The PaMu Scroll earphones are comfortable, easy to use and secure in the ear when cycling on the road or indoor trainer, with no tangle of wires, but they are let down by the audio quality. They are massively cheaper than Apple's AirPods, though, and don't look so silly either.
- Pros: Easy to pair, good battery life, easy charging, stylish case
- Cons: Audio quality, block out background noise, volume adjustment
The Scrolls are wireless earbuds which launched via crowd-funding website Indiegogo a little while ago. They currently cost $79 (£60 with free worldwide shipping) if you buy them through the Indiegogo website, and afterwards the price will go up to $149 (£115). Buy them now and they're half the price of the £155 Apple Airpods or £180 Bose SoundSport Free wireless earbuds.
The earphones are supplied in a very nicely made cylindrical case wrapped in leather, with an opening flap that snaps closed with some magnets. It also doubles as a charging port with an integrated battery, ideal for travelling, and there's a USB charge port on the side of the case.
They charge up in 2 hours and provide up to 3.5 hours of run-time, with the battery in the case extending this out to 10 hours or so. There are LEDs to indicate the charging status. You can also charge them wirelessly using the optional PaMu Wireless charging receiver.
Bluetooth provides an easy pairing with a smartphone or computer. Once you've paired them, taking the buds out of the case activates the pairing once again and they are ready to use very quickly. The wireless connection was consistent and reliable during use, with no dropouts to report.
The PaMu earbuds are devoid of any buttons; instead, you can tap the side of the earbud to perform actions like pausing and playing, skipping tracks and taking phone calls if you have them connected to a smartphone for hands-free calls. It works well and makes switching music tracks a doddle. Unfortunately, the one task you can't perform is adjusting the volume.
When it comes to wearing them, the soft silicone cones are reasonably comfortable but I found the push-in style less comfortable after several hours of riding compared with my regular earphones which sit inside the ear. They are marked left and right, and they stay in place well. They have a nice weight to them but they're not so heavy that they try to wiggle out of your ears, especially on the bike.
I was dubious that they would stay in place on the bike but I was pleasantly surprised – they didn't fall out once. For dealing with rain or sweat, they have an IPX6 rating so they are water resistant. Provided you use them at a modest volume you can still hear sounds around you, but they do tend to block out more background noise than simple earphones that don't plug the earhole like this style of earbud.
The only area they are lacking in is audio quality. This is subjective, but I found them a little underwhelming, lacking depth and richness. They dealt better with music than podcasts, speech often sounding distant. A distinct background hiss or hum was also distracting. It's a shame because the company does say they offer 'deep bass' but I just didn't find that to be the case.
Whether you think listening to music on the bike or not is a good idea is down to personal preference, as with wearing a helmet. I live in the sticks and regularly listen to music when cycling (cue rampant angry comments), but I usually only wear one earpiece (the left) so I'm not blocking out all other noises.
The wireless connection definitely appeals with these, no tangle of wires inside your jacket to cope with, and I was able to ride with just one earpiece.
Using them on the turbo trainer is a good way of drowning out the noise of the trainer, drivetrain and fan, and the sound of rain on the windows, and here they are really useful and, personally, I found them better than wearing headphones that can get sweaty and uncomfortable.
Dave got on well with the Kitsound District True earbuds, but probably the most suitable for listening to tunes on the bike are the Aftershokz Trekz Air Headphones. Because of their clever bone conducting technology they don't actually block your ears from other sounds and noises around you on the road. They are pretty expensive compared to the PaMus, though.
Easy to use and good battery run-time, but let down by the audio quality
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Padmate PaMu Scroll wireless earphones
Size tested: One
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Never worry about losing power when you go out! Enjoy the PaMu Scroll with non-stop music for up to 3.5 hours on every charge. The portable charging case provides 3 full charges giving you up to 10.5 hours of music. One full charge gives you 5 hours of hands-free calling, 3.5 hours of music, or 100 hours in standby.
Bluetooth 5.0; wireless charging; unique scroll design; 4 elegant color options; call audio in both ears; enhanced bass; 23% lighter than PaMu 1.0 . PaMu Scroll will redefine wireless earphones! Our most innovative offering is the wireless charging receiver, which can even upgrade all your old MicroUSB devices to allow wireless charging!"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
They're cheaper than other big brands offering similar products.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They work easily and wirelessly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy to pair, good battery life and nice stylish case.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Audio quality just didn't impress at all.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're about half the price of the biggest brands in this sector like Apple and Bose, and they are very nicely made to a good level.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not really.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.
Use this box to explain your overall score
They get everything so right but are ultimately let down by the audio quality which I didn't feel was up to the same standard as the rest of the design, so it's hard to give them a higher mark.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.