Over the past decade and a half, digital technology has become a part of our everyday life. It has crept into our routine and plummets us to a level where we cannot function fully-fledged without them. In all this, the contribution of Bluetooth communication is significant.
The innovation has spread everywhere as we speak to our friends or business associates in a ‘hands-free’ mode allowing us to multitask and save time.
The technology has expanded so much that it has entered the fast-paced Motorcycle industry for bikers to communicate effectively.
Over the past few years, reliability on Bluetooth communication has also improved a lot and plays a decisive role with such bikers who race.
How does one know which of these are best suited for your needs? Do they differ in their features to achieve superiority, and do they have any disadvantages at all?
- Which Company Products suit your requirements? Cardo or Sena?
- Review of products: Sena & Cardo
- 1. Sena 50S Bluetooth Headset
- 2. Cardo DMC/Bluetooth PACKTALK BOLD Motorcycle Communication
- 3. Sena 30K Motorcycle Bluetooth/Mesh Communication System
- 4. Cardo DMC/Bluetooth PACKTALK SLIM Motorcycle Communication and Entertainment System
- 5. SENA 20S-EVO Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication System
- 6. Cardo FREECOM 4 PLUS – 4-Way Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication
- The Buyer’s Guide to Motorcycle communication Systems
Which Company Products suit your requirements? Cardo or Sena?
Let’s find out by comparing them thoroughly.
1. Mesh Technology
Cardo’s Dynamic Mesh Communication: (DMC)
DMC is the ‘ in thing’ for bikers in communication.
The bikers on a ride can connect with the other bikers in the same group, forming a web between them. They can disconnect too, and it does not disturb the others in the group.
In other words, even if one biker loses communication, the others would still stay connected.
Pairing it with other Bluetooth brands is another facility one gets with DMC technology.
Sena’s Mesh Intercom Technology:
The specific idea of Sena to develop this form of communication was to enhance the communiqué between bikers.
The Mesh system does not require headsets to be paired and can simultaneously engage more than thirty thousand people to participate in a conversation common to all.
If the conversation is private, the bikers can join the chat and quit from the group allowing the others to carry on.
In the case of a rider who moves out of range, the Mesh allows for automatic reconnection once he steps back into range, thus proving that it is better than Bluetooth technology.
2. The longest Range
The Cardo Packtalk is ideal for intercom communication to stay steady within a mile under natural conditions. In case there are disturbances, communication would be effective up to one kilometer.
On the other hand, the Sena beats the ‘Cardo mile, ‘and communication is possible for an extra .2 mile in favorable conditions.
The hidden benefit of Sena vs. Cardo is that Sena can connect with up to 30000 riders. If that happens, the connectivity is possible up to 5 km.
3. Vocals empowerment
One has gone just say ‘Hey Cardo’ and issue the command, which is to be executed. In other words, you don’t move a muscle, and the voice command does whatever is suggested of it. Commands could be ‘ Hey Cardo, play the music or ‘ increase the volume.’
One has to exercise caution over such voice commands as ‘ shouting’ leads to voice distortion and wrong execution of commands.
The Sena also has this feature of voice command on newer devices, and the users just have to say “Hey Google or Hey Siri” every time they require a specific function.
These operations can also be easily carried out via the smartphone connected.
4. Audio system
Cardo’s decision to align with one of the best audio production companies, namely JBL, has paid off. JBL is reputed for its high-end speakers, and it keeps the intercom in the bike ahead in audio quality. Cardo is a proud pioneer of this innovative technology now.
The JBL speakers make your music listening to a wonderful experience, and the clarity in communication is crystal clear. Moreover, specific features come in as a bonus such as FM radio, smart mixing of audio, etc. It allows these features to operate as long as a mile and a maximum of 15 riders to connect.
The Sena has not gone in for specialist speakers or audio professionals. Their Mesh network enables very clear audio communication between the packers. In addition to this, the speakers are loud and precise than any other intercom, and one can almost feel that the person communicating is standing right next to him.
The music and the FM audio output are excellent, and the volume can be turned up and higher if the biker is traveling at high speed. On top of all this, the volume decreases as the bike loses speed.
The Cardo Scala Rider has improved on its predecessor and has now been streamlined to make the talking unit far better. Moreover, the app allows the smartphone to become a remote control, which provides for secure communication.
Among other features, the ‘ one-touch’ is incredible as it facilitates many functions such as choosing music, delete or add members to the pack. The switchover from Bluetooth mode to DMC intercom is also possible with the touch of a finger.
Sena 30K, on the other hand, is designed to be sleek. This sleekness makes it easy to use and compact to carry it around.
All one has to do is fix it to the helmet, raise the antenna followed by switching on the power button.
Review of products: Sena & Cardo
Below we have compared all the popular devices by Sena & Cardo. Read on to see which one suits your needs.
1. Sena 50S Bluetooth Headset
- Mesh 2.0 Intercom lets you communicate with other riders within a range of up to 5 miles / 8 km (min. 6 riders at 1 mi / 1.6 km intervals)
- Multi-Channel Open Mesh allows communication with a near-limitless number of riders and lets you switch between 9 channels. Group Mesh supports up to 24 participants in a private group
- Bluetooth 5 connectivity to your smartphone for access to music, phone calls, GPS navigation
- Voice-activated digital assistant access to utilize a smartphone's hands-free functions ("Hey Siri" / "Hey Google")
- Upgraded HD Speakers optimized for audio quality, delivering a boost in volume, bass, and clarity. Includes a WiFi Cable to charge the device and to automatically download/install firmware updates via WiFi connectivity.
Just visualize a scenario on how communication with your other bikers can be facilitated by just pressing a button. And to make it better, talking to the biker who is five miles distant from you?
Thanks to the Mesh 2.0 technology, this is made possible through the Sena 50 S Bluetooth single headset. Let us look at its top features:
When you are riding fast on your bike, it turns out to be a risky affair by feeling your pockets and press a button. Instead, the voice command enables you just to say ‘ Hey Google’ and activate it. The Google Assistant listens to your instructions and executes the command.
The Wi-Fi adapter which accompanies the Sena 50S is exclusive. The battery is high density and can fully charge the headset under an hour, which sets up plenty of talk time. Auto upgrades are another feature of this Wi-Fi adapter.
The Sena 50S has speakers of HD quality, and the smartphone can enable connectivity of Bluetooth 5.0 with the headgear.
Thanks to Mesh 2, private conversations between 24 members can affect the switching of nine channels. The Sena 50S is water-resistant even though this is not mentioned in the label.
- Mesh 2.0 allows an almost unlimited number of connections
- Comes with Bluetooth 5.0
- HD speakers
- Multi-lingual voice commands
- User-friendly jog dial
- Long talk-time of 9-14 hrs
- Fast Charging
2. Cardo DMC/Bluetooth PACKTALK BOLD Motorcycle Communication
- Natural Voice - With our all-new, always-on, natural voice operation feature, you will never have to press a button, turn a wheel or move a slider again, because we have just empowered your voice.
- Sound By JBL - Music and motorcycling are both great passions. Cardo-JBL partnership delivers – for the very first time – an ultimate listening experience
- DMC - Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC) solves all Bluetooth usual pains and turns PACKTALK BOLD into the most capable motorcycle communication system in the world.
- General Features - Waterproof and Dustproof, Bluetooth 4. 1, Up to 13 hours talk time and up to 1. 6 km bike to bike range, Interchangeable boom and corded microphone options, Self-adjusting volume, Built-in FM radio. *To use with Half Helmets please purchase the FREECOM Half helmet kit
Update: Cardo has recently launched their special edition model, The Cardo Packtalk Black.
This is basically a blacked out Packtalk Bold unit which comes with bigger 45mm speaker units when compared to regular Packtalk Bold’s 40mm speakers and an extra year added to the warranty period (which makes it 3 years instead of 2 years).
The DMC transforms the PACKTALK BOLD Into an experience you would never forget. Pairing the Bluetooth requires time, and just by setting up your intercom on the first go sets up everything else perfectly.
The PACKTALK does not let you down despite changes in weather and however, inclement. It just works fine.
Starting with two, the PACKTALK can communicate with a maximum of 15 riders. Trying to press a button to activate functions is unnecessary with the PACKTALK. Just say ‘ Hey Cardo’ and give your command to be executed. This promotes safe driving.
Paired up with JBL, it renders the ultimate audio experience, and the Mesh is geared up to pair it with any Bluetooth brand.
Music from your smartphone can be streamed easily, and Single finger touch activates a lot of functions, including answering calls.
Volume adjusts automatically with the external noise, and the app is capable of smart audio mixing.
The batteries provide 13 hours of talk time.
- HD speakers by JBL
- Dynamic Mesh Communication enables connections up to 15 riders
- 13 hrs talk-time
- “Hey Cardo” Voice commands
- IP67 Waterproof
3. Sena 30K Motorcycle Bluetooth/Mesh Communication System
- Mesh Intercom, Group intercom, Universal intercom, FM Radio, Smart Phone App
- Bluetooth 4., Audio Multi tasking, Music sharing, Voice Command, Water resistant
- Bluetooth intercom: working distance up to 2.0 km (1.2 miles) in open terrain
- Mesh intercom: working distance up to 2.0 km (1.2 miles) in open terrain
- Advanced Noise Control, Built-in FM radio with RDS AF (Radio Data System Alternate Frequencies, Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)
This is the top feature. There is no necessity to pair headsets. Push a button, spring open the antenna and connect with bikers up to 30 k in numbers, and the same feature can also be activated for private conversations.
Once the connection is set up between the riders and one rider goes out of range, the other bikers stay in contact. The innovative technology sends out signals to the biker out of range and picks up communication with him.
Many features of the Sena 30K can be set up using your smartphone, and the audio quality is excellent with helmet speakers.
Sena 30K top feature allows communication up to 1.2 miles, and Bluetooth connectivity is included, combining all audio-related elements from the smartphone.
- Mesh 2.0 allows a virtually unlimited number of connections
- Quick-charge gives 5 hrs of Bluetooth and 3 hrs of mesh connection with just 20 minutes of charge
- Multi-tasking, talk via mesh and stream music via Bluetooth
- Updates over WiFi
4. Cardo DMC/Bluetooth PACKTALK SLIM Motorcycle Communication and Entertainment System
- Sound By JBL. Powerful speakers engineered to perfection by JBL experts with specifically tuned music processor will turn your riding experience exceptional.
- Natural Voice Operation. Our all-new, always-on, natural voice operating rids you of from the need to ever press a button again. Just tell it what you want. It will do the rest.
- Powered By DMC. Set your intercom group once and forget about it. Our Dynamic Mesh technology will make sure you're always connected
- Slimmest Communicator. Only 6. 5mm top-to-bottom, the aerodynamic PACKTALK SLIM is hands-down the best-looking high-end communicator on the market
- Waterproof. No matter what you throw at it, your IP67 waterproof PACKTALK SLIM will take the beating and keep you connected
The product is powered by batteries which do not drain out in a short time. It lasts up to 13 hours of talk time. The battery can be recharged if you connect it to the 12V battery on the bike while riding.
As passionate as you are towards biking, so would it be listening to music? Cardo has partnered with JBL, the giants in speakers, and ensures a smooth listening experience to the biker.
Bikers, when traveling in a group, can connect up to 15 riders.and Bluetooth user friendly as any brand can pair with it.
- HD speakers by JBL
- Natural voice commands
- Dynamic Mesh Communication allows communication between 15 riders
- Slimmest Intercom in the market (6.5 mm)
- IP67 Waterproof
The unit is only 6.55 mm thick and bears an aesthetic look too with Single finger touch to activate many functions, including phone calls.
5. SENA 20S-EVO Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication System
- The 20s Evo is the next generation of the original 20s, with an updated design and improved intercom functionality and stability to keep up with your ride
- This sleek new antenna design improves upon intercom stability
- The 20s Evo was designed with a fixed type, shark fin antenna as opposed to its predecessor with the flip up antenna
It’s quite sleek and found to be durable. The antenna is in the shape of s shark fin, and this is an innovation over the usual flip-up antenna. It also allows contact with up to seven people. Therefore it is ideal for a small group of riders.
Any headset is not set up for life. The features have to be changed once in a while, and the Sena app enables this.
The Sena 20S Evo can communicate effectively up to a range of 1.2 miles. This becomes more enhanced if the terrain is flat and there is good weather.
A protective rubber covering guards it from water, dust, etc., .and thus ensuring its durability and comes with a GPS.
It’s a universal fit as this can be fitted on any helmet conveniently, and the battery takes not less than five hours to regain full charge, and 13 hours of talk time is available.
- Allows communication between 8 riders
- Easy pairing with motion sensor
- HD speakers
- Battery life of up to 13 hrs
- Shark Fin antenna instead of flip-up antenna
6. Cardo FREECOM 4 PLUS – 4-Way Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication
- 4-Way Intercom - The world leader in motorcycle communicators, Connecting riders since 2004. Full 4-way Bluetooth intercom communication system with bike-to-bike conferencing at a range of up to 1. 2km.
- Sound By JBL - Bringing the ultimate sound experience to riders around the world: the JBL-Cardo partnership combines Cardo’s passion for the ride with JBL’s passion for sound. Specifically designed to work inside a helmet while riding.
- Natural Voice Operation - With our new natural voice operation, you will never have to press a button again. Just say “Hey Cardo, ” and your FREECOM 4+ will do the rest. It even connects directly to Siri and Ok Google.
- General Features - Waterproof and Dustproof, Bluetooth 4. 1, 13 hours talk time, Interchangeable boom and corded microphone options, Self-adjusting volume, Built-in FM radio. *To use with Half Helmets please purchase the FREECOM Half helmet kit
- Fit Type: Universal Fit
This is a top feature among Cardo’s as you just have to say ‘ Hey Cardo’ and activate the smart assistant. You can request anything that you require, like information on where you are presently traveling, songs, etc. The other pleasant feature is that it can accommodate Ok Google and Siri.
By using the built-in dial, you can adjust the volume.
This unit is ideal for a set of four people. The intercom connection is made possible by the Bluetooth headset. The four bikers can share even music.
The smartphone should be connected to the headset, and GPS can be enabled. Since the headset is integrated with the phone, it would be receiving navigation or directions from the smartphone.
Use the phone facility to make or answer calls by using the smart assistant. But one has to bear in mind that communication is possible only up to .3 miles only.
JBL speakers are there to make you enjoy music.
- 4 – Way Intercom allows connections up to 1.2 km
- HD speakers by JBL
- “Hey Cardo” Voice commands
- Bluetooth 4.1
- 13 hrs talk-time
- Waterproof and Dustproof
The Buyer’s Guide to Motorcycle communication Systems
The following are the factors to be kept in mind while setting up your bike communication.
- It should be user friendly and easy to use.
- The GPS function should cover the maximum range.
- It should cater to the number of connections you desire.
- It should be all-weather resistant.
- Is the noise cancellation feature perfect?
- Does the communication work effectively up to a range you desire?
- Does the price fall within your budget without compromising?
- Are the audio and music good enough?
Can Cardo Devices Communicate with Sena Devices?
Yes, It is possible. You can pair your Cardo Intercom device with a Sena Intercom. Provided, you have a Cardo device that came after G9 Model and Sena Model 10S upward.
There’s a “Universal Intercom” mode on Sena, that you can enable to connect to a Cardo device.
is Sena Waterproof?
Sena has not advertised their devices as waterproof. But, all the Sena Intercom devices come with water resistance. Which means you can ride in rain without worrying about water ruining your device.
Is Cardo Waterproof?
All the popular Cardo devices come with IP67 waterproofing. Which means they can be submerged into water up to 1 meter deep. And, there will be no problem riding in rain.
The passage above illustrates the usefulness of communication devices and the ever-continuing war between Cardo VS Sena.
Both have plenty of merits, and the demerits are nonexistent.
Demerits rise only when the comparison is made. And the biker has to first decide his priorities before launching himself into the market.
The price difference is also kept minimal, and that should not be weighed against the features which may save lives one day.
The best advice would be to go by the buyer’s guide, which would serve as a checklist too. If one tick of the boxes for both the products and the one with the maximum ticks would prevail on which is better Cardo or Sena?
However, we recommend that if you are planning to ride in a group of people less than 15, Cardo Packtalk BOLD will be the best option for you.
If you ride in large groups, where you need to connect to a large number of people. Then, the Sena 50s will be the best pick for you. Which allows you to connect with an unlimited number of riders.
In case, you want a helmet with built-in Intercom, you can try Sena Momentum Smart Helmet.
You might also like: Sena 5S Review