Cardo PackTalk Bold Review
Words: Lance Schwartz
The only thing better than getting out and riding is doing that same exact thing with a group of your closest friends. Cardo’s PackTalk Bold helmet communication system makes that process all the more fun, giving you the ability to share multiple types of communications between a group as large as 15 people!
The Cardo PackTalk Bold ($339.95) has a ton of really cool features. Person-to-person communication, music streaming, multi-device bluetooth connectivity, FM radio connectivity, smartphone integration, and a Cardo App that controls all of these features are all part of the huge amount of features that fit into this tiny little package.
The PackTalk Bold unit utilizes a universal mount system that attaches to a helmet. From that mount, high quality JBL speakers and a microphone are connected and routed inside the helmet. The PackTalk Bold unit snaps in/out of the mount for easy attachment/removal. If riding in the rain is something you do often, you’ll find comfort knowing that the unit is waterproof, with up to 13 hours of talk time on a single charge of the battery.
While the Cardo PackTalk utilizes bluetooth technology to connect to external components like smartphones, gps units, or even other communication devices, the real magic behind Cardo is their use of their proprietary Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC) technology. In perfect conditions with direct line of sight, distances between group members can be up to 1 mile between riders and up to 5 miles between the whole group. Unlike systems that depend on Bluetooth, DMC is unaffected by people joining or leaving the group and seamlessly allows them in/out of the group communications without needing to reset the group. The groups can be created in a few seconds by syncing all of the devices together with a few button clicks.
In addition to talking between group members, streamed songs and phone calls can also be shared between the whole group. The Cardo PackTalk unit does utilize buttons that are useful to initially setup group communications, as well as a “roller” type selector that can be used to adjust things like volume. However, since most users will likely be driving a UTV or riding an ATV or dirt bike, one of the greatest features is that the PackTalk units are completely voice controllable. With the simple command of the “Hey Cardo” prefix, users can turn volume up/down, turn music on/off, select music tracks, turn the FM radio on/off, check battery status, answer/ignore calls, and integrate with Google or Siri to control your smartphone.
If more precise control is needed, there are even more controls that can be used by integrating the Cardo App on your smartphone. The amount of modern technology that has entered the off-road market in the last few years is absolutely amazing! While the whole purpose of getting off-road is often to escape into the outdoors and leave your crazy life behind, being able to do it with friends takes that experience to the next level. With a product like the Cardo PackTalk Bold, having the ability to share multimedia communications with a “pack” of up to 14 of your closest friends, just imagine the exciting new adventures you can create!