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Product review: Bluetooth Headset: SENA SMH10

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  • Product review: Bluetooth Headset: SENA SMH10

    Hey guys and gals,

    I recently purchased the SENA SMH10 and already love it. Thought I'd write up a review to give new players a few things to think about if they're in the market and old players something to think about if they're upgrading.

    A few of you may know I'm going around Australia on the VFR next year. This has presented me with a few "problems" with equipment which is not unlike our every day riding. I've grown tired of putting earphones in my ears, feeling the discomfort and aware of their presence, low bass, plugs falling out and the cord that forever gets tangled or pulls plugs out when I turn my head. There were a few options, but I thought this would be the simplest and by far has been the easiest solution to this problem.

    What I was looking for:
    • No wires

    There were two options. First was wireless (which are few and far between, but available) or Bluetooth. There were a mountain of options here but only three or four plausible but I'll get to that in a sec. Bluetooth headsets have been around for a while and yes, you can sync them to Bluetooth MP3 players, however 99% of these headsets could not CONTROL a Bluetooth product. This is crucial for me. I don't want to have the MP3 player anywhere to be seen; in fact, I want it under my seat! The less I clutter up the front of my bike, the better.

    How is that possible? A2DP is a Bluetooth protocol that allows one Bluetooth device interface with another. In other words, my Bluetooth headset can Pause, Play, Fast Forward and Rewind my iRiver SPINN Mp3 player. NOTE: Both products need to have A2DP for this to work. Sourcing this information isn't that hard. I searched for an MP3 player that had A2DP and likewise, a headset with A2DP. I didn't have the iRiver SPINN until I started this project, but bought it just for this feature. On a side note, it's also a great product and is smaller than my phone in size (product photos are deceptive).

    A2DP stands for Advanced Audio Distribution Profile and more information on this can be found below:

    Bluetooth profile - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    • Long battery life

    Battery life for this product is listed at 10 days standby time and 12 hours talk time. There is currently no listing for time using an Mp3 Player but I'm assuming this is less than talk time. Still, 12 hours is a long time for any ride!
    • Easy to use

    First up, wow. Once the SMH10 has synced with a device, it's dead easy to use. It has a button called the "phone" button and a jog wheel (which is also a button). THATS IT!!

    Anything relating to calls, press the phone button. To Pause or Play music, press the jog button. Jog button is also used for Fast Forward, Reverse and Volume control. To turn it on, press and hold both the jog and phone button. To turn it off, just press both buttons.

    One thing I found while trying the BlueAnt is there are so many buttons and they're hard to find. I'm sure once you get used to it, it's a great product however I want something that isn't going to distract me from riding.
    • Easy to sync with other bluetooth devices

    Press and hold the phone button to sync, and you're done. That simple. It'll remember up to eight devices. Turning it off and on again, and it'll sync in less than five seconds. No fucking around, five seconds. I'm impatient with toys, but that's ridiculously quick.
    • Easy to charge up

    Product comes with a plug-in-the-wall charger as well as a USB charger and car charger (why, when it's a helmet headset ?!). Because I want to reduce my luggage, I'll be taking the USB charger.

    • The bad

    Its weighty. When I first put it on, it tipped my head forward. I've since moved it back towards my neck and it's gotten a lot better. This could be a user error but it's something to watch out for, especially given that other versions are lighter. Given the quality of the speakers, I'm willing to grow some extra neck muscles (no homo).

    It's also a bit plastic. There's a clip that holds the unit to the microphone and earphones and while it's sturdy enough, I wouldn't want to drop it. I'll have to be extra extra careful with my helmet.

    Pricing: The SENA SMH10 cost me $164 off ebay. The iRiver SPINN cost me $100 off ebay. So for $260 I've got exactly what I was after. Sound is great, works well, demi-water proof, long battery, controls other devices; whats not to like.

    One last thing, I bid and won two iRiver SPINNs, so if anyone wants one for $80, let me know

    "Always out-numbered, never out-gunned"

  • #2
    I got to try one of these on the Indian Harley run the weekend before last. My dad had one fitted to his helmet and I had one on mine. First, playing audiobooks from my Galaxy S was a let down because the volume wouldn't go loud enough to cover the wind noise from my Nolan N102. It was just OK for music when I had it at full volume. I could hear it but it wasn't all that clear or loud.

    As an intercom it was excellent. Within about 500m we had crystal clear communication between us though I had to turn the voice activation off as breathing or loud wind noise would keep turning it back on. We used them for about 40% of the time on a 6 hour run with no sign of the batteries going flat.

    As a hands free for the phone the unit is excellent. I was talking to people who had no idea I was on the bike and their voices were coming through loud and clear as well.

    I didn't really notice any problem with the weight though my helmet is a bit of a porker itself so that may be why. I did notice that at higher speeds I could occasionally feel a slight pull on the left side as the wind was pushing on the unit.

    Overall I was really happy with the unit apart from the lack of volume when bluetoothed to my phone and listening to music or audiobooks.

    This unit was bought locally with another for $400 for the pair which included warranty and spares availability.


    • #3
      Volume on mine is great, although I had a bit of trouble discerning which way the speakers go. Easy solve was to turn it on and play music through it, and then turn the speakers to see which side was loudest.

      "Always out-numbered, never out-gunned"


      • #4
        So there's no noise isolation, and you're competing with wind noise to be heard? That sounds dangerous for your hearing over long periods.
        For LAMS information and resources -
        For LAMS discussion and to ask questions -


        • #5
          Depends on what you mean by noise isolation Jeff. The microphone doesn't provide much feedback (from wind noise) and is only active when you're making a phone call. Otherwise you're listening to music. If you're inclined to do so, ear plugs could be worn to compensate for wind noise but this isn't any different from just wearing a helmet without music; you're going to have wind noise regardless.

          "Always out-numbered, never out-gunned"


          • #6
            That's why I wear canalphones. I can listen to music at highway speeds at the same volume as I do sitting here, and have the added benefit of a huge reduction in wind noise. Personally I think trying to replace one loud noise with another is a really really damaging thing for your long term hearing.
            For LAMS information and resources -
            For LAMS discussion and to ask questions -


            • #7
              My Nolan helmet is LOUD when it comes to wind noise.

              I really need to wear earplugs with it if I am going to be riding at highway speeds for any more than a few minutes. However, when I wear the earplugs, it also drowns out the music/audiobooks coming through the Sena. This could simply be that the output from my Galaxy S is not loud enough as the voice calls and intercom, which is what these things are made for, are fine.

              In a decent, quiet helmet the volume would be plenty loud enough. Certainly not ear-damaging loud though.


              • #8
                Thread closed at OP request