As a frequent traveler, I am inevitably dependent on my iPhone and what I listen to on the road. Most of the times these options redown to books I order through Audible, given how little time there is for personal reading choices. And when my concentration bandwidth does not oblige, choices go to streaming, mostly of music and podcasts.
Whatever I am listening to, however, it has to come in loud and clear through earphones. These have come a long way. Even Apple has moved away from connected wires to Bluetooth devices, but their tony earbud options come at a hefty price – around $100.
Jabra was the first to get into this market with black earbuds in various sizes that pair well with Apple and other Bluetooth-able hardware. The items fit into the ear and seem to lock there with a slight twist, delivering full sound along with communications when appropriate in a sexy female British accent saying that the buds are connected, not connected or low in battery juice. The buds go back to a black pill box-sized charger that gives a green light when the buds are fully juiced. Their sound energy lasts for about three hours before the sound cuts out and the ear pieces need to go back into their case.
The Jabra ear buds have been the gold standard for the past few years and they charged for it, too – between $150 and $200 – before competitors came along. That included PAMU.
Padmate PaMu is a new entrant and initially came in at a $29 price point as it raised funds through indiegogo. That price is now $79 on Amazon. The price has yet to stabilize but still beats the other items out there.
One of the big selling points for PaMu is a splash-resistant IPX5 construction that deflects the sweat that happens in hard workouts at the gym and is also nice for everyday wear, especially when a bud accidentally falls into the sink or the weather breaks into a hard rain. The design of the bud allows for easy call control, volume control and on/off adjustments by the slightest touch of a seemingly intuitive surface. This is a good thing and an awkward thing at the same time. The adjustments are easy to effect but the outer bud surface is so sensitive that it will turn off the sound, cut off the stream, even cut off a telephone conversation as one tries to better position the item in the ear.
To that end, the PaMu wireless earbuds come with small and large rubber tips for sizing but no matter what size the tip, the bud is small (and comfortable) – and that it is easy to lose. While some earbud options are larger and given dimensions that can be twisted into position and others might even come with a way to secure the bud with an attached wire worn around the ear, PaMu buds are quite tiny and to the point. They can fall out pretty easily and, unlike Apple AirPods, do not come with a tracking function.
Auto pairing is easy. The item appears in the Bluetooth list on the iPhone and a soft voice in the bud lets you know the pairing is complete. The buds seem to stay paired with the iPhone through thick and thin. Incoming calls are answered simply by lightly touching the earbud and when the call is over, the book or music resumes. This is not the case with other earbud products that can be awkward in connecting to a phone call and awkward again in reconnecting to the device. The surface of the PaMu can also be used to skip tracks and/or pause the stream.
When done with these pods, they slip into place in their lipstick-sized case. The Padmate PaMu holds arounds four hours of battery life and the case can extend the buds’ functionality with three more charges. It takes around two hours for the buds to fully recharge from zero.
While the buds are small and more or less innocuous, they are still visible in their spot in the ear. This factor is not a problem in most cases and, if necessary, can be hidden by hair. Hidden earphones can be a saving amenity in meetings, on airplane takeoff with overzealous cabin attendants onboard, even in a family setting.
No matter what, such devices allow us to have an edge, if only a small one, on what we let into our world and how we use our oft-wasted between time.
PaMu Hardware specs
• Type: In-ear Headphones with Mic
• Colors: Black / White
• Connection: Bluetooth Version 4.2
• Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20KHz
• Sensitivity: 97±2dB(SPL)
• Transmission Range: 10 Meters Without Obstacles
• Charging Time: 2 Hours
• Headphone Dimensions: 22.5 x 10.5 x 26mm
Disclosure: Items were sent to author to review but no profits have been gained or affiliate arrangements made with PadMate.