Cardo is rolling out its newest communicators with its Spirit and FREECOM x lineups. The new comms concentrate on budget-minded riders but are not short on features.
Both new communicator product ranges now offer over-the-air software updates, an all-new Bluetooth 5.2 chip, a USB-C port, and faster charging. Each new product line (Spirit and Freecom x) will fully charge in 1.5 to 2 hours. And for shorter rides, a 20-minute charge will give you a claimed 2 hours of ride time.
Cardo says part of this performance can be attributed to the new Bluetooth 5.2 chip, which “enables the integration of the latest audio technologies and improves significantly the quality of the Intercom. Bluetooth 5.2 is also more efficient and more secure, it offers faster pairing capabilities, as well as longer battery life.”
Cardo is introducing its Spirit line of comms for the most budget-conscious riders, which includes the Cardo Spirit and Cardo Spirit HD communicators. The Spirit lineup features two brand new devices with essential features and carries a far more accessible price tag.
Starting the line of affordable comms is the Cardo Spirit. It’s a Bluetooth communicator and not a dynamic mesh system. Still, it offers a claimed range of up to 600 meters.
Of course, the Spirit wirelessly connects to your phone, and you can stream music from it directly to your headset. It can also connect to your GPS for turn by turn voice navigation. The unit also includes an FM radio, and you’ll receive sound through a pair of 32mm “HD” speakers.
The Spirit also has an automatic volume control. As the outside noise increases, so does its speaker’s volume so you can continue to hear whatever you are listening to.
Probably most importantly, the Spirit is claimed to be waterproof, not water-resistant. If you are going to ride in weather, a waterproof comm is a hugely important plus.
And if your friends have a different brand of Bluetooth communicator, Cardo says that the Spirit will connect to them as well. That said, the Spirit will only connect to one other communicator at a time.
On the technical side of things, you can now update the Spirit’s software over the air using the Cardo app. There’s no need to plug it into a computer; you can update the unit with your phone.
And if you are on a budget, the Spirit will likely fit. It is priced at a pretty budget-friendly $99.95 When you look at the claimed features, that seems to be a bargain.
Cardo Spirit HD
Next up is the Cardo Spirit HD. It has all the features of the Spirit, but with some other nice-to-have upgrades.
Cardo says that the Spirit HD will give you a bit more range. With the HD, the claimed range is now 0.4 of a mile. You also get bigger speakers, which increase in size from 32 to 40mm. And talk time is a claimed 13 hours. MSRP for the Cardo Spirit HD is $149.95.
Cardo’s new Freecom Series
Although the Freecom series sits in the middle of Cardo’s lineup, they possess some pretty impressive features. Some of those premium features aren’t even in Cardo’s premium Packtalk communicators (although they should be making their way into the Packtalks in the future).
The new Cardo Freecom 2x and 4x Bluetooth communicators.
New for 2022 are the Freecom 2x and Freecom 4x communicators. Both Freecom units have all of the features of the Spirit lineup but with some significant enhancements.
The Freecom 2x and 4x now have what Cardo calls “Live Intercom.” With Live Intercom, should one rider be disconnected, the device will automatically start looking for the disconnected communicator. There’s no need to push any buttons. Once that previously connected rider comes back into range, the communicator will automatically reconnect.
The Freecom series also has “natural voice operation.” To access the device’s features, you can say “Hey Cardo” and tell the communicator what you want it to do.
Both Freecom units have 40 mm JBL branded speakers with a “specially tuned” music processor and three distinctive audio profiles.
The Freecom units utilize a jog dial for some functions. Although they have a moving part, Cardo says that the units are still 100% waterproof. And they both have a two-year warranty.
Freecom x series differences
If you wonder what the key differences are between the Freecom 2x and 4x, it’s the number of riders the units will connect and the comm’s claimed range. The Freecom 2x will only join 2 riders, while the Freecom 4x will connect up to 4.
Cardo says the Freecom 4x has a bit more range than the 2x. The Freecom 4x is supposed to provide up to 0.75 miles of range, while the Freecom 2x offers a 0.5-mile range. However, ranges can be significantly affected by terrain and other variables. Remember, these are Bluetooth communicators, not dynamic mesh units.
Freecom series pricing
The Freecom series is supposed to be Cardo’s mid-range offering, and their pricing reflects that. For example, the Freecom 2x carries an MSRP of $209.95 for a single unit or $399.95 for a duo pack.
Each communicator is available in either a single and duo pack with reduced unit pricing for the pair.
The Freecom 4x has a $269.95 price tag for the single unit and is priced at $499.95 for a duo pack.
These newest Cardo communicators seem to offer many features for their price point. But claims are one thing, and performance is another. In that regard, Cardo is sending us a pair of Freecom 4x communicators, and we’ll provide a review after we’ve had a chance to test them.