My GF and I recently upgraded from Senas to the new-ish Cardo Slims. Not a fair comparison because the Senas we had are a few years old and from further back in the catalog so I can’t write a Cardo Vs. Sena smackdown. I’ve had Cardo units before and find the Cardo interface to be more natural than Sena’s. All the reviews raved about both the Cardo Slim and the Cardo Bold. I picked the slims because the smaller size was attractive to me. The fact that not one review mentioned the serious problem with the Slims tells me a lot about the thoroughness of the reviews being produced today.
The Cardos have great sound playing music, the voices in your head from the intercom is clear and easy to understand, they have more volume than I need on my RT with a quieter than stock aftermarket windshield plus earplugs and an easy, natural feel for the VOX activated intercom. Any voices in your head not from the intercom are outside this review, have you seen a mental health professional? When we stop talking music from the bike comes on to entertain us. They integrate fairly easily with the BMW bluetooth system, the parts manage to look almost like our Neotecs (note not IIs) were designed to have the Slim parts installed.
The bad news is one design choice I can't understand. The Slim’s status LED is now at the center rear of the battery case which mounts to the bottom of your helmet in the rear, facing your passenger. While it is OK in the daytime my passenger reported (loudly) over the intercom she had a light flashing in her eyes when we rode on a dark environment, well after sunset, no artificial lights, no moonlight that I recall. It didn't take much to mitigate the problem, a little acrylic plastic and tape to refract the light to my left, away from Sweetie’s eyes. How did Cardo get to production with this obvious design error? Was there any beta testing?
A minor bad note is the battery makes our XL Shoei Neotecs just slightly too tall to fit in my GTL type back box. They still fit in the saddlebags. This didn’t happen with the Senas.
The GPS directions come through with the Cardos bluetooth linked to just the sound system, very important to me.
Another thing to note is the intercom and music sharing at the same time only works in Bluetooth mode, no Pack Talk mode it you want to use the bike’s audio system (i.e. music sharing) and intercom functions.
The voice command system is good but not perfect. It can take more than one try to get the action you are requesting with the voice commands. This should be addressed as Cardo gets more time to refine the software and I get the commands down pat. There is definitely a learning curve, you have to say the exact words Cardo programed for each command but when you get it right the Cardo voice command system is that thing I didn’t know I wanted very much until I used it. Now I’d have trouble buying an intercom system that didn’t have voice commands.
My big news, I smile when I come into town with my left hand busy with the clutch and my right hand busy with the throttle and covering the F. brake and I say "Hey Cardo, volume down" and my new, magic third hand reaches up and turns the music volume down.
The bottom line is I like the latest Cardo units and I like a lot about the Slims but, since most of my riding is two-up, I’d pick the Bold if I had it to do over again. If you ride solo I think you’ll be happy with either option.