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Padmate PaMu Quiet Mini ANC Earbuds Review

For the last 4+ years I've been using "The Dash by Bragi", an ambitious true wireless earbud that was great for its time with its on-board storage, fitness sensors, and waterproof capabilities. However, over time, I never really used most of the fitness features and simply used them as wireless ear buds. Also, they've started to show their age with degraded battery life in both the earbuds and the charging case. With that, I started looking for a replacement.

Luckily for me, the TWS (True Wireless Stereo) earbuds market has exploded in the last couple of years and there are so many models and at all price points. In particular, the last year has seen the rise of affordable ANC (Active Noise Canceling) earbuds thanks to quickly iterating commodity chipsets from Broadcom, Airoha, Qualcomm and others.

Admittedly, I decided to try the Padmate PaMu Quiet Mini's because they randomly showed up in my Instagram feed as an advertisement with a nice discount code making them less than $59 USD which is a 1/3 of the what I paid for my last pair.

What Is It?

The PaMu Quiet Mini is Padmate Tech's budget TWS ANC (True Wireless Stereo Active Noise Cancellation) earbuds. Priced at a reasonable $79 MSRP, the Quiet Mini is an IPX4 certified, stem-style earbud with the stems providing a touch area for controls and voice microphones.

Speaking of microphones, there are 3 Knowles microphones in total on each earbud. Two of them are used for the Hybrid ANC system which uses feedback and feedforward microphones to help block out noise from low to some middle frequencies. Padmate Tech claims it offers up to -40 dB ANC effect. The earbuds also incorporate an open acoustic design which alleviates in-ear air pressure and removes the "hear yourself" effect.

Comes in nice packaging. image

Comes in nice packaging.

The case, the ear buds tips, cables, and documents. image

The case, the ear buds tips, cables, and documents.

Everything that it comes with. image

Everything that it comes with.

Each earbud only weighs 5.1g so they're quite light and can be worn comfortably for a long time with the proper sized ear tip. Padmate Tech provides the standard small, medium (pre-installed), and large silicon ear tips. They use an oval style mounting system and are compatible with some third party ear tips.

With it's stem-style design, controls are handled with single, double, or long taps along the protrusions. Each earbud can operate as a master and can have different actions assigned. Since taps are reserved for play/stop regardless of side; however, double tap and long press are configurable. For instance, you can set double tap on one side to go to the next track while double tap on the other side can be previous track.

The charging case provides up to 3 additional charges and can be charged wired over USB-C or wirelessly with a Qi-compatible charger. It takes roughly 2 hours to fully charge the case.


How Have They Worked Out?

Fit: I found that lightness of the earbuds combined with the silicon tips worked pretty well for long term comfort and staying in place. I never had issues with the buds getting loose during long sweaty runs. They stayed in even during vigorous head shaking. I also appreciate the open acoustic design with venting to prevent ear pressure which adds to the comfort.

Sound: Admittedly, I was surprised by the sound quality at this price point. Padmate touts that it's a 10mm driver with a PEN Titanium composite Diaphragm. That 10mm driver probably explains why, by default, they are bass heavy. There is a way to (via the app) app to use "Original Sound" which is a slightly more balanced sound signature. The earbuds support the most common transmission formats of AAC and SBC. One cool thing I've noticed about these earbuds is that when you cycle between ANC on, ANC off, or Transparency (Ambient) that the sound signature does not change. I also never had any drop-outs thanks to the Bluetooth 5.2 connection. I found that using different ear tips and software could improve the sound even more.

Battery: While Padmate Claims 4.5 hours, I saw a more typical 4 hours of usage regardless of which mode I was using (Ambient, ANC on, ANC off) so that's decent but not great. The good thing is that 10 minutes of charging can get you 1 hour of playback/calling.

Noise Cancellation: It's actually very good ANC! It does a good job of drowning out lower frequency sounds but higher frequencies will still seep through. I never got a very good seal with the included silicon ear tips and opted to purchase third party Comply Foam memory-foam style tips. With these I got a better noise isolation which improves the ANC and helps improve the sound quality.

Transparency/Ambient Mode: You get basic pass through ambient sound. It's good enough to hear road noise and works reasonably well and sounds very natural.

Controls: The controls are simple with a single tap on either side being play/pause. However, the double tap and long press controls are completely customizable. In my case, I chose to set double tap on one side to be next song and previous song on the other side. For the long press I set both sides to cycle through the different sound modes. One thing I like about is that the ear buds announces the sound mode when you cycle through them.

Main controls of the app. image

Main controls of the app.

All the double taps and long presses are fully customizable. image

All the double taps and long presses are fully customizable.

Firmware updatable. image

Firmware updatable.

App: All earbuds have apps nowadays and these are not exception. The app is pretty straightforward although the newest version annoyingly requires you to create an account (without any explanation of why it's necessary). The app allows you to see the battery levels, toggle the ANC mode prompt, toggle the ANC modes, set the Original Sound, set Game Mode for lower latency (70ms), and update the firmware of the ear buds. There are no equalization settings but I've been using them with a third party application called Wavelet that allows for auto-equalization among other features.

The case has a very thin lid. image

The case has a very thin lid.

Wired charging via USB-C image

Wired charging via USB-C

Wireless Qi charging is available as well. The glowing red light denotes charging. image

Wireless Qi charging is available as well. The glowing red light denotes charging.

Storage: I have to give them credit for using USB-C and providing Qi wireless charging but the case is a little bulbous and not exactly pocketable. If the case's battery is above 30% then it will glow blue when you drop the ear buds in. Otherwise, it will glow red. I'm wary of the durability of the case and I have accidentally dropped it once. The lid popped open and the ear buds both fell out. The provides up to 3 additional full charges (or 13.5 extra hours). 10 minutes of charging provides 1 hour of play time.

Phone calls: This is one area where it's just ok. Callers sounded fine but said I sounded muffled even in a quiet room. Outdoors, callers mentioned they could still hear background traffic noise.

The Good

  • The audio quality does not change regardless of mode (ANC On, ANC Off, or Ambient Transparency)
  • Ear venting prevents ear pressure
  • IPX4 water resistance rating
  • Qi Wireless charging and USB-C charging
  • Voice notification of which sound mode you are in
  • Customizable taps
  • Each side can behave like a master (so could be used on two different phones on mono mode)

The Less Good

  • The stems catch on things (clothing) easily
  • The case is a little bulky and feels really cheap. The lid is especially flimsy.
  • Distortion at the high volume
  • No auto pause detection
  • No equalization settings
  • Hard to tell how much battery is left in the case
Optional 3rd party Comply Foam tips enhance noise isolation and a better ANC and sound. image

Optional 3rd party Comply Foam tips enhance noise isolation and a better ANC and sound.

Optional 3rd party Comply Foam tips fit inside the case. image

Optional 3rd party Comply Foam tips fit inside the case.

Optional Wavelet Android software can make them sound even better. image

Optional Wavelet Android software can make them sound even better.

Is It Worth It?

At the time of this review, the Padmate PaMu Quiet Mini is priced at $79 with special offers of 25% off which effectively makes them cost less than $59. At that price point, these are a fantastic deal for what you get. They're light, they sound pretty good especially if you like rich bass (and can be made to sound better easily), provide good ANC and transparency modes, and a case that can be wirelessly charged.

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