Review for Cardo Freecom 1+ - An Intercom system for Budget-Conscious, Solo Motorcyclists

Travelling solo and on low budget, I never saw the need to invest a few hundred dollars in an intercom. Recently, Chong Aik approached me to review the Cardo Freecom 1+, an budget friendly intercom meant for solo riders or rider-to-passenger. I was quizzical and intrigued to hear about an intercom not meant for communicating with another rider – a gadget built for antisocial or solo motorcyclist like me in mind.

Keeping an open mind about it, I dug into my 2 years solo adventure riding memories, searching for the rational of having an intercom even when there were no other riders to talk to.

My riding-obsessive tendency on highways could mean continuously riding for many hours unbeknownst to the numerous calls I missed. It would be helpful to have voice guided GPS navigation during the time when my phone mount was damaged. While riding, it would be safer not having my eyes looking down at the phone for navigation too. These are real scenarios in which an intercom could have helped.

After using it for a week as a solo rider, here are some of the features I really like about the Cardo Freecom 1+.

- First look at it, with its slim width of 16mm, it does not stick out like an eyesore when mounted on the helmet.

- It is not only water resistant but is also waterproof with a rating of IP67. Bring on the torrential rain in tropical Singapore and it still works fine! (IP67 means the unit can be dropped into a body of water up to a meter deep for half an hour.)

- Battery life of 13 hours. Even if it goes flat, you can charge it while using it.

- AGC (Automatic Gain Control) automatically adjusts speaker volume and microphone sensitivity according to ambient noise. No matter what speed you are riding, you can still hear the intercom clearly. A big plus point of not having to adjust the volume on the go.

- Easy button access to receive and make calls and to switch between the different features. If you cannot remember all the button combination functions, you can use the Cardio Connect app to operate. The app interface is easy and clean. Buttons are big so you can operate it even with gloves

 - With parallel audio streaming, you can hear GPS instructions during a mobile or Bluetooth intercom call, or with music or FM radio playing in the background.

- Voice queries option. You can summon Siri or Google on your phone with the click of two buttons. I was able to make calls without touching the phone. However, the phone may have trouble picking non-English names. Instructing the phone to search and navigate places without having to touch the phone is a plus point.

- Bluetooth Twosome. You can connect to two devices concurrently - GPS, music player or additional mobile phone.

The only issues I have so far could be due to connected device limitations of my old phone.

- Not being able to accept Whatsapp call using intercom button when connected to my Samsung Galaxy J7. I use mobile data for calls when I am riding overseas. Still having to wipe my phone to accept Whatsapp call partially defeats the purpose of having an intercom. iPhone does not have this issue. I hope this problem will be resolved with future firmware updates.

If you only need GPS audio, music, phone and no conversations other riders, the Cardo Freecom 1+ is the ideal for the budget-conscious solo riders and also despatch riders who need to stay connected to phone while riding.

Sans the long-distance range communication feature, the Freecom 1+ retails at the much lower price of S$199 at Chong Aik. Until the end of July, there is 20% off, so it is going for S$159.20 and comes with 2 years warranty too.

If you ride with a pillion, the Freecom 1+ also boost rider-to-passenger 2-way short range intercom which I will be reviewing in the next post. It has additional cool features with a passenger. Stay tuned.

Chong Aik International Pte Ltd
Helmets and Apparels Showroom
45 Desker Road, Singapore 209576
Phone:(+65) 6294 2532
Fax:(+65) 6392 1903
Open:Mon-Fri: 09:00am-06:00pm / Sat: 09:00am-05:00pm
Close:Sundays and Public Holidays


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