Experiencing the New Cardo Packtalk Pro

Always the perfect weather for a ride in Temecula, California.

Cardo Packtalk Pro Review from new MotoLady journalist Milica Jokanovic

The new Packtalk Pro has crash detection features and great sound that will blow you away

Since launching the first Bluetooth wireless intercom headset in 2004, Cardo Systems has been shaking up the industry with innovations. They’ve consistently enhanced communication, advanced technology, and improved rider safety. Their pioneering efforts have changed how riders connect and revolutionized on-road communication.

Harley-Davidison of San Diego provided Low Rider S to bring our Cardo ride to life.

Celebrating Cardo’s 20-year History in the Game

Now, their devices are sold in over 100 countries, making Cardo the go-to brand for group communication on the move. Whether cruising solo or riding with friends, Cardo ensures you stay connected and safe while you’re on the road. They’re not just leading the pack but transforming the entire riding experience. The PACKTALK PRO is a testament to years of evolution and what is possible with communication on the ride. The future of riding is about having a device that sends the status of your safety and gives luxury features.

I was excited to be part of this new line with Cardo and experience the Packtalk Pro in action. With Cardo’s team, we heard its abilities full blast while riding among vineyards in the curves of beautiful Temecula, California.

The prominent Doffo Winery hosted our stay, which features a collection of vintage motorcycles and amazing wines.

Thank you to team Cardo for organizing the ride, breakdown, and celebration of Cardo’s 20th anniversary of changing the game with the PACKTALK PRO. For every rider who felt alone on the road, Cardo was a voice that revved our ride to the next level—cheers to the miles behind and the countless ahead.

PACKTALK PRO photography provided by Cardo

Cardo Packtalk Pro Details

Cardo has unleashed the future of riding with the PACKTALK PRO, the latest innovation in wireless communication for power sports enthusiasts. This cutting-edge communicator has features that elevate your ride to new heights.

The standout feature? An all-new Crash Detection System that uses advanced sensors instantly alerts your emergency contacts via the Cardo Connect App. It’s like having a built-in guardian angel, ensuring help is on the way when you need it most.

Cardo Systems has tested this system with crash trials and real-world rider data, making it the market’s most accurate and reliable crash detection. Thanks to an intelligent learning algorithm, it continuously improves with every ride. 

It also has upgraded to 45mm JBL speakers and an advanced sound processor, delivering robust, crystal-clear audio quality. Plus, the PACKTALK PRO’s auto on/off feature is promoted to maximize battery life, turning on when you ride and off when you stop.

Loaded with premium features like a waterproof IP67 rating, Bluetooth 5.2, over-the-air software updates, fast charging, a magnetic Air Mount, and a universal Bluetooth intercom, the PACKTALK PRO is designed for serious riders. It even comes with a 3-year warranty for added peace of mind.

Available July 7th  at retailers or ordered now from cardosystems.com for just $459/€469, it seems like a premium price that is worth it in safety features. 

Pros

  • Responsive voice command system
  • Easily connects via Bluetooth 
  • Powers down monitored battery life
  • Built-in FM radio
  • Bigger, more robust JBL speakers 
  • Crash detection system
  • Over-the-air updates 
  • The Cardo Connect app is readily available
  • Waterproof, dustproof, and weatherproof
  • Large mesh talk capability
  • Patented air mount
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  • The battery on the phone drains when using the App
  • The charging indicator light turns off once it reaches 100%
  • Limited range with mesh
  • Can only alert emergency contact, not 911
  • Crash detection messages can only be sent with a signal
  • Price is on the high end of the spectrum

Important Links / Where to Buy

The Cardo Crash Detection System

Cardo’s gem for this new edition is its crash detection system. It uses a three-part setup where the unit’s sensors feel what your head feels, shaving off valuable response time when needed. The Cardo Connect App connects with your phone and communicates with the Cardo cloud, notifying your emergency contact. The setup itself was easy enough and can be turned off. They recommended that it be turned off for off-road situations. During our ride, it was turned off, and we were given notice that “crash detected disabled” every time I put my helmet on.

If you are in an accident, The Cardo cloud takes data from actual incidents to inform your emergency contact with a text that has your Geotag. The alert goes out in 60 seconds, but only if you have a signal. Though the idea is solid, I couldn’t help but feel that if a rider was going through a canyon or area without a signal or their phone was dead, having the crash detection wouldn’t be as helpful. 

Nevertheless, Cardo has made incredible efforts to ensure this system is robust and accurate. They’ve conducted countless crash tests and gathered extensive field data from riders worldwide. The Crash Detection System uses a perpetual learning algorithm, which keeps improving over time. During our time with Cardo, they explained that the unit alerts the app when a potential crash is detected with the proper force and angular displacement. The app then collects the geo data, and the cloud analyzes the event and parameters of how it happened. If it accidentally goes off and you are not in an accident, you can disable it by clicking any button or saying “ignore.” 

The feature’s responsiveness and ingenuity add to its appeal, but I unfortunately didn’t feel like getting into an actual accident to test it out. 

Cardo Voice Command?

If you’ve had other Cardo models in the past, you’re familiar with its voice command system. It’s always on, and for the Packtalk PRO, it’s no different. It’s clear and precise as long as I enunciate, “Hey, Cardo.” With it being linked to my Bluetooth, I could still use my Google voice commands to change music or respond to notifications on my phone. I answered a call from my friend and was able to change my song choice with ease. There were a few differences with making sure to use the correct command, but if it didn’t respond, it was just as easy to use the side buttons or toggle.

Hey, Cardo, play “Shoot to Thrill” | photography provided by Cardo

Over-the-Air Firmware Updates

For those who have been in the helmet communicator game for a while, you have been in the frustrating service of doing updates on your computer to make sure your device is updated for the road. Nothing sucks more than hitting the road only for your device to say it needs an update. 

The Packtalk Pro makes it easy with its over-the-air software updates. No more cables, no more swearing over it on the road. It’s an excellent perk for a new world of riding. The Cardo app will prompt you to send updates with WiFi or cellular data to retrieve the update and then transfer it to the device. 

The JBL Speakers Are Not Messing Around

The Packtalk Pro has two 45cm JBL speakers ready to blow your mind. When I looked at them before the installation, they looked like mini hockey pucks, and I was worried they wouldn’t even fit in my Bell helmet. Fortunately, with some finagling, they fit perfectly in the slots at the back of my helmet, and the results were every bit the surround sound they say.

The sound felt like it was filtering out the background as I rode, and the clarity of the music showed that the audio had been updated to a new standard. During our group ride, I occasionally heard intermittent static from other people, which could be because they might have reached the range limits. Overall, the development of JBL in the Packtalk Pro was worth it to me.

Cardo Packtalk PRO 45mm JBL Speakers with mic

Charge Capacity and Limitation

The Packtalk Pro has an automatic turn-on/off feature, which turns it on as soon as you put the helmet on, but it will turn itself off as soon as you take it off. This is so the life of the battery can be extended and isn’t being wasted when not in use. It’s pretty genius, and for the most part, it works during the ride. In the weeks following, whenever I passed my helmet with my phone, it automatically connected to the device, and I could very clearly hear the voice activation through the helmet. 

Cardo claims that the device itself has 13 hours of battery life. However, it was evident that the more you use the Cardo Connect app and your apps, the more your phone battery drains. This is also partly due to the active GPS systems while you have the Cardo Connect app on. Geo-tracking does cost battery life, but I feel like that’s a price I’m willing to pay for safety.

It’s easily chargeable with a USB-C cord.

Packtalk Mesh 

In various years before, the biggest complaint in helmet comms was that the size, connection, and range of multiusers when on route was limited. From what I’ve experienced with the Packtalk Pro, this edition seems to have addressed most of them. 

This second-generation Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC) doesn’t take long to sync with fellow group members and adjusts to sound when connected. Our group had seven people easily connected on our ride all day. However, we had to change the volume for our music and people simultaneously, not separately. I also intermittently heard slight static from one of our group members in range. The mesh can connect up to 15 individuals within a 5-mile radius. Perhaps the more people in the mesh, the more of a chance one of them will be slightly off. Regardless, the Packtalk Pro made it easy to switch our formations and have others lead with the chorus of the pack in the background.

RISER App 

RISER is an app that helps you plan and navigate rides. You can map your route, discover new paths, and share your plans with fellow riders. When used with the Cardo PACKTALK PRO, your planned routes and navigation prompts are communicated through your headset, allowing you to stay focused on the road without glancing at your phone. It shows you what groups are available in your area to join a ride and keeps you on the same route. 

In addition to this new launch, Cardo is also laying it out with the PACKTALK PRO Challenge. Consumers can now win the new PACKTALK PRO by logging 400 Miles with the RISER app by June 17th. The winner receives a PACKTALK PRO, with additional prizes for runner-ups. 

We could see the groups available during our ride and track our ride throughout the day. However, as mentioned before, tracking inadvertently affects your phone’s battery life. However, I liked seeing that there were incentives for the rides and that people were helped to connect.

Possible Improvements? 

Bigger Range

The 5-mile range limitation is acceptable within a group. You are heading the same way; if traveling, you’re trying to stick together. But the limitation for me is just that—a limitation. I would like Cardo to push the range so that if one of the packs is flying ahead and something happens, you’re still connected and don’t have to ride back to investigate immediately.

Crash Detection

Though this new safety system makes the PACKTALK PRO more sophisticated, development is still needed to make it satellite-based. If my only emergency contact can’t reach me without a signal and there is no other geo-location alert being sent to a dispatcher, then this technology is unfinished for the cost. 

Help me feel secure on and off the road by making this technology available off-grid. 

Cost Analysis

Compared to Cardo’s other models, the PACKTALK PRO is the most expensive. It is coming in at $459/€469. Similarly, it’s everything the Packtalk Edge ORV has but with crash detection for the added price. Though the PACKTALK PRO has been knighted for its best features and accessories, paying the price tag might not be as necessary. The crash detection technology is still developing and has the opportunity to grow into an aspect that propels their device to a different level. However, it left me wanting and feeling like I could buy a similar Cardo for less and still feel like the things I needed were there. 

Overall, I’d say the PACKTALK PRO is not worth the $459/€469, but it could be if your central premise is finding something with that crash detection ability on roads where you know the signal will be available. If it gives you peace of mind, then the upgrade to the Pro is the best in the game. If it’s unnecessary or you’re unsure about the signal, Cardo’s other models still shine in the market.  

Final Thoughts?

Using the PACKTALK PRO in a group setting set the tone and showed me the work Cardo put into the riders that needed it. 

If you can afford to spend $460 on a device you need a safety feature on, then go ahead and check out the PACKTALK PRO. But if you’re unsure of the price, I’d say the Packtalk Edge ORV is worth the look and cash saved. It has the same powerful and user-friendly dynamic mesh intercom system, range, air mount, and ability to link up to 15 other headsets.

No matter what voice is in your head for the ride, just pick the one that’s best for you.

Pros

  • Responsive voice command system
  • Easily connects via Bluetooth 
  • Powers down monitored battery life
  • Built-in FM radio
  • Bigger, more robust JBL speakers 
  • Crash detection system
  • Over-the-air updates 
  • The Cardo Connect app is readily available
  • Waterproof, dustproof, and weatherproof
  • Large mesh talk capability
  • Patented air mount
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  • The battery on the phone drains when using the App
  • The charging indicator light turns off once it reaches 100%
  • Limited range with mesh
  • Can only alert emergency contact, not 911
  • Crash detection messages can only be sent with a signal
  • Price seems high

Important Links / Where to Buy

Cardo Packtalk Pro with Crash Detection

Posted on June 8, 2024 in Gear & Gizmos, News & Features by