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A rant about Cardo Packtalk Slim

Sep 28, 2019 | life | By Shawn Parker

Four-ish days on the road with new Cardo Packtalk Slim headsets and I’m left wondering how people rave about Cardo. Installation was easy, the units are light, and battery life was impressive, but that’s where the highlights end. The software leaves A LOT to be desired.

  • I have “Hey Siri” turned off on my phone. I don’t want her listening in on me, yet twice I still found myself wondering why Siri has been invoked at all.
  • “Hey Cardo” is supposed to work. I could never get it to respond.
  • The radio (seriously, why can’t I disable this feature?) just turns on randomly. And since I never planned on using this functionality, I got to fumble around for a while on how to turn it off since I never looked up how to use the functionality in the first place.
  • My music just starts playing randomly. Same gripe on turning it off.

That’s a lot of failures in the tertiary features, but what about the core functionality? The intercom. Well, its ok. The range is at least good.

  • I’m guessing the headsets save on power by not transmitting 100% of the time, but what that means is that it misses the beginning syllables of your sentence. When giving terse responses this means that it may not even transmit your response.
  • Randomly I would just get unintelligible garbled junk when my wife is trying to talk to me. And from short distances at that.
  • I have to speak up and enunciate a lot or else my wife doesn’t hear or cannot understand me.
  • Don’t try to use the auto volume adjustment feature. You just won’t hear anything. Even when the feature is off it will still somehow try to modulate the volume of the transmission. I don’t get it at all.
  • Getting turn by turn directions and talking to someone is a nice feature, unless the person sighs or there’s wind over the mic and then your directions get faded way back and you don’t get to hear it. According to the manual it is supposed to favor turn by turn directions over rider to rider communication.
  • The units do come pre-paired from the factory. That’s good. But they also just randomly don’t pair with each other. That’s bad.

All in all I’m sad one of the old Sena 10s headsets died. While I didn’t get to listen to directions while also talking, at least they got the core functionality right: I could talk to my wife reliably within reasonable distances.

Last, but not least, the PDF manual found online links out to non-existent FAQs for solving problems. That’s a problem.

Update 2019-10-08

A few more days in and I’ve turned off all voice commands and so far no more unwanted invocations of my phone or the radio. But still some issues:

  • Another case of the two paired headsets not connecting to each other. Had to restart each one a few times to get them to sync up. Pretty frustrating.
  • My headset decided that 1/4 - 1/3 power was enough to warrant immediate shutdown. The first time we stretched the batteries they were fine. We got plenty of battery warnings before anything happened. Today I just got shutdowns. Just “goodbye” and its gone. Charged back up and so far so good. We’ll see what happens when it gets back down under half battery.
  • Strange garblings again.

Update 2019-10-20

The wife’s USB charging port broke. These units are headed back to Amazon for a refund. Looks like we’re headed back to Sena.

Tagged as: motorcycles, cardo, packtalk, rant