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Cardo Scala 500 review

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Functionality
The Scala-500 supports Bluetooth 1.2 specification which means devices are discovered more reliably, their audio quality will be better, and they will have better reliability under interference conditions (compared to 1.1 Bluetooth version devices). The discovery and pairing with the Scala was easy and trouble-free – just press the Jog-wheel, hold it for 6-7 seconds after which both red and blue LEDs will start blinking. Initialize device search from your phone and after the Scala is discovered, enter the default “0000” code. The volume is adjusted by turning the wheel to the right or left. Pushing it during a call will mute the headset. To redial the last dialed number, press the silver button for 3 seconds. If you hold it for 3 seconds when the phone is ringing the call is rejected. Pressing it once when you are not in a call will invoke the voice dialing (if your phone supports it).

Performance
Scala-500 is equipped with patent-pending proprietary technology called WindGuard which should overcome wind interference better then other similar solutions on the market (Logitech Mobile Freedom). Please keep in mind that the WindGuard is not a DSP solution, but rather a design one. For our tests we use a small fan supplied to us by Logitech to test their Mobile Freedom headset. The comparison chart below shows at what distance the voice was not garbled by the wind.

Model

Type of wing suppression

Range

Cardo Scala-500

Design

7.87in (20sm)

Logitech Mobile Freedom

Design

9.84in (25sm)

Jabra BT800

DSP

11.81in (30sm)

Jabra BT250

None

23.6in (60sm)

The table above shows at what distances the air-stream created by a fan does not suppress the voice of the person using that headset

As the chart clearly shows, so far the Scala-500 is really the headset with the best wind suppression from all we have tested. On the other hand, in my ambient noise test (testing how the headset performs when there is loud surrounding ambient noise – radio, tv etc), the Scala-500 did not score well. The surrounding blare was muffling my voice pretty much. Keep in mind though that this test just tries to compare the different headsets. In the real world, such clatter could be heard only in a disco club for example.

In our sound quality tests, the Scala-500 reproduced voices very clearly with full tonal range. The loudness on the other hand seemed to be insufficient. Even with the volume set to maximum I would characterize the level of loudness as average, not loud. Cardo needs really to work on this a little more.

In our range tests, the Scala-500 performed very well. We were able to reach about 50 feet away from the phone and still be able to communicate despite the distortion. The Bluetooth 1.2 specification calls for up to 30 feet range, but as you can see most headsets archive more then that.

Model

Range (feet)

Jabra BT250

25

Logitech Mobile Freedom

45

Cardo Scala-500

50

Jabra BT800

150

The table above shows at what distance communication was possible when there was a clear line of site between the headset and the phone.

The battery according to the specification lasts up to 9 hours. In our continuous music playing test, we got 8 hours which so far is the best achievenent out of the all Bluetooth headsets tested. The stand-by time is rated at up to one week, so with moderate talk of about 30 minutes a day, the headset should last about 3-4 days without being recharged.

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