bragi’s first truly wireless in-ear headphones, the dash, were perhaps the most advanced headphones ever created, complete with sensors, gyroscopes, and a mountain of other technology. unfortunately, they didn’t execute their main function very well, namely playing music, serving as a kind of warning about biting off more than you can chew. now bragi is back with the impressive (and daringly named) headphones, true wireless in-ear headphones that do away with many of the features of their predecessors but, more importantly, also fix many of their flaws.
Slimmed down and with great sound, constant connectivity and an industry-leading six hours of playtime per charge, the headphones cleverly trade that mountain of features for a design that’s much simpler and more affordable. Along with all that trimmed fat, though, Bragi has also trimmed a staple of the genre: the charging case that lets you recharge your earphones on the go. is that enough to let them pass? The short answer is no, but follow along as we detail exactly what you get – and what you give up – in bragi’s new wireless wonders.
Reading: Bragi the headphone amazon
out of the box
If simplicity is the headphone mantra, nothing says it more clearly than the packaging. A slim rectangle barely larger than the contents inside, the box opens to reveal a surprisingly familiar black metal box with a shoelace attached to the inner cover – Bragi’s press images show pretty young models wearing the headphones. like a necklace, but we’d compare that cool factor to cell phone cases.
Other than that, the standout feature here is the lack of a battery life indicator on the case, the first indication that the case isn’t a portable charging station like many of its ilk. Inside the case, the earbuds protrude from foam circles revealing a three-button control panel on the right earbud, while the left earbud is blank except for the microphone vent.
a small accessory box continues the minimalist theme, with a small selection of ear tips (a set of compatible foam tips is included) and a short usb to micro-usb charging cable. the compliance tips are molded to fit, but the silicone option fits our ears perfectly.
Setting up is a bit tricky, but armed with our knowledge, it should be a piece of cake. Pairing is done by holding down the power key for three seconds and then selecting “bragi hp” in your device’s bluetooth settings. the hard part is turning them on later without accidentally setting them to repair themselves, which is accomplished with a one-second wait. the trick is to wait for a solid led to appear and immediately pull the pressure. works, but we prefer to have a switch.
Once paired, the earphones will automatically connect when powered on and automatically power off when charged.
features and design
Although slimmer and lighter in design, the earphones look strikingly dash-like, carved from black plastic with ventilated microphone slots that let you hear the world around you, even while listening to tunes. that’s called transparency mode, and it’s one of the few lifestyle features that carries over from the dash.
To activate transparency mode and all the other features, you’ll need to learn to love the awkward three-key control center on the right earcup. it’s meant to mimic the three-button system on most in-line headset mics, with a plus and minus key for volume control, and a power/multifunction key, but it doesn’t work as well.
we don’t agree with the new design, which changes the touch controls on the board to touch keys; the buttons are much more precise, but pressing them with the buttons on the ears can put even more pressure on the inner ear than before.
however, the keys tend to soften over time and using a fingernail was much easier than a fingertip. along with volume, the plus and minus keys turn transparency mode on and off respectively by holding each for one second. Power/Multi key can skip songs, take/end calls and activate Siri/Google voice. in the end, we still prefer keys to the random taps required to activate pad functions, but frankly, the less you need to use them, the better.
Some other interesting quirks to note about the headphone features: It may appear that the headphones share a feature commonly found in other wireless headphones where they pause the music once one of the headphones is removed, but it’s not like that. instead, pulling on the right earbud appears to activate a proximity sensor that cuts the music off only on the left button. that’s the key, because the music will continue to play when you take the buttons out. the buttons will automatically turn off when placed on their charging sensors, but only if the case is plugged in. otherwise they will continue to swing and drain the battery. as such, we suggest keeping the case plugged in when possible, while making sure to turn off the headphones when you’re on the go.
The earphones are extremely light compared to their predecessor and also quite comfortable. they fit very well for their size, and are unnoticeable when you’ve had them on for a few minutes. Pairing that with the wireless design is more liberating than we expected, making the headset very convenient to use at your desk or on the go.
Unlike so many true wireless earbuds we’ve tested, the earbuds just work. We had virtually zero dropouts over the course of several days of listening, even when we walked away from our phone, proving that Bragi has solved its bluetooth connection issues. Thanks in part to nxp’s latest near-field magnetic induction technology, which bonds the headphones together for stereo sound, we also had no sync issues, resulting in solid stereo playback.
Battery life is also excellent, lasting a total of six hours claimed in our tests, if not more. that’s a very good thing because, as mentioned, these ‘buds are crippled by the lack of a charging case. how important they are to you will depend on how you use the buttons: if they’re primarily an office companion, while accompanying you on your commute or workout (the buttons are sweat-resistant, though not waterproof like the dash) they’ll work just fine. But traveling too far from an outlet will greatly reduce its viability, unlike Apple’s AirPods, which offer up to 24 hours of charging time packed in the case.
That said, true wireless earbuds are in their toddler stage, so adjust expectations for now, and doubling the playtime of most competitors (airpods aside) is no small feat. . remember, most other true wireless earphones not only cost twice as much, but also require charging after three hours of playback, with or without battery power, meaning once those three hours are up, your music is paused .
The earphones’ quirks, including the lack of a battery box, are much more forgivable once you hear them. All in all, for $150, the wireless headphones sound great. audio is full and pulpy in the lows and lower mids, clear and relatively well detailed in the middle, and capable, if not a little attenuated in the upper register for a smooth, engaging sound.
The soundstage, while a bit compact, is also nicely spaced out, allowing you to hear clearly defined instrumental timbres and stereo placement, even when the buttons output a collection of sounds. Unlike many other true wireless earphones we’ve tested, the stereo imaging is solid and well-defined, and the overall sound signature is extremely approachable.
If you’re forced to raise any objections, we’ll jump into that treble region, which just doesn’t offer the bright, airy presence of more expensive headphones. also, the upper midrange can sound a bit harsh and buzzy at times, especially when playing lighter piano and electric guitar recordings. Pink Floyd’s Pain, for example, features distorted electric guitars that deliver a crunchier sawtooth tone than the richer resonance we’re used to. similarly, piano on lighter tracks like stones comes in colors, comes out with a bit of electronic keyboard clarity, sounds lighter and thinner than we’d like.
however, well-produced recordings, from the beatles’ martha my dear to regina spektor’s calculus, recreate the piano with a rich, earthy resonance, while inferior instruments such as bass, bass drum, and lower brass they show up in warm flavors that scratch that sonic itch in all the right places. while bass heads may want a little more authority, we loved the balance employed here, keeping everything in check while offering some oomph and low-end power when needed.
When it comes to call quality, the headset isn’t great, but it gets the job done, which is more than we can say for the board. Frankly, we’re on the phone so seldom these days that it doesn’t come up often, but you may want to save long conversations to catch up on your cable option.
Although not without their flaws, namely the lack of a charging case, the bragi earphones are an impressive and affordable new offering in the true wireless market. With the possible exception of Apple’s AirPods, Bragi’s latest outperform the competition with good old-fashioned consistency and quality, and are also among the most comfortable wireless earbuds we’ve come across. Going from the backboard to the headset, Bragi has traded a big swing for the fences with a solid double here, not only getting on base, but also setting up the go-ahead run for the company’s next inevitable effort.
how long will it last
Sweat resistance and solid build quality should keep the earphones going as long as other earphones in its price class. while we wish the lightweight plastic cases felt a little more robust, that would have added weight, and they feel solid enough for their price. a standard one year warranty is offered for replacement or repair due to product defects.
what are the alternatives?
As you’ve no doubt guessed, the biggest competition comes from similarly priced Apple AirPods, which offer better battery life when the charging case is included, but the sound quality doesn’t match. the headphones deliver clearer sound with better detail and balance, and more presence in the mids and highs. Which product you prefer depends on those factors, as well as whether or not you like the airpods golf tee design, which feels less comfortable and more distracting to our ears.
Other true wireless options include Eratu’s Apollo 7, which offers similar sound quality but perhaps less connection consistency, as well as a host of upcoming options, including Doppler Labs, which ships in February. however, most of those products will cost you about twice what you’ll pay for the headphones.
you should buy it
if you’re mad at the idea of going truly wireless but don’t want to break the bank, then definitely buy the headphones. While true wireless earbuds have a long way to go to keep up with their connected peers, early adopters will find a seamless transition to earbuds thanks to a solid connection, great sound quality and comfort, and a very attractive price. .
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