Five Scala G4 Bluetooth Review

We just received a Scala PowerSet G4 system from the National Marketing Manager of Cardo corp. a few days ago.

I installed them in my now unused Shoei RF1000 and tested the unit solo for three days.

I installed an iPhone cradle on one of our IN-Charge tankbags so I could try out some navigation apps and see how this scenario worked.

Then I installed the other G4 in Kathy’s new Vega Summit III modular ($159.95!!) and we tested them for intercom and bike-to-bike.

Now I have been on the soap box from the beginning about how J&M is the best and there is nothing else out there that is comparable to the J&M headsets …. I still stand by that.

SO … why are we testing Scala G4s?

Now that we have been doing the IN-Charge communications Tankbag and the seminars for a few years’ folks are getting to understand we know what’s going on out there about communications and are asking for alternatives that may not include a tankbag or FRS/CB bike to bike.

They are two up riders that just want intercom phone access and music and maybe talk to one or two other riders.

Remember I have always said we do not sell anything we do not use or KNOW that it meets up with our expectations. We are now selling the Scala G4. The PowerSet, which retails for $489.95.

THE REVIEW

Obviously we have found out enough information to decide on selling these units. So this is what we have found.

My four issues with bluetooth devices as been, Amplification, Sound quality, Battery life and lastly the ability to speak to more than a couple of riders with any range.

The G4 is the only unit we have tested that comes close to the J&M in amplification and is adequate, although I am hard of hearing and had to have the volume up to almost max. So if you wear ear plugs you may want to consider that. Kathy wears earplugs and they worked very sufficient for her even at speed on her little Remus piped SV650 wailing away.

The speakers sound quality is pretty amazing and they generate a lot of sound for such small speakers, they also pass the test.

Battery life is an issue, they advertize up to 10 hours of talk time; we’ll get back to you on this.

Remember the J&M can go up to 31 hours with ONE battery change and the G4 does not have that ability. But we are giving it a passing score as these units will be pointed at two up touring folks, not the iron butt guys and gals.

VERY upside is the systems software can be updated by going to their website and using a USB connector, first company other than J&M that does this that we know of (NOTE: J&M units need to be send back to them)

Install …. Even a caveman could do it!! We got the setup with the mic boom and it worked fine on the full face Shoei. Pictured.

I googled and googled and could not find but one or two REAL evaluations on this product. Most were just candy coated “Press Releases” quoting the information right off the box and their website.

The funny thing is the MAIN thing I wanted to know most of them did not address ….. Bike to bike RANGE.

From the only REAL review I read it sounded like the guy was shooting from the hip and did not read the instructions, I also found not reading instructions to be true with “Webbikeworld”.

SO read your instructions. They are easy to setup for rider passenger and music BUT these units are NOT for the timid If you want to do more there are FIVE buttons and they each have multiple functions SO READ!

Has for driver to passenger intercom they worked just fine with Kathy listening to HER music on her iPhone and me listening to mine.

DOWN SIDE … To talk to your partner you can do two things pretty much YELL into the mic and activate the vox function this will stay on for 30 seconds AFTER you stop talking. OR push the “A” button on the side of the unit and WAIT 6 seconds, not 4 not 5 but 6 seconds and you will hear a “Click” sound that tells you you now have intercom. Then to turn it off you can push the “A” button again and music will come back on “AT SOME POINT” more than 6 seconds.

UP SIDE … We both found it very relaxing not using a PTT button. The VOX features only issue is YELLING to turn it on. Other than that this intercom and bike to bike system is very very well done.

Truth in advertizing. We sell Motorola FRS radios and they say 23 mile range on the front of the packaging. They go a mile.

If you are on top of a mountain they may go 23 miles. (Disclaimer: If you read the back of the card it says Urban conditions one mile)

So we were really really skeptical about the one mile claim on a bluetooth device. They go 6/10 of a mile … NOT ¾ or one mile but 6/10 of a mile with the antenna up or down 6/10 of a mile.

Did we say this figure enough? NOW if you want to call me a liar and say you can talk further fine! At least I am lying in the right direction.

Here is a picture of part of our test route and the elevation so you can see we had more than line of sight even some height.

Click on the image for a larger photo as in all the photos on this page..

Understand this is ONE place on the ride we are showing a picture and graph this distance was coincident everywhere we went 6/10 of a mile period.

The elevation graph at the bottom shows 8/10 of a mile from Kathy to me and at this point we had lost contact. You can see there is a 10 foot elevation gain and a clear line of sight for a little more than a mile. The right turn coming has a nice elevation gain but has soon has I turned it got even worse and took a while to hook up again when Kathy made the turn so we were on the same line. So again we have decided they will transmit 6/10 of a mile at BEST, but guess what? This also passes my test because it’s farther than I expected anyway.

Bottom line here is these are not for everyone but if these are the features you want RKA feels this is a good purchase.