March 12, 2022

The Ultimate Cardo 2022 Breakdown (updated)

The Ultimate Cardo 2022 Breakdown (updated)

We managed to get our dirty little hands on one of each model of Cardo's full range of intercoms for 2022 and we're pretty excited to test them all out.

Word from the NZ Cardo distributor Darbi Accessories a.k.a Motogear.co.nz is these units will be available in NZ stores from around mid-April 2022. But, with such a large range, which one do you buy?

To answer that, first, we need to answer some basic questions:
Do you want intercom or music? or both?
Do you ride with others? if so, how many people?

If it's just you, and it's just music and phone calls you want to hear, then the Spirit or Spirit HD single packs are good for you.

If it's you and a pillion, then the Spirit Duo or Spirit HD Duo is the way to go.

If it's you and 1 other on separate bikes, then the Spirit HD would be the cheapest offering but lacks in range, so the Freecom X2 is likely the way to go. Either each of you buys single units, or go in together and get a Duo set.

If there's more than you and 1 other, then the Freecom X4 is the better option, as this allows up to 4 people in the group. These are available in single and Duo sets.

Then if you like to ride in packs of 5 or more, the Packtalk units would be the better option.

The range (how spread out your group usually gets) also comes into the equation, with each Cardo offering having a different range specification from 400m to 1600m, see below for a full breakdown on this and more.


Spirit
Price Single NZ$ 189.00
Price Duo NZ$ 369.00
Range: 400m
Speakers: 32mm
Battery Life: 10 hours
Comms Connections: 1x Live intercom
Bluetooth Connections: 2x (Phone/GPS/Other brand intercoms)
FM Radio: No
Voice Commands: No
USB-C With Fast Charge: Yes
Waterproof rating: IP67
Over-the-air updates: Yes
Cardo App Control: Yes
Physical Layout: 4x buttons

Opinion: This would be the unit to get if you're short on money and/or don't ride often. The 32mm speakers are ok but don't expect a booming base or ear bleeding volume. I personally wouldn't get this unit without the upgrade kit available in the way of a second helmet kit and 40mm JBL speakers.


Spirit HD
Price Single NZ$ 279.00
Price Duo NZ$ 499.00
Range: 600m
Speakers: 40mm Cardo HD
Battery Life: 13 hours
Comms Connections: 1x Live intercom
Bluetooth Connections: 2x (Phone/GPS/Other brand intercoms)
FM Radio: Yes
Voice Commands: No
USB-C With Fast Charge: Yes
Waterproof rating: IP67
Over-the-air updates: Yes
Cardo App Control: Yes
Physical Layout: 4x buttons

Opinion: This is a great entry point to the market.  At $279 for the single, and quipped with Cardo's 40mm HD speakers, this would be awesome for road trips or commuting, able to play music, and relay navigation from your phone. as well as take and make phone calls. These can be pared for intercom functions, and have a spare Bluetooth channel for linking to other intercoms both cardo (non-Spirit models) and opposition units. The range is not amazing, but adequate for occasional riders or rider to pillion.


Freecom 2X
Price Single NZ$ 379.00
Price Duo NZ$ 729.00
Range: 800m
Speakers: 40mm JBL
Battery Life: 13 hours
Comms Connections: 2x live intercom
Bluetooth Connections: 2x (Phone/GPS/Other brand intercoms)
FM Radio: Yes
Voice Commands: No
USB-C With Fast Charge: Yes
Waterproof rating: IP67
Over-the-air updates: Yes
Cardo App Control: Yes
Physical Layout: 3x buttons 1xwheel

Opinion: If you are going on a trip with a mate and want reliable and high-quality intercom functions, as well as music and phone control, this would be the best unit for the job at the lowest price. This is the lowest tier offering from Cardo that comes with the JBL 40mm speakers for increased sound quality.


Freecom 4X
Price Single NZ$ 499.00
Price Duo NZ$ 899.00
Range: 1200m
Speakers: 40mm JBL
Battery Life: 13 hours
Comms Connections: 4x live intercom
Bluetooth Connections: 2x (Phone/GPS/Other brand intercoms)
FM Radio: Yes
Voice Commands: Yes
USB-C With Fast Charge: Yes
Waterproof rating: IP67
Over-the-air updates: Yes
Cardo App Control: Yes
Physical Layout: 3x buttons 1xwheel

Opinion: This would be the logical step up if you were regularly riding with more than 1 other person and wanted group coms, as well as all the benefits of phone connectivity. This unit comes with the JBL 40mm speakers and is the lowest tier offering equipped with voice commands for both Cardo functions and virtual assistant on your phone.


Packtalk Bold (also Packtalk Black)
Price Single NZ$599.00
Price Duo NZ$1095.00
Price Single Black NZ$699.00
Range: 1600m
Speakers: 40mm JBL
Battery Life: 13 hours
Comms Connections: DMC or Bluetooth
Bluetooth Connections: 2x (Phone/GPS/other brand intercoms)
FM Radio: Yes
Voice Commands: Yes
USB-C With Fast Charge: No (Micro USB)
Waterproof rating: IP67
Over-the-air updates: No (Connect to Mac or PC for updates)
Cardo App Control: Yes
Physical Layout: 3x buttons 1xwheel

Opinion: This is the mack-daddy offering from Cardo, with all the functions currently available, JBL 40mm speakers, voice control, and a whole lot more. If you regularly ride with large groups of 5 or more, or you often spread out the group on large rides, this would be the option to go for. With the largest range of any Cardo intercom, Bluetooth, DMC for up to 14 riders, and you can daisy chain for many more.
The Black variant has all the same features, comes in the same form factor however is black as the name suggests, and has an extended warranty over the standard Bold unit.


Packtalk Slim
Price Single NZ$599
Price Duo NZ$1095
Range: 1600m
Speakers: 40mm JBL
Battery Life: 13 hours
Comms Connections: DMC or Bluetooth
Bluetooth Connections: 2x (Phone/GPS/Other brand intercoms)
FM Radio: Yes
Voice Commands: Yes
USB-C With Fast Charge: No (Micro USB)
Waterproof rating: IP67
Over-the-air updates: No (Connect to Mac or PC for updates)
Cardo App Control: Yes
Physical Layout: 5x buttons

Opinion: This unit has all the benefits of the Packtalk Bold, but in a different form factor, useful for if your helmet can't take the Bold unit. Check compatibility with your helmet before purchase.


Packtalk Edge
Price Single NZ$649
Price Duo NZ$1199
Range: 1600m
Speakers: 40mm JBL
Battery Life: 13 hours
Comms Connections: DMC2 or Bluetooth5.2
Bluetooth Connections: 2x (Phone/GPS/Other brand intercoms)
FM Radio: Yes
Voice Commands: Yes
USB-C With Fast Charge: Yes
Waterproof rating: IP67
Over-the-air updates: Yes
Cardo App Control: Yes
Physical Layout: 3x buttons 1x roller wheel

Opinion: We have not had a chance to test this unit yet.


Installation and accessories.
The installation of each of these devices is very similar, only really changing depending on what helmet you are installing them onto. Check out our installation video HERE, and our Youtube channel HERE for other Cardo-related content.

Bravo Cardo!
Every model in the lineup comes with more mounting and installation options than you can shake a stick at. Included are a boom mic, wired mic, speakers, alcohol pads for cleaning, speaker spacers, and adhesive velcro for mic and speaker installation, as well as a clamp mount and adhesive mount.
All devices can use either the supplied speakers or a pair of headphones with a standard 3.5mm RTS headphone jack. All Spirit and Freecom X models utilize the same mounting plate.

All cardo units now come with some sort of self-healing network, either DMC or Live-Intercom, so if you get too spread out and the intercom drops out, it will automatically reconnect when riders are back in range.

We are actively testing out every single one of these devices, so hit that subscribe button and keep an eye on the Youtube channel for updates and videos.