Cardo Freecom 4 Plus headsets come with the latest cutting-edge voice control technology. They feature a sleek and minimalist design, surround noise cancellation, and always-on, natural voice recognition.
High-quality sound, strong amplification, and excellent call clarity make for a compelling product.
Stay tuned to get a taste of what these Cardos are all about!
What’s in the Box?
The Cardo Freecom 4 Plus Headset not only comes in stylish packaging, but you get everything you need to enjoy a safer ride right out of the box.
That’s right! No need to splurge on additional accessories to make it compatible with your helmet.
In the box, accessories include:
- Freecom 4 Plus Main Unit
- Freecom Audio Kit
- A Corded Microphone
- 40mm JBL Speakers
- A Hybrid Microphone ( Mic + Earpiece)
- Rectangular + Square Velcro Attachment Pads
- Freecom Glue Plate
- USB cable
- Speaker Relocators/Booster
- Alcohol Pads
- User Guide
NOTE: The dual pack is generally cheaper than buying two single units. It could be worth splitting the cost with your buddy if you usually ride in a pair.
I got the duo pack (saved close to 100 bucks), and the wife and I finally got to enjoy our long interstate rides. We can hold a conversation without static or road noise or jam to our favorite tunes. It feels like something straight out of Hallmark!
You get a full installation kit and a user guide right out of the box. Following this guide ensures you won’t need more than half an hour to set up if you’re a newbie. The microphone and headphones are attached to the helmet via the velcro strips included in the packaging, which requires zero to no effort in installation.
However, riders will need to carefully retract the helmet padding to access the attachment zones for the velcro and the wiring route for the device cords. The main unit is attached via a push-on clip or a glue plate stuck to the outside of the helmet- these methods depend on the type of helmet.
They also have a downloadable PDF guide that cuts through all the noise.
Installing this headset to ¾, modular and full-face helmets is a breeze. The exterior cradle features a clip and a glue pad. You can use either feature to attach or detach the main unit. I have the full face, and my wife has the ¾, and it took the same amount of willpower to get through the installation on both- so no worries there.
Cardo has also included Velcro pads to help attach the wired microphone to full-face helmets. But, you may need to purchase a specialized installation kit if you own an open-face helmet.
Size and Weight
At just 34gms, the main unit adds loads of convenience without weighing down your helmet. Additionally, the Freecom 4 Plus features one of the smallest headset dimensions on the market today, measuring 79mm X 20mm X 49 mm (LxDxH). The speakers have a 40 mm diameter and a 9.2 depth; they comfortably fit the helmet without exerting pressure on the rider’s ears.
Voice Controls and Control Wheel
This device features a control wheel that lets you play with the volume and several other functions.
The main unit has three other buttons; the media button primarily controls music and the FM radio. The intercom button primarily facilitates connection to other headsets within the network. The phone button primarily controls your calling options.
These buttons activate a set of other commands when used in combination or pressed for a couple of seconds.
Riders (myself included) have complained that the buttons are too small and rigid. I particularly did not like using them with my riding gloves on.
This should not concern you too much, as I quickly learned since Cardo has equipped Freecom 4 Plus with one of the most robust voice command systems.
In my opinion, the commands are very intuitive- it’s similar to using Google or Alexa. Additionally, riders must be careful when attempting to press the buttons since the unit features an eject button whose accidental engagement releases the main unit from the anchor device.
All you have to do is install the Cardo Connect App and say “Hey, Cardo!” to:
- Make or pick up phone calls
- Raise or lower the volume
- Run through your playlist or change the radio station
- Mute and unmute audio
- Confirm the battery status
- Activate/deactivate the intercom
It has voice recognition capabilities that respond to 24 unique commands. You can also install the Cardo Connect App to enhance mobile device compatibility.
The Freecom 4 plus’s voice commands are also compatible with Google Assistant and Siri. This means you can use it to control navigation Apps and other voice-activated utilities. Aside from that, you can also update the firmware to get more utility out of the product.
The Freecom 4 Plus allows you to sync your headset with four other riders simultaneously. For this, you’ll need to download the companion app from Google Play or App Store. Four is the ideal number of connections for a Bluetooth connectivity channel, with any additional device destabilizing the established connection.
Once paired, you have two connection channels that can be delegated to your smartphones, GPS device, or media player, in whatever combination suits your needs.
It comes with Bluetooth 4.1 compatibility so that you can pair it with non-Cardo headsets with ease. However, according to multiple user reviews, the connection with non-Cardo headsets is not very seamless.
To test this out, I tried pairing my Sena headset to my wife’s Cardo, and it took quite a few tries to get connected, after which the connection was still unstable.
JBL products embody crisp, clear audio quality while taking noise cancellation to the next level. This headset kit facilitates just that!
The 40mm JBL speakers ensure that you can talk with other riders or listen to tunes without missing a beat. The audio clarity in receiving calls with this set of speakers is second to none. Anyone that owns any of JBL’s sound output devices knows what I’m talking about.
You can rev your engine and not lose the sound quality even when going above 60 Mph. With automatic volume control, the JBL speakers can essentially filter out noise from traffic and the wind. The volume increases and decreases based on the noise levels detected in the surroundings.
Users complaining about speakers’ bass are advised to fine-tune the speakers’ positioning or use speaker relocators to move the earpiece closer to the ear canal. Additionally, riders can opt for high-quality riding earbuds to filter out the surrounding noise.
This device boasts of an average intercom range on highways and open roads. In an ideal situation with few obstacles, you can talk to other riders up to a manufacturer-cited 0.75 miles range. However, real-world tests indicate a lesser range.
I went out on a fact-finding mission to test the range. I took my bike through crowded trails- trees, buildings, and other disturbances, and optimal connectivity went considerably down when my riding companion was about 0.311 miles away from my location. Safe to say, you will not be getting the most out of Cardo’s range.
The Cardo Freecom 4 Plus leverages Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity; therefore, the ideal number of users stands at four, and the range should not exceed the manufacturer-cited one to stay within an optimal connection.
Some of Cardo’s higher-end versions like the PackTalk series feature Mesh technology, which is ideal for a group exceeding five users needing longer-range connectivity.
It only takes 4 hours to charge this headset. Once fully charged, you can enjoy 13 hours of intercom talk time and remain on standby for up to 7 days. The main unit features a MicroUSB port that allows you to charge on the go with a portable power bank or the bike’s charger (12V).
The Freecom 4 Plus has a waterproof rating of IP67 like all legacy Cardo devices. Its cradle is also reinforced for wind and dust resistance.
This makes it the perfect intercom headset for cross-country trips- it can withstand elements like rain, sleet, and dust devils.
Now, I’ve only owned this device through summer, but I’m hoping to run more tests in the fall, and I’m especially excited to see how it performs in the rain.
We’d be remiss if we forgot to mention the following features;
A built-in FM radio is a standard feature with most motorcycle headsets. The Cardo Freecom 4 Plus is equipped with hands-free radio control. All you need to do is say, “Hey Cardo, radio on!” to start bobbing your head to some tunes.
You also don’t have to take your hands off the handle when changing a radio station. Just say, “Hey Cardo, next station or previous station.” If you get tired of listening to the radio, you simply say, “Hey Cardo, radio off!”
You can sift through your record collection using voice commands. But, the handiest feature of this device is the music sharing utility. You can share your music or radio station with another paired user.
Merge Call to Intercom
This feature enables users to merge an incoming or outgoing call to the network in teleconference form.
Pros and Cons
- Exceptional sound quality thanks to the JBL speakers
- Superior battery life
- Innovative features like call merge, music sharing, voice commands, etc.
- Intuitive controls, especially the razor-thin wheel
- Higher price point
- Lacks Mesh technology
- Range is limited
The Cardo Freecom 4 plus rides miles ahead of the closest rival for audio quality, so it comes highly recommended for every audiophile burning rubber across our highways. However, it’s also worth noting that newer headsets are opting for Dynamic Mesh Technologies.
These technologies offer a more dynamic intercom range compared to the Bluetooth 4.1 on the Freecom 4 Plus. So, settling on this product means prioritizing audio quality over dynamic range connectivity.
If you are interested in the latest cutting-edge Mesh technology, see our guide to the best motorcycle Bluetooth headsets.