Sena SMH5-FM Bluetooth Headset Wired Mic - Dual Pack
Probably the best value of all the Sena lineup
Purchased the two-pack with wired microphones to install into my Scorpion EXO-500 and my girlfriend's Shoei Qwest helmets. Installation was generally easier on my Scorpion, but the Shoei wasn't bad, just had some extra trouble routing the wires cleanly.
Units are very sturdy and are paired right out of the box. I immediately updated the firmware to the most recent (2.1.1 at this time), which was very easy to do.
There's a lot of functionality of these units for having 2 'buttons' and a knob to handle, so there's a learning curve and you'll also likely forget how to do functions that you don't often use.
To answer some common questions about these:
You can only intercom one-on-one with one other person at a time, but can have 4 people total (including yourself) that you can 'jump' to an intercom conversation with.
You can share music (streamed over a phone) to the person you're on the intercom call with, but cannot talk with that person at the same time as the music (more on this later).
GPS commands from a phone (I have an Android device) will play through the speakers, but I'm fairly sure that it's only while you're streaming music from the phone. If you're sharing said music, then the GPS instructions get shared as well.
The upgraded speakers on these are generally loud enough to hear, even with earplugs in, up to around 70mph.
Installation was generally easy and offers good options to get the speakers nice and close to your ears.
Buttons and knob are easy to find/operate even with gloves on.
Offers good functionality for individual riders (phone calls, music streaming, FM radio, GPS instructions)
Intercom functions very well within about 75 yards. After around 100 yards, it will drop out, but automatically reconnect when you're within range.
Phone call quality is very clear. People generally can't tell that I'm riding a motorcycle at all and will ask me why I seem to be shouting.
Battery life is generally good, probably around 10-12 hours of constant use.
Units don't have to be removed from the helmet to be re-charged, which reduces wear on the headset connector. We almost never remove them from the helmets.
Not as fully functional as the higher models, but for the money, you do get a lot.
Re-charging is generally a bit slow (6-8 hours), but perfect if you do a day's ride and then charge overnight.
Volume goes pretty loud, although it will distort fairly bad up at the top when the little speakers try and reproduce bass that they're not capable of. I solved this by downloading a free app on my Android device called 'Music Volume EQ" that I launch when I mount my phone to the bike. I created an equalizer profile that cuts out the bass and allows the speakers to play just as loud without distortion (I also boosted the very high-end to counter-act the high frequency absorption of my earplugs). The result is much better clarity without any tradeoff in volume. Something else cool about this is that since it's being done on the phone, if I'm sharing music with another rider, they experience the boost in quality as well.
This leads me to the biggest problem we've had with these units so far, which is that the music-sharing function is somewhat spotty and will drop out fairly frequently. I've experimented and it has nothing to do with the sound equalizer and will do it whether I'm streaming music or playing an MP3 file from my phone.... nor is it specific to my phone. The two helmets, sitting 5 feet apart in my living room will experience an eventual lag and drop out of any shared music within about 15-30 minutes. It's not the end of the world, but on a longer ride, it's irritating to have to re-start the sharing function every 20 minutes, even if we're riding within arm's length of each other. If there's more distance between us, it's much more likely to drop out. Again, not a deal breaker at all, but annoying.
Overall, we're quite happy with the purchase, and hopeful that maybe in upcoming firmware updates, the music drop-out will be improved. If you consistently have a pillion or a riding buddy, the intercom function alone is worth the dough.
October 1, 2015
Very clear, very easy to use
I have the Cardo Scala, The Sena SMH5 and 10. My favorite is the SMH5. It's about 75% of the size of the 10 and while not removable like the 10, it is still my favorite. Just as clear as the others and very easy to use.
July 20, 2015
Works as advertised
Not much to say about sena SMH5-FM set, except that it works well. Communication between sets is clear, pairing with Zumo 390 was easy, and GPS driving instructions are clearly heard. The FM works, but is of limited functionality. It gets good signal only close to big Cities, out in the country it is mostly only noise, and it interrupts the intercom, so we seldom use this function.
June 6, 2015
For reference, I have about 1,500 miles on this while wearing an Arai Vector 2 with NOJ Quite Rider skirt installed and am wearing earplugs. Also, I don't have a lot of wind protection from the front screen.
- Installation was super easy.
- When I use the Bluetooth connectivity for phone calls, everyone comments on how clear my voice comes through.
- Just loud enough to use at reasonably highway speeds.
- Keeps answering calls automatically, so I end up unexpectedly on the phone with people. I have changed some settings around, but it may be resetting itself when the battery dies. I am not sure.
- Sound distortion at high volumes (less noticeable with earplugs in)
I almost exclusively use the SMH5 for listing to Pandora off my phone while I commute, so I cannot comment on the intercom features. The volume taps out against the wind noise at highway speeds, but I don't feel like I would want to turn it up any louder for the sake of my hearing. My only complaint is that I cannot seem to get the thing to stop automatically answering phone calls. It may be my own fault.
December 2, 2014
Wonderful addition to two-up riding.
Have used the smh-5fm's for a full season now, including a 2000 miles tour of the NW and Glacier Park, and rain.
Install: Dual pack, wired mic, installed into our Shoei RF1100's without problem. The Sena's double stick for the base unit is still holding well. No issues with the longish wires or connectors. Did use liquid tape to secure the wire bundle on the helmet exterior rubber base.
1st Use: On first power-up the two units always take a while to 'pair', which can get the newbie into a tail-chasing button pushing exercise. Now a non-issue, as we are used to the delay.
Pairing with my Samsung S3 was easy.
Daily: I ride with foam earplugs and the wife rides without
and is hard of hearing. I set the volume to max, while hers is
mid scale. The max setting results in a noticable hiss and some
distortion from the speakers. With the earplugs I do not hear the
hiss and we both hear the intercom and can communicate quite
The VOX level sometimes hunts in quiet situations
causing some clunking. Battery life exceeds an all day ride with
the intercom always on. No noted degradation in intercom or
battery performance in this 15k mile ride season.
Phone usage has been great in cell rich environments. One
button push and voice dial.
Behind the FJR windscreen, communication was good to all
legal speeds. On low or non-screened bikes, we were good to
60MPH before wind intrudes proportional to speed.
Charging takes hours using our cell phone chargers.
Value: Fantastic for two-up on bike communication.
November 22, 2014
Great for phone and radio, okay for bike to bike.
These work great for radio and phone features and would recommend if that is what you are looking for. They do not work for bike to bike that far apart, if riding in close packs ok, if using in a dual sport setting you will need ones that have more distance. Easy to operate and good battery life, leave plenty of time to charge or can use while charging. Overall better deal for price than others.
September 22, 2014
Worked will on a week long trip.
I used the wired mic unit on a "flip up" Helmet as I did not really want to have the mic on a stick. The supplied lead was long enough to do this and works reasonably well with a few bits of tape to keep the wire in place. The install is easy with the stick on tape but one did get knocked off and then the sticky was not quite as strong. Intercom function worked better than expected and was fairly simple to get going. The iphone hooked up too and was used twice on the trip. There is no group call feature so when a phone call comes on one unit the other unit does not hear it for this you need the SMH10. The radio works better than expected too and gets fairly good reception and the bigger speakers are probably better than the smaller ones. I like the radio for solo trips.
September 8, 2014
Installing a pair of these units on my and my riding buddy's helmets has enhanced the ride, especially for safety, calling out bad patches and gravel. It also allows me to call him back when he makes a wrong turn without having to run him down!
August 25, 2014