You know what sucks? Spending half your trip to the train station not listening to music or podcasts, but trying to untangle the Gordian Knot that your earphone cords have somehow constructed in your bag overnight.
It doesn’t matter how neatly you wound up and placed them in there the day before, the laws of physics are working against you, especially if you happen to be using the standard-issue Apple earbuds with their perfectly tangle-prone 139-centimetre-long cords.
But it’s 2015 now, and within months, that mild annoyance will be behind us. At the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, a European 28-person start-up called Bragi introduced their new Dash wireless earbuds, and I’m all in.
These things are slightly bigger than your regular wired earbud, and you can either stream music to them from another device, such as your smartphone, via bluetooth, or if you don’t want to carry your phone around while you’re exercising, you can upload music to its own 4GB hard drive. These things can even function as your phone’s headset so you can chat hands-free while you’re on a run (as exhausting as that sounds).
According to Business Week, they’ve got a battery life of 3.5 hours, and can monitor your heart rate and blood oxygen levels for post-workout analysis. They’re being handed out to Kickstarter donors right now, but will be on the market in April with a price tag of $300. To date, almost 16,000 supporters contributed more than US$ 3.3 million to the project, which made if the most successful European crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter ever.
"The best headphones I tried - and the ones I'll be tempted to buy as soon as they are available - were the touch-enabled Bragi Dash headphones. They are exactly what I've wanted,” Sean O’Kane from The Verge reported after giving them a try at CES. "The seal and the friction from the rubber keep the buds in place and are surprisingly comfortable, and they're light enough that they don't feel like they would pull themselves out."
And, because it’s 2015, an earbud is no longer just an earbud. O’Kane says that the Dash earbuds also respond to gestures, or “macros”, as a Bragi representative called them. So, if you tilt your head up while wearing them, they can automatically tell you the weather forecast. You can set them so if you get a call on your phone, the call will come straight through to the earbuds and you can perform different types of nods to either answer or reject it.
O’Kane notes that the only negative he noticed during his test-run was that the noise-cancelling mechanism was a little too noticeable, but the promo video below suggests that this can be adjusted, so you can completely cancel everything, or ensure that you can still hear traffic sounds or people calling out to you.
For me, the best thing about these is the fact that they’re entirely waterproof, so you can go swimming with them. Just what I’ve always wanted.
I’ll admit, they do sound a little too good to be true, but the time seems to be right for this kind of product. O’Kane reviews another type of wireless earbud being shown at CES this year, and Zach Wener-Fligner at Quartz reports that wireless earbuds are about to hit the market in droves, so the competition for our cash is real. I'm excited.