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webBikeWorld Sena 10S Review

Discussion in 'Motorcycling News' started by NetriderBot, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. The Sena 10S is the successor to the groundbreaking and hugely popular Sena SMH10 intercom, first released in 2010.

    Sena has released a flurry of intercoms since then (along with other Bluetooth devices) and they had to get this one right.

    Good news, SMH10 fans: the 10S is better in every way, from build quality to performance.

    It hits a sweet spot that perfectly straddles the fine line between features and ease of use.

    The result is that SMH10 or SMH5 owners will feel right at home with the 10S.

    The 10S also consolidates the Sena (and the SMH10's) feature set and all of the built-in functions are glitch-free.

    While that may seem normal by today's standards, it definitely was not in the past with any Bluetooth intercom system.

    A new metal helmet clamp was also designed for the 10S and it's a brute; maybe too much so. At 127 grams with the intercom, the 10S with mount is heavy.

    And the metal plate on the rear of the mount that slips between the EPS and liner is pretty thick at 2 mm. It's going to be a very tight fit on many of today's helmets.

    Here's a treat: the newly redesigned "Quick Start" guide is fantastic. Sena needs to print the entire owner's manual in this format and provide a hard copy version with the intercom kit.

    When all is said and done, the new Sena 10S is the one. It's a "bread and butter", everyday, beat-it-to-death intercom that you want.

    At $239.00, the 10S lists for about $65.00 more than the SMH10, which will remain in the lineup for a while yet. The 10S is worth the extra dosh over the SMH10 and we definitely recommend it for new Sena customers and also as an upgrade for existing SMH10 owners.


    The Sena 10S
    The Sena 10S is the updated version of the Bluetooth intercom that put Sena on the map: the Sena SMH10.

    The SMH10 was a revolutionary design when it was released, with its "jog dial" to control volume and functions. It was simple, easy to use and relatively inexpensive.

    The SMH10 quickly morphed into the SMH10B, which then included a firmware updating capability, something that was also new to Bluetooth motorcycle intercoms at the time.

    The SMH10 and the Sena brand quickly caught on with owners. Other intercom manufacturers took note and that sparked an intercom evolution that's still going strong and still benefitting motorcyclists worldwide.

    As often happens, the SMH10 was such a hit that Sena had to be very careful when updating it. It's always difficult to improve without upsetting a loyal following, but the 10S is right on the mark and there should be no complaints.


    Sena 10S Overview
    The 10S follows the same form factor as the SMH10, with the big jog dial that also serves as a "can't miss it" button, along with the secondary phone button at the rear.

    At just 20 mm thick in the body with a curve to 27 mm in the rear, the 10S is also about 12 mm flatter than the SMH10, and that's always good, as long as usability doesn't suffer (and it doesn't).

    The 10S can connect with three other 10S users (for a total of 4 in the group) and it also has the Sena "Universal Intercom" functionality, allowing it to connect with three other brands of Bluetooth intercoms (for a total of 4 in the group) using the Bluetooth Hands-Free Profile.

    The 10S also sounds clear as a bell and it has plenty of volume, with HD audio and large 39 mm diameter speakers. Note, however, that the SMH10 is also an excellent communications system, so there isn't a huge difference in sound quality between the SMH10 and the 10S.

    Sena claims a talk distance range of 1.6 km with the 10S and in our evaluation we reached as far as we could go, to the very ends of our 1 km flat, straight and open test road with no problems, so another half-klick or so isn't out of the question (as long as there's no interference).

    The 10S also has an auxiliary input port on the rear of the helmet mount and an earbud port on the front, but note that the speaker wires with one half of their tiny snap connectors are permanently attached to the mount.

    That helmet mount is all metal and pretty hefty at 65 grams.

    With the intercom module clipped on board we're talking 127 grams, which is significant mass. The upside is that you can probably use the mount as an emergency moldboard when you're plowing the back 40, it's that sturdy.


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