What follows is quite a long review; so my conclusion first.
When they arrived 5 months ago; the Dash were definitely not worth the money - they were barely usable. They weren't ready for the market. In those five months Bragi have delivered 3 updates that have redeemed the concept whilst adding new features to the headphones. Thankfully the first update came soon in my ownership and did a lot of improve the bluetooth reception. The fit in the ear is tailorable and excellent - these headphones don't fall out unless you really push it. They don't sound as good as headphones at this price do - they do sound far better than the headphones you get with a device. These aren't just headphones they offer gesture driven response for things like answering the phone, fitness trackers for land and water and a signpost to what the digital future can be. In September when i bought them i would have given them 2 stars; the software updates have dragged this up to 4. I wish the battery life and bluetooth signal reception were both a little stronger; also i long for active noise cancelling to be added.
My Bragi History
I bought my Bragi Dash five months ago just before the end of the headphone jack was declared by Apple. I have held of reviewing them; at the time i bought them I really wanted to buy Bose SoundSport
as I love my quiet comforts on the plane and just wanted a set of cordless headphones for the rest of the time. part of the delay in reviewing them was my desire to still try the bose headphones; I have now and they were beyond underwhelming after life with Bragi; suffering from noise leakage and a cable that ended up lost in my shirt collars all the time.
Opening the Bragi Dash is an experience; the packaging is simply outstanding; a large folding out cardboard book explaining how they work and how to get use to them. In the box were some stickers, the charging dock and an aluminium sleeve, a very short usb cable, the headphones and some different size sleeves to size the headphones. The sound of the headphones is nice and neutral - they don't sound as good as a pure headphone at this price should; but Bragi would argue these are more than just headphones.
The first thing you need to do is get the fit right; in the box are 3 sets of sleeves; that wrap around the body of the headphones increasing the size so they stay in your ear better - they come with just the small tips fitted and size each ear out separately until you find the best fit. The fit for me was excellent; and its difficult to knock them out. Each of the sleeve sizes them has a silicone diaphragm that acts to block out some ambient noise - they arent as good as my Bose QCs especially on a train; but they do a good job in most situations - so much so there is a transparency mode that activates some microphones on the outside and broadcast things to your ear. This is great; but as you can remove the left speaker and the right keeps working i think its more polite to do that.
Bragi bill the dash as wearables and they deliver a large number of features that i hadn't seen in headphones before; they can take your pulse through the ear - and on an iPhone add that data to the apple healthkit app. They can measure steps reasonably well; best of all they are waterproof (to 1m - so don't let them fall out when swimming) and you can wear them whilst swimming. As you cant really take your phone into the pool; the 4gb of internal storage that lets you upload music and podcasts to them and listen without a bluetooth source. I don't use the land fitness activities as much as the swimming one and it is impressive - measuring laps and breaths as well as your pulse as you go and auditing it into the app - all whilst keeping you entertained. All this tech in the tiny size drains the battery though; it lasts 3-4 hours before you need to recharge it. You do that with the included recharging case; which can charge the headphones 5 times before needing recharging itself. It charges them up in about 30 minutes.
Connecting them to your phone is done bluetooth from the right ear bud; apple made out this is onerous but it really isn't; and once you have done it once you don't need to do it again. The right hand side of the bragi dash connect to your phone and then separately broadcast the signal to your left year - the sound remains in sync really well. The first bad experience when they arrived was the bluetooth signal was terrible - to the point putting a phone in the left pocket blocked the signal to the right ear bud; leaving it in the left pocket it worked fine. The dash were the first headphones I have done software upgrades too; and over the last few updates the headphones signal has been improved and is now usable in most all circumstances. You control the music from the right ear bud on a touch sensitive section for volume, moving tracks or activating siri. The left speaker ear bud controls activities.
You can use the headphones for making phone calls; there are bone conduction microphones on the inside - callers report that the volume is often muted. Pushing the earbuds into your ear helps; generally though they work better than external microphones on cables that rub on clothes. The in ear microphone also allows for weather resistance. It definitely doesn't sound as good as the microphones on my phone under most all circumstances.