The Cardo Packtalk Edge Bluetooth communicator is a flagship device with an extensive feature list. Its mesh intercom system can support up to 15 riders at a range of up to 1.6km and its Bluetooth intercom function gives you universal intercom pairing (you can hook up to other brands of intercom via Bluetooth, but not via mesh). The intercom worked reasonably well when paired to another Cardo via mesh, and it was average when hooked up to other Cardos via Bluetooth, with range being on the lower side.
There are convenient features such as automatic volume control (which adjusts for changes in ambient sound), fast charging (which gives you 2 hours of use from a 20-min top-up), and OTA updates. My favourite feature is the magnetic ‘air mount’ — in a space of about 1 second, the main unit swiftly snaps into place, while simultaneously upping the ‘cool’ factor of the device. However, Cardo has designed the internal wiring for the speakers and mic with more connectors than other devices. So, rigging up the Packtalk inside your helmet is a complicated and time-consuming task.
The 40mm JBL speakers are undoubtedly one of the highlights, delivering superb audio quality in all situations. Microphone pickup seems to be equally clear, with most people unable to deduce one is riding a motorcycle. The only issue here is that the mic only kicks into action when you speak, remaining inactive otherwise, so as to not pick up unwanted background sounds. It is a great feature in theory, but even at the highest setting for microphone sensitivity, it sometimes failed to detect speech and kick into action.
The voice commands seems a bit erratic. In most cases, the device is quick to understand and execute commands, but on certain occasions, it fails to do so even after repeated attempts. Yet, it is a handy feature to have. The Packtalk also works with the voice assistant on your phone, which allows you to get a great deal of things done using Google Assistant. Disappointingly, there is only one speed dial slot built in, but using Google Assistant, you can call anyone in your contacts, and even send WhatsApp messages while on the go.
The Packtalk Edge offers a lot of functionality in a sleek form and has proven to be a powerful, easy-to-use and enjoyable tool. The price for all that power is ₹33,999, which though significant, seems justifiable if you insist on the best or if you frequently ride in large groups and appreciate the stability and range of good mesh connectivity.
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