The Cardo Spirit HD sits above the base Spirit in the Cardo product portfolio.
There are products that you can go years without using and then just can’t do without once you experience them. The Cardo Spirit HD is one such device that on multiple occasions has proven to be so useful, I don’t think I’d get on a motorcycle without it. Save for when I’m at the racetrack. Full disclaimer: I wasn’t entirely a fan of Bluetooth communication devices in the past, but having experienced the Spirit HD over the course of a 2,000km road trip, perspectives have, admittedly, changed.
Israel-based Cardo Systems has a wide Bluetooth communications product portfolio and is officially brought to India via Big Bad Bikes. The Cardo Spirit HD sits above the base Spirit in the Cardo Systems’ product hierarchy. It distinguishes itself from the lower model with better features such as 40mm HD speakers and larger Bluetooth intercom range. More on that later.
Compact bracket for main unit.
Right out of the box, the Spirit HD unit looks and feels compact and lightweight, 35 grams only. Important when you’ve got to attach it to a helmet without upsetting the balance. The unit slides into a plastic bracket that forms the base. This can be attached to the helmet using a sticky mount or via a clip that slides and sits between the shell and the padding. I’ve gone with the latter way of mounting it to my MT Revenge 2 helmet and it sits securely.
Firstly, pairing the unit to my phone or the Bluetooth intercom was an easy affair. A few taps on the dedicated buttons and two riders can remain paired as long as the distance between them remains under about half a kilometre. And even if one of us were to fall back beyond the range, the auto reconnect feature would have us paired in a matter of seconds. As for the mic’s ability to pick up my voice or hearing what the other rider was saying, the system worked stupendously. It helped us discuss the bikes while riding, alert each other about hazards on the road and exchange some good old banter. More importantly, it was invaluable in making it easier to coordinate with each other while filming the journey. The mic also has surprisingly good noise cancelling capabilities that cut out things like wind noise and engine sounds.
HD speakers are clear with decent bass.
The other times when we weren’t talking to each other, I streamed music through the speakers and found them to deliver clear audio and good bass, as long as the speeds stayed below the 100-120kph mark (this was on fully faired big ADVs). From there on, wind noise takes over, making it hard to listen to music.
In addition, the ability to invoke Google Assistant at the touch of a button and make calls or skip tracks is another convenience that I’ve come to appreciate. Over and above this, I like the fact that the device is waterproof and is also said to withstand the effects of dust, mud, snow and sunshine. So far, so good, although I’d have liked a more secure-feeling rubber flap over the charging port.
It only takes two hours to top up the battery using the Type-C port and it lasts 13 hours. That’s more than enough for a day’s ride. On the other hand, a 20-min charge is said to offer two hours of talktime, although I haven’t been in a situation where I had to use that feature yet.
Overall, it may lack the flash and fancy features of the range topping Packtalk Edge which we will review soon, but considering the features, build and performance, I think it is definitely worth the cash.
Price: Rs 13,699