February 2, 2023

Cardo Packtalk Neo - First Look

Cardo Packtalk Neo - First Look

The Cardo Packtalk Bold was the flagship offering from Cardo for years. it offered the greatest range for intercom, Bluetooth for turn-by-turn navigation, phone calls, and music. plus pretty good battery life.
Around 12 months ago it was replaced by the next-generation Packtalk Edge, with DMC 2.0, USB-C and fast charging, and a swag of other improvements, but it was a bit more expensive.

Cardo has listened to the feedback and come to the party with a cheaper offering, scrimping in some key areas, but overall offering the same great experience as the PT Edge, at a lower price point.

Introducing the Packtalk Neo.
The Packtalk Neo has the same 13 hours claimed talk time, Speakers by JBL, 1600m range, DMC 2.0, USB-C, and fast charging. It is still connected to your phone via Bluetooth, has over-the-air updates, and even looks the same as the edge. So where have they saved money?
The PT Edge was the first offering from Cardo to come out with a magnetic "Air-Mount". This is the first place we see a saving, the PT Neo connecting to the mount on your helmet with clips.
The other key area we see savings is in how the electrical signal is sent from the brains of the unit to the speakers and mic.
With the PT Edge, the speakers and mic are wired to the mount, with connections and pins in the mount connecting to the actual PT Edge unit when it's mounted.
With the Neo, the mount has no such electrical connections. Instead, there is an included loom with connections for each speaker and mic on one end and a USB-C plug on the other. The same speakers and mic are installed in the helmet and connected to the loom. and this cable is passed out the side of the padding of the helmet. When the PT Neo is mounted on the helmet, it is then plugged into the back of the unit using that USB-C.

This makes sense, and is a good system, but does mean the unit cant be charged while using it like you can with the PT Edge. Otherwise, the PT Neo works exactly the same as the PT Edge.

I think you have to applaud Cardo for coming up with an offering at a cheaper price point than their flagship. It reduces the barrier to entry. I've personally ridden thousands of kilometers both with mates and solo, with the PT Edge on my helmet, and can't imagine wanting to ride without it. I listen to music, and podcasts, make calls, and when not riding solo, talk with mates. The sound quality is greatly improved with the new offering Neo and Edge units over the bold. It's like going from talking to someone on the phone to having a conversation via facetime or some other digital connection. the audio quality is excellent, there is more than enough volume to listen to music and have a conversation at motorway speeds, even if one or both of you are wearing earplugs.

In my opinion, Cardo makes the best Intercom and Bluetooth devices on the market currently, and I'm not being paid to say that.