- Truly wireless headphones
- Audio transparency mode
- 6-hour battery life
- Media playback controls
- Manufacturer: Bragi
- Review Price: £149.99/$225
HANDS-ON WITH BRAGI’S NEW ENTRY-LEVEL TRULY WIRELESS HEADPHONES THAT TAKE A MORE SIMPLE APPROACH
Bragi’s The Dash headphones tried to do an awful lot as ‘the world’s first hearable’, from fitness tracking to acting as an in-ear computer. Unfortunately, so far that’s only been with a modicum of success, although software updates are set to refine the experience.
With its aptly named The Headphone, Bragi has simplified things considerably the second time round. These are truly wireless earbuds without any of the extra trimmings. Gone are all the in-ear personal assistant aspects along with all the fitness tracking.
What’s left are a pair of wireless headphones that play music and act as a hands-free headset, which in the days of Apple AirPods is all many will want. That means the price is also significantly less than The Dash, too, at £149/$223 when they reach the UK, which should be soon.
I had a chance to try The Headphone out at MWC and going from the slightly convoluted experience of The Dash, these are somewhat refreshing in comparison.
Their design is similar to The Dash, with a glossy black casing, and you get three different sized tips included. Two are silicone, while the largest come in the form of compressible Comply foam tips. Once inserted into your ears, the headphones don’t protrude very much and feel secure even without additional wingtips.
When not in use, the headphones stow away in a case, which notably does not charge the headphones. Bragi says that this was a conscious decision to keep the cost of The Headphone low and also because The Headphone will run for six hours on a single charge, which should be good for a day’s worth of listening.
I can see the point, six hours is more than you’ll get even from the Apple AirPod, but I’ll need to test the headphone’s battery stamina properly to be sure. Often, battery claims can be exaggerated or based on very specific – and not realistic – listening criteria so I might well find myself yearning for a charging case after all.
Even in my little time wearing the headphones, I’ve already come across one annoyance, though. The headphones don’t automatically turn off when put them inside their case, something every other truly wireless headphone I’ve tested to date has done. You’re going to need to remember to turn the headphones off before putting them away.
There are media playback controls on the right earbud, which lets you skip tracks and adjust volume as you would expect. The buttons are quite hard to press, though, and I find myself mashing the earphone into my canal whenever I want to press a button. Hopefully that gets easier with time.
The case comes with a lanyard looped through, so you can wear the headphone case around your neck if you want. For a case that doesn’t pack in a battery pack, it’s puzzlingly big, though.
The sound isn’t something I can really judge without spending more time with The Headphone, especially preferably somewhere not quite the hive of activity that is the MWC show floor. There doesn’t seem to be any glaring problems off the bat with them at least, which is reassuring.
One neat trick comes in the microphones department. There’s one microphone on the outside of the earbud as is common, but the other microphone is actually inserted into your ear canal. The microphone picks up your voice from inside your head and the headphones will dynamically cancel the external noise so your caller can hear you clearly.
From my brief test, it worked well and could be a really useful feature. Having struggled with a phone conversation on the blustery streets of Barcelona already this week, I’m keen to give the hands-free calling experience a more thorough go.
There’s also the audio transparency mode from The Dash that lets you hear the outside world, which will be useful for situational awareness or for when you just don’t want to have to take the earbuds out.
For someone looking for a pair of truly wireless earbuds simply for listening to music and hands-free calls, Bragi’s The Headphone could be a decent contender. They feel comfortable from the time I’ve spent with them.
Six hours of continuous use is an impressive duration on paper, but it remains to be seen how this holds up in reality. It’ll take more time with The Headphone for me to decide if I’m going to miss having a charging case, or if the sacrifice was indeed worth it for the lower price point. Be sure to check back for a full review in the coming weeks.