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ADV ProductsSena 10S: Practical and Budget-Friendly Bluetooth Headset

Sena 10S: Practical and Budget-Friendly Bluetooth Headset

 The successor to Sena's popular SMH10 with the latest in Bluetooth tech.

Published on 05.11.2017

After several years of being one of the frontrunners in motorcycle Bluetooth headset communication, Sena’s SMH10 system was getting a little long in the tooth. Introduced in early 2010, the SMH10 set the bar and virtually revolutionized motorcycle travel. With its rugged and simple jog dial design, it was very popular with both the on- and off-road crowds.

Sena impressed the industry again in 2013 with the introduction of the 20S; it had a plethora of upgrades but also came with a steeper price tag leaving users wondering when or if they would see an update for the SMH10. The answer finally came in 2016 with the introduction of the Sena 10S. The 10S is essentially the more mature older brother to the SMH10, with the same budget-friendly pricing and significant updates to bring it into modern times.

How It Performed

Sena 10S-Motorcycle-Bluetooth-Headset
The Sena 10S is more streamlined and unobtrusive than either the 20S or SMH10.

The 10S does a great job of filling the SMH10’s large shoes, we immediately noted how much more sophisticated it feels than its predecessor. Sena addressed common issues like difficulty pairing and lack of range while also bringing into play advances in technology in the last six years since the SMH10’s introduction.

Notable improvements include upgraded speakers, moving from Bluetooth 3.0 to 4.1, increased range from 0.56 to 1 mile, an FM radio and a slimmer profile. One thing we particularly liked is its integration with the Sena Headset App that allows you to manage settings and pair the device with your phone more intuitively. The new Sena 10S also benefits from the price of technology going down over time and receives most of the innovations that went into the higher-spec 20S three years prior.

After several thousand miles on this unit using different helmet/bike configurations on dirt and pavement, it performed without a hitch in all scenarios. Thankfully, the 10S maintained the ruggedness that we were so fond of in the SMH10 and stood up well to our day-in day-out use and abuse. Living on the outside of our helmets, the 10S saw weather ranging from sweltering heat to torrential down pours and never let us down. Dirt, dust and sand did not cause any issues, which is a big deal for riders that spend the majority of their time off-road.

Sena 10S Bluetooth Headset
During our testing, the Sena 10S was rugged enough to withstand extreme weather conditions that included sweltering heat and torrential down pours.
Here are some of the Sena 10S features that proved useful during our testing:

  • New speakers with excellent volume range.
  • Improved Bluetooth pairing between multiple Sena units.
  • Ride Connected app makes it easier to connect with other riders.
  • Advanced Noise Control makes communication even crisper.
  • 12 hours talk time and 10 days standby (claims proved accurate).
  • Ability to charge the unit’s battery while in use.
  • Option to use wired or boom microphone (both included).
  • Auxiliary port to run ear buds instead of speakers if you prefer.
  • Ability to connect two BT devices (e.g. Phone + GPS)

Who Is It For

The Sena 10S is the perfect unit for someone looking for their first Bluetooth Headset system or anyone upgrading from one of Sena’s older units. Its sleek and simple design ensures a gentle learning curve for new users while offering familiarity for those already using Sena Bluetooth Headsets. In fact, most riders could benefit from the advantages of using this technology for their two-wheeled travels.

Besides the entertainment of being able to listen to media, there are several other benefits wrapped into being able to communicate with fellow riders or a pillion. One example is the simple act of deciding where to eat or when to get fuel. Without rider-to-rider communication, this can require multiple stops and added hassle. With a Bluetooth Headset like the 10S, sorting your logistics on the move is just one click away. Other features on the 10S, like its ability to share your music with a passenger, can turn your rides into more of a shared experience. Our favorite example during this testing period was teaching someone to ride off-road with help from the 10S. We were able to instruct, critique and give feedback in real time.

Sena 10S Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset
The Sena Prism action camera can be controlled with the 10S using the Jog Dial or voice commands.

Our Verdict

Although we found Sena’s range numbers to be a little optimistic and it took a fair bit of time to master all of the new features, we still agree that this unit is easy-to-use and a great value. We had high expectations for this unit after using the SMH10 and after several months of varied testing, the 10S did not disappoint. While it doesn’t offer as many capabilities as the 20S, the 10S still packs more features than most riders will ever use. It offers a good compromise between simplicity and plentiful features rolled into a familiar platform.

What We Liked

  • Affordable price point.
  • Relative simplicity and ease of use.
  • Speakers allow listening to spoken audio at highway speeds.
  • Sleek design that is less bulky than the 20S.

What Could Be Improved

  • Increase number of intercom connections.
  • Standard Bluetooth pairing still has room for improvement.
  • True range a closer match to what’s claimed.

Sena 10S Specifications

Battery Life: 13 hours of talk time (approx.), 10 days standby
Intercom Range: 1.0 mile (1.6 kilometers) in open terrain
Dimensions: 3.4 in x 2.2 in x 1.1 in (85 mm x 57 mm x 27 mm)
Price: $215 single; $395 dual

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Shopping Options

Single 10S Unit10S Dual Pack
Spencer Hill Author ProfileAbout the Author: Spencer Hill “The Gear Dude” has been fueling his motorcycle addiction with adventure since first swinging his leg over a bike in 2010. Whether he’s exploring his own backyard in the Pacific Northwest or crisscrossing the United States, Spencer is always in search of scenic off road routes, epic camping locations and the best gear possible. He began writing shortly after taking up two-wheel travel to share his experiences and offer insight with his extensive backpacking, camping and overland background.
Photos by Stephen Gregory and Spencer Hill

Author: Spencer Hill

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5 thoughts on “Sena 10S: Practical and Budget-Friendly Bluetooth Headset

  1. I have a 20S in one helmet and was looking at this for a 2nd, new helmet. It would be helpful when you note, “While it doesn’t offer as many capabilities as the 20S, the 10S still packs more features than most riders will ever use” to articulate what those are for the reader’s ease of understanding that. For me they seem relatively identical (especially appreciating I probably don’t even use all the features like you say…) and I can’t find that Sena has actually updated their product comparison pages yet.

    • Thanks for your feedback Motoflicka. Compared to the 20S, the 10S has no audio multitasking, no ability to dim (vs turn off completely) music in the background when someone is talking on the intercom, connects 4 riders instead of 8 and has a 1 mile range instead of 1.25 miles.

      One more difference on the 20S compared to the 10S: the 20S has an Ambient Mode button. Essentially, its a button you can press to allow you to hear conversations/sounds outside your helmet. It comes in handy if you are using noise cancelling ear buds and want to hear sounds on the outside of your helmet, like when you walk into a store or stop to pay a toll. Hope that helps!

      • Thank you, that was an awesome comparison. And wouldn’t you know, I haven’t used ANY of those features on my 20S. Definitely getting a 10S (when it comes off of backorder…) – thanks!

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