The Scala rider Packtalk duo by Cardo comes with a variety of new features that make it a great option for both local use and cross country trips. This is one of the leading headsets on the market, and it’s available at a price that won’t break the bank.
Our Verdict: The Packtalk motorcycle headset system by Cardo comes loaded with all the right features including the ability to connect to up to fifteen other riders using the intercom system. It’s versatile and allows you to add riders that are using different brands of headsets, which is a huge plus. It also comes with voice command controls, so you can reject an incoming call, answer a call, or access your contacts using simple voice prompts.
The system comes with built-in FM radio, complete with eight preset stations, so you can ride along to your favorite music or you can stay current with road conditions and weather reports. The system also offers an excellent range of one mile and includes a feature that will automatically switch your headset to your phone, should you ride out of range and your buddies are unable to connect with you via the intercom system. Basically, the manufacturer has thought of everything.
Considering how many features this system comes with, its overall adjustability, and connection options, this may not be the most beginner-friendly model, but it’s one of the most reliable.
Overview and Features
This new system is the first of its kind to incorporate the dynamic meshwork communication feature, which is essentially a wireless mesh network. This model connects with up to fifteen riders, via a full-duplex intercom system that allows up to four users to speak at the same time. The wireless system is essentially a variant of a mesh network, which means if a rider is out of range, the system will still be able to reconnect the rider automatically, once they fall back within range. This is a huge improvement over your standard Bluetooth system.
This is definitely a headset that’s feature-heavy, which can be a drawback for the beginner or people who aren’t very tech-savvy. However, the system comes with a large forty-five-page user’s manual, which will walk you through each of the features, how to use them, how to adjust them, and how to pair the phone with other Bluetooth compatible devices or add new riders to the intercom system.
This is one model that you can really rely on when you’re making a major trip across the country. It comes loaded with some great features designed to keep you and your buddies safe and in constant contact throughout the duration of your trip and it offers the type of reliable performance you need when you’re traveling through new territory.
For more information on riding tips, and how to travel cross country safely, stop by and read my article on how to secure your helmet to your motorcycle with a holder.
The Packtalk system is very advanced and offers a wide range of options. It’s very easy to pair with other devices when you’re connecting with a large group of riders. It can also be paired with other Bluetooth devices since it uses Bluetooth as its default network. So, you can pair the headset with your smartphone, MP3 player, or tablet.
To learn more about headset technology, stop by and read my in-depth buyer’s guide.
You can download the Cardo app to adjust or change a setting, connect new riders, and more.
The system’s roller wheel control allows you to easily access the advanced menu system or adjust the volume.
This headset also offers voice command controls, so you can answer the phone, reject a call, talk on the intercom, or access FM radio, all with the use of simple voice prompts.
This model comes with built-in FM radio, complete with eight presets, so you’ll have the ability to listen to your favorite stations and stay up to date with traffic and weather reports.
You’ll find a total of three buttons, in addition to the roller wheel. These buttons can be accessed by pressing the bottom, top, or front of the black insert located on the front of the device. These buttons allow you to choose intercom, mobile, or audio features. You can press the top intercom button in order to pair a device or connect. For the mobile button, you’ll press it to answer a call. The audio button is designed to turn the device on or power it off.
The mounting system features a friction-based spring steel mount. The mount includes speaker connectors and a mic with a couple of short wires.
Also referred to as pack mode, the intercom system allows you to connect to up to fifteen riders, easily. So it’s not too confusing, the intercom allows only four people to talk at the same time.
Intercom to Phone
This is another popular feature and it allows one to eight users to switch automatically to their mobile phone if they’re connected to the intercom system and ride out of range. This will allow everyone in your group to remain in constant contact.
You can stream your music from your smartphone and allow all your buddies to listen in, via the intercom mode. Even if you’re in the middle of streaming music, the music will switch to GPS instructions, intercom calls, or a phone call, automatically.
You can use the voice command feature to answer, reject, or make a call. This will allow you to keep both of your hands on the handlebars, where they belong.
The included speakers are pretty basic, which is somewhat of a disappointment considering the cost of the system itself. The speakers will connect using a standard 3.5-millimeter jack, which will allow you to replace the speakers with a nice upgrade, if needed.
When turned up, the volume level is adequate. In terms of sound quality, you’ll enjoy a crystal clear listening experience. You won’t have to deal with any static or background noise.
The battery will take approximately four hours to charge and features an average thirteen hours of talk time. If the system is left in the standby mode it will have a battery life of one week. While some competing models will offer up to twenty hours of talk time, I felt that the thirteen hours was average.
The system is waterproof and dustproof, so you can ride around in inclement weather without damaging it.
This system features a range of one mile.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Compatible with other Bluetooth devices
- Intercom system can be used for up to fifteen riders
- FM radio with eight presets
- Voice commands
- Short charging time
- Low speaker volume
- Not beginner-friendly
Cardo Scala Versus Cardo FREECOM 4 PLUS
The competing system is also by Cardo, but it doesn’t offer the same type of versatility that the Packtalk system does. As an example, you can only add up to three other riders, for an intercom system that supports four users only, while this system can be used with up to fifteen riders. However, while this system’s speakers tend to fall flat in terms of volume, the competing system comes equipped with JBL speakers, so there’s no need to upgrade.
In terms of battery life and range, both offer a comparable performance. Like the Packtalk, the competing system is dustproof, waterproof, and comes equipped with voice command controls and built-in FM radio. However, in order to use the Cardo Freecom 4 Plus system for half helmets, you’ll need to purchase the half helmet kit, which can be a drawback for some riders. Overall, each system has something special to offer, but if you’re traveling with a larger group then you’re going to want a system that offers a better intercom system and one that can accommodate more users.
Conclusion and Rating
The Packtalk headset system by Cardo is a perfect choice for large groups of riders. The impressive intercom system can be used with up to eighteen riders at once, so you can stay in close contact with all of your riding buddies. In fact, the system allows up to four users to speak at the same time.
The system also comes with voice command controls, so you can activate the intercom, reject an incoming call, answer a call, or access your phone’s contacts using simple voice commands. The system isn’t exactly the most beginner-friendly to use since it comes with so many features and configuration options, but once you make it through the forty-five-page user’s manual, you’ll have fun learning how to adjust the wide variety of features and setting options. I gave this system a rating of four and a half out of five stars.