KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — As phone makers slowly abandon the ageing headphone jack, wireless Bluetooth headphones are slowly becoming more common. I often get asked for recommendations, specifically, “Is there a good Android alternative to the AirPods?”
The AirPods, as odd as they look, have proven to be popular. While they work seamlessly with iPhones, they’re not as optimised for Android and they’re expensive. Android users tend to be a lot more price-conscious so if that’s you, the PaMu Scroll is worth a look.
What the PaMu Scroll is, is a pair of wireless earbuds that offer decent sound for a lot less than what you would pay for AirPods. The scroll bit comes from the long cylindrical case the earbuds come in that allow for storing and charging the devices.
I have mixed feelings about the case ― it’s larger than the AirPods case and the way the case closes, it doesn’t have a snap. Instead it’s a long leather flap that I wish fitted more snugly. One redeeming factor is the case and accompanying earbuds come in a variety of styles.
Snap the earbuds into the case, once charged, lift the flap and use your phone to search for nearby Bluetooth devices ― like the PaMu Scroll. While connecting it to the iPhone was easy, it can be a little fiddly with some Android phones so it might take a few tries to connect.
Once connected, the device is fairly easy to use. You can turn each earbud on or off separately with just a tap of the finger, also tapping or double-tapping where appropriate to answer or hang up on calls.
It would have been nice to have gestures to control the volume but alas that’s not a feature, nor is there an app to control that. Nor is there any way currently to upgrade the earphone’s firmware.
Most important: how do they sound? Surprisingly decent and I can feel the bass not just in my ear but the general vicinity of my cheekbones. An unexpected resonance that isn’t jarring or unpleasant.
You might need to adjust the slant of the earbuds to get the best fit in your ear but once you do you’re rewarded with a sound that is surprisingly good for the earbuds’ price point.
The fit is snug and running or commuting with the device is hassle-free; never once did I feel it was going to fall out of my ears.
Runners will be pleased to know that the PaMu Scroll has water resistance, something the AirPods can’t boast so a light drizzle won’t fizz out your headphones. I don’t suggest swimming with them on though.
As for battery life, the rating is three hours and I find the PaMu Scroll lived up to the claim. Charging time is acceptable, reliant on a micro-USB port or cable but there is an optional wireless charging insert.
I find the wireless charging add-on useful – just stand it up on a wireless charger and blue indicator lights will display just how much charge you have left so you know when to take it off the charger.
Interested in grabbing a pair? The PaMu Scroll goes on sale on IndieGogo from US$39 (RM162) today. For the price point, the PaMu Scroll is a decent, affordable alternative to more expensive Bluetooth earbuds.