Cardo Scala 500 Review

Review: Cardo Scala 500 Bluetooth Headset

March 7, 2006
Ratings: 4 of 5
By: Jeff Velten

With many Bluetooth headsets eclipsing the $100 mark, the Cardo Scala 500 is moderately priced, compatible with both
the Treo 650/700w and supports the Bluetooth 1.2 standard.

Scala 500 Treo Bluetooth Headset

Out of the box

The Scala 500 comes packaged with the following:

  • Ear hook
  • Carry sleeve
  • Lanyard for carry sleeve
  • Plastic post (for lanyard) to plug into charger port
  • Universal travel charger
  • Multi language manual on mini-CD
  • VersaClip for attaching to glasses/sunglasses
  • Quick start guide

Cardo Scala 500


Set-up for the Scala 500 is fairly simple. You can choose from a standard ear
hook, or the VersaClip, which allows attachment to eyeglasses or sunglasses. The
VersaClip gives a solid enough attachment for normal use, but I would be
concerned about it coming unclipped with a lot of head movement. Both attachments
have a post which pushes through a channel in the body of the headset. I found
that the headset can be easily be slipped on one-handed using the ear hook, but
the VersaClip requires a bit more planning.

The Scala 500 also comes with two options for carrying the headset when not in
use. The carry sleeve is a nice feature. It can be clipped to the belt or a
pocket, or attached to the lanyard. The headset snaps securely into the sleeve.
There is also a plastic post, which can be attached to the lanyard and plugged
into the headset’s charger port for carry. This seems a less secure way to carry
the headset, especially after a bit of wear.
Cardo claims 9 hours of talk time, and 7 days of standby time on a full charge.
It took about 4 hours to fully charge the headset initially. I consider myself an
average cell phone user in terms of talk time, and I have only had to charge the
unit once in the first week.


The Scala 500 has two controls. There is a large button on the face of the
headset, which is used for answering calls, redial, and call rejection. There is
also a Multi-function Wheel on the end of the headset opposite the
microphone. This is used for volume adjustment, mute, call waiting, and to put
the headset in pairing mode.


As with most Bluetooth headsets, pairing of the Scala 500 is fairly simple. You
press and hold the MFW until the red and blue LEDs on the face of the unit begin
flashing alternately. The pairing process on the Treo 650 has been described in
detail elsewhere so I won’t go into it, but once I entered the Handsfree Setup
wizard on my Treo, it found the Scala 500 within about 5 seconds. The Scala 500
uses the standard passkey of four zeroes.

Treo Headset

Making and Receiving Calls

Once paired, I found that on outbound calls, the call gets transferred to the
Scala 500 either on the first or second ring. On inbound calls, the headset
usually picks up the call in the middle of the first ring. Rather than the
standard beep of many other headsets, the Scala 500 plays a series of tones that
reminds me of the theme from The Twilight Zone.

Inbound calls are answered by tapping the button on the face of the headset.
Alternately, you can press and hold the button to reject a call. The mic can be
muted by tapping the Multi-function Wheel, but I found that in practice, it can be tricky to push
the Multi-function Wheel straight in rather than up or down (which adjusts the volume).

Sound Quality

Sound quality is very good, both inbound and outbound. Most people didn’t realize
that I was using a headset until I told them. The earpiece rests against the
outside of the ear canal, so sound was good, without being overpowering. Some may
prefer an in-ear solution, they tend to become uncomfortable for me after a short


  • Lightweight
  • Carry sleeve included
  • Good sound quality


  • Multi-function wheel can be difficult to use


The Scala 500 offers very good sound quality, comfortable fit and calls transferred quickly to the headset on the Treo. The Multi-function Wheel, used to mute the mic, can be tricky to use. As a mid-priced headset, the Cardo Scala performed well and the included accessories (carry case and lanyard) which come standard were a nice bonus.

The Cardo Scala 500 retails for $49.95.

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