Cardo vs Sena Comparison
Digital technology has invaded every nook and corner of our lives now. From smartphones and smartwatches to VR headsets and QLEDs, technology has evolved tremendously. It is suffice to say they have become essential to our daily routine.
Bluetooth communication system for motorcycles is one such innovative product. It keeps you connected while you enjoy your ride with your friends or family.
From listening to your favorite music and getting directions for an unfamiliar destination or simply chatting with your friends, the communication system is a great asset to a rider.
In this post, I have reviewed the top products of the two most popular Bluetooth Communication systems namely Cardo Scala Rider and Sena. I have also done a comparison of the top two products of Cardo and Sena. Read on to know which brand emerges as the best in terms of performance, reliability, and ease of use.
The Bluetooth Communication systems available now are mostly designed to meet with the basic essentials like pairing with mobile via Bluetooth technology, music streaming, directions and voice command control. Scala Rider has all these features and more. Let me take you through the features, performances, pros, and cons of this Bluetooth communication product.
The Pack talk unit is much better streamlined when compared to earlier scala rider devices. This makes operating it a breeze. Especially, I like the Cardo Smart Set app that transforms my smartphone into a remote control for the communication system.
Other significant design features in Cardo Packtalk include single finger touch for switching between the DMC intercom and Bluetooth modes, include or remove pack members, choose music and more.
The package consists of a paired unit that is easy to install. I just had to slide the mount of the device between liner and helmet shell and place the microphone and helmet speakers in the proper position, all of which took under 5 minutes.
As I mentioned before this Scala Rider has a special feature that makes it ideal for use by a group of riders. The Bridge technology used in the rider helps users to switch between the Bluetooth use and Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC) smoothly.
It covers 4 to 6 riders easily even with riders using other brands’ Bluetooth communication.
Although some users find it difficult to pair the device, I was able to it easily. I fixed mine as pack creator and set the others in pairing state and it worked flawlessly.
Overall I and my pals enjoyed using the Packtalk. I actually found the DMC better over the Bluetooth intercom feature.
In short, for riders in groups, this is an indispensable system as the sharing and communication is simply too good.
For smooth and uninterrupted connection among riders, Sena 30K is another ideal choice. It uses Mesh Intercom technology for its Bluetooth communication for enhanced connection between riders.
And just like Cardo Scala, the 30K from Sena has all basic features like Bluetooth 4.1 that helps pairing with a phone, GPS, music, etc.
Sena 30K has a sleek design that makes it compact and easy to use. You have to just fix it to your helmet, raise the device’s antenna and switch the power button.
With the power on, the 30K allows unlimited users to converse via an open communication network.
The Mesh technology is for closed network communication where you can hold a private conversation with a rider or two. You can join in, leave or rejoin again without interrupting the connections between the riders.
The package includes the headset with speakers, mesh intercom antenna, wired boom microphone, and boom mic and a docking station for charging.
The headset weighs 2.15ounce so you barely feel it when fixed to your helmet.
Pairing with a smartphone is easy as you need to just switch the device on and the connection automatically occurs. Now you can use the GPS app on your phone to receive directions.
Like the Cardo model, this is an advanced Sena version for the seasoned rider. The working range is 1.2 miles in open terrain condition, which can reduce if you are in mountainous terrain.
The battery gives solid 8 hours when used in groups and 13 hours if you use just the Bluetooth. The battery takes 1.5 hours for a full charge from scratch. If you want a quick charge, there is a 20-minute charging feature that makes the device work for 5 hours. You can remain connected to other riders while streaming music or using your smartphone. And if you have an incoming call, the system automatically mutes other inputs for the duration.
With highly favored features and easy setup, Sena 30K is a good choice to consider for a group of friends riding together. The main hitch with this model, according to a few users, is the speakers being too quiet or loud or not good for listening to music. However, I think this drawback can be easily overcome with proper placement of the speaker. And with its favorable features, the Sena 30K is a top-end model that is for serious users.
The Freecom 4 from Cardo is a complete four-way Bluetooth motorcycle communication system with a range of 1.2km. Featuring dustproof and waterproof design, this motorcycle communicator has several favorable features that bikers look for.
The intercom headset is light in weight at 1.5ounce and compact in size with dimensions of 2.9 x 1.8 x0.6 inches.
The mounting kit provided makes set up easy and quick. The device has IP67 certification, which denotes it is dustproof and waterproof. So using the device in rough weather conditions is not an issue.
The package includes the main Cardo unit, a clamp mount with wire cable, hybrid type of microphone and stereo speakers that are removable.
Other parts include mounting material, adhesive holder and USB charger. The speakers of 40mm dimension are replaceable and can be customized, according to your preference. The USB cable can be used for charging and also for downloading files simultaneously. The device also has a wall charger of universal type, Velcro spacers and 3M adhesive plate for speakers.
Freecom 4 has radio sharing among bikes and an inbuilt FM radio, so you can not only tune in to your favorite station but also share it with your friends.
The smartphone connection via Bluetooth helps to have hands free communication accepting, rejecting or starting conference calls with the VOX technology.
The Cardo gateway enables pairing with other brand intercom devices so you can easily connect with friends. The device is capable of toggling with three riders. The intercom works with just a single click so it is hassle-free to use. Adjustable volume feature improves convenience and comfort when you ride. The app is available for Android and iPhone users, so setup and access to various features are easy.
With a slew of exciting features, the Freecom 4 is certainly a good choice, if you are riding in groups of 3 or 4 riders. But it is not for larger groups.
The ease of use and longer range are definite advantages but as the price is a bit steep. For a fun-filled and exciting bike ride with friends, the Freecom 4 is certainly an addition to consider.
For riders looking to improve their on-road experience and stay connected, a communication device with Bluetooth capability like Sena 20S EVO could be the right choice. The system features advanced Bluetooth technology, good noise control, multiple audio functionality, and remote control, which is optional.
As an upgrade to the previous 20S model, this version makes using the headset convenient comfortable and effective.
The design is similar to the previous model except for the shark fin-shaped structure seen on the top edge in the rear. The fin is a replacement for the antenna used in earlier models. The plug for use in the charging port opens from the bottom of the device. This keeps it safe from wet weather. The microphone plug has a different twist on the type of locking system. Other features are similar to the earlier model.
The package includes the main module which weights 2.22 ounce, speaker unit, boom microphone of 190mm length and wires of 555mm length that run between the speakers. The battery used in Lithium polymer and takes 2.5 hours for charging.
Pairing the device to a smartphone is simple and needs just a press on the button for a few seconds. The mounting of the device to the helmet is easy and fits perfectly.
The LED light provides information on battery charging, current operation mode and more. Noise reduction is good even at high speeds.
This Sena rider has a respectable range on the highway but in mountainous terrain, the range is lower. What I like about the earphones is they effectively mute outside noise. But, at the same time, it can be quite stressful to hear the speakers in high volume over the wind noise during highway travel. In such a case, I’d recommend using isolator earphones as earplugs for protecting hearing and also it helps hearing even at low volumes as the wind noise is sealed outside the ear canal.
Cardo vs Sena – Buyer’s Guide
I have compiled a few important questions that users ask prior to purchasing and also after using a motorcycle communication system.
Does Sena 30K work with the 20S?
Both Sena 20S Evo and 30K provide a 1.2-mile range in case of open terrain and when you use the Bluetooth technology. In 30K, the improved Mesh Intercom feature enables connection up to 16 persons while the 20S allows just 8.
When paired with the 20S, Sena 30K phone and radio feature stops working. This is because the multitasking feature in 30K is designed to work only when you use the mesh intercom.
When you use the Bluetooth interface, the 30K features are equivalent to the 10S model where the multitasking feature is not present.
Thus, when pairing with a 20S communicator, the absence of Bluetooth multitasking feature in 30K will prevent you from making calls or listening to the radio.
What is ambient mode on Sena 30k?
Ambient mode is used to hear ambient sound present outside your helmet. For activating the ambient mode, you have to press the button for ambient mode present on the clamp unit’s bottom part twice. Pressing twice again will deactivate the mode.
Since the ambient mode is given more priority than mobile phone feature, you will not be able to converse via intercom or listen to music, when the ambient mode is active.
How long does Sena take to charge?
The time taken for the Sena 20S from zero to full charge is around 2.5 hours. While charging the LED light will glow red and turn to blue on a full charge.
Any standard model micro USB can be used for charging the device.
Does Scala rider bold work with Freecom?
Yes, Scala Rider Bold is designed to work with other Scala models including the Freecom series. It is also compatible with other brand Bluetooth communication systems.
What Is The Best Intercom System For Motorcycle?
First let me compare Scala Freecom 4 and Sena 20S, which have more or less similar features and are second best models from Scala and Sena to the Packtalk and 30K devices. Freecom 4 has a good intercom feature allowing convenient conversation among 3 separate bikers or between two riders and passengers.
The stereo speakers with AGC technology help adjust volume based on the background noise. The unit is waterproof and performance is as good as the Packtalk, except for the number of riders it allows.
Sena 20 S, on the other hand, lacks a proper waterproof feature, which makes it difficult to use in rough weather condition. But its parallel streaming of audio feature is a good one. It allows you to take phone calls while hearing music with the music volume being lowered until the conversation is over and resuming back without having to manually control it.
So, if you are looking for an all-weather intercom the Freecom 4 is a good choice, but for a seamless audio experience, the Sena 20S would be ideal to consider.
Now to Scala Packtalk and Sena 30 at the outset, Scala Rider Packtalk and Sena 30K may have similar features such as Mesh technology, Bluetooth connectivity enabling phone conversations, streaming of music and intercom. But as far as user experience is concerned Sena 30K does not provide the performance the features promise.
For instance, the ‘mesh’ feature, although works good among 3 or 4 riders, drains the battery fast. And connectivity was also not smooth with random breaks and audio quality is erratic and while activating intercom the response is lagging.
Further using the buttons with gloved hands is a bit difficult. And it also does not have voice command feature as in Scala Rider Packtalk. As for Scala Rider packtalk, which I use frequently, the features and performance are very good. The auto-reconnect ability, long-lasting battery and voice command features provide full satisfaction to riders whether it is a snowmobile ride, dual sports or just a fun ride with friends.
Cardo vs Sena – Final Takeaway
Bluetooth intercom systems are really a big asset to riders as you can see from the features I have enumerated for the top motorcycle intercom devices available now. Choosing the best motorcycle communication system depends on your specific requirement.
If you are looking at an ultra-convenient device with all bells and whistles, I’d recommend the Scala Packtalk Bold. It has auto-reconnect, Mesh technology, long battery life, and good range.
Other than the minor hitch of difficulty in pairing, which most users including me did not have, the device is well worth its price. If you want a communication system with basic features and without any advanced additions, the Sena 20S and 30K are good choices. And, for those who want better and advanced options, the Momentum series from Sena is a choice to consider. It is a smart innovation that integrates the Bluetooth technology in helmets making communication while riding completely hassle-free.
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