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Bragi Dash Pro Wireless Headphones Review

These pricy buds are a frustrating combination of impressive innovation and basic flaws

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How much would you spend on headphones? Up to this point the priciest pair we’ve tried are around £200 so a set would need to offer a pretty special set of features to warrant a higher price than that. The Bragi Dash Pro wireless headphones deliver on the novel features front, but often fluff their lines when it comes to the basics – and considering they cost almost £300, that’s pretty much unforgivable.

The marquee features are the 4GB of space for music, podcasts and audiobooks, and tracking activity (including your heart rate) automatically. Using the partner app you can set up your own audio profile through a six-minute test where you press a button when you can hear a series of beeps, and release it when you can’t. This automatically adjusts the sound profile to your ears.

You can use headshakes and nods to scroll through the menu on the buds and skip tracks, and there are also touch controls on the side of the buds. The headphones offer five hours of battery life, and the carry case can charge them five times, which puts them at the top end of what’s on offer with truly wireless buds.

All of the above sounds fantastic and that’s not even all the features offered by the Dash Pro. However, I found using them was a fundamentally frustrating experience.

Things get off to a bad start with the carry case, which is large and unwieldy, requiring two hands to open. Also, when you pop the headphones back in the case they fail to click correctly into the charging pins around half the time. On two occasions I also found that after a few days of not using the buds they were dead in the carry case, and the case was also out of battery. I have no idea why this happened. No other wireless buds I’ve used before have had either of these problems.

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Once the Dash Pro buds were in my ears everything began smoothly – they connected quickly and reliably to my smartphone and laptop – but if I was using them with my laptop and took the buds out for a couple of minutes, I often found they had disconnected by the time I came back. They would then automatically connect to my phone when I put them back in.

I also had issues with the fit of the buds. You can use either full rubber skins that cover the whole bud and are designed for use while exercising, or just ear tips. Both provide a close seal, which is good for sound quality, but I round them slightly uncomfortable to wear for longer than an hour or so. And even while wearing the full skins, they were not completely secure while exercising. As soon as things get sweaty they require frequent prods to get them back into position. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to accidentally trigger the touch controls while keeping them from falling out.

The touch controls are fine when using the headphones in the office, but as soon as you’re exercising they’re a nightmare. Hitting the bud twice to skip a track while running was a crapshoot, and about half the time only one touch registered and I just paused the track.

Luckily you don’t need the touch controls, because the Bragi Dash Pro can recognise head gestures. Nod and you can access the virtual menu and then twitch your way through it to skip tracks. There is also meant to be a shortcut for skipping where you just shake your head, but this never worked once for me, despite constant checks that I had indeed enabled it in the app. The virtual menu is a nice idea, but to be honest, touch controls that work reliably would be more useful.

One feature of the Dash Pro that really did impress, however, was the storage space for audio. This is divided into four playlists, which you can access and switch between via the touch controls when you are not connected to any other audio source. The playlists mean you can divide up music and podcasts and have both easily available when you want to run without a phone. It’s a useful feature and executed better here than on any other headphones with storage space I’ve tried.

The automatic activity tracking feature is also clever, though I’m not sure it’s as useful. When you wear the Dash Pro on a run it will start recording data as soon as you get going, then chirp up every five minutes with some stats. Unfortunately the experience seems to have been designed by non-runners, because I certainly don’t know any runner who wants their step count during a run and notifications every five minutes, rather than every mile or kilometre. Distance tracking is also based on step length and so inevitably inaccurate compared with a GPS tracker, unless you set your stride up correctly and run on a flat, straight road with a constant stride.

Another feature designed to be used while exercising is the three audio transparency options. The standard setting is off, which offers the best sound quality and noise isolation. Swipe the left earbud once and transparency is turned on so you can hear more of what’s around you, which is useful when running or cycling outdoors. This feature is found on several other sets of headphones as well, but the Bragi Dash Pro one-ups them with the third setting – windshield. This allows external noise in but blocks out the whoosh of the wind when running or cycling. It’s a good idea and it works.

The sound quality of the Bragi Dash Pro is impressive even if you don’t take the six-minute test to create your own audio profile. The buds are not aggressively bass-heavy and music doesn’t sound at all compressed. I did create my own sound profile and if I’m honest I didn’t notice the difference afterwards, but maybe I just have a unrefined ear.

One final note on the buds relates to the volume control, which is one of the more reliable touch controls (swiping is generally better than tapping, I found). This is fine except that it will notify you every time you try to turn up the volume to the max that you have reached the “safe limit”, though it doesn’t stop you increasing the volume further. Sure, it might be trying to protect my hearing, but if I want to crank up a banger in the home straight of a 5K, I don’t want to be told I’m exceeding the safe limit. And I certainly don’t want to be told more than once, ever.

The Bragi Dash Pro headphones offer excellent sound quality for truly wireless buds, along with good battery life. They also have a few extras that set them apart from the competition, notably on-board storage and the audio transparency features. However, there are also glaring flaws that make them very annoying to use, including the awful carry case and touch controls, and the less-than-perfect fit, which makes them unsuited to vigorous exercise. For £300, I don’t think it’s outrageous to expect a close to perfect set of headphones, and these fall well short of the mark, especially if you intend on using them for sports.

There are clearly a lot of good ideas floating around Bragi HQ and one day that might result in a really brilliant set of headphones, but fancy features have to come on top of well-executed basics, which unfortunately isn’t the case with the Dash Pro buds.

Buy from Amazon (opens in new tab) | £299

Nick Harris-Fry
Nick Harris-Fry

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.