a bike. This means they never really have to come out of your ears as you run errands, chat with people and more, which is great with this type of device since you don’t want to be keeping track of loose buds your pockets.
Bragi received due criticism for some aspects of the original Dash’s performance, but it’s addressed the vast majority of those complaints here, and done so with admirable results. The Dash Pro is a great set of wireless earbuds – and a nascent form of computing platform with tons of early promise. Provided you’re okay with the higher-than-average price, these are definitely the fully wireless buds I’d get right now.