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The first 1500 miles with the Sena 20s - Lawrence Miller NC
Recommended by Reviewer: Yes
Pros: easy setup, great voice quality noise reduction, signal distance, build quality, highly water resistant, media player, fm radio, setup utility for computer and phone, car charger, time between recharge
Cons: non-replaceable battery, long recharge cycle, a few command button sequences that are easy to get wrong
The Sena 20S pair is a very good product I've used now for about 1500 road miles. It could be great if Sena cleans up a few things, most of which can be done with a software upgrade that the unit is capable of. Installation Packaging is clean and easy to access. Instructions are clear in both the larger detailed manual and the quick start guide. Both my wife and I use full face helmets, so we swapped out the included alternate microphones for the full face option within a few minutes with just a small screw driver. There is just enough wire on the speakers and microphone to run them beneath the padding of the helmets without having to find a place to stash the extra, but also without having to fight the placement. My wife's helmet is an XS so we had to push the speakers in place in the ear holes, but they do fit. They slid right in to my helmet.Use The units have a lot of capabilities with the double Bluetooth channels. You can run phone, media player, GPS audio, FM radio, and up to 8 intercoms depending on whether the units are Sena or other brands. The voice command capability makes the first connection used easy. 'Hello Sena', followed by a command like 'Intercom 1', and the request completes. To add in a second connection like 'FM Radio' while one is already going, and you generally have to use the buttons on the side. The buttons can get confusing because there is tap, a longer press, and press and hold while turning the jog and so on for the two buttons. It is not so much that those sequences are a problem as that currently, you too easily end up in 'replace your presets' or 'set your speed dial' mode with no easy way to cancel the mistake while riding. A simple solution would be for Sena to add a utility option to disable presets updates while riding or disableenable based on a configuration area onoff switch or to change the button sequences to make it less likely to accidentally access the mode. Also, either the phone or the unit twice got confused when multiple connections are running at once media and phone through the phone such that it stopped responding to the phone and I had to turn the unit off and back on to clear it up. On restarting, the problem corrected and the multiple connections worked fine. The tap the unit to enter command mode is not sensitive enough even though the sensitivity is set high on the configuration. Again, these can be fixed by a software update and is not an intrinsic problem with the unit. The units are crystal clear and have lots of volume. I have a V twin with loud pipes and I can easily hear the output in the helmet. In fact, I generally have to run the volume right around 60 or it rattles your ears drums. The microphones are sensitive and have great noise cancelling, even in the middle of traffic and construction areas. Water resistance in actual usage is good. We had no problems. With rolling hills and trees, we get about 12 mile intercom unless we completely lose line of sight helmet to helmet. Flat farmland, we get roughly 34 mile with antennas up. More than enough for our purposes. Phone use is clear as well and we could use phone to phone through the units if we ever needed to exceed those distances. FM Radio is clear and reception is good. Media player is clear, though the unit sometimes gets confused on forward and replay commands. Battery My biggest issue with the units are that the batteries are non-replaceable. These are fairly expensive units to consider them throw away when the batteries eventually go bad. Recharge cycles on the batteries is fairly slow. It takes about 5 hours from a dead battery to a full charge using a phone charger or computer power USB port. In extreme usage, you get about 4 hours on a full charge, new battery and with phone connected and continuous intercom AND media player connection, which is very respectable time frame considering you are running 2 Bluetooth connections continuously transmitting and receiving and running nonstop audio, all in a small package.Hats off to Sena there That said, on a day long road trip, you need more than 4 hours, so replaceable batteries and recharge at night or a quick charge during a stop would be a really nice feature. The unit is supposedly capable of charging while using, but I have not tried that. In a more standard usage pattern of intermittent intercom and phone use and intermittent media playerfm radio, we net about 12 hours of battery use before recharge is needed. Again, good job SenaOverall This product is already really good. We really like these units and recommend the product. A bit of tweaking on the software and it will be excellent.
Love it, Bluetooth Motorcycle Headset - VFR702 GA
Recommended by Reviewer: Yes
Pros: Speakers MUCH improved.
Cons: Trouble updating firmware.
Upgraded from an old version of SMH10 and so far, so good. Installation is identical to old system and quickly accomplished. Pairing with my iPhone and with other SMH20 headset seems much quicker and easier than first time set-up with SMH10. Once connected, I played a few tunes and was immediately impressed with the improved sound quality of the speakers. Also love the new FM tuner, as I don't have to fool with an internet radio program to tune into my local stations. Also, very impressed with nearly instantaneous intercom connection with second headset, as the SMH10 connection was maddeningly slow. I haven't quite mastered voice commands. Maybe will take some training on my part. First real problem is that my MacBook did not recognize the device in order to update firmware. Sena support has been contacted and hope for a quick resolution. My only other negative is that the low profile jog dial will take some getting used to, but this is minor. Overall, very impressed and looking forward to first road trip. Now that my wife is riding her own bike, the increased intercom range should be helpful when we get separated in traffic.
a new standard for blue tooth headsets - ImaCowboy2 WA
Recommended by Reviewer: Yes
Pros: Great price, also see below
Cons: When my windows cell phone is connected to another device, it connects to the Sena 20 as a music device
I purchased the Sena 20S headsets after 4 years of using their SMH10. I have 2 sets of SMH10s and felt a need to pass a set down in the family. We ride with all sets in group communication, my wife, and two sons. This past weekend we rode to the northwest tri-state HOG rally. We left in a torrential rain, at times forced to slow to 35 on a 65 mph highway because of the hard rain and visibility. For 4 hours we rode without any issues with the heavy amounts of water pouring down on us, easily communicating within the group. My wifes birthday happened to be that day, and she was answering texts and phone calls on the route mind you, that she didnt answer any during the hard rain too busy staying safe. Nice features of the 20SPriced right, discounted below MSRP - ya gotta love thatWhen my wife would disconnect from the group to answer a text or a phone call, I would hear a beep to indicate she was dropping off, and then another beep when she would rejoinSound level is awesome, much like the SMH10s plenty of volume, you will never have to turn it all the way up. Easily understood people talking at maximum highway speeds dont ask me what that was . . . . but above 70 mphRode 2 days 10 hours the first day, never turned off the unit 7 hours the next day, 17 hours total without a recharge. I worried with the SMH10s that the battery would be a problem, but after 4 years I could easily ride 2 days without charging the units, Sena has done good in the battery departmentThe ability to connect to a different brand of blue tooth devices. We have close friends that use another brand headset, and with universal connect we can join them in to the group. Speaking of batteries, these friends have to take their headsets into restaurants when we stop for lunch to charge their batteries, their units wont last through a day ride and their units are less than a year oldI use an AKE PowerCom blue tooth dongle on my Harley Davidson that connects to the 20S as a phone. I use this to talk on the CB radio over the headset no wires you can easily toggle between the dongle and group talk, however connecting back to the dongle has issues you have to power cycle the dongle to re-accomplish the connection. This makes the firmware updates with the 20S a fantastic feature, keeping the unit up to date with newer and future hardware that can and will come on the marketNOISE REDUCTION Oh man is this awesome. The old SMH10s carried a lot of wind noise over the headset, but not the 20S Absolutely NO wind noise Amazing I can actually hear my wife changing gears on the highway. I can hear her engine running I was blown away at how clear the audio is. Good job Sena
Sena 20S Product & Install Review - J2
Recommended by Reviewer: Yes
Pros: Sound quality and voice activated functions
Cons: Installation of management software on a Mac
I purchased my first Sena Bluetooth communication system after extensive research of all the competing offerings. The Sena 20S was the only unit on the market that could sync and interoperate with competitor's units. This was a key feature for me as I ride with a large group with several riders utilizing a Bluetooth device to make calls and communicate with their passenger. Installation of the unit on my Shoei GT-Air was straight forward with all details well documented in the extensive manuals provided in the box. Download and Installation of the device manager software and firmware update were anything but straight forward on my iMac. After several unsuccessful attempts I gave up and loaded the software on an old windows laptop I had retired a few years ago. Once the device manager was successfully loaded performing the firmware update procedure finally worked. So if you only have an iMac be warned. Once the firmware update was complete all functions worked as advertised. Pairing my iPhone was a breeze. Voice command functionality is a strength of the 20S. I initiated calls via voice commands at 70 MPH with ease. Voice and recipient sound quality at speed is truly amazing. Battery life is good with all day functionality on one charge. I have also used the 20S in moderate rain without a problem. I recommend the 20S.
Sena Dual Pack 20S Review - Wingone IN
Recommended by Reviewer: Yes
Pros: Multifunctional, Hands free Operation, Phone app
Cons: Device Manager Recognition, Sena has a few bugs to work out Instructions vague in some cases, Pricey but not out of line, Connectivity Intermittent
First let me start off by saying, buying the first generation of anything will have issues. I fully understand this and realize Sena is working to rectify where possible. I am not disappointed in the units in any way and look forward to the time the bugs are worked out. For my purposes the unit in functional and well worth the investment. I am not a professional review writer so please bear with me. Also note, we are still working through using our 20Ss',we have not utilized all of their features but are working slowly to figure them out. My wife and I waited until the release of the 20S to actually purchase communication units. After researching the various styles, hardwired vs wireless, manufacturers and features, we elected to pre-order the Sena 20S units. Riding StyleGoldwing 1500-primarily touring secondary highways and back roads, little to no interstate ridingHelmetWe purchased the Nolan N104 helmets but elected not to go with the NComm units after reading a number of review. With a little modification, I was able to mount the Sena 20S units using the included clamp to the Nolan 104 and we are both very happy with the results. FeaturesMy wife and I use the basic intercom setup. I am able to listen to my Galaxy S5 music and use the phone through the bluetooth feature in addition to hearing directions via my Garmin 660. I have not gotten to the point of using voice commands...yet. Also, we have not used the FM radio capability to date. I am also looking into the ability to use the bikes CB radio through a bluetooth arrangement but that is a future discussion. Device ManagerYou must download the Sena Device Manager SDM to your computer to update the device. I found this to be the most frustrating part of the whole process. Once downloaded, I could not get the SDM to recognize my 20S to do the latest update. After deletingre-installing the manager several times, factory resetting the Sena, I finally got it to see both of the 20S units but this was not consistent. After several emails and recommendations from Sena customer service I could still not get it to see but device so I struck out on my own. For whatever reason, I was finally able to get the SDM to recognize the units with some consistency although I have not tried this within the past 48 hrs. Phone AppYou can do some limited updating through the phone app, i.e. add FM radio stations, speed dial phone numbers but I found using the SDM the best method. The phone app also provides pictorials on how to use the device. Pairing HeadsetsPairing the two units seems to work relatively well. The instructions cover this to a reasonable degree. I did find while using the intercom, the headsets would lose communication. After some trial and error, by pushing the Jog Dial once, the intercom was re-established. This may have more to do with timing out to conserve battery life rather than a fault of the unit. Pairing GPSWhile one of the features is pairing with bluetooth GPS units, to be clear, it will ONLY pair with certain models of GarminTom Tom. I made the mistake of buying a Garmin automotive GPS to save a few bucks with Bluetooth capability only to find out it would not work with the 20S. While the GPS saw the Sena, it would not pair. There is an irritating little you have to read. My GPS vendor was gracious enough to exchange the original GPS for a much unit that Sena recommended. Pairing this GPS was a little trickier than the instructions led on. After visiting the Sena website 20S Forum a section dedicated to the 20S I was able to pair the unit and to hear voice commands directions through my headset. Pairing PhoneI have a Galaxy S5. While I do not typically ride and talk, I have found this feature pretty straight forward on the occasion or two I have used it. Generally, I ignore the call. GeneralOn the 20S forums, several folks noted issues with the helmet mounted speakers or ear buds. We have not experienced these issues. You are riding a motorcycle with a helmet there is bound to be some windbackground noise it will not be the same as sitting in your living room listening to the stereo. You may have to adjust the mic sensitivity. I found that if my wife or I raise our face shields this will create a bit more wind noise which the Sena sees as a communication and will cut out a phone call or music. With the face shield down, we have not experienced this issue. The noise cancelling feature of the mic works rather well but you have to speak clearly and annunciate my wife's words, not mine, apparently I tend to mumble into my headset I have also found that if you mutter under your breath, your wife can hear everything.....use caution, the mics are that goodI would recommend these units to anyone. I do believe once the launch bugs are worked out, these will be great units providing years of service. Safe Riding
Sena 20S - Danny in NC NC
Recommended by Reviewer: Yes
Pros: Great features and compact design
Cons: FM radio doesn't seem to work
My son and I wanted to get communicators. Just when we were ready to order, the Sena 20S got announced. We ordered a dual pack and waited, somewhat patiently, for Sena to actually start shipping them. This is my first experience with a helmet communications system. It was fairly easy to install the unit without the boom mike into my Shoei RF 1200 helmet. The features advertised for this unit are great and so far the intercom and Bluetooth music from my iPhone work great. However, I can not seem to get the FM radio to work. This seems to be a general problem with this unit based on some Google search results. If FM radio is important to you, I would consider a different unit or wait to see if Sena fixes this issue.