Cardo have launched a new Bluetooth intercom they describe as the “most advanced communication system in the world”.
The Packtalk Edge will have a series of upgrades, including a new magnetic mounting system, a slimmer profile, faster and easier pairing and the latest Bluetooth 5.2 tech for better connectivity.
Cardo have also improved their Natural Voice engine, which allows riders to control the unit with voice commands, and enhanced the very popular JBL-made speakers.
Riders will now be able to choose from three sound profiles for the speakers to best suit their riding.
The radical changes go even further, with an updated USB-C charging port replacing the existing units’ old-school Micro USB ports - and there’s a new fast charge mode that gives a flat Packtalk Edge two hours’ of talktime from just a 20-minute charge.
The days of connecting the unit to a computer to update the hardware are also over thanks to a new over-the-air software update set-up.
The waterproof Packtalk Edge is expected to go on sale in late April 2022 with an RRP of £339 for a single unit and £609 for a twin-pack.
Cardo chief executive officer Alon Lumbroso says: “The Packtalk Edge is a fantastic flagship to our extensive range of communicators. Innovation is in our company DNA and we’re proud to translate that into a product for fellow motorcyclists.”
For the dedicated, let’s go through the upgrades in a bit more detail…
Second generation DMC
Cardo’s Dynamic Mesh Control (DMC) has been overhauled “from the ground up” and the new wideband intercom promises clearer voice quality than ever, with Cardo likening it to a good video conference. Promised range remains at one mile, though this is in perfect conditions and we’d expect all comms systems to lose contact at less than that distance.
Easier, faster pairing
With the new DMC gen 2 riders can connect into a chat group with the press of one button. There’s no longer any need for an administrator of the group, and riders can also choose one rider from their group for one-to-one chats, such as their pillion. Groups can be up to 15 riders in size and Cardo promise the pairing required to join a group is now “lightning fast”.
New magnetic mount
The mounting cradle for the Packtalk Edge attaches to the helmet and then the communication unit secures to it using magnets, hopefully making it less fiddly than the current clip. Pressing a button will release the unit so it can slide off the cradle.
Improved voice command system
When Cardo introduced their Natural Voice system their units became far easier to control as there’s no need to fiddle with the buttons. Command like ‘hey Cardo, music on’ or ‘hey Cardo, volume up’ will yield the results you’re looking for. The Natural Voice system in the Packtalk Edge has been overhauled for better results, partly through improvements in the microphone and how it picks up the rider’s voice.
JBL speaker profiles
The JBL speakers are among the most attractive features of Cardo’s Packtalk intercoms. The Packtalk Edge runs 40mm JBL speakers and riders can now choose from three sound profiles. Bass Boost mode will be best for music, Vocal mode will suit clearer verbal communication and High Volume is designed for riders who spend more time at higher speeds and wear earplugs.
Plug the USB-C charging cable into the Packtalk Edge’s port and in 20 minutes it’ll go from flat to having two hours of talktime. That should see you through to being able to give it a full two-hour charge and restore it to having a 13-hour talktime. If you want, you can charge it from a power bank while riding.
Keeping the firmware update is much simpler as it can be done over a wi-fi network using the Cardo Connect phone app rather than having to plug it into a computer.
As with other Packtalk units, you can buy a second helmet kit that lets you have speakers, microphone and cradle installed in two helmets and switch the control unit between them. A half-helmet kit allows fitment to cut-down American-style helmets and there’s also a pair of bigger 45mm speakers for those who want even more performance and have the room to fit them in their lid.