Sena 20S Bluetooth Headset
Sena 20S Initial Impressions
I'm a previous owner of a Sena SMH-10 and SMH5-FM. I upgraded to use the BMW audio system on a 2014 RT. I read pros/cons on forums and reviews posted throughout the internet.
I used a 20S / NAV 5 / iPhone / BMW audio paired following the recommended pairing sequence of devices within the owners manual for the Sena 20S and BMW RT.
Pros: I'm using the BMW audio system aboard the RT. I source audio via Sirius, FM, or USB. The iPhone is operated via the NAV V for incoming and out going calls.
Cons: No Siri due to pairing the iPhone through the NAV V. Although, you can still make a phone call through the NAV V when your phone signal may not have been strong enough to use Siri/voice commands.
So, in the end, you pick and choose how you want it to work, either using the bikes audio through the Sena 20S, phone through NAV V to Sena or just pair your NAV V and phone to the Sena and use the Sena's FM with no Sirius.
The biggest Con is the BMW audi system overpowering the Sena speakers. I tweaked the bikes audio (loudness, treble/base) and the Sena (bass boost, loudness) and had notable improvement.
September 1, 2015
Terrible sound quality
I bought this to put on my Icon dark alliance so I can listen to music and talk with friends. Installation was not too hard once i figured out how since the instructions are not very detailed. All i can say is i am very disappointed in the product. The sound quality is about the same as a pair of 10 dollar earbuds. Even with the volume turned all the way up, I can barely hear anything when riding. Maybe its because the helmet is a loud one, im not sure. Its also a huge pain to get the voice command function started. I have to practically slap the thing to activate it. For $270 I would rather have just gotten a nice pair of earbuds.
August 31, 2015
Very impressive sound!
I was concerned about the size of this device compared to other offerings, however it is not obstructive at all, and the weight is so negligible that it is not particularly noticeable while riding.
Controls are easy to reach and manipulate. Only complaint is that the control patterns can be a bit tedious and require significant memorization/practice. But controlling so many functions from a limited number of buttons/dials requires a little magic, so this complaint is minimal.
Speakers are much better than any helmet bluetooth that I've used in the past. Plenty of volume to handle earplugs and road noise, but also quiet enough to work without earplugs at low speeds. Pair with a nice quiet helmet and you're on your way.
Very well-recommended product!
August 31, 2015
Best communicator out there
I ordered a new Icon Alliance Dark and wanted to get a bluetooth communicator so that I could listen to music, take phone calls (I'm practically always on-call at work and "I was out for a ride" doesn't go over well when I fail to answer the phone), and talk bike-to-bike when my wife and I go for rides.
My previous experience with bluetooth communicators have all been products by a different brand (rhymes with lardo). I did not really have any issues with them except for the price as well as the lack of customization...an issue that is found in many (most?) bluetooth communicators.
The Sena 20S isn't the cheapest thing in the world, but for the quality, performance, and included accessories it has a good bang for the buck factor.
With most similar products you typically get the communicator itself, a microphone (usually boom and wired), headphones, helmet clamp, and a stick mount for helmets that the clamp doesn't fit. With the Sena 20S you get all that and more. Also included in the box were a car charger, a second (wired) boom mic, auxiliary 3.5mm audio cable, as well as an assortment of velcro pieces to help mount everything in place. Basically, it is all the stuff that comes in the Sena 20S Supplies Kit that can also be purchased separately.
Installing the 20S on my Icon Alliance was a snap. My Schuberth C3 makes it very difficult to add a communicator because the clamp mounts don't work so hot and the sun visor lever make using a stick on mount more challenging than most (but they will be happy to hook you up with their C3 specific SRC communicator). The helmet clamp works just fine on the Alliance and the 20S feels rock solid. The microphone and headphone wires all tuck away neatly, though for my particular wire routing preference I'd have liked the microphone wire to have been an inch or two longer.
I'm no audiophile but I have no complaints about the sound quality the speakers provide. Sure, they aren't what you'd call bass rich but I've heard (much) worse. The volume is loud enough that I had no problem listening to the Cult's Fire Woman at freeway speeds on my cruiser, which doesn't have a windscreen. I have not made any phone calls yet but Siri is able to understand my voice commands just fine. I've not used the built in voice commands since everything I need to do can mostly be done through iPhone's Siri.
A great feature of the 20S is that you can have two cell phones paired at the same time. This is a nice touch for those of us who have to carry not only their personal phone but also a business one as well. Now I never have to choose between which phone I want to have paired to my headset.
The FM radio works well and I did not encounter any reception problems. I wish it would also receive HD radio since there are some HD only stations I like to listen to but it's hardly a deal breaker.
I'm looking also forward to being able to go for a ride and use the bike to bike intercom to talk to my wife. She has a different brand communicator but thanks to the universal intercom we can still talk to each other. A big problem with earlier communicators was that everyone in your group had to have the exact same brand and I'm glad we are moving past that. It was akin to having an iPhone that only made phone calls to other iPhones.
Finally, the thing I noticed first when I pulled the 20S out of the box was that it seemed like a very well built item. The helmet clamp felt very solid and not like the flimsy plastic clamps of other brands. The actual communicator itself gives a sense of confidence that it will last for the long haul.
I'm a technology geek so I'm all about having the latest toys and gadgets, but I look forward to keeping the Sena 20S on my helmet for a long time.
August 22, 2015
Nothing bad to say about this product. Only complaint was first trying to connect multiple Bluetooth devices. After initial setup everything was much easier.
August 17, 2015
Not for RF1200
So, my other headset was crapping out on me, so I upgraded to this one. Mainly for the improved voice controls, app support, and the FM turner. The voice controls are great. I hit the bottom button and say "speed-dial one" and it makes the call. Works great. The installation was a little rough. Just like the video says, the speakers are bigger than the cutouts in my RF1200 (but they sound great). my biggest issue was how it fits in the helmet. The RF 1200 has the cut out edges, which I love, but that makes it tough to install the mount. I ended up having to use the stick on mount and it still doesn't stick down flush. All in all, it works fine, but it doesn't fit the way Sena designed. But, that is mainly due to the design of the RF-1200.
August 10, 2015
A little buggy
Installation was very easy and hassle free (In a Shark Evoline 3 helmet). The controls are very responsive, the only pick I have about the interface is that if you wear an armored jacket the shoulder armor can hit the round button and it will try and sync with other riders using the intercom feature. It won’t take long to “Learn” how to adjust your visor or other movements without hitting the round button. I have yet to sync with other riders. I have used it as a music system, GPS, and phone link. The sound quality is pretty good about 90% of the time. Every once in a while it sounds very overdriven and distorted. The voice activation features work great IF there is no background noise. I ride a Moto Guzzi Eldorado (2016) which is made to Europe's noise standards which are significantly quieter than even California. So its not that my bike is too loud. At times I found my self yelling inside my helmet and still could not get the feature to work more than about 50% of the time while riding above about 30 MPH. The "Hey Sena" voice prompt feature does not work after 30 seconds from syncing and "will be addressed in a later firmware update." I have had the unit for about 3 weeks now. To be honest I purchased it for the “Hey Sena” feature, and the voice controls which both need work. Hopefully the firmware updates will come soon. Once the voice features are addressed I would recommend this product.
July 27, 2015
Easy to install and use while driving
Great product! They could of done better with the speakers tho. I found better ones off eBay that give music a little more bass so it doesn't feel like someone's screaming I'm my ears.
July 27, 2015