Bragi’s The Headphone And Others To Pick Up Slack For Apple’s Epic AirPods Fail In Wireless Earbud Demand

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For Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users that feel left out in the cold by shipping delays for AirPods, you’ll be happy to know that there are still wireless earbud alternatives out there. One of the hottest players on the market today is Bragi, which offers two different takes on wireless earbuds.

Simply named “The Headphone”, Bragi’s $149 entry-level model offers physical controls (for volume, answering calls, skipping tracks) and provides six hours of battery life (compared to five hours for the Apple AirPods). The Bluetooth-based The Headphone includes three different tips so that you have an easier time finding the perfect fit for your ears, and undercuts the AirPods in pricing by $10. While you won’t want to go swimming with The Headphone, Bragi does say that they are splash resistant.

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If you’re will to pay a lot more, Bragi offers The Dash, which retails for $299.  While The Headphone is just your basic wireless Bluetooth audio device, The Dash adds 4GB of storage onboard for your music along with touch-based controls, in-ear biometric sensors (to track heart rate, steps, activity duration), and they’re waterproof up to 1 meter. The big downside to these full-featured earbuds (well, other than the price) is that battery life is only rated for a little over three hours per charge.

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And we can’t forget that heavy-hitter Samsung also has an entry into this field with its Gear IconX. Retailing for $199 (and available for as low as $173 on Amazon), these Bluetooth earbuds also include 4GB of internal storage for music and include a built-in fitness tracker for heart rate monitoring. The IconX takes a big hit on runtimes, however, as streaming music from your smartphone only give you about one and half hours of battery life. If you simply playback music from the built-in storage instead of streaming over Bluetooth, you’ll see close to four hours.

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As for Apple’s AirPods, we’re still waiting on an official shipping date three months after they were first announced. The AirPods were originally supposed to ship in October, but Apple delayed the launch. The last update from Apple came in the form of an email response to a customer from CEO Tim Cook, who implied that the wireless earbuds would ship in December. We’re halfway through December and haven’t heard anything else from Apple during this critical holiday shopping season.

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Unconfirmed rumors have suggested that the shipping delay is a result of Bluetooth syncing issues with the AirPods. The latest report notes that the AirPods receive two independent audio streams — one to each earbud — from an iPhone. Traditional Bluetooth headphones receive a single audio stream to one earpiece, and then relay it to the other. Apple’s approach is said to reduce distortion, but working out all the kinks has taken a bit more time than originally anticipated.

In the latest episode of The Talk Show podcast, Apple watcher John Gruber said that his little birdies at Apple have indicated that the AirPods could possibly launch within the next week. However, he also seems resigned to the fact that the launch window could be extended to January or even later.