The new Cardo Systems PackTalk Edge offers several upgraded features that complement its new sleek and slim form factor, but should it be your next helmet comm system?
The helmet BlueTooth communication game has become inundated with a growing number of brands, each one trying to one-up the competition with the latest and greatest bells and whistles. While many companies are adding literal bells, whistles, and cams, to their setup, Cardo Systems has taken the opposite approach… one of refinement. The result is the new Cardo PackTalk Edge.
I have recently upgraded my personal helmet comm system with the PackTalk Edge, stepping up from the PackTalk Bold and Black units. Straight away, the visual presentation of the unit is compact, functional, and user-friendly. It’s a good looking piece of kit.
The unit is streamlined with sharper lines, minimized buttons, and control wheel, and houses an internal antenna. One of the notable features is the air mounting that employs a secure magnetic connection between the PackTalk Edge and its cradle. The cradle can be connected to your helmet via the glue plate or the clamp. I opted for the clamp install, as I have a number of helmets that I wear and I like the ability to use the setup on whatever helmet that I am sporting for the day.
Installation was simple. I slid the clamp between the liner and outer shell on the left side, then adjusted the unit’s placement to my personal liking. It helps that I am left-handed and very comfortable with the dexterous chores that come along with having a comm system attached to the side of my head. However, the Packtalk Edge is spotlighted by its true hands-free “Hey, Cardo” function. I’ve enjoyed this function from the Edge’s predecessors, especially when on the bike to access my phone’s features like Siri, music, maps, etc. I admit that with the Bold and Black units, I often struggled to find the sweet spot or sweet tone to engage the “Hey, Cardo” activation. There was a lot of trial and error.
I’m sure that I was not the only one having to repeat commands into the unit before engagement. I considered it a small price to pay for the convenience of the hands-free feature.
Cardo Systems has improved the element in the PackTalk Edge with a new noise filtering microphone that optimizes the recognition of voice commands when speaking in a natural tone, even at speed under the roar and rumble of the bike.
Previously, I would have to give the seemingly redundant command of “Hey, Cardo… Hey, Siri” to engage Siri on my phone. That has been rectified, as well. Now, all I have to say is “Hey, Siri… Call my Wife…”, or “Hey, Siri… I need directions to a gas station… ” and I’m in business. The only caveat is that for commands beyond phone calls and music, your phone needs to be unlocked.
The overall sound quality is almost crystal clear. Receiving calls, I can hear the other party with crispy reception and I can speak with close to a normal tone, with the assurance that I am being heard, in like manner. With the PackTalk Edge, Cardo has redesigned the JBL sound system with the result being an impressive measure of quality in the arena of audio communications.
Equally impressive is the battery life. I’ve only had to charge my PackTalk Edge once and that’s with several days of riding with music, phone calls, and navigation. I find it helpful that when you power off the unit, it informs you of its battery status. And when I did charge it, using the included Typer-C USB cable, the unit was at full battery capacity within less than an hour.
Since I first began using the Cardo systems, I was always impressed by their mesh connectivity. Riding in groups and being able to communicate is vital. The PackTalk Edge employs second-generation engineering of Cardo’s DMC technology that makes pairing with other communication units or utilizing the intercom feature borderline seamless.
It is a task to find a fault with the new PackTalk Edge, other than that it isn’t in a matt black colorway (the muted matt grey is close, but you know what I’m saying). Even the price point is proper and makes the unit that much more attractive. Where the Bold and Black are priced at $339.95 and $349.95, respectively, the PackTalk Edge has an MSRP of $389.95. With the upgrades, revamps and redesign, it’s not a hard sell. Well done, Cardo. Well done.