You might think that after having received a horrible reception for its first product — the Palm 2018 mini smartphone — Palm would focus its energies on making a new and improved phone. But that’s not the plan, at least, not for the moment. Instead, the Palm team has decided to take a shot at true wireless earbuds, with the $129 Palm Buds Pro, a set of noise-canceling earbuds aimed squarely at the $249 AirPods Pro, that promise booming bass and “studio-grade” sound. Pre-orders for the new buds start October 26 at a special price of $99 until November 9.
Design-wise, Palm seems content to use a set of molds provided by their contract manufacturer. The Palm Buds Pro are physically identical to the $60 Enacfire A9, right down to the charging case. But Palm claims the internal components have been developed to their unique specifications. “Our engineers have also developed one of the most advanced Active Noise Cancelling and Environmental Noise Cancelling systems on the market,” said Howard Nuk, co-founder at Palm. That sounds promising, but then, in one of the frequently asked questions provided to journalists, the company said, “Unlike other connected earbuds on the market, Palm Buds Pro have 10mm dynamic range speakers,” a statement that is not accurate, as there are many true wireless earbuds that have 10mm drivers.
Palm also wants you to know that NBA superstar, Stephen Curry, thinks highly of the Palm Buds Pro. They’re “the only buds on the market that allows him to truly feel his music” a press release claims. But don’t place too much emphasis on that — Curry is an investor in Palm.
On paper at least, the Palm Buds Pro have lots of good features, like active noise cancellation, transparency mode, IPX4 water resistance, and 24 hours of total battery life. But they’re also missing some features that have become common, even at the $100 price point, like wireless charging, wear sensors, customizable EQ, customizable controls, and quick charging.
Apple products, simply due to their incredible popularity, get lots of support from third-party accessory makers. If you check Amazon for silicone cases for the AirPods or AirPods Pro, you will be overwhelmed with choices. But since Palm likely won’t generate that kind of enthusiasm for the Palm Buds Pro, it has decided to make its own accessories. When you order the earbuds, you can also add on a carabiner-equipped silicone case in multiple colors, including blue, black, or pink, for $25.
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