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With the later model (SMH10B) that is firmware upgradeable and the recent firmware upgrade (ver 4, Apr 2012 ), it seems appropriate to put in an updated post about this Bluetooth unit. Because it really is a new product with many more features.

Operation while riding (controls ease of use): 9+
Intercom clarity and distance: 9+
Call clarity (both listening and my transmitted voice to others): 9+

The real testament is the following. Riding down the road at 55mph, even with a half helmet and boom mic "out in the wind", people I call think I am sitting at my office desk. They have no clue I am riding. And I can pump the speakers up loud enough to hear at 75mph (albeit when I use earplugs with the half-helmet and Sena speakers on the highway it is tough; earbuds work better on the highway with half helmet). When using intercom mode with another rider, it is as if we are sitting next to each other in a car. So good to be distracting in fact. I should also note I have a Cleaview Shield and do not get direct wind onto my face.

I have the units installed on both an HJC full-face and a Flame half-helmet. Both I use the speakers but I have the earbud unit I occasionally use as well when lots of high-speed highway riding. Both helmets allow me to simply use the velcro on the speakers to hold the speakers in place. Wires I can slip into the helmet padding. So the mic and speakers stay mounted to the helment and the main unit can be detached for charging. I find the charge easily holds for a full day of riding and use (have not had open intercom on for more than a few hours though). And I can generally go a week (7+ hours of riding on average) without having to recharge. It now lets you know when the battery is low.

With the latest firmware upgrade, the unit goes from Bluetooth standard v2 to Bluetooth 3. It now has voice announcement and not just beeps to guide you. "Hello" or "Goodbye" when powering up or down. Announces as it connects to each bluetooth unit (separate for phone and media even if same physical device). And now connects to two separate devices so separate GPS and phone, both with phone capability or music playback, can connect. Personally, I use a single device for everything -- phone, music/radio, and GPS -- most times. For me, everything works as expected in all scenarios like it does for a wired headset. Have not had the chance to test the "conference" intercom with 3 or 4 units connected -- only have 2 and that works fine. Some added features are there only if your device is current and capable of Bluetooth 3. I have not tried the conferencing in a call with an active intercom discussion (supposedly joins them so the other rider can be a party to the call).

The only volume level issue I have ever had is voice activation instructions from the mobile phone. I have an Android app that lets me separately adjust 14 different volume levels independently but even with everything full blast, Android voice activation announcements are very faint on this unit. This is also somewhat true over a normal bluetooth headset I use in the car but not as pronounced for some reason. So do not think it as a Sena issue. Intercom, phone, GPS, music are all more than loud enough on the highway at 70mph. Only issue is if I do not have the volume setting on the phone to max, then you cannot get Sena to amplify the sound to its max. So have to remember to turn up volume levels on the phone before starting to ride (I keep media sound on the phone very low normally).

Have usually found the controls to be simple and easy to operate with gloves. Just have to remember the small back button is phone answer and tapping the jog dial is to intercom. But they now changed that a little to make it easier. Can tap the jog to hang up a call, for example. Or just quick hit both buttons simultaneously to turn the unit off. Definitely love that it remembers the volume levels of each bluetooth channel independently and between use. The jog dial gets easily turned when moving your helmet between rides. So it is simply moving the jog dial while operational that makes it louder or software -- it is a relative scroll like your mouse wheel instead of an absolute position sensitive button. My only hassle is the mounting on a half helmet puts the unit way up there and harder to reach. I use the clamp with all my helmets. The inside bracket is thin enough to slide between the helmet outer shell and Styrofoam liner. Have not tried the glue on bracket.

A big worry has been that the main electronics unit snaps in and out of the microphone/speaker/earbud holder pretty easily. But I have never lost the electronic unit while riding or unintentionally popped it out otherwise. And yet it is pretty easy to snap in and out when you intend too. I even went down on my Burgman wearing the Sena unit and slid in grass and dirt sideways. The full face helmet face shield was scratched deeply as was the helmet itself. The Sena Bluetooth unit was on the side sliding on the ground/grass and had some scratches on its case but did not pop off the holder or the holder off the helmet. (I was in a live intercom with another rider and he heard me cursing through the slide. First long, group ride with the intercom in use and found the conversation distracting enough to miss judge a curve!)

Disclaimers: I did lots of online research but did not test other headsets. Made a decision based on research. So I can only speak to the Sena headset as it is my first and only one. But have been so satisfied, especially after the firmware upgrade recently, that I have no desire to look at anything else. Had gone through three GPS units on the motorcycle before finally settling back to simply using my Android phone. I purchased my "pair" of SMH10 units from Amazon.com. I use the Sena unit with an HTC EVO 4G (Android 2.3) phone and Google and/or CoPilot GPS Navigation software. Have tried it with a Garmin Nuvi which is the same size, shape, etc as the HTC EVO phone as well.
 

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Thank you very much for this in depth review. I wanted to get a bluetooth system last year but wasn't convinced any of them would be perfect. Sounds like this model is pretty much as good as you can get. Great info, and I'm glad you didn't get hurt 'testing' the crash capabilities of the unit. :)

I'm using the Bionic and will also use it for phone-music-gps. Which volume control app are you using on the EVO?
 
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