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MooreTours Product Review Sena 50S/50R
Subject: Sena 50S/50R Field Test Summary
The 2020 Covid Spring Ride provided a perfect opportunity to shake down the new 50 series Sena with Mesh technology. 4 riders showed up with 50S and 50R models. The Sena 50R is a sleeker design with 3 button main controls that are similar to the Sena SRL unit controls on the Shoei Neotec II helmets. The 50S units are similar in size to the 20S EVO models and are controlled by the traditional jog dial. Battery life on the 50S is reportedly longer than the 50R unit, however our experience over 4 full days of use did not show a noticeable difference. The battery life in comparison to the Sena 20S EVO was noticeably shorter when using Mesh as compared to the Bluetooth or Ride Connected features of the EVO. It was merely a slight inconvenience to put the unit on charge during lunch for 15 minutes to have enough juice to finish the day’s ride.
For the most part, the Mesh technology provided a solid platform that was easy to engage and seldomly
needed a rebooted as opposed to the 20S EVO that seemed to drop connections every once in a while. The comparison between the Mesh platform and the 20S EVO platform suggests that a totally different team worked on each rollout in competition with each other. There is little that is similar between the two apps and the 50S App immediately changes the settings of the unit on the fly, whereas the 20S EVO required the user to save all settings before they took effect on the device. Sena has apparently moved in a different direction from the Ride Connected feature using cellphone technology which was a very nice feature on the EVOs. The voice command interface with the 50S/50R was considerably different with no “say a command” response available which took some getting used to before getting comfortable with the unit. Failed voice commands merely left the user with dead silence when they were not properly executed. That created some frustration with the new units. However, the turn on and go operation of the 50S/50R units made it very easy to link up with the other riders. Despite those shortcomings, one rider commented, “The 50R is a marked improvement over an already good predecessor unit from Sena. The 3 button interface, range, connection operations, and sound quality (communication and music) are improved. Truly a step forward.”
On the road, the Mesh technology worked flawlessly. We pushed the connection to approximately 1.5 miles with 4 riders which I thought was outstanding compared to Chatterbox’s .5 miles and Sena’s 20S .75 miles. The only superior platform was with the 20S series RIdeConnnected feature which used cell phone technology to reach world wide wherever there was cell phone coverage. However, where cell phone service was non-existent, everyone had to switch to bluetooth on the 20S. Given the fact that many of the places we ride lack cell phone service due to mountains, twisties or remote locations, the RideConnected feature was seldomly used last year. We found that it was consistently available when riding interstates or urban areas. The 50 series offered similar music handling with the ability to customize the manner in which your music was primary over the intercom or faded to the background when the intercom was active. Those settings are found in the device manager on the 50 series app.
The voice commands interface with Siri and Google when your cell phone is paired to the device. Overall, I thought the voice commands were the shortcomings of the 50 series which resulted in seldom use by the end of the trip. All functions were better suited to push button activation which provided a much more consistent interface with the unit.
The quality of the 50 series intercom and Mesh separation and re-activation was the most impressive feature of the unit. When properly installed with a mic windsock, there is literarily no buffeting noise that we experienced with the 20 series units. The sound quality of the voice communication was excellent and on par with cell phone quality. One of the riders commented, “ The Sena 50S has the functionality that I have expected for years. It’s Mesh system provides helmet to helmet communication with multiple riders as seamless as a conference call.”
Overall, the 50 series with Mesh technology 2.0 has excelled in advancement of the rider to rider communication device. The 20S Evo was good, the 50 series Mesh Technology is much better.