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Thursday, October 03, 2019

Review: Pamu Slide Wireless Headset

My biggest issue with the Taotronics headset was that while the sound was fine, the headset didn't work very well for phone calls, with 30% of people complaining that I sounded muddy. Even worse, the device took up to 9 seconds to pair with the phone when taken out of its case, which makes them less useful for receiving phone calls than I had hoped. Pamu Slide's indiegogo page indicated that they'd been shipping product for quite some time, and had sold quite a number of units, meaning that whether the product sucked, you would at least get something for the money. They seem to be running a permanent indiegogo campaign, where even after reaching production, they're using the crowd-funding website as a sales channel.

They're currently charging $80 + shipping for a pair, but when I made the purchase it was $50 + shipping. The reviews on the web seemed reasonable, so I ordered a pair. The thing with indiegogo as a platform is that once you commit it's hard to back out and difficult to get refunds, and at the current price, they're not priced any better than any number of competitors on Amazon, so I wouldn't recommend you try these.

At $50, the device has a few advantages compared to the Taotronics unit. First, it charges using USB-C. Secondly, the case is much less prone to flipping open accidentally and dumping out the ear buds. (The Taotronics does so with impunity). Third, no one has ever complained about phone calls made using the unit. Fourthly, the battery life is supposedly longer, but that wasn't an issue since I don't tend to have these types of earbuds in my ear for more than half an hour at a time anyway. The case's battery lasts pretty much forever, and I don't have to charge the case more than once a month. Finally, the latency between pulling out the headphones and connecting to the phone is about 3s, which means that it's actually useful for receiving calls. In extended use, I discovered that after about 30-40 minutes of use the unit would power-off and reboot! This is no big deal for me, since I don't tend to use these ear buds for more than 30 minutes at a time, but it could be a deal breaker for many, especially at the $80 price point. The unit is also heavier than the Taotronics.

Disappointingly enough, the unit isn't better about dropped signal than the Taotronics, and it doesn't sound any louder. In single-earbud mode, it might actually be softer! The fit feels more secure, and the device comes with 6 extra pairs of differently sized buds so you can find an optimum fit. One problem which happens with the Pamu but never happens with the Taotronics is that occasionally the device would hit a software snag and shut itself down for no apparent reason. Despite that, I found myself leaning towards the Pamu slide for day to day use, reserving the Taotronics unit for trips where I needed both the powerbank and headset features.

All in all, at about $50 or less, I think these are a reasonable upgrade over the Taotronics. But at the current asking price of $80, I'd pass on them. They're better, but not that much better.

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