After the Cardo Systems Packtalk Edge launched, for a time the Packtalk Bold was a very compelling mid-range option, but that was only until Cardo announced that the Packtalk Bold line would be discontinued. In its place, we have a new communications system that takes after the Packtalk Edge’s form factor, at least most of it anyway.
The Packtalk Neo is Cardo’s newest device. Priced at $349.95 USD it slots in between the top-of-the-line Packtalk Edge and the Freecom 4X in the brand’s lineup, filling the gap that was otherwise left by the Packtalk Bold’s discontinuation. At the time of this article’s writing, however, the Cardo Packtalk Black is still in stock on the Cardo online shop along with a special bundle deal for the Packtalk Bold plus a second helmet kit but those products probably will not be there in the near future.
“With Packtalk Neo, we wanted to provide riders an option that featured our most technological and innovative features, but at a more accessible price, with the ultimate goal of bringing more riders into our Cardo community,” said Cardo Systems CEO Alon Lumbroso. “With a beautiful, sleek, and clean design, the Packtalk Neo is the perfect complement within our expansive range of communicators, delivering another option for riders to enjoy the open road without sacrificing the best-of-the-best technology.”
Even with its more affordable price tag, the Packtalk Neo was able to retain the Packtalk Edge’s second-generation Dynamic Mesh Communication system, Bluetooth 5.2, the upgraded Natural Voice engine, 40-millimeter JBL speakers, noise-canceling microphone, 13-hour battery life, USB-C charging port, over-the-air software updates, and the antenna-less design.
The unit is also colored in all black, which is a contrast to the top-of-the-line Packtalk Edge’s grey matte finish. Also, the color of the box is a never-before-seen shade from the brand. Cardo Packtalk Neo boxes will come in purple to differentiate the Neo from the Edge’s signature Cardo-light-blue-hued package. There will also be duo kits for the Neo that are available, and that kit costs $649.95 USD.
All of the important technical features that are in the Packtalk Edge can be found in the Neo, however, there are a few things that Cardo had to change in order to meet the mid-range price point and that includes foregoing the magnetic Air Mount system, and using a USB-C connection for the speakers and microphone.
The change means that the Packtalk Neo will use a clip that is similar to the one found with the Packtalk Bold and Black’s cradle. On top of that, the USB-C audio connection means that the Packtalk Neo can’t be charged while in use.
With a different cradling system, the Neo presents a bit of a conundrum for buyers who get it. At least for now, Cardo Systems hasn’t announced the availability of a second helmet kit for the Neo. Moving the unit from one helmet to the other might be a feature that will be exclusive to the Packtalk Edge until a second helmet kit for the Neo is available.
However, as a more accessible device that has the latest and greatest Dynamic Mesh Communication from Cardo, it is an interesting value proposition for riders that want to join in on the conversation.