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Cardo Scala Rider G4 PowerSet Review (# 4)
Fact:The Scala G4 is made out of two main parts:
The Scala G4 communication unit has five buttons, three on the top of the unit, and two on the side (face). It also has a small antenna for better reception when using the Scala G4 to communicate between two motorcycles.
Point Of View:This section of the review for the Cardo Scala Rider G4 will be divided into two parts, the first part will cover the unit itself, and the second part will go over the actual quality of sound and speech when using the unit.
Scala Rider G4 looks, feel, and functionality
The Scala Rider G4 bluetooth motorcycle helmet communication device is solidly built, it has 2 major components, one is the cradle that attaches to the helmet, and the other is the actual blue tooth unit that snaps on to the cradle.
The cradle part always stays on the helmet and includes the microphone and ear speakers. The blue-tooth communication device is the heart of the unit and can be detached for charging. The main unit has 5 buttons: on top are the volume up and volume down, plus the mobile phone button. On the face of the unit are channel A and channel B buttons. In addition to the main function of each button, different combinations of buttons control different functions and settings for the blue-tooth, pairing, VOX, and more.
Using the Scala G4 you can listen to music via bluetooth or connect your MP3 directly to the unit with the supplied cable. You can also listen to the built-in FM radio. You can make and receive phone calls using a bluetooth enabled phone. And you can communicate with two other Scala devices directly, and/or four indirectly (see the manual for details).
Scala Rider G4 sound quality
This is the most important and the longest part of this review, a motorcycle helmet communication device can be many things, but the most important question is...does it work for communication?
The above question can be answered in two parts, Part one: Music, and Part two: Rider to passenger, rider to rider, phone calls, and GPS voice navigation.
While listening to music on the Scala G4 the first thing I noticed is that helmet noise is a very important factor. I tested the unit riding a Kawasaki ZRX with a Shoei 1000RF and anything over about 50 miles per hour is just an annoying noise. One little trick that I discovered is that if use ear-plugs (the kind that you can get at any pharmacy for $2), I can listen to music at almost any speed (I tried up to 100mph). One problem with the Scala G4 speakers when it comes to music, is that it seems like there is no base which makes the listening experience not very satisfying.
I ride at least 60 miles almost everyday and I always listen to music with ear-phones stuck in my ears. I did ride with the G4 for a few days but since the music quality is not up to par I'm back to my trusted ear-phones (only for music).
This part is where things get interesting...communication (in oppose to music).
In contrast to when listening to music, where you want to have a full tone spectrum (high highs, and low lows), when talking on the phone or to another rider you don't really care about the tone as long as you can hear the other person...and that's where the Scala G4 bluetooth communication device shines.
I had so much fun going down the highway at 70mph talking to my 16 months old baby, it's true that most of the conversation was one sided, and most of what I heard was "tata...baba...tata", but I could hear her fairly clear. Right after that I got a call from my mother and we ran a conversation almost at the same comfort as I would on a regular phone...not bad at all.
Communicating between two Scala G4 is as clear and comfortable as talking on the phone, one thing to notice is that while talking on the phone, the person on the other side can hear you better than you can hear them (since they do not have helmet noise).
In the video review you'll have a chance to see and hear the Scala G4, it will give you a better idea of how the bluetooth works and sounds on both sides.
Cons:Music sound quality is not as good as it can be.
Conclusion:As a 2-way communication device (rider to passenger, rider to rider, phone) the G4 is doing what it is suppose to do. As far as playing music, Cardo may need to allow an ear-phone plug or provide better music oriented speakers.
All in all this motorcycle helmet bluetooth communication unit is doing what it set up to do, and doing it well. It is pretty easy to use and has all the functionality that you would expect from a helmet bluetooth communication device.