The Packtalk Edge is Cardo’s feature-rich, flagship Bluetooth communicator.
The Cardo Packtalk Edge is a flagship Bluetooth communicator, with a features list to match. In terms of fundamentals, you get a mesh intercom system that can support up to 15 riders at a range of up to 1.6km. There’s also Bluetooth intercom, which means you get universal intercom pairing (yes, you can hook up to Senas and other brands of intercom via BT; but not via mesh). In my experience, 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.
The magnetic mount works well.
Then there are a number of convenience-aiding features, like automatic volume control (which adjusts for changes in ambient sound), fast charging (which gives you 2hrs of use from a 20-min top-up), and OTA updates. But perhaps my favourite feature is the magnetic ‘air mount’ – in a space of literally about 1sec, the main unit swiftly snaps into place, while simultaneously upping the ‘cool’ factor of the device. It’s a great party trick, but super convenient, too, and taking the device off is a fairly straightforward process as well. However, Cardo has designed the internal wiring for the speakers and mic with more connectors than I’ve seen in other devices. So, rigging up the Packtalk inside your helmet is a more complicated and time-consuming task than some previous communicators I’ve owned.
The 40mm JBL speakers are undoubtedly one of the highlights, delivering superb audio quality in all situations. I have primarily been listening to music, where the punchiness of these units has shone through, but I’ve also done a great deal of intercom and phone conversations, and audio clarity has always been excellent. Microphone pickup seems to be equally clear, with most people unable to deduce that I’m riding a motorcycle as I speak to them. 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’s a great feature in theory, but even at the highest setting for microphone sensitivity, it sometimes failed to detect my speech and kick into action when I spoke a little softly, forcing me to repeat myself now and then. This could be down to the microphone placement in my helmet because Rishaad, who also uses an Edge, has not faced this issue. Another feature that has been a little erratic in operation is the voice commands. In most cases, the device was quick to understand and execute commands. But on certain occasions, it failed to do this even after repeated attempts, and in other cases, it erroneously detected a voice command as I was singing along to music. Overall, though, it’s still a rather handy feature to have. The Packtalk also works with the voice assistant on your phone, which allowed me to get a great deal of things done using Google Assistant. Disappointingly, there’s only one speed dial slot built in, but using Google Assistant, I could call pretty much anyone in my contacts, and even send WhatsApp messages on the go.
The internal wiring is quite complicated.
The Packtalk Edge offers quite a lot of functionality in a sleek and sexy form factor. And while I haven’t really been able to sample its core strength of mesh connectivity in very large groups, it has still proven to be a powerful, easy-to-use and enjoyable tool. The price for all that power, though, is Rs 33,999 – a significant sum, which is 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. If that isn’t the case, the more budget-friendly options in Cardo’s line-ups offer many (though not all, of course) of the highlights at much more affordable price tags.
Price: Rs 33,999