Sena 20S Bluetooth Headset
FM Radio letdown
I've been the happy owner of various Sena products.
However the S20 was an absolute want as I dearly miss some FM radio during my daily commute.
Reception, as described on many forums, is rubbish.
I regret buying it, and regret having trusted Sena to use their solid reputation to sell such a poorly developed product.
December 15, 2014
I like this product
I was using Scala Rider, and I thought let's give it a chance and I bought this product, it's nice I like it, but the sound is better in scala rider g9x.
December 15, 2014
This is my first bluetooth communicator so I don't have anything to compare it to. The sound is very clear and the device pairs with my iPhone 5S in a matter of seconds from being powered on. I can't vouch for the durability yet since I have only ridden with it a few times. It does have very sturdy construction and does not feel cheap to the touch. The only gripe I have is that the socket screws used to clamp the mounting bracket on to the helmet are on the inside and makes it a little difficult to tighten when fully snugged up against the shell of my Shoei RF1200.
December 8, 2014
Great features but need more volume
First of all, my only complaint is the volume level is just not high enough when wearing earplugs. And wearing earplugs is the only way to hear music or phone calls clearly. I usually wear earplugs anyways as the wind noise is pretty high on my bikes (Ducati Multistrada and Aprilia Tuono) and if riding without ear protection, there's too much wind noise to hear calls or music. The voice recognition works well most of the time, but sometimes it takes multiple commands - not a big deal though. The Sena paired easily with my iPhone and being able to listen to Pandora and answer calls is priceless! One of the many neat features is the little button that mutes all speaker sounds and amplifies external sounds. Haven't had a chance to check out the intercom feature till more riding friends buy one. Again, more volume and this unit would be about perfect.
December 4, 2014
Having felt it was time to get on the Bluetooth helmet wagon, I chose the Sena 20S and am extremely pleased with the decision. My previous experience with helmet comms has only been with the old ChatterBox bricks (circa 1998). Obviously the jump in technology is huge for me.
I'm not new to Bluetooth though and have been an active user since it's inception. I've read about the growing pains with the 20S and having recently acquired one and updated it with the latest firmware, I have no complaints at this time. Pairing with my iPhone was straight forward and using the Sena app was instrumental to the headset management.
My first test calls while on the road was impressive. Folks on the other side of the call couldn't distinguish that I was on the bike. Kudos to Sena for their implementation of noise cancellation. Siri worked about as good as anyone can expect. For me, Siri is sometimes a mixed bag regardless of how quiet or noisy my environment is. This may be more attributed to how good of a connection you have with the internet though.
I still have to get used to the voice commands. I've found myself using the stereo music commands regularly. The audio quality is more on the tinny side with not a lot of mid. Yet seems effective enough to enjoy some tunes on the road. I did not anticipate any high fidelity from the helmet speakers though. FM radio also works well for me. Using the phone app made it easy to assign stations to the 10 pre-set channels.
I have yet to take advantage of any rider to rider comms. I am also curious to experience communications with other compatible non-Sena systems. Overall I believe the 20S is a good product out of the box. From here, I sincerely hope it holds up over time.
December 2, 2014
communication is key
The Sena 20s is the best communication unit I have ever used I ride almost everyday. Riding in groups or solo commuting to work daily I can listen to music at highway speed or make a phone call works every time . The multitasking skills are top notch will definitely be ordering another one for my wife
December 1, 2014
Meh. More unimpressive design.
The 20S is pretty functional but it seems to be defined by it's less than stellar user interface. Everything about interacting with this thing is mediocre. I know I could try harder to remember how to use the voice commands but seriously if there's something that we've learned from the last 10 years of gadgets and computers - its that you shouldn't need a freaking PhD to use the interface. (I still haven't made a phone call from the Sena interface to date)
The sound quality just wasn't. It sounds like two speakers from a hallmark card. But is is LOUD - so there's that.
On an upshot though the receiver can pair with two bluetooth devices so you can try to figure out how to deal with two gadgets not doing what you want.
This was my first foray into a headset; and if they are all similarly complex I think I'll just stick to earbuds - at least until I can get a Skully or Nuviz.
November 28, 2014
Was really looking forward to getting the 20S
When the 20S was announced, I was so excited about upgrading from my older SMH-10R. So much so, in fact, that I encouraged my touring friends to pre-order theirs, too. That has turned out to be somewhat of an embarrassment. It truly is painful for me to write this review. But we've been waiting almost 5 full months for fixes for the most glaring issues.
We received out 20S units in late June 2014. Immediately we noticed problems with an electronic whine/buzz in connected earbuds. We embarked on a 4,000 mile trip on July 4th. That's when the shortcomings of the 20Ss really hit us. The earbud buzz/whine was tolerable. But the other flaws were not. We ended up spending HOURS, literally HOURS fiddling with the units. In the course of the 10-day trip, they worked properly for maybe 30 minutes. The rest of the time we were fighting intercom outages and loss of intercom every time any of our Zumo units alerted or gave driving directions. We had to pull over at least three times per day to see if we could resolve the problems by doing things like powering up, resetting, reconnecting, etc. Every evening, we worked with the units to see if we could determine if the issues were due to our learning curve or due to deficiencies in the firmware. By the end of the trip, some of the group simply turned their 20S OFF and refused to be bothered by them any more.
The worst of the issues was the 20Ss randomly dropping Intercom to one or more in the group of 4. The only way to determine if communications was working was to ask, "Can anyone hear me now?" At least 10 times per day, the answer was silence. Hmmmm, guess no one could hear me. That resulted in many miles passing under our wheels while we poked at the JOG button, turned the unit ON and OFF and back ON, trying, trying, trying to restore communication between the four of us. We only had all four units intercomming for possible 2 hours TOTAL out of the 10 days of 10 hours per day riding. There was always someone missing.
Sometimes, this was caused by the units simply turning themselves OFF. No button pushing required. Silence might indicate that the unit had powered itself off with no notification by the Sena lady. Turns out, it does it all the time; sometimes within 5 minutes of connecting with another 20S. We were constantly calling,"can you hear me now".
Occasionally, we'd succeed in reestablishing communication after a half hour or more of riding and trying. Had no idea why.
The other issue that affects operation is that the A2DP port is meant for the phone to give it highest priority, I guess. However, everyone I know pairs their Zumo GPS as a phone so that the XM radio, audio books, and MP3 player works. That would be just fine, except every time the Zumo alerts or gives driving directions, intercom is blanked out . . . sometimes never to return. It would happen at the most critical times of our trip . . . like when looking for a restaurant or gas station in an unfamiliar area. Instead of being able to communicate our intentions with each other, the GPS blanked out the intercom. We had to resort to hand signals.
OK, now the good.
The audio quality is phenomenal. The wind noise filtering is like no other. One can ride with a half face helmet and his/her transmitted audio is 100% noise free! Wow!
The ability to use the phone is very good. My wife cannot tell whether I'm at 80 mph on the Interstate or parked at a gas station. It's that good.
At the time of this writing, I'm in hopes that Sena will address the issues that their customers have brought up on the Sena forum. They have good technical support people, but they can only help with the units as they have been produced. They cannot help with the problems and priorities between functions.
I must say that the factory support is as good as it can be. The four of us that bought in June all had our 20Ss replaced with new ones when we complained about the buzz in the earbuds and the lack of FM radio operation. Both of those issues were fixed with hardware changes and didn't cost us anything except a little inconvenience. I'm not sure whether or not the development team is working on the other issues. Only time will tell.
I sincerely want my Sena 20S to work reliably and am holding out for firmware changes that will address the issues we're having.
November 26, 2014