Sena SMH5 Bluetooth Headset Dual Pack
Awesome product--when it works correctly
I just got this dual headset, and it was easy enough to install. Really good design and useability. When the headset works as intended, it's absolutely incredible. Clear speech, plenty loud playing music, (and yes--it's mostly treble--these aren't big bass speakers here), for the price and for what it is, it's really quite awesome. BUT...the headset has been intermittently malfunctioning. Sometimes while speaking and/or listening, the sound from the speaker becomes unintelligible. It sounds, not "static,-y", but more mechanical--it's really hard to explain, but it almost sounds like when you speak through a fan. (except you can't really make out the words) It's not due to being too far apart, because I've replicated it in the living room. And it doesn't appear to be a feedback issue either. At times, it may be interference of some kind, but I haven't been able to isolate it yet. Suffice to say, I'll continue troubleshooting, and when/if I get this fixed, I'll definitely update my review.
June 17, 2013
Nice Bluetooth at a bargain price
I got the dual pack Sena SMH5 for the same price as a single headset of most competing products. You really can't come close to that value.
I actually preferred the SMH5 to the SMH10 since the 5 is about 30% smaller. The jog dial makes both units a little on the large side anyway, so minimizing size seems to be a bonus. It's probably not that big of an issue either way though. Unless I'm looking at the helmet I don't notice the hardware. It's not making any drag while riding my Victory Kingpin. So I'd just be spending extra money to keep my helmet looking more low-profile. Not a huge deal to me.
A lot of people like the jog dial. It's ok so far. It certainly works, but it doesnt strike me as significantly better than flat buttons. I think that people who love the jog dial must be thinking about cold weather riding in heavy gloves. I use full, light leather gloves and it was easy to operate. But buttons would be fine as well. Overall the SMH5 is easy to use, and the jog dial does the trick faster than buttons would. A few seconds every time you touch the headgear may end up being a safety hazard at some point. I think that people might overplay the jog dial thing a bit, but it does have its advantages.
The speakers and headphones work better than I expected. I read reviews criticizing the sound output, recommending replacement headphones. That strikes me as unnecessary unless you're hard of hearing. I did buy a single set of upgrade speakers for the SHM5, so I can comment on the difference.
The default speakers have almost zero bass delivery. That's clearly apparent when listening to tunes from your phone. This did not bother me too much though, since it's a lack of bass delivery instead of blown, shaky speakers. Other than that the default speakers are plenty loud and clear in my Nolan flip-up helmet. They strike me as respectable speakers you'd get in a $10-20 pair of headphones, with the bass tuned low. I wouldn't be surprised if they are intentionally tuned for high volume and low bass output.
The upgraded speakers are significantly better, capable of higher volume, physically larger, and have decent (but still not excellent) bass. They are worth the money if you want them, but definitely NOT a requirement unless you have poor heading, ride with earplugs, or you just want to hear more bass in your music.
Battery life seems only OK for the SMH5 so far. I'm listening to music at high volume the whole time I ride, so I put a heavy workload on the battery. I got at least 4 hours of constant music in before the battery died. There was a lot of standby time as well, so its hard to grade this from limited experience so far. If I could only get 4-5 hours of active use out of the SMH5, that would be a significant limitation. Not a gamebreaker, since I don't usually ride longer than that anyway. But certainly something to note. When I take an 8 hour ride it would be nice for my hardware to last the whole trip. Although, to be fair, most phones can't last that long either under constant use.
Feature-wise the SMH5 is great. I can communicate with my passenger, listen to music, fast forward or rewind without touching my phone (HUGE BONUS), listen to the phone's GPS simultaneously, and send / receive calls. That's great for the cheapest device on the market. I have experienced issues using the voice dialer, but I think that is a problem with my phone and not the SMH5.
Overall you can't beat this as an entry into Bluetooth. Easy to recommend it so far as an entry level device.
May 30, 2013
Great cost effective communications option!
The Sena SMH5 is a terrific and cost effective solution for Bluetooth communications. Setup of the system on my Icon Airframe helmet took about 1/2 hour and I was able to easily hide the speaker and microphone wiring. I suggest using the "stickyback" mount on the helmet instead of the clamp type mount as I think the final fit and finish comes out a bit cleaner but this is just my preference. I was able to pair my iPhone to the headset with ease but have yet to test the communications ability of the set. As most of the other reviewers have stated the speakers that are shipped with the set are a little weak especially for music but they can be upgraded to the better ones for pretty cheap. All in all if you are looking to save a few bucks and want a good communicator for music / phone pairing and 2 way communications look no further than the Sena SMH5!
May 21, 2013
Still early but I'm really impressed so far
Reviewing items through revzilla is very helpful. Ordering and delivery was a breeze. I received my SMH5's within 4 days. Installation is very intuitive and the second installation went very quickly as the quick start guide is helpful enough to give you an idea.
The sound as others have stated is geared towards speech so music is mostly treble. In testing it out the day after I got it, others could not tell I was on my bike and heard NO wind or engine noise.
Paring was a breeze, individual volume for different functions is nice and the ability to par 4 units at once is cool, just no 4 person conferencing.
So far, ease of use, installation and Anthony says, bang for the buck on this unit has me very happy with it. IF that changes, I'll come back and update but so far, so good.
May 17, 2013
I solid product!
This is a well built, carefully engineered product that simply works and is easy to use. I had no problems getting it them to connect via bluetooth to both a Samsung and an LG smart phone. The the ability to control the volume is a simply turn of the wheel and switching back and forth between intercom and phone is as simple as pushing the jog dial, which is also a button. Answering the phone is also a simple matter of pushing one button. The caller said my voice was clear with both my visor open at low speeds and visor down at higher speeds. I heard the caller clearly as well.
The cons I have with these units is a lack of adapter which would allow the use of in ear headphones. It would be a rather simple thing to make, simply y-splitting the connector and offering a 1/8" stereo jack to feed headphones. The other complaint I have is that playback of music is a bit buggy, even with the phone 2' away in my pocket. Music cuts out once in a while, but quickly resumes. Also, once in a while a song prematurely skips to the next song before finishing. I'm using an Android app called Power Amp for play back and it may be caused by this. I'll try it with the default music player on the phone. I refuse to give away all my rights to privacy so I can't comment on any sort of voice command usage with the units.
I do experience slight distortion when the volume is all the way up when listening to music. These days I ride with foam earplugs in and the volume is loud enough, two notches from the top level, to be able to hear music softly and my riding partner barely, but it is workable. I'll most likely fabricate my own 1/8" female jack connector for these for use with molded ear speakers since I'm handy with a soldering iron.
The range is not much more than 40ft or so, so if you plan on using them bike to bike, you had better upgrade to the SMH10.
All in all, an excellent choice and very usable. They are considerably louder and of higher quality than the cheapo Nady hardwired units I tried first.
Good luck and be safe, there is enough distraction on the road without having to control electronic gadgets.
May 15, 2013
Budget Intercom at a budget price
I am fairly happy with this intercom system. I wasn't ready to shell out the money for the SMH10, so I got this one.
Install was faily straight forward. The hardest part was figuring out how to remove the checkpads on my Arai helmet.
The bluetooth connectivity with my phone is great and very easy to set up. When turning the unit on it automatically connects to the phone. When listening to music, the sound quality is ok.
When using it as an intercom with the other unit, it works ok. When trying to transmit, I sometimes get "intercom failed" and sometimes it works fine. I can't figure out why. Sound quality is also ok. Even when using a full face helmet and the mic muff a fair amount of windnoise comes though the speakers.
I recommend this as an entry level intercom system for someone who is budget concious.
May 7, 2013
Rediculous ease of use
It's hard to add to the glowing reviews for this product. What stands out, for me, is how easy it is to get the units set up and running. I've tried other units (Scala, uClear) but, with only two inputs, the Sena is easy to use with gloved hands.
The key for good sound is getting the speakers in the right place. I use the BBE app on my iPhone to play music and it sounds pretty good with plenty of volume.
April 29, 2013
Bought the dual pack. Installed one and it worked until I plugged it in to charge, then that one wouldn't turn on. I put in a ticket with Sena and called Revzilla the next day. The guy at Revzilla said I'd have to wait until I checked with Sena, but he couldn't have been nicer.
Turned out I just needed to use a paperclip on the reset button and it now works.
I'm commuting 40 miles round trip on my scooter to work now and it was a joy listening to music.
Once I got the second unit working I installed it on a friends helmet and it took a few minutes for them to link up, but it was sorted.
I haven't used the communication yet on the road, so I'll post again once I have.
The speakers fit perfectly in my HJC Symax 3, and weren't an issue in my friends HJC CL Max.
I ordered the upgraded speakers, but I'm sending them back because even at low levels doing 60 on my Vespa the sound was fine. I don't want it to be too loud for safety issues.
Love the Sena and love Revzilla!
April 27, 2013