Who Are Cardo Systems Competitors? The Ultimate Showdown of Cardo vs. Sena

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In the ever-evolving world of motorcycle communication tech, where the exhilaration of the open road converges with seamless connectivity through cutting-edge mesh intercom and Bluetooth systems, the once-distant dream of staying effortlessly connected while riding is now a tangible reality. Amidst this dynamic landscape, Cardo Systems and its formidable competitors — Sena, Interphone, Midland, Uclear, FreedConn, and Lexin — have ascended as unrivaled leaders, continuously pushing the boundaries of high-end motorcycle communication systems. And their relentless pursuit of excellence shows no signs of slowing down.

But having extensively traversed the roads predominantly with Cardo and Sena devices, I’ll only delve into the offerings of these two brands, with an aim to uncover the unique features of their products, empowering you to make an informed decision on your next riding companion. My ultimate objective is to ensure that you derive the maximum benefit from my experience.

Cardo Enhances Connectivity with Sena Compatibility

Airide R2 Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset with blue indicator light, ready for Bluetooth connectivity, and a black Sedici Strada II helmet in the background.
In my grasp, I have the Airide R2 Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset, emanating a vibrant blue light, indicating its preparedness for seamless Bluetooth connectivity. In the backdrop, you’ll spot the stylish black Sedici Strada II helmet.

In the past, despite claims of compatibility, pairing my Cardo and Sena intercoms for phone use was often clunky and awkward. But a groundbreaking over-the-air update, unveiled by Cardo on July 11, 2023, has revolutionized the connection experience. Now, connecting to current-generation Sena, UClear, Interphone (U-COM 4,6,7 & 16), and Midland Bluetooth intercoms is as smooth as connecting to any other Cardo device (note: music sharing is not supported).

The update also specifically enables Bluetooth communication cross-platform compatibility, excluding Mesh. Consequently, it won’t work with Mesh-only devices like, say, Sena Spider, and the Cardo Packtalk Custom must be running the Gold or Platinum packages.

Other Cardo devices with cross-platform Bluetooth compatibility include:

Cardo Devices Bluetooth Version Battery Life Get Yours
Packtalk Edge 5.2 12 Hours RevZillaAmazon
Packtalk Neo 5.2 13 Hours RevZilla | Amazon
Packtalk Slim 4.1 13 Hours RevZilla | Amazon
Packtalk Custom 5.2 10 Hours RevZilla | Amazon
Freecom 4x 5.2 11 Hours RevZillaAmazon
Freecom 2x 5.2 11 Hours RevZillaAmazon
Spirit HD 5.2 13 Hours RevZilla | Amazon
Spirit 5.2 11 Hours RevZillaAmazon

To put the 2023 over-the-air compatibility update to the test, I successfully paired my Cardo Packtalk Edge with my Sena 50S. However, the Cardo had to initiate the communication with a button press on its device, as attempting to open the connection with the Sena resulted in an ‘Intercom failed, try again later’ message. Similar results were observed when pairing a Cardo Spirit HD with the Sena 50S.

While some issues emerged when mixing audio, particularly from a GPS, Cardo continues to refine the system. Despite these considerations, achieving a simplified connection for basic communications marks a significant step forward.

Although I have not yet tested the update in a group of riders, I still recommend a mesh device for group communications, emphasizing the importance of using intercoms from the same brand. To enable Sena’s Mesh compatibility with Cardo’s DMC, both companies will need to collaborate closely to develop a new hybrid protocol capable of combining both systems.

Regarding the process of enabling Sena to connect to Cardo devices via Bluetooth, Dan Emodi, Chief Marketing Officer at Cardo Systems, explained:

“We thoroughly examined Sena’s Bluetooth intercom implementation and, leveraging the advanced features of our latest 5.2 Bluetooth generation devices, successfully enabled our communicators to intuitively recognize and adapt to connections with Sena devices. Despite extending an invitation to Sena to join the OBi (Open Bluetooth Intercom) industry consortium, a collaborative effort now inclusive of Cardo, Midland, UClear, and Daytona, unfortunately, our invitation went unanswered. Undeterred, we took the initiative to independently develop and implement the compatibility.”

But being also a Sena user, I couldn’t be more thrilled to share the latest updates that hit the scene on July 21, 2023.

Sena Unleashes Exciting Updates: My Ride Just Got Better!

Airide R2: 4 Riders Motorcycle Bluetooth Group Intercom Headset with FM MP3, Handsfree BT Interphone, and Compatibility with Full Face Helmet
Syncing the Airide R2 Bluetooth Headset with my Android phone to ensure a flawless connection with my adventure-ready DOT & ECE-certified AGV AX-9 helmet.

Sena, true to its innovative spirit, has once again elevated the intercom experience with cutting-edge features:

  • Mesh ‘Reach Out’

Imagine pressing the mesh button three times and instantly sending out an intercom request message. Sena’s Mesh Reach-Out does just that! As a proud user of Sena’s Mesh-equipped intercoms, particularly the Sena 50S, this feature allows me to seamlessly connect with nearby riders within a 100m range who are not part of a mesh network. It’s a game-changer for those moments when I forget to enable Mesh or when I encounter other riders I’d love to connect with.

The update is currently available for:

Sena Devices Bluetooth Version Battery Life Get Yours
50S 5.0 14 Hours RevZillaFC-Moto | Amazon
50R 5.0 13 Hours RevZilla | FC-Moto | Amazon
50C 5.0 22 Hours RevZilla | FC-Moto | Amazon
Spider ST1 5.1 12 Hours RevZilla | FC-Moto | Amazon
Spider RT1 5.1 12 Hours RevZilla | FC-Moto | Amazon
  • GoPro Voice Command Update

Now, here’s the hands-free magic I’ve been waiting for. With Sena’s latest update, my Sena 50R and Sena 50S can now respond to my voice commands to control my GoPro camera. Saying ‘GoPro camera on’ or ‘GoPro start recording’ is all it takes! This independent Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connection ensures that my Sena’s phone or GPS connections remain uninterrupted, while adding voice commands to the Sena that translate into camera controls, thanks to the Open GoPro API Program.

Sena plans to roll out this fantastic control update (not a means of recording your voice to the GoPro), compatible with GoPro Hero 8, 9, 10, 11, and Max, to other intercoms in its range, pending feedback on the 50 series.

As a rider who values connectivity, the GoPro Voice Command and Mesh ‘Reach Out’ updates reaffirm Sena’s commitment to providing an unmatched riding experience.

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Exploring Further: A Comparative Insight into Cardo and Sena from a Rider’s Perspective

Intercom RangeApproximately 3,600 feet (1,100 meters) on Bluetooth and mesh intercom with the Cardo Packtalk EdgeOver 4,000 feet (1,230 meters) on Bluetooth intercom; Mesh connection falls off at 3,400 feet (1,030 meters) with the Sena 50S
Connected RidersUp to 15 riders with Cardo's Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC)Almost limitless riders with Sena's Mesh Technology
Speaker Quality40mm JBL speakers included; 45mm JBL kit availableHarman Kardon speakers in Sena 50R, 50S, 50C, Impulse, and Stryker
WaterproofingAdvertised as waterproof; IP67 waterproof rating (all Cardo units are IP67 waterproof)Advertised as water-resistant; some issues reported in heavy rain. Sena units are rated either IP65 or IP66 for water resistance.
Universal PairingAllows universal pairing with devices from different brands, including SenaRestricted to dynamic mesh communication with other Sena-brand gear
Overall RayingCardo Packtalk Edge is technically similar with Sena 50S, with slight edge to in rangeSena 50S has an advantage for larger groups and unlimited Mesh connectivity; Speaker quality improvements with Harman Kardon speakers

As a passionate rider for nearly 50 years, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing both brands, and here’s my take on various aspects that matter to us riders:

Security and Updates

Initiating a Sena firmware update.
Sena firmware update initiated upon device recognition.

When it comes to reliability, both Cardo and Sena deliver robust hardware. However, in the realm of software and updates, my vote leans toward Cardo. While Sena diligently releases updates and patches, the frequency can be a tad irksome for those eager to hit the road.

I’ve heard tales of Sena “beta testing” updates on clients, leading to unexpected connectivity hiccups. Cardo, on the other hand, exudes consistency and reliability in this regard.

In July 26, 2023, Cardo introduced intercom recording to its Packtalk Edge, Packtalk Neo, and Packtalk Custom with the Platinum package. Utilizing the user-friendly Cardo Connect app, I can effortlessly initiate voice recordings during rides, benefitting from excellent noise cancellation. This feature extends to everyone connected through Cardo’s Mesh group intercom.

The update is compatible with ‘DMC generation 2’ Cardo intercoms, and even users with generation 1 models like Packtalk Bold and Slim will have their voice recorded if in a group with someone using a gen 2 device.

During my trial with a Cardo Packtalk Edge and Samsung Note 10+ Android phone, I found the system impressive. Recordings, conveniently in mp3 format, can be easily shared through the Cardo app. On Android devices, they are stored in a dedicated ‘Cardo Connect Recordings’ folder, ensuring easy access.

Cardo recommends refraining from streaming music and phone calls for uninterrupted recordings. While the ability to start and stop recordings directly from the intercom would be a welcome addition, the app’s large, user-friendly buttons are easily accessible, even with touchscreen-compatible gloves.

Mesh Technology

Cardo employs Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC), allowing groups of riders to connect and form a network. It offers the flexibility for riders to disconnect without disturbing the entire group, providing a seamless experience even if one motorcyclist loses contact. DMC technology can also be compatible with other Bluetooth brands.

On the other hand, Sena utilizes Mesh Intercom Technology, designed to enhance motorcycle communication by connecting to up to 30,000 people simultaneously. If riders wish to maintain privacy, they can join or leave the group at their discretion. If I leave the range, the mesh system automatically reconnects.

Sena’s ability to mesh with a virtually limitless number of users into its group gives it an edge over Cardo.


Cardo's mesh connectivity seamlessly connects up to 15 riders within a single group
Cardo’s Dynamic Mesh Communication (DMC) enables the connection of up to 15 riders within a single group.

Cardo is suitable for intercom communication within a mile, with the capability of extending up to one kilometer in case of disruptions. Sena surpasses the ‘Cardo Mile,’ providing communication over an additional 0.2 miles. But when it comes to intercom range, it’s not just about the advertised numbers; the real test happens on the open road. We’ve all seen those distance claims, but let’s be honest – they’re not always spot-on.

Take my Cardo Packtalk Edge, for example. The website proudly declares a rider to rider range of 1 mile or 1,600 meters. But during a real-world test on a clear road in cloudy weather, I managed to stretch it to an impressive 3,600 feet or 1,100 meters for both Bluetooth and mesh intercom – not too shabby, but a bit shy of the official claim.

Now, let’s bring in the Sena 50S, boasting a range of 1.2 miles or 1,900 meters. In the field, it exceeded expectations, rocking Bluetooth intercom at over 4,000 feet (1,230 meters) and mesh intercom falling off at 3,400 feet (1,030 meters).

So, who takes the range trophy? It’s a close call between the Cardo Packtalk Edge and Sena 50S. Technically, the Sena 50S nabs it with an 11% extra range on Bluetooth.

But here’s the kicker – a tennis match needs more than an 11% lead! So, if you’re facing raindrops or riding with a crew, let’s dive into the other categories before you decide.

Sound Quality

The Cardo Speaker Audio Set 45 mm features a standard 3.5mm jack, compatible with virtually any communicator on the market, regardless of the brand.
The Cardo Speaker Audio Set 45 mm features a standard 3.5mm jack, compatible with virtually any communicator on the market, regardless of the brand.

Speaker quality is critical for a top-notch motorcycle intercom system, and both Cardo and Sena deliver through strategic partnerships.

Cardo has collaborated with JBL, featuring 40mm JBL speakers in their units (excluding budget options) that provide clear sound, strong bass, and distortion-free volume. Their Cardo and JBL 45mm kit, considered exceptional, sets a high standard.

Sena, not to be outdone, partnered with Harman Kardon in November 2021, incorporating Harman Kardon speakers into their 50R, 50S, 50C (with a 4K camera), and Bluetooth helmets Impulse and Stryker.

As of now, Cardo takes the lead in the audio quality department, particularly with the highly praised 45mm JBL kit, setting a standard that awaits my road test of Sena’s new Harman Kardon speakers.


In terms of design, Cardo offers sleek conversational units that come with convenient features such as one-touch controls for music selection, deletion, and adding pack members. Sena, on the other hand, prioritizes simplicity, guaranteeing user-friendly functionality and portability. Its installation is a breeze, involving attaching it to the helmet, raising the antenna, and powering it up.

Voice Commands

Cardo allows riders to use voice commands with a simple “Hey Cardo” followed by the desired orders. Sena, on the other hand, enables riders on new devices to activate functions by saying “Hey Google” or “Hey Siri,” providing convenient smartphone integration.

Waterproofing & Dustproofing

Come rain, shine, mud, dust, or snow, your waterproof SPIRIT can handle it all, ensuring uninterrupted connectivity no matter what challenges you face.
Come rain, shine, mud, dust, or snow, your waterproof SPIRIT can handle it all, ensuring uninterrupted connectivity no matter what challenges you face.

Cardo products excel in weather protection, with the Packtalk line being rated IP67, indicating dust-proofing and the ability to withstand 30 minutes in water up to a meter deep. Cardo promotes its products as suitable for watersports and guarantees them against water damage. In contrast, Sena products are not waterproof, and using them in the rain may pose a risk of damage.

Battery Life

Sena holds a slight advantage in battery life. The latest Sena models, such as the 50S, offer communication via Bluetooth for up to 14 hours and through the mesh network for up to 9 hours. Cardo’s Packtalk has a slightly shorter battery life, providing 13 hours on Bluetooth and 8 hours on DMC.


While both Cardo and Sena offer high-end intercom systems that can be pricey, Sena’s flagship systems, like the 50S, are generally more affordable than Cardo’s Packtalk. Sena’s broader product range also provides more options for users with varying budgets.


The Sena 50S mesh system one-year warranty means that Sena provides coverage for manufacturing defects or malfunctions for a period of one year from the date of purchase.
The Sena 50S mesh system one-year warranty means that Sena provides coverage for manufacturing defects or malfunctions for a period of one year from the date of purchase.

Cardo impresses with a comprehensive two-year warranty, instilling confidence and providing a sense of financial security. In contrast, Sena offers a standard one-year warranty, which, though typical, may leave some riders wishing for more extensive coverage. As riders, we value warranties that align with the rugged nature of our journeys.

Customer Support

Cardo, being a smaller company, is often praised for its superior customer service. But Sena’s customer support is more accessible outside the U.S., with offices in America, France, Germany, Korea, and China. Sena even offers a virtual assistant on its website for users who prefer not to make phone calls.

Both companies provide online forms for contacting support via email.

Michael Summary and Conclusion

The compatibility of Cardo, particularly with competitors like Sena, in Bluetooth mode across multiple headsets opens up possibilities for diverse rider groups. Initiating the pairing process, though involving specific steps, results in a seamless connection, ensuring that the camaraderie on the road knows no brand boundaries.

In terms of connectivity, Sena excels for larger groups and unlimited Mesh connectivity, whereas Cardo stands out for its universal pairing capability with devices from different brands. In terms of range, both units are nearly equal, with the Sena holding a slight technical advantage. Specifically, the Sena 50S boasts a superior range of 1.2 miles between two riders, surpassing the Cardo Packtalk Edge’s 1-mile coverage.

Speaker quality favors Cardo at present with its JBL speakers, though Sena’s Harman Kardon speakers are recognized as an improvement.

When it comes to waterproofing and durability, Cardo boasts a more reliable track record with its advertised waterproofing, while Sena is characterized as water-resistant. In the quest for the ideal motorcycle intercom system, riders must weigh these factors to determine which features align best with their preferences and needs on the road.

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FAQs — I Have the Answers!

Q: Who Are Cardo Systems Competitors? 

Cardo Systems competitors are Sena, Interphone, Midland, Uclear, FreedConn, and Lexin, all of which are consistently pushing the boundaries of advanced motorcycle communication systems, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to excellence.

Q: Are All Cardo Systems Compatible With Each Other?

Absolutely, all Cardo communication systems seamlessly connect to each other using universal Bluetooth. Packtalk and Freecom+ units can easily pair with your Spirit unit through standard Bluetooth.

Q: Can Cardo Connect with Sena?

Yes, Cardo can connect with Sena’s Bluetooth mode across multiple headsets. To do this, put your Cardo in phone pairing mode by holding the power button for five seconds until the LED flashes red. Then, press the phone pair button on the back of the Sena to initiate pairing, and the two devices should link up.

Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative government agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations:


Picture of About the Author:

About the Author:

Michael Parrotte started his career in the motorcycle industry by importing AGV Helmets into the North American market. He was then appointed the Vice President of AGV Helmets America. In total, he worked with AGV Helmets for 25 years. He has also served as a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, and Sparx Helmets.

In 1985, he founded AGV Sports Group, Inc. with AGV Helmets in Valenza, Italy. For over 38 years now, the company has quietly delivered some of the best protective gear for motorcyclists in the world.

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