Wireless headphones have again become a fashionable theme since the fall of last year, as in September Apple introduced the new iPhone 7 smartphones, which lacked a 3.5-mm headset jack.For Apple, followed by other manufacturers. As a result, the market for wireless headphones has revived. In our test lab came headphones under the simple name Bragi The Headphone from the Munich startup Bragi. It will be interesting to evaluate them in practice.
Munich startup Bragi became famous for its first wireless headphones The Dash, the development of which was successfully funded through Kickstarter. But last fall the assortment of products was supplemented by the second model with the rather trivial name Bragi The Headphone, which just describes the main purpose. If The Dash supported a variety of fitness functions, then the new model brings to the fore the work in the basic quality of wireless headphones.
Immediately note an interesting feature: at the click of a button, headphones start to miss external noise, which allows, for example, to receive headphone messages from the navigation system while simultaneously perceiving the sound environment. How effectively this function works, we’ll talk below.
The price of headphones is 169 euros noticeably less than the Dash model. However, in this case, there are no additional fitness functions. For the market, the price is quite reasonable, since the same Apple AirPods are more expensive.
The hot topic of wireless headphones is the power. Bragi, like Apple, provided the ability to charge the headphones in a carrying case. Here, too, there is a difference with the more expensive The Dash: the shape of the boot is preserved, but plastic is chosen as the material, and not aluminum.
There is a second change: to save money, Bragi did not add the built-in battery. Unlike Dash or AirPods, headphones can not be charged by just putting them in a cover. Charging will only be performed when the power is connected to the cover through the USB port. This feature is unlikely to appeal to those users who travel a lot. Therefore, the advantage of the price is not so happy.
If you often listen to music, then you should not be removed from the electrical outlet for longer than half a day. In our tests, the battery life was enough for 5-5.5 hours of listening to music. This value can be called relatively good. So with interruptions, headphones can fill a working day with music or a long walk. But with long travels, not everything is as good as we would like.
For example, at the end of our trip to MWC, we had to switch to classic cable headphones. A similar problem is typical for all wireless headphones.
In the rest the cover left a positive impression, it is light and made qualitatively. The headphones are held in their places in the case by magnets, so they will not hang out on the road.
You can control Bragi The Headphone with three buttons on the right earpiece. In addition to the main on / off button, which is also used for pairing, buttons with plus and minus are available. They can be used, for example, to adjust the volume. The buttons are small, but if you practice, you can get used to them. However, they can not be called comfortable anyway.
The headphones themselves can not be called either large or heavy. After putting on a feeling the same. After inserting the ear pouch into the ear canal, the earpiece should be rotated, then it completely fits securely in the auricle – according to the author and three people who tested the headphones on themselves. Even when running, for example, the headphones do not fall out. And light weight here can be attributed to serious advantages.
Headphones are good at isolating outdoor noise. Bragi mentions “passive noise suppression”. But there is no active suppression system.
Here it is worthwhile to talk about another interesting feature that distinguishes Bragi The Headphone from its competitors: “Audio Transparency”. The mode is activated by a long press on the plus button. Then the built-in microphones will transmit ambient sounds to the headphones. For example, without removing the headphones, you can stop the music and communicate with other people. This function is very useful, for example, if you need to make an order in a coffee house. Another interesting area of application is navigation through the same Google Maps. A voice with directions will be fed to the headphones, but the driver will not lose control over the environment.
However, we must accept that the volume of the sound environment is lost. All ambient sounds are recorded using microphones, and then sent to the headphones as a stereo signal. Therefore, in this mode, the brain can not determine from which direction the sound goes. For example, you can not understand whether an approaching car is in front or behind, which can create dangerous situations in the city.
In any case, the function itself is very convenient in practice. But the benefit from it, as it usually happens, depends on personal preferences.
By functionality, Bragi The Headphone ‘s headphones performed well. But what about the sound quality?
In our listening tests it became immediately clear that Bragi decided not to go on about modern fashion, unlike many manufacturers. Bragi The Headphone sound is relatively neutral. We started auditioning with the composition Corrs “Forgiven not Forgotten”. When the drums were added, it became clear that Bragi seriously cut down the low frequencies. Therefore, the bass does not go to the fore. In general, low frequencies are reproduced very restrained, so the sound seems thin, from the inserts one can hardly expect dynamics.
With the violin Bragi The Headphone cope well, but here there is a lack of dynamics. But the liners perfectly cope with the reproduction of the smallest details and accents. The voice of Andrea Corr sounds very natural, the sound does not cut ears even at high volume levels.
The middle frequencies are in place. Splitting the channels into the right and left is felt, but with the volume the situation is worse. As a result, the instruments on the virtual stage are not as well felt as in some other in-ear headphones.
The first headphones The Dash functionality is literally off scale, but with the second model Bragi The Headphone Bragi concentrated on the basic qualities.
Plug-in headphones distinguish high quality of workmanship, they are very comfortable sitting in the ears. It is enough to insert the ear cups into the ear canal and turn, after which Bragi The Headphone will be securely held. Even when running, headphones do not fall out. A close fit provides filtering of extraneous noise. But if you do not need soundproofing, you can turn on the mode of broadcasting ambient sounds to the headphones – just press the button. The function in our tests worked perfectly, except that the direction of sounds is problematic.
Three buttons are available for control, which are rather small, but there is simply no place on the headset. One of the most serious drawbacks is connected with the case, in which charging is performed simultaneously. Unlike competitors, the case does not have a built-in battery, which is usually enough for several headphones. But the battery life is decent. In our tests, we got between five and six hours.
As for the audio quality, Bragi The Headphone gives a neutral sound, but, to our taste, the low frequencies are too truncated, the music lacks dynamics. In the rest there is no criticism.
The price of almost 170 euros is sure to scare off many buyers, since wired headphones cost much less. But the benefits of Bragi The Headphone can be attributed convenience and comfort. The most popular competitor are Apple’s AirPods. They are slightly more expensive, but there is a battery in the headphone cover. But you have to say goodbye to the additional function of listening to the environment.
In general, Bragi released a very convincing model of headphones. We highly appreciate The Headphone, except that it would not hurt to insert the battery into the case. If you need good wireless headphones, then The Headphone should pay attention.