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Sena 20S Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication System Review

Scott A. WilliamsJuly 02, 2015

I’ve been disappointed by the sound quality of wireless, in-helmet communication systems. Sena’s 20S Motorcycle Bluetooth (4.0) Communication System has the best sound quality I’ve found in a wireless comm system, plus sophisticated features. You can make hands-free calls from your iPhone or Android phone, listen to stereo music, share music with another rider, hear GPS voice prompts and have full duplex intercom conversations, all wirelessly. Voice commands access many functions and well-designed hand controls on the main unit let you adjust volume and other functions.

First I registered my 20S at sena.com. A firmware update took about 10 minutes. Next I paired the 20S to my phone, then to my GPS.

Installation was straightforward. Mounting options include a low-profile 3M adhesive mount and the clamp that I chose because it felt more secure. Three microphone options include wired boom (for a modular helmet), static boom (open face) and wired (full face). I routed the various wires behind the helmet liner, positioned the mic and speakers using supplied hook-and-loop fastener, and clicked the main unit in place. Downloading Sena’s Utility smartphone app made it easy to adjust settings including speed dial, FM presets, group intercom lists and lots more.

Sena 20S Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication System

Sena 20S Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication System

To my ears, the 20S’s sound quality was immediately apparent—not audiophile quality, but substantially richer than previous Bluetooth systems I’ve tested. There’s also more available volume, which is great if you wear earplugs to reduce wind noise. Use the Utility app to adjust Audio Boost with your helmet on and you hear the change immediately.

Sena 20S Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication System

Sena 20S Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication System

Have a favorite set of earbuds? For long rides, I’ll plug mine into the audio-out jack. This shuts off the helmet speakers in favor of earbuds while retaining the 20S’s other capabilities. (The 20S remembers the volume level for each audio feature independently, but I plug in my earbuds and turn down the volume before inserting them in my ears.) You can also connect an audio source and bypass Bluetooth using the audio-in jack. These source and output options provide great flexibility.

For its MSRP of $299.95 for a single system, or $545.95 for a dual system, the 20S has more features than we have space to describe them. You can set up multiple intercom groups with up to eight connections per group, and it’s a Universal Intercom so you can connect to any brand of headset that has Bluetooth Hands-Free Profile. Audio Multitasking lets you have an intercom conversation while listening to music or FM radio, and the 20S automatically reduces the volume of music or FM during the conversation, eliminating abrupt audio cut-off. A button cuts audio so you hear ambient sounds around you via a mic on the main unit, helpful for talking with someone without removing your helmet. It all sounds good—and sounds good, too.

For more information, visit sena.com

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