Cardo launches new subscription-based Packtalk Custom

A new communications device has been released by Cardo. The Packtalk Custom offers different features on a subscription-based model.

Cardo Packtalk Custom

Cardo has announced a new version of its Packtalk communications device, which offers subscription-based features. 

Cardo’s release of its new Packtalk Custom comes around one year after the top-of-the-range Packtalk Edge launched last year, but the Custom is arguably a more important product than the Edge.

This is not because of out-and-out technology, but because of its use of subscription-based features, which marks a diversion from the expected way in which communications products (among many others, of course) are sold. 

There are also base features, which require no subscription. These are: 

  • Second-generation Dynamic Mesh Communication
  • Waterproof IP67
  • Connect with up to 15 riders with up to a 1.6K rider-to-rider range
  • 40mm HD speakers
  • Over-The-Air software updates eliminates the need for cables or WiFi adapters
  • Bluetooth 5.2 Technology
  • 13 hours talk time with fast charging (20-mins provides 2-hours of talk time)
  • 2-Year Warranty

Cardo’s subscription service offers three levels, with higher subscription costs of course ‘unlocking’ a greater number of features. 
The lowest level is ‘Silver’, which comes in at €2.99 per month, or €19.99 per year. In the Silver package, users get access to:

  • Music sharing
  • 3 audio profiles
  • Speed dial

In the middle is ‘Gold’, which costs €4.99 per month, or €29.99 per year. In the Gold package, users get access to the Silver features, plus the following:

  • Universal Bluetooth intercom
  • Bluetooth bridge
  • The ability to connect to a second device

The top tier of Cardo’s new subscription service is ‘Platinum’, which costs €6.99 per month, or €39.99 per year. Included in Platinum is all the features included in Gold and Silver, plus the following:

  • Voice Commands
  • Eco Mode

The structure of the tiers means that, in order to connect their Packtalk Custom to more than one device (for example, the motorcycle’s dashboard, the user’s phone, and GPS), users must pay for the ‘Gold’ tier. 

Additionally, features - such as Auto-Reconnect, HD Live Bluetooth Intercom, and a range extension to 5km for the Bluetooth connectivity between four riders - are ‘pay-per-feature’, meaning these need to be added onto the Packtalk Custom, but are also not a part of any of the subscription tiers. 

There is no doubt that this subscription model is not going to make financial sense for everyone. A Cardo Packtalk Edge currently retails for £356, after Cardo raised the prices on a number of their devices last year, and with the Custom’s base price set at €279.95 (£246.59 at time of writing, March 2023) it undercuts it by a reasonable amount. However, in order to have most of the same features as the Packtalk Edge, you are realistically going to need to fork out €6.99 per month for the Platinum subscription.

That means the Packtalk Custom would cost around €364 over the course of one year, or £320, meaning that after 12 months the Packtalk Custom is almost as expensive as the Packtalk Edge. Of course, after the second year, the Platinum-subscribed Custom will have cost its user more than the edge. 

However, on the other hand the argument is there to be made that the monthly subscription offers flexibility, as users can pay only for the features they need, and only when they need them. If you need all of the features all of the time, Packtalk Custom is probably not for you, but if you are requiring different features at different times - sometimes less, sometimes more - then it is possible that the Custom’s flexibility is right for you.

The Cardo Packtalk Custom will be available in retailers from April 2023, and is available for pre-order on the Cardo website.

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