Dec 27, 2016
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As we move further into the age of wireless audio with the iPhone 7 abandoning the ever-so-present headphone jack, a new category of "truly wireless" earbuds has been popping up. So you may be asking, what does "truly wireless" even mean? Well, as you may have seen, many earbuds that have claimed to be "wireless" actually have a wire in between the buds that generally goes around your neck. So, a few companies, such as Bragi, decided to do away with any and all wires, leaving us with Bragi's first product, the Dash. The Dash started as a Kickstarter project back in February of 2014, with an enormous amount of support, raising just under $3.4 million with the promise of earbuds completely free of wires and with loads of other features. These features included activity tracking, touch controls, on-board storage, water-resistance, and more. The campaign had initially intended to ship out the Dash units in October of 2014, but due to many setbacks, they started shipping out units in early- to mid-2016. With initial reports of problems with the microphone and Bluetooth connectivity, it seemed, at first, like the Dash could be just another Kickstarter flop. Instead, however, the company dedicated a lot of time into creating new updates to the firmware that drastically improved, if not completely solved these issues. The Sound DSC01138An earbud can't be good without sounding good, of course. So, how does the Dash stack up to the competition? After all, the price for these is not cheap, coming in at around $300. Well, they're actually pretty good! I wasn't expecting amazing sound from a device so small, yet packed full of components. What I found was that the Dash produces a good, clear sound, though certainly preferring the mids over the lows and highs. That said, I am quite a bass-lover myself and I'm coming from using a V-Moda Crossfade M-100, so I've been spoiled, and for earbuds, the Dash does a good job producing the bass it does. If I had to compare it to some other earbuds, I'd compare the sound to something like the "wireless" (but not completely wireless) Jaybird Bluebuds, which are quite good themselves. Bluetooth Connectivity Now, a common issue with truly wireless earbuds is their often lacking performance in their ability to hold a strong Bluetooth connection. In the beginning, there were lots of complaints from users experiencing poor connection even if the phone was placed only as far as the user's pockets. Obviously, that's a huge issue, but also one Bragi appears to have fixed through their updates. I can confidently say that I have had virtually no issues whatsoever with the connectivity of these earbuds, other than maybe one or two micro drops in connection. I tested the Dash by walking around a room and was able to go as far as 10 to 15 feet away from the source without experiencing any connectivity issues. Additionally, just the process of using and connecting the earbuds is really simple. All you do is take them out of the case and put them in your ears. The buds sense when they're in and automatically turn on, connect to each other, and connect to your phone or other device. Comfort and Design DSC01125Another historically common problem with this category of audio products is the ridiculous look of the product or their inability to stay in ears due to the sheer weight they carry. Luckily, this is not an issue with the Dash. While you may get some head turns while using this product, people often just don't care, and the Dash really doesn't look bad at all. Additionally, these earbuds were surprisingly comfortable to wear. They come with multiple sleeves to fit your ears (XS, S, M, and L), and once you find the right fit, the earbuds fit snuggly and quite comfortably. I haven't had too many issues with the buds falling out, which has always been a problem for me, whether or not the earbuds I was using were wireless. Yet another check mark for the Dash. Gestures/Controls A neat feature of the Dash is the way you control them. There are multiple ways that you control the Dash, including through the app, touch sensors on the outside of each bud, and head gestures. For instance, if you receive a call while using the earbuds, just nod or shake your head to answer or deny the call. Playing and pausing is easy, with just a tap on the right earbud, or start tracking activities with a tap on the left. One of the issues I noticed is that the touch sensors aren't only sensitive to your fingers, so putting on a winter hat caused the earbuds to do some unwanted actions. After looking around a bit, though, it looks like Bragi addressed this issue by including a touch lock that can be implemented by holding down on both the right and left touch sensors, which worked well and solved my problem. Other Features DSC01143The other features included with the Dash are a microphone, onboard storage, a heart-rate sensor, and a case that charges the buds 5 times on-the-go. To start off, the microphone had quite a few complaints in the early days, with users claiming it was unusable and that the person speaking sounded robotic over the phone. This is yet another area where Bragi has used its firmware updates to address an issue. When I was using the microphone for phone calls, some people said there were no problems at all, while others said it sounded a bit muddled, but they could still hear me and know what I was saying. As for the onboard storage, there's not much to be said about it. Songs can be added through a computer and using it works as described. Next up is the heart-rate sensor, which seemed to be relatively accurate, though I didn't have another device to compare it to at the time. This is a really nice feature for athletes looking to listen to music without an annoying wire and no need for a smartwatch. And lastly, the charging case. The case is built quite well, with an aluminum sleeve and a strong metal or plastic where the earbuds actually rest. The earbuds flash when they've been connected properly, and a magnet holds them in place. My only complaint is that I feel like I will drop the earbuds when trying to get them out of the case because you have to take the sleeve off, hold that, hold the battery part, and then fiddle with getting the buds out. That said, overall, the battery case is a nice feature, as the battery life on the buds isn't spectacular at about 3 hours. Conclusion So, what are my overall thoughts of the Dash? Well, I like them. I don't know if I, personally, would quite want to spend the $300 for them, but I could understand why some would. The features work well and the sound quality is pretty good, considering everything that's built into them. I think Bragi's next product, the Headphone, could also allow a lot more people to purchase their products, with reportedly better sound quality and a much lower price of $149. However, that new product does strip the Dash of many of its capabilities, including the water-resistance, touch controls, onboard storage, and heart rate sensor. So it really comes down to what you want. If you want the smart capabilities, there really is no other product out there that offers all of the Dash's capabilities, but if that does interest you, the Headphone is probably the way to go.

Google Glass Experience Review, 1 Year 1/2 Later

After nearly two years with Google Glass, I thought it was about time to tell you about my experience with Google Glass and if it’s worth it. I’ve been a supporter of Glass since its announcement and will continue to be one. Google Glass has its ups and downs but the most important thing is its potential, I am nothing but sure that the consumer version of Glass will be awesome and a product worth owning. The video below has a small montage of clips at the beginning but the actual review starts at 1:28.

 

Blip TV: Mirror

Google Glass Prescription Frames Now Available for Purchase, Come in Four Styles

Google has released four titanium frames for Google Glass that you can have fit with your prescription or no prescription at all. The lenses are said to be  “feather-light” and will come with a microfiber case, precision screwdriver, and cleaning cloth for $225 on top of the $1500 that are already charged when purchasing Glass. Explorers can go to https://glass.google.com/getglass/ and choose either a Curve, Bold, Split, or Thin Style and choose the color of frame to match their Glass.

google glass frames

I purchased the Thin style earlier this morning which should arrive sometime next week. We will have a full video showing the frames and we’ll see if they are worth the $225. Google also released two new shades, Edge and Classic, which cost $150 each and have gradient lenses.

Watch This: Google Glass Spoof On The Simpsons

On last nights episode of The Simpsons, characters from the show, such as Homer, got a pair of “Oogle Goggles” from their boss. The episode consists of spoofing Google Glass while managing to point out some pros and cons of the device. The full episode, “Specs and The City”, is available for Hulu Plus subscribers online [here] or you can watch highlights of the episode below which, might not last very long on YouTube.

http://youtu.be/Pu5jlEpymSc

Using Google Glass at CES 2014

There were, from what I saw, a little over a dozen people wearing Google Glass during CES 2014 and I was one of them. I got a few hours worth of footage with Google Glass and decided to make a quick video to give an idea of what CES 2014 was like. There are no edits to the footage from Glass to make it look better or worse than it actually is. Check out the video…

MyGlass for iOS now Available in the App Store

iOS users can finally enjoy (almost) all of the functions of Google Glass. Having an iPhone, it was somewhat cumbersome to use some of the features like directions and screencast since I needed to use an Android device. Google’s new app allows Glass users to set up the device and download apps to Glass.

MyGlass allows you to configure and manage your Glass device. Use it to set up Glass, get directions on the go, screencast what you see on Glass to your phone, and add Glassware and contacts.

If you don’t have Glass, then downloading this will be a waste of time. Sorry about that. Learn more at google.com/glass.

Source: MyGlass (App Store)

 

Is Google Planning a Crazy Stunt with the First Gen Google Glass Units?

Earlier today, the first Google Glass Explorers received an invitation to swap out their first generation Glass unit for the new and improved version. Towards the end of the invitation that Explorers received the Glass Team said  the following…

We get that you might be a little sad to part with your Glass; you’ve been through a lot together. So, we’re going to make sure that your old Glass is duly honored when you send it back. Stay tuned…

“duly honored”? What could they possibly mean by that? Fellow Glass Explorer, Tom Wolf, responded to a Google+ post with some possibilities…”A wall of Glass in the Google offices? Sending it back embedded in a slab of glass (like the Glass spot reservations from Google IO)?  Hooking them all up in a giant array and throwing them out of a plane in the largest Hangout On Air skydive ever?”. Maybe it has to do something with that mysterious Barge? Probably not, but I don’t doubt that whatever Google is planning to do with the first generation Glass is interesting.

First Google Glass Explorers Can Now Swap Glass 1.0 for 2.0

The first wave of Google Glass Explorers have received an invitation allowing them to swap out their original Glass pair for the newer/improved version of Glass.

Google Glass Invite Swap, New 2.0 Pair

Google is also allowing its explorers to choose a different color. The invitation also said that the “swaps will be first-come, first served for each color”. I am personally going to keep Shale, it is still my favorite color for Glass. Explorers don’t have to swap their Glass but the Glass Team recommends they do because future accessories or features might not work with the first version.

Using Google Glass at RTX 2013

I attended RTX over the weekend and had a great time meeting people. The convention was here in Austin, TX and I decided to take Google Glass with me to see if I could make a recap of the whole event for people who weren’t able to attend or want to know what it is about.

The great thing about using Glass throughout the whole event was being able to still enjoy a moment while capturing it. The battery on Glass was okay, it lasted me about 4 hours on average when using it heavily to record moments ranging from 10-50 seconds. One thing that makes up for the battery is that it charges in about half an hour so over lunch I could charge it and be ready to record again.

I would say that 40% of the people at RTX looked at me strangely and would talk with someone about whether or not I was wearing Google Glass. 10% thought they were just a prop so they would compliment me on doing a good job. 20% definitely knew it was Google Glass but they didn’t want to interfere. Another 20% stopped me, asked me questions, and most of that 20% tried it on to see what all the hype was about. The 10% left had no idea what I had on my head or just didn’t notice that I had some odd looking glasses.

The video below was all shot with Google Glass. There is no color correction, stabilization, or any type of edit to make the footage look better or worse than it is. I got over two hours of footage and the final video is 6 minutes long which pretty much sums up the whole experience.

Next Event – SXSW 2017

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