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If you’re like us, you’ve likely been bombarded with a never-ending barrage of the “latest and greatest” earbuds, headphones, and other such devices vying for your attention since the dawn of the iPod (who are we kidding, since the dawn of the Walkman for us old farts). Now that we’re firmly entrenched in the tablet/smartphone/brain-chip-implant era, Bluetooth is the standard of the day. So, it’s not that we weren’t excited to try out the new PaMu Scroll earbuds, it’s just that we’ve never really been impressed with Bluetooth-based earbuds in the past. That’s all changed.
For starters, the folks behind the new Scroll earbuds are working with the latest Bluetooth 5.0 standard, which virtually eliminates our biggest (and most annoying) gripe with Bluetooth enabled devices in general: audio dropout. It’s typically so bad that we’ve basically avoided wireless pairing for personal audio here in the office, preferring to stick with tried-and-true wired connections for just about everything besides pro audio gear like BT-enabled mixers and PA speakers that have worked solidly in our tests. Bluetooth headphones have just been super hit-or-miss for us.
The difference here is that even after 20+ hours of testing, we didn’t experience ONE single audio dropout from either our smartphones, Bluetooth-enabled Smart TVs or tablets. Now that’s a change that’s got our attention.
So great, no audio dropouts, but do these tiny little buds sound any good? The short answer is yes. Surprisingly good, in fact, considering you can snag these from their crowdfunding page for a ludicrously low $79. We had to check the page a few times to make sure that was right. Bluetooth, at least for us, has been notoriously crummy when it came to bass, but these featured tight, decent bass reproduction in a comfortable, lightweight form factor that fit our ears perfectly on the first try. Are they as good as, say, our go-to Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones or other similar studio monitors? No, but then again, I don’t think they’re meant to compete in that space. So just keep that in mind. This is consumer gear, not studio-grade kit.
After an initial reluctance to test yet another pair of earbuds, we were now very intrigued. Great signal strength, great fit and feel, pretty decent sound for the price, and a cool carrying case that doubles as a wireless charge station. The only real bummer was battery life. We tested these (mostly) on full charges but decided to see how far they’d take us on a train ride from Boston to New York City for the recent AES Convention. Well, they fought a mighty battle, but ultimately lost their charge about 3 hours and 15 minutes into the trip. Now, that’s not a terrible figure, but of course for long flights and other travel situations, it’s often difficult to find a charging port mid-trip. So, we’d love to see improved battery life in future iterations of the Scroll.
Having the ability to hear incoming phone calls in both ears was nice, as were the touch-sensitive controls; tapping the buds felt responsive and satisfying. Nothing beats a good “click” for your inner tactile-geek.
All that said, the battery life issue is really a minor quibble, especially if you’re simply looking to pop these in for everyday use (gym, morning commute, study breaks, etc.). All in all, considering all the checks in the positive column, it’s hard not to recommend these affordable earbuds for most average consumer situations.
lightweight, great sound, comfortable, no BT drop-outs, wireless charging and nice touch-sensitive controls.
battery life could be better.