The completely wireless Axgio Dash seems to be a pair of $49 Apple Airpod killer. I was skeptical at first. The Dash arrived in a small, simple no frills box. It looks exactly like the packaging for the Axgio Backfit that I reviewed earlier.
The pairing with my iPhone7 is easily enough. Once I put them on, I was blown away by the feel of freedom from any wires between the ear buds. I use bluetooth earbuds a lot during the day in the office, either my Bose noise canceling QC30 or the Bose Soundsport wireless. Even though those are extremely comfortable, I can still feel the tug of the cable when I turn my head with the Soundsport. With the QC30, sometimes the neckband gets tangled with my shirt collar and need adjustments.
With the Dash I can turn my head, move around, with zero issues. Now I know why these “truly wireless” earbuds are a thing.
In the Box
The Dash comes with a small round carrying case, S/M/L ear tips, and a charging cable. The charging cable is unique because it has a full size USB plug on one end, and two micro USB at the other so that I can charge both earbuds at the same time. Another design problems presented by these “no wires” earbuds.
Quality and Comfort
The first negative I find with the Dash is that the battery compartment is covered by a hard plastic cover. It is hard to open and close. Remember you need to do this with both earbuds.
The earbuds are huge ! You can take a look at the pictures. Comparing them with the Klipsch X11 may not be fair, but with the standard Bose earbud, you can see how large is the body of the earbud. The build material is of all hard matte plastic. The Dash is not going to win any design awards on looks.
Luckily they are not heavy. Even without using the ear hooks I can keep them on my ear in an indoor environment. The position of the ear hook is interesting. I find that I have to angle the unit up to have it fit onto my ear. It fits over my thick rimmed eyeglasses without problem.
Overall the comfort is fine. The ear tip is made from a very soft plastic materials. The appear to be identical to the Axgio Backfit, and I have the same concern with their durability.
Bluetooth and Setup
The setup is very easy. The headphones have voice prompt built in. I followed the sequence as described in the manual. First pair one headset (I picked the right side). Then when I switch on the second headset, both units will automatically find each other.
One interesting operational feature — I can power off both units by just powering off the main unit with a long press of the center multi functional button (MFB). To skip tracks, long press on either the + or the - volume button instead of double / triple press the center button like most Apple compatible headphones.
The user manual says I can use the MFB to activate the camera shutter. I cannot get that to work with my iPhone7 running latest iOS software.
The Dash uses bluetooth 4.2. I am not sure if that is the reason, but the Dash has an incredible range ! Paired with my iPhone7, not only I can walk around the entire first floor of my 900 s.f. first floor, I can go to the opposite end of my second floor, behind several walls, before the Dash intermittently cut out.
How about the linking between the left and right earbuds? They stay connected all the time under normal condition. I find that they will take a second or two to connect at the beginning. One interesting behavior is that I can make them disconnect from each other by covering both earbuds with my hands, over my ears.
If you read my review of the Axgio backfit, you’ll see that I like them in general, but they have boosted highs with a lot of sibilance. I was worry that the Dash will be the same. Fortunately, while the Dash still has boosted highs, the sibilance is not as bad. These are my test tracks:
Record Collector, Catching a Tiger, Lissie, (2010) — This is one track that highlighted the harsh highs of the Axgio Backfit. I am happy to say that the highs are much more manageable with the Axgio Dash. While the highs are still boosted, it is much more enjoyable with this pair of headphone.
Happy Theme Song, Grace Kelly, Mood Changes (2008) - This track is full of interplay between the base and Kelly’s saxophone playing. The base response is good. The sax lacks fine detail if you really push the expectation, but overall it passes for a pair of bluetooth IEM.
Soneto de Separacao, Sensus, Christina Branco (2003) - Fado acoustic guitar and Branco’s emotional voice comes through cleanly with good soundstage, with a hint of sibilance, for some reason it is not as pronounce as the Axgio Backfit.
Viva La Vida, Viva La Vida, Coldplay (2008) - This is a complex track with vocals in front of layers of instruments building up in the song. As the layers get deeper, the clarity is lost. So the Dash is not going to compete with the Klipsch X11 or a $500 pair of Grado.
A Thousand Years, Brand New Day, Sting (1999) - The rumbling base at the beginning of this song shows that the dash can handle base. It is quite fun to crank up the volume and get pulled into Sting’s moody lyrics.
Overall, especially considering the price point, the sound quality is good. The true wireless setup is much more useful that I originally thought. The Dash’s bulk look is not going to win on looks, but it wins on value and usability, not to mention an amazing bluetooth range.