Review: Bragi's Headphone offers a solid alternative to Apple AirPods

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2
Bragi's fully wireless Headphone -- yes, in the singular -- is a competent if not spectacular alternative to Apple's AirPods, and even has some features the AirPods lack.




The Headphone is based on the Bragi Dash, one of the earliest entries into true wireless earbuds. At $149, the new product is about half the cost of its predecessor, finally making Bragi's gear a realistic proposition. It's even $10 less than the AirPods.

You do make some sacrifices versus the Dash, of course. Gone are any fitness tracking functions, as well as the 4 gigabytes of onboard music storage. The Headphone isn't waterproof, and its carrying case doesn't have a battery -- the micro USB port is simply a passthrough, meaning that whatever charge the earbuds have before you leave home is what you'll get unless you can find another plug-in.




Thankfully the Headphone does at least offer 2 hours extra charge for a total of 6, in fact an hour more than the AirPods (which do come with a charging case, mind).

Another sacrifice might be seen as a plus by some wearers. Instead of touch-sensitive gestures, the Headphone is controlled with three physical buttons, all of them serving multiple purposes depending on the context and how long you hold them down. They're certainly less elegant than the Dash's gesture system -- you'll often end up pressing a bud further into your ear to get a button to respond -- but they're also more precise, since there's less room for error. It's worth noting that the AirPods' onboard controls are limited to play/pause and toggling Siri, and even then, it's one or the other.




A minor annoyance is that the Headphone suffers from some input lag. This is slight to non-existent with play/pause and skipping tracks, but triggering Siri can take a few seconds, when your natural inclination will be to hit the button and start talking. The Headphone's built-in microphones do appear to be good at registering voice input, at least in relatively quiet environments.

Like the Dash, another benefit of the Headphone is a feature Bragi calls audio transparency. By holding down the volume increase button for a second, you can allow ambient sounds to mix in, which is invaluable in urban areas or just when you'd prefer not to be rude -- it's often possible to hold a conversation without removing anything. Keeping transparency off is wise if you want the best listening experience though, and you will occasionally have to remove the buds to hear people clearly.

Sound quality is about on par with the Dash, which is to say average, neither bad nor amazing. You'll probably enjoy your listening experience, but the Headphone doesn't have deep bass, and there's some distortion on the high end. Convenience was clearly higher on the agenda than fidelity.

On that note, while the earbuds seems to stay firmly planted in normal use -- especially with three different tip sizes available -- we didn't trust their hold enough for weightlifting at the gym. Running should be safer, but as with any wireless earbuds, tethered ones are a better choice if your activity is in any way strenuous.

Conclusions

If you're searching for all-wireless earbuds and don't want AirPods for whatever reason, the Headphone will certainly do. It's a little more subtle than Apple's product, fashion-wise, and features like on-ear controls and audio transparency may tip things in Bragi's favor.

There aren't any major dealbreakers here, unless you want something that lasts more than 6 hours between charges, has the best possible sound, and/or will stay rock-solid at the gym.

The real argument is whether going fully wireless is right in the first place, and if so, whether some of the AirPods' conveniences -- namely automatic on/off, and quick pairing with multiple Apple devices -- will stop you from considering an independent option.

Score: 4 out of 5

Where to buy:

Bragi is currently accepting preorders for $149.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,267member
    1) I think these were slated to have an MSRP of $299 up until the AirPods were announced.

    2) I'd love to get in-earphones that have the same technology, weight, and volume of AirPods -or- see an earthodontist so he can slowly mold my ear cartilage to fit AirPods perfectly.
  • Reply 2 of 42
    Received my AirPods yesterday. 

    Pros: easy peasy set up. Excellent sound and mic. Tap for Siri is cool. Fast charging is great. Case lid and the nesting of pods in case is cool. 

    Cons: they are constantly falling out of my ears. Fell out twice before I was in train while walking. Fell out twice during a 10 minute train ride. Fell out after train ride. Fall out when reclining in arm chair. Unless I put chewing gum in my ears, or rubber bands around ears, they are hopeless (at least for me.)

    Result: can't really use them outside the house for fear of them falling on the tracks, down a drain, in a crack or underfoot. 

    Please Apple, put a Mike in the beats in air products because there are folks out there whose ears can't retain these little beauties!
    nocreatorblue
  • Reply 3 of 42
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,267member
    Received my AirPods yesterday. 

    Pros: easy peasy set up. Excellent sound and mic. Tap for Siri is cool. Fast charging is great. Case lid and the nesting of pods in case is cool. 

    Cons: they are constantly falling out of my ears. Fell out twice before I was in train while walking. Fell out twice during a 10 minute train ride. Fell out after train ride. Fall out when reclining in arm chair. Unless I put chewing gum in my ears, or rubber bands around ears, they are hopeless (at least for me.)

    Result: can't really use them outside the house for fear of them falling on the tracks, down a drain, in a crack or underfoot. 

    Please Apple, put a Mike in the beats in air products because there are folks out there whose ears can't retain these little beauties!
    1) Absolutely no falling out for me, but I sold mine (effectively at cost) because they were uncomfortable. It's too bad that we're in the 1% of those who can't use AirPods.

    2) I didn't know the Beats products didn't have built in mics.

    edit: They do have a microphone.

    edited December 2016
  • Reply 4 of 42
    Mine fell out as well. They were in but really only just... If I shook my head they would fly out, or come out to the point where I could barely hear them.

    I therefore took them back. The volume adjustment using Siri was also a pain...
  • Reply 5 of 42
    "The Headphone is based on the Bragi Dash, one of the earliest entries into true wireless earbuds. At $149, the new product is about half the cost of its predecessor, finally making Bragi's gear a realistic proposition. It's even $10 less than the AirPods."

    $10 less without a battery charger? You can't call it less...
    andrewj5790jahblade
  • Reply 6 of 42
    Airpods have the exact ear shape as EarPods. I have no idea how you'd "be disappointed and surprised that Airpods don't stay in your ears." Geezus Christ, the EarPods shape has been out for years. If you've ever bought an iPhone in the last 4 years, you've had the free EarPods with the same design as Airpods. Yet you didn't know that the design doesn't fit your ears? Ok, sorry, that's ridiculous. If EarPods fit you, then Airpods fit you. If EarPods don't fit you, Airpods don't fit you. It's not rocket science guys. 
    mike1Polyphoniemagman1979jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 42
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,267member
    xmhillx said:
    Airpods have the exact ear shape as EarPods. I have no idea how you'd "be disappointed and surprised that Airpods don't stay in your ears." Geezus Christ, the EarPods shape has been out for years. If you've ever bought an iPhone in the last 4 years, you've had the free EarPods with the same design as Airpods. Yet you didn't know that the design doesn't fit your ears? Ok, sorry, that's ridiculous. If EarPods fit you, then Airpods fit you. If EarPods don't fit you, Airpods don't fit you. It's not rocket science guys. 
    1) Reviews have by and large stated that EarPods don't stay in your ears but AirPods do.

    2) My personal experience with both is that EarPods fall out but there was no normal activity I could imagine that would've caused the AirPods to fall out, which helps the hypothesis that the cable pulls and twisting on the EarPods was the major culprit for EarPods falling out.

    3) Are they "the exact ear shape as EarPods"? They're certainly very similar, but they don't look exactly the same to me, which is something else reviewers have stated.
  • Reply 8 of 42
    Soli said:
    xmhillx said:
    Airpods have the exact ear shape as EarPods. I have no idea how you'd "be disappointed and surprised that Airpods don't stay in your ears." Geezus Christ, the EarPods shape has been out for years. If you've ever bought an iPhone in the last 4 years, you've had the free EarPods with the same design as Airpods. Yet you didn't know that the design doesn't fit your ears? Ok, sorry, that's ridiculous. If EarPods fit you, then Airpods fit you. If EarPods don't fit you, Airpods don't fit you. It's not rocket science guys. 
    1) Reviews have by and large stated that EarPods don't stay in your ears but AirPods do.

    2) My personal experience with both is that EarPods fall out but there was no normal activity I could imagine that would've caused the AirPods to fall out, which helps the hypothesis that the cable pulls and twisting on the EarPods was the major culprit for EarPods falling out.

    3) Are they "the exact ear shape as EarPods"? They're certainly very similar, but they don't look exactly the same to me, which is something else reviewers have stated.
    You're mixing two things up.
    1) EarPods fit my ears perfect. If I try to make them fall out by shaking my head vigorously, they fall out (due to the wires, their weight and momentum).
    2) EarPods don't fit my ears. They fall out when I tilt my head sideways, or smile, or they simply don't fit my ears. No need to shake my head around to make them fall out. There literally are people who's ears pop EarPods and Airpods out as soon as they let go after putting them in their ears: or when smiling, or slightly titling their head. 

    Falling out of your ears due to wires and fitting your ears are two different things. For those who's ears are perfect for EarPods and Airpods, the Airpods don't fall out even when vigorously shaking your head, as many reviewers have demonstrated and you mentioned. No wires means no weight and momentum from kinetic energy tugging them away. 

    I'm critizing the people who seemingly are disappointed the Airpods didn't fit them and fall out easily, which indicates their ears aren't meant for either Airpods or EarPods. If EarPods never fit you naturally, neither will Airpods. They are the same exact contour (the sensors, grill, and stem are different, I'm obviously not talking about the thicker stem or new and wider sensors and larger mic grills...). 
  • Reply 9 of 42
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,267member
    xmhillx said:
    Soli said:
    xmhillx said:
    Airpods have the exact ear shape as EarPods. I have no idea how you'd "be disappointed and surprised that Airpods don't stay in your ears." Geezus Christ, the EarPods shape has been out for years. If you've ever bought an iPhone in the last 4 years, you've had the free EarPods with the same design as Airpods. Yet you didn't know that the design doesn't fit your ears? Ok, sorry, that's ridiculous. If EarPods fit you, then Airpods fit you. If EarPods don't fit you, Airpods don't fit you. It's not rocket science guys. 
    1) Reviews have by and large stated that EarPods don't stay in your ears but AirPods do.

    2) My personal experience with both is that EarPods fall out but there was no normal activity I could imagine that would've caused the AirPods to fall out, which helps the hypothesis that the cable pulls and twisting on the EarPods was the major culprit for EarPods falling out.

    3) Are they "the exact ear shape as EarPods"? They're certainly very similar, but they don't look exactly the same to me, which is something else reviewers have stated.
    You're mixing two things up.
    1) EarPods fit my ears perfect. If I try to make them fall out by shaking my head vigorously, they fall out (due to the wires, their weight and momentum).
    2) EarPods don't fit my ears. They fall out when I tilt my head sideways, or smile, or they simply don't fit my ears. No need to shake my head around to make them fall out. There literally are people who's ears pop EarPods and Airpods out as soon as they let go after putting them in their ears: or when smiling, or slightly titling their head. 

    Falling out of your ears due to wires and fitting your ears are two different things. For those who's ears are perfect for EarPods and Airpods, the Airpods don't fall out even when vigorously shaking your head, as many reviewers have demonstrated and you mentioned. No wires means no weight and momentum from kinetic energy tugging them away. 

    I'm critizing the people who seemingly are disappointed the Airpods didn't fit them and fall out easily, which indicates their ears aren't meant for either Airpods or EarPods. If EarPods never fit you naturally, neither will Airpods. They are the same exact contour (the sensors, grill, and stem are different, I'm obviously not talking about the thicker stem or new and wider sensors and larger mic grills...). 
    1) I didn't mix anything up and can't fathom how you mixed up my comments which were clearly numbered.

    2) How would a person know if AirPods will or won't fall out of their ears when there's a huge range of "EarPods are comfortable but they fall out of my ears " -to- "EarPods  are uncomfortable and fall out of my ears" comments. Did anyone in this thread say that EarPods never remotely fit, stayed in, or would pop out if they smiled? And even if they did, that doesn't mean that AirPods would be the same if the design is altered to be slightly thicker in one area, thinner in another, and/or have a slightly different contour. You may not even be able to see this difference with the naked eye, which goes along with reviews saying they are very similar but a slightly different shape than EarPods. Would you be able to see a 3% arch change on one of the single plane? I'm pretty sure I would. It's easy to assume a poster with 2 comments is just trolling or purposely spreading bad news about this fantastic new product, but I doubt that Robertwalter is based on his comment and comment count.
    andrewj5790
  • Reply 10 of 42
    irelandireland Posts: 16,333member
    AirPods are far more attractive than these in my opinion.
    andrewj5790magman1979
  • Reply 11 of 42
    irelandireland Posts: 16,333member
    Soli said:
    2) I'd love to get in-earphones that have the same technology, weight, and volume of AirPods -or- see an earthodontist so he can slowly mold my ear cartilage to fit AirPods perfectly.
    Global warming doctor to check how sick the earth is? You may mean a Otolaryngologist (oh-toe-lair-in-goll...)
    edited January 1 pscooter63
  • Reply 12 of 42
    friedmudfriedmud Posts: 122member
    These look good.  May get a pair for my wife (who's ears don't like Air/EarPods).

    however, I love my AirPods and here my list of things they do better than the Dash:

    - Charging Case
    - TINY case that fits well in jeans pocket
    - Instant Pairing
    - Handoff to other Apple devices
    - Call answering from the Apple Watch when headphones paired with iPhone (currently not possible with any other headphone!) 
    - Great sounding, beam forming microphone
    - Battery for each AirPod listed in Battery complication
    - Can check battery for AirPods and case on iPhone lock screen just by opening the case
    - Automatic pause/play by removing one from your ears
    - Simple gesture to invoke Siri (better than trying to hit a tiny button - but of course you can only do one thing!)
    - Charge using Lightning cable so you only need to carry one kind of cable with you for charging iPhone/AirPods

    Basically: better integration makes the AirPods a better choice.

    But, these Bragi Headphones provide a great alternative if the AirPods aren't for your ears...
    leavingthebiggjahblade
  • Reply 13 of 42
    Junky piece of plastic turd. Why would I ever buy this??
    andrewj5790magman1979
  • Reply 14 of 42
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,317member
    xmhillx said:
    Soli said:
    xmhillx said:
    Airpods have the exact ear shape as EarPods. I have no idea how you'd "be disappointed and surprised that Airpods don't stay in your ears." Geezus Christ, the EarPods shape has been out for years. If you've ever bought an iPhone in the last 4 years, you've had the free EarPods with the same design as Airpods. Yet you didn't know that the design doesn't fit your ears? Ok, sorry, that's ridiculous. If EarPods fit you, then Airpods fit you. If EarPods don't fit you, Airpods don't fit you. It's not rocket science guys. 
    1) Reviews have by and large stated that EarPods don't stay in your ears but AirPods do.

    2) My personal experience with both is that EarPods fall out but there was no normal activity I could imagine that would've caused the AirPods to fall out, which helps the hypothesis that the cable pulls and twisting on the EarPods was the major culprit for EarPods falling out.

    3) Are they "the exact ear shape as EarPods"? They're certainly very similar, but they don't look exactly the same to me, which is something else reviewers have stated.
    You're mixing two things up.
    1) EarPods fit my ears perfect. If I try to make them fall out by shaking my head vigorously, they fall out (due to the wires, their weight and momentum).
    2) EarPods don't fit my ears. They fall out when I tilt my head sideways, or smile, or they simply don't fit my ears. No need to shake my head around to make them fall out. There literally are people who's ears pop EarPods and Airpods out as soon as they let go after putting them in their ears: or when smiling, or slightly titling their head. 

    Falling out of your ears due to wires and fitting your ears are two different things. For those who's ears are perfect for EarPods and Airpods, the Airpods don't fall out even when vigorously shaking your head, as many reviewers have demonstrated and you mentioned. No wires means no weight and momentum from kinetic energy tugging them away. 

    I'm critizing the people who seemingly are disappointed the Airpods didn't fit them and fall out easily, which indicates their ears aren't meant for either Airpods or EarPods. If EarPods never fit you naturally, neither will Airpods. They are the same exact contour (the sensors, grill, and stem are different, I'm obviously not talking about the thicker stem or new and wider sensors and larger mic grills...). 
    I would say that EarPods fall out of my ears pretty easily (not "very" but "somewhat" easily), and I find AirPods don't fall out at all.

    It's difficult to predict how the AirPods will work in any given ears. If the Air/Ear pod shapes are really the same, the lack of wires makes a huge difference. 

    The stem on the AirPods are a bit thicker. That's one difference. Another practical difference is that the wireless stem means you can twist the pods forward so the stem points toward your mouth. For me, this twist locks the pod into my ear much better — another reason that each individual should try them regardless.

    They are worth the effort. Wirelessness is where it's at.
    edited January 1 andrewj5790
  • Reply 15 of 42
    MacProMacPro Posts: 15,977member
    Received my AirPods yesterday. 

    Pros: easy peasy set up. Excellent sound and mic. Tap for Siri is cool. Fast charging is great. Case lid and the nesting of pods in case is cool. 

    Cons: they are constantly falling out of my ears. Fell out twice before I was in train while walking. Fell out twice during a 10 minute train ride. Fell out after train ride. Fall out when reclining in arm chair. Unless I put chewing gum in my ears, or rubber bands around ears, they are hopeless (at least for me.)

    Result: can't really use them outside the house for fear of them falling on the tracks, down a drain, in a crack or underfoot. 

    Please Apple, put a Mike in the beats in air products because there are folks out there whose ears can't retain these little beauties!
    Liquid Nails? Joking appart, I wonder how long it will be before a third party add on allows some sort of way to fasten them to your ears with out using a super glue.  Meanwhile they do make white Duct Tape ;)
    edited January 1
  • Reply 16 of 42
    MacProMacPro Posts: 15,977member

    ireland said:
    Soli said:
    2) I'd love to get in-earphones that have the same technology, weight, and volume of AirPods -or- see an earthodontist so he can slowly mold my ear cartilage to fit AirPods perfectly.
    Global warming doctor to check how sick the earth is? You may mean a Otolaryngologist (oh-toe-lair-in-goll...)
    I suspect auto correction may have got Soli, he's way to smart for that error.  lol
  • Reply 17 of 42
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,267member
    MacPro said:

    ireland said:
    Soli said:
    2) I'd love to get in-earphones that have the same technology, weight, and volume of AirPods -or- see an earthodontist so he can slowly mold my ear cartilage to fit AirPods perfectly.
    Global warming doctor to check how sick the earth is? You may mean a Otolaryngologist (oh-toe-lair-in-goll...)
    I suspect auto correction may have got Soli, he's way to smart for that error.  lol
    I used italics and a description to convey my efforts. An orthodontist deals with the treatment of irregularities with the teeth, like braces. My comment was a farcical notion and play on the dental term to have your ear cartilage slowly reshaped to fit AirPods perfectly. Someone who studies diseases of the ear and throat is not what I meant. Perhaps I should've used a hyphen: ear-thodontist.
    edited January 1
  • Reply 18 of 42
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,290member
    Soli said:
    2) I'd love to get in-earphones that have the same technology, weight, and volume of AirPods -or- see an earthodontist so he can slowly mold my ear cartilage to fit AirPods perfectly.
    Well, sorry to be snotty, but, it serves you right for not having your ears designed by Johnny Ive...
     :p 
    Soli
  • Reply 19 of 42
    dettdett Posts: 6member
    Soli said:
    I used italics and a description to convey my efforts. An orthodontist deals with the treatment of irregularities with the teeth, like braces. My comment was a farcical notion and play on the dental term to have your ear cartilage slowly reshaped to fit AirPods perfectly. Someone who studies diseases of the ear and throat is not what I meant. Perhaps I should've used a hyphen: ear-thodontist.
    Clever, but I can't get past the fact that "dont" refers to teeth, so I have an image in my head of an ear full of teeth, which is terrifying.  :#
    Soli
  • Reply 20 of 42
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,267member
    dett said:
    Soli said:
    I used italics and a description to convey my efforts. An orthodontist deals with the treatment of irregularities with the teeth, like braces. My comment was a farcical notion and play on the dental term to have your ear cartilage slowly reshaped to fit AirPods perfectly. Someone who studies diseases of the ear and throat is not what I meant. Perhaps I should've used a hyphen: ear-thodontist.
    Clever, but I can't get past the fact that "dont" refers to teeth, so I have an image in my head of an ear full of teeth, which is terrifying.  :#
    I could've gone with Auralaryngologist but that has a similar issue with "larynx" still being a key part of the term. I can't think of a pun on a medical term that would work perfectly. How about a completely new term like Auralcartilagologist?
    lorin schultz
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