Pamu is one of the more successful crowd-funded audio brands in recent years. The company, Padmate Tech, was founded in 2010 in Hong Kong and focused on audio electronic products. From 2018, it started launching true-wireless earbuds through crowd-funding, and in 2019, Pamu Slide hit jackpot with over US$10 million raised. After launching other earbuds like the Pamu Quiet, Padmate returns to the Slide series with the new Pamu Slide 2. Note: this review is tested on a pre-production sample unit with firmware version V0.0.13.12. The final production unit may vary. Here is the launch link: https://bit.ly/pamu-slide-2
Compared to the previous generation, the Pamu Slide 2 comes with the following features:
- ANC+HIFI sound quality, Powerful, Punchy Bass. Latest Bluetooth 5.2
- Slide cover design, Sliding action. Camera-style with vinyl CD texture design
- Super-Clear Calls
- Human voice enhancement
- Dual Connect
- 40ms Ultra-low latency Game Mode
- 26 hours of Playback, long battery life
As the name suggests, the charging case is operated by sliding the cover to access the earbuds. And like the predecessor, the new Pamu Slide 2 has a stem design. Other than these two features, the other design elements are completely transformed, the Pamu Slide 2 looks nothing like the Pamu Slide.
Like the Pamu Quiet, the charging indicator on the case a presented in a long LED progress bar instead of tiny LED bulbs.
Operations and Smartphone App
The Pamu Slide 2 features can be managed from the Pamu smartphone app, like ANC mode, Audio Passthrough (transparency), low-latency, EQ preset, touch controls, enable in-ear detection. It also displays the remaining battery level on each earbud and firmware update.
To operate the earbuds, tap once to play-pause. Double-tap and tap-hold can be customised on each earbud to change tracks, toggle ANC, adjust volume, trigger voice assistant. For me, I choose double-tap to change track and tap-hold to toggle ANC modes.
From the app, you can also choose two ANC toggle modes: Mode A only toggles ANC and transparency. Mode B toggles ANC, transparency, and wind noise reduction. There is no option to disable ANC.
The ANC level is fixed and the lower frequency is eliminated quite intensively to give you that soundproof room effect. Upper frequencies, however, stands out and can be heard faintly. So in a quiet room, you will be able to hear the keyboard typing sounds, at food centres, you can hear the utensils clanking. All these may not sound obvious if you have music streaming in the buds, and so the ANC helps to let you listen to music without turning up the volume too high.
The Transparency mode comes with three settings: Vocal Enhancement Close, Low and High. The “Close” is the default, where the transparency level is rather low. You can hear the ambient sounds but quite soft and still muffled. In “Low” setting, the ambient noise is louder with emphasis on voices. In “High” mode, the upper midrange is further amplified to achieve heighted hearing senses. I can pick up conversations from people around me rather clearly, a rather good option to eavesdrop (seriously!). The lower frequencies are not boosted, so you won’t get overwhelmed with rumbling noises, but hissing white noise (like rain) are quite loud.
Compared to the Pamu Quiet, the Pamu Slide 2 delivers slightly better ANC, the upper frequencies are softer. For Transparency mode, the Pamu Slide 2 offers three settings, and so it is definitely the better option.
From the smartphone app, there are options to select preset EQ. The default is “Pop”, which presents a rather exciting tuning with bright sparkling treble and tight quick rumbly bass that do not cloud the upper frequencies. Midrange is clean to keep the overall tuning clear.
When switching to the “Normal” EQ, the bass and treble is flattened while midrange is lifted slightly, so the overall sound is flatter and less exciting but clarity and details are still present, bass is less tight and occupies broader frequency. In “Vocal” EQ, the bass is reduced further while the vocal range is turned up, bring the primary instrument forward. In “Rock” EQ, the bass and upper treble is exaggerated more than “Pop”, the midrange is recessed and main instruments sound thinner. In “Jazz” EQ, the tuning is similar to “Vocal” but the upper treble is slightly turned up so percussions sound more brilliant, but still not at the “Pop” level. Finally, the “Classical” has the brightest upper treble tuning, which I guess is to make acoustic instruments sound super clear. The lower bass is more prominent but the upper bass is reduced, making bass sound anemic.
Compared to the Pamu Quiet, the Pamu Slide 2 – with Normal EQ setting – bass is less intense and the treble is flatter. Switching to the default “Pop” EQ, the bass is still not as satisfying as the Pamu Quiet, while the treble is slightly more forward and open. The Pamu Quiet delivers more bass feel, midrange is warmer but not so clear, and the treble is more recessed. The Pamu Slide 2 offers a better balance across the frequencies, but the Pamu Quiet achieves a more satisfying bass sound that none of the EQ presets offer on the Pamu Slide 2.
The Pamu Slide 2 seems to achieve quite a feat in capturing the voice even in a very noisy environment. Where most other earbuds fail, the Slide 2 seems to be able to pick up my voice, but it can get disruptive if the ambient is very loud. For a moderately noisy condition, it seems the Slide 2 is able to filter the noise and let the other party hear my voice. In quiet environment, the mic picks up the voice clearly with good amount of upper frequency so that it presents a clear tone.
When a call is initiated, the current ANC or Transparency mode will be retained, but it is not possible to switch modes during the call.
The Pamu Slide 2 slightly deviates from the heavy bass tuning but it opens up to a wide audience who appreciate music for more than just bass. The ANC quality has improved and the app has more features than previous models and that helps to customise the earbuds to suit the individual. Pamu has also designed an unique charging case that will position Pamu Slide 2 as another iconic true wireless earbuds to own.
Orders will open on 6 Jul on Indiegogo at a super early bird price of US$79. Eary bird orders get a FREE Padmate Magnetic Phone Stand. Visit the Indiegogo launch link for more details: https://bit.ly/pamu-slide-2