Sena 20S Bluetooth Headset - Dual Pack
Exceeded my expectations
Below are some of my thoughts after using the Sena 20S for the last 4 months. Also for those in a similar situation of owning a BMW I will outline why I chose Sena over BMW bluetooth.
For me helmet speakers are only useful under 30mph and for that reason I use (etymotic) earbuds for most rides. This combination produces excellent sound quality that is nearly identical to earbuds directly plugged into my iPhone. Earbuds are essential and this is a big strike against other systems (like BMW) when compared to Sena. Some argue against wearing earbuds in city traffic, but Sena has the answer with an ‘ambient sound’ button on the 20S. The unit can feed ambient sound directly to your earbuds whenever you want. This feature is very handy for quick stops at drive-throughs, toll booths, and gas stations.
I like the way the BMW and Schuberth systems are concealed, but the Schuberth helmet just doesn’t fit my head and neck. Also the BMW system and helmet combination was about 5 times more expensive than Sena 20S. Add to that a difficult BMW/Schubert installation versus a very simple 15 minute install for the Sena and the 20S was an easy winner for me.
I rarely use the FM radio on the Sena since my BMW has one and to my delight I found that the Sena links with the onboard bluetooth. The sound from the BMW radio and GPS are good, but there is no volume control and the volume is set at the upper limit of what I can listen too. On the highway it’s about right, but in town it’s a bit much. If there were one thing that I would like improved it would be volume control for the BMW link, but considering all that this unit does so well it’s a minor limitation given that it ‘kinda’ works as is.
Battery life on the 20S is nothing less than phenomenal in my experience. After one 16 hour ride the unit still had plenty of battery life to spare. Also I commute daily and only seem to charge once a month or so. All of this with constant music through bluetooth, phone use and GPS directions. The phone battery on the other hand is a different story due to the battery drain from bluetooth, occasional GPS navigation, etc, but I have an accessory plugin on my bike so this is generally not an issue.
I have used the telephone more than I imagined and it works very well. Like others have said, the person on the other end has no idea that I am riding a motorcycle even at highway speeds.
The number of features on the 20S might seem a little overwhelming for some, but on a solo 2000 mile trip last September I easily ran the 20S through all of its paces with the exception of group intercom. If you don’t know the voice commands you only need to remember one ‘what can I say?’ and the Sena will remind you of all of the voice commands that are available. Voice commands work flawlessly and I use these more than the hand controls.
I’ve only tried intercom on one trip and it works ok, but trying to get everything connected and working sometimes takes 2 or 3 tries. Another useful upgrade would be to allow the passenger to link to their own phone and music source. We also experienced intermittent clicking and cutouts when music sharing, something I expect Sena will eliminate over time.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Sena 20S.
December 1, 2014
Simplicity - Easy to upgrade to 1.3 just off website in a couple of minutes. App to smartphone, and GPS in seconds. The clarity on the 20S is excellent. The FM radio volume adjusts while you are utilizing the intercom. Voice control is a nice feature and appears to works well. You do have the option to ignore that phone call coming in, unless it's one of your kids that keeps calling and calling and calling. Can't comment on the durability yet as have only used this product for couple of weeks. Battery longevity holding well. One of the top of the line communicators at this time.
December 1, 2014
All the good things you read are true.
Really, blown away by how great this thing is. All the good things you read are true. Not going to repeat every review saying the same things. One happy surprise: It is even able to let me is my phone's voice command (Samsung Note 2). Can't speak to durability yet, only ridden with it a couple times, but seems sturdy. Haven't had a even a bit of buyers remorse.
November 27, 2014
A great way to communicate
I did a lot of research prior to this purchase trying to find the best way to have bike to bike communications. I watched the videos that Sena posted online on how to properly install and remove the unit from a helmet. So I felt confident in this purchase. I was surprised to see how much stuff came with the units. Car chargers, usb chargers, 2 different microphone setups.
The first thing I did when I took these out of the package was to do the software upgrade which took minutes. Installing them in our helmets was super easy. Pairing them with my phone and my GPS again took seconds. Time for the road test.
I couldn't believe the clarity of these units. I heard my husband loud and clear and he was using a half helmet. There was no wind noise whatsoever which totally surprised me. I had music playing through the headsets and as my husband would talk the music lowered so I could clearly hear him. The GPS instructions were clear as can be.
I tried to pair my 20s with a non-Sena headset (scala g9) but couldn't get them to pair, but I was able to use my 20s to call my friend with the scala then I patched her into the intercom conversation with my husband and that worked perfectly.
Just recently we took an overnight trip and used these all day for both days. We had the intercom and music on the whole time and the units worked great. I am very happy with this purchase.
November 10, 2014
At first, I thought the music was not loud enough. I soon realized the music volume on my phone was set too low. Now we're rockin!
November 10, 2014
Amazing range! Excellent battery life. Great sound except for phone function which seems to play at a lower volume than everything else.
November 3, 2014
It was very easy to install and use.
It was a great deal.
October 27, 2014
Better sound than ever
I bought this product just in time to do a 2800 mile adventure ride with my buddies. Three of us have the new 20, and the other two had model 10's. My old headset was a Scala Q2, so I was looking forward to better sound and being able to bluetooth music and GPS routings from my phone. The 20 didn't disappoint. It did this perfectly. The FM signal reception wasn't much better than my old headset. I guess these things just don't have a very good antenna, because I would lose signal not far from town.
Our group was really looking forward to being able to talk to each other as we rode. Getting all the headsets linked up proved to be a royal PITA. And, that's with two engineers in the group! Once we were successful, it was hard to keep everyone in the loop. If a guy got a phone call or dropped off for any reason, it seemed to muck up the whole works. Not only would we lose him, we lost others too. And, if we all wanted to get everyone back together, it was a regimented process at best - and frustrating at worst.
If you are only going to talk to one other person, that's easy and reliable. And the clarity and distance was good. Line of sight is imperative though. If I could see the guy, I was capable of 1/4-1/2 mile clear speech. If I couldn't see him, I could lose him in 100 yards.
Other good features - great battery life. We rode 6-8 hour days. I could go all day, and there were a few times I forgot to charge it and still almost made the second day before it conked out. However, when it tells you that you have a low battery (a little voice will tell you), you have less than 5 minutes until it is dead. Happened to me on a couple of occasions.
I also like the controls. Much better than the old Scala. The voice control was really nice, too. I could start and stop my music without taking my hands off the bars.
I've still got lots to learn about this thing, and I would recommend it to others. I just wish a few things worked smoother and didn't require me to get the manual out as often for help.
October 21, 2014