Headwave TAG Helmet Music and Navigation System Reviewed

Headwave TAG Concert Capsule 39 photos
Photo: Florin Tibu
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When I ran the first story about the Headwave TAG, it was pretty much like anything else. There is so much technology on the market today that it’s really hard to keep up the pace with the developments in all the fields. Making things worse is the fact that the Internet somehow reduces the capabilities of verifying how cool certain gadgets are and web-based marketing can sometimes be the consumer’s worst enemy.
So that’s why I was rather suspicious about the TAG Concert Capsule, taking things with a pinch of salt and refraining from making a call. But when I got the chance to test one, I said to myself that I definitely had to write a review, for good or for worse, as it may turn out. Without much ado, I will not make you wait too long for my decision: it’s a cool thingie that will change the way you experience your motorcycle, scooter, or ATV riding.

Whether it is a must is up to you, but if you want to be able to enjoy music in a clean, safe and rewarding way, the Headwave TAG “Concert Capsule” may very well be THE solution

First off, I have to tell you that I love listening to music in the car, but was never a fan of this while riding a bike or quad, for long hauls or city rides, on or off the road. Obviously, you might ask whether this changed after I stalled the TAG on my current helmet. I am not sure, but I will definitely give it more time to see how music and navigation integrate with my riding habits.

Others might fall in love with it from the first sight, while some will say that their current headphones are just what they need. It’s no problem, as the Headwave TAG is only yet another option for you, and it doesn’t claim to be the universal solution to your needs.

Oh goodie-goodie, what’s inside the box?

The Headwave TAG Concert Capsule arrives in a stylish, inconspicuous, dark box that has everything you need to get started in minutes. Frankly, I loved the simplicity of the packaging and the function-oriented design, with no useless crap one must throw away after the open-the-damn-box fun ends. This hints about the proverbial German efficiency and I liked the way this gadget can look equally neat when getting one for yourself or as a gift.

Once the ticker seal was cut, the magnetic lid opened and revealed the TAG, neatly supported in a bright moon green cardboard cradle. The lid also has a pocket that contains extra goodies in the form of four stickers (two green and two black ones) with the Headwave logo and a nice motivational quote: “Life is not a problem to be solved but an adventure to be lived.” It just doesn’t get any more sincere and true than this.

Another cool thing in the box is a second self-adhesive strip that will allow TAG users to install the device on a new helmet without any hassle. And I bet Headwave will also sell these TESA ACX high-strength adhesive strips to you in case you need more. Once you remove the TAG and the cardboard cradle, you get a small user manual that will eliminate most of your unknowns, and a USB charging cable.

The TAG connector is a “mag-safe” one not unlike the power connectors for Mac laptops. It has two tiny magnets, most likely neodymium, which attach securely to the Concert Capsule and without any risk of damaging the power cord or receptacle if accidentally pulled. The overall feeling I got was very pleasant, with the materials used to build everything being high-quality ones, from the paper to the box, cables and all. A big thumbs up here.

Installation takes less than it takes you to clean your helmet

Having the Headwave TAG Concert Capsule installed on the lid is exceptionally easy and only takes 30 seconds or so. Speaking about the time needed to have everything up and running, it may take you more to clean and dry the back of your helmet’s shell. This operation is crucial for the installation, as it ensures that the TAG will stay put on the helmet. Also, make sure you dry the helmet well if you use cleaning products or wet wipes, like I did. An extra paper handkerchief should do.

One of the cool things about the TAG is that its shape and construction will allow it to mount easily on pretty much any helmet, from sports ones to retro three-quarter lids. The curvature of the Concert Capsule and its elasticity allow it to come in contact with the majority of helmet shells, and this is brilliant. The TAG flexes a bit when force is applied, but this is normal and beneficial. The TESA adhesive fixes the Concert Capsule in place very well, and you can press it a bit to evenly distribute the force.

The capsule

The charging port is the only “hole” in the IP67-certified capsule, but water has no way to get inside through there. Another well-thought feature is that, when connected, the cable is not strained, thus reducing material fatigue and the risk of breakage.

As for the rest, once firmly attached to the helmet, the TAG becomes a natural extension of it. The added weight is nothing to worry about unless you’re a hyper-sensitive fellow in constant search of reasons to complain. Especially riders who use a heavier helmet, such as a flip-up one, have the smallest chances to feel the difference.

The TAG does not exactly capture attention and will easily be overlooked, and this is great. People might turn their heads at the traffic light as they will hear some music sounding out of thin air, but that’s about it. I found it amusing to look at people’s faces as they were trying to figure out where the sound came from, and one particular driver who had his windows open was quite funny asking me “does this music come from you, mate?”

Impervious to water, mud and dust, you need not worry about the TAG. It will simply be there at the back of your head, doing its job and putting a smile on your face now and then. And if you don’t forget to recharge it before you leave home, you’re all set. Charging on the way is also a possibility, using the USB port on the bike (most new bikes have at least one) or a hefty power bank.

The Headwave TAG Concert Capsule has only one button, the small rectangular green one in the center, for powering on and off. Two LEDs inside the pod indicate that the unit is charging (red), working (green), or it lost connectivity (blue). Pairing with an iPod worked flawlessly, and the two devices found each other without any issues.

On one occasion, I forgot to switch the TAG off when I arrived at work in the morning, and thought that it was a goner when I was heating the bike to go home. Nope, the TAG appears to have shut down itself after a time of lost connection, saving power and making me smile once more.
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