Interphone F4 - Bluetooth Intercom Review

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by markallinson, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. markallinson

    markallinson Getting Started

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
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    Oxfordshire
    So I've been using a budget bluetooth intercom for some time, details here

    It's a very good system but the headsets left a bit to be desired, but cheap Chinese products are never the best. Music really wasn't an option as the sounds was rubbish, but intercom and phone use were fine.

    With the TDM's 20th Anniversary meet coming up in June 2011 I wanted something a bit better and decided to upgrade to the Celularline Interphone F4 system at a whopping £300 for a twin set!

    A few bikers from work have the older mono Interphone systems and they are all compatible and so any pair can communicate. The main problem with these bluetooth intercom systems is that the phone side of the devices is standard and any phone will work with any headset. But the same cannot be said for the long range bluetooth communications, only devices from the same manufacturer can 'talk' to each other. This is a pain in the arse really and it would be nice if they could all agree a 'standard' and stick to it, anyway enough moaning!

    At the NEC bike show in 2010 I tried out the Sena SMH10, this can pair four headsets and communications can be established between any two headsets at a time. It's quite a complicated process and I don't know anyone else with this system so that functionality wasn't something I could take advantage of. Excellent sound quality though. Also the twin pack comes with two of everything, enough for two helmets. Charging is via a standard DC jack which I liked. But, I have four helmets (wife, eldest son, daughter and mine) so I'd need another two headsets.

    The other main contender was the Interphone F4 from Celularline in Italy. The advantage with this system is that it's similarly high quality with excellent sound, can pair with friends older Interphone systems and the universal twin pack comes with two headsets per rider, one open face and one closed face, a total of four headsets! So this was the way forward and a set was ordered.
    Interphone F4 Link

    When the new kit arrived I put both headsets on charge for the rest of the day.
    [​IMG]

    The first helmet I fitted this to was Ryans, this is an HJC FS MAS,
    [​IMG]

    As you can see from the photo, the flip front mechanism is quite large and this interferes with the fitting of the Bluetooth unit.

    [​IMG]

    So I fitted the bracket much further round to the rear of the helmet.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This works ok but it's bearing in mind when buying a flip front helmet.

    So cheek pads out and work out where the ear pieces will fit, in the HJC helmet the cheek pads are retained by means of poppers and velcro, works really well,
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It's quite easy to see where is the best place to fit the ear pieces,
    [​IMG]

    So peel of the velcro sticky back and apply,
    [​IMG]

    Both ear pieces can be affixed in place, there is an in-line connector for the right hand side ear piece, it's a little bit bulky to be honest so needs tucking away carefully. I guess this means you can replace a single ear piece in the event of failure, but I'd rather not have this in-line connector due to it's size.
    [​IMG]

    So here we have the headset fully fitted, just need to re-fit the cheek pads,
    [​IMG]

    Finished!
    [​IMG]

    One down three more to go. The HJC is the easiest (apart from the clip having to be mounted towards the rear), the Arai is quite easy too as the cheek pads are removable for cleaning.

    [​IMG]
    I used one of the full face kits for this helmet as there isn't much room for the boom mic.
    Arai fitted,
    [​IMG]

    The most difficult helmet to fit the intercom to is an older Shoei that the wife uses. The whole chin piece needs to be removed, the fabric cover needs to be carefully peeled away and a small slit needs to be cut for the mic to pass through. The thing is to take your time and when you start to get hacked off, go and have a cup of tea and calm down, then start again, worked for me anyway.
    I used the other full face kit for this lid but passing the mic under the foam to come out at the front was a problem. I didn't want the mic to get wrecked so I put it in a small plastic bag to help ease it through the hole I had cut,

    [im]http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m293/markallinson/Bike%20Kit/2011-02-24_20-46-06_183.jpg[/img]
    This worked well, I then eased the ear pieces though the strap holes and stuck them in to position.
    [​IMG]
    Then it's a case of shoe-horning the chin piece back in to the helmet. Great care needs to be taken so as not to damage the polystyrene, a bit of patience and it's back in the helmet.
    By this point I'd used both of the bracket mount clips that come with the kit, the good thing is that two stick on clips come with the kit.
    Here's the three helmets finished,
    [​IMG]

    This leaves one helmet to do but that's enough for now!

    So what's it like? Simply awesome! The first test I did was a music test. I always ride with earplugs these days, the TDM is so damn loud, open Fuel exhausts and turbulence from the screen mean a very noisy ride. So earplugs in, noisy bike and I can hear the music no problem, nice and loud when not even on full volume. I did a quick test at home without earplugs and I simply couldn't stand the extreme volume these headset are capable of!

    Next test was Sat Nav. I'm using a Motorola Defy with the Android operating system. Great phone and the Google Navigation is free and excellent. Text to voice isn't as nice as a real voice but pretty good nonetheless. I could hear directions clearly even up to 110mph on my private test track. Really very impressed.

    Phone calls, my old Orange M700 used voice tags for voice dialling. You record a tag for every number you want to use. On the Defy you have to say, 'Call Mr Joe Bloggs, mobile 1' and confirm. It really doesn't work as well as a simple tag, such as 'Home', like my old phone used. Something I'll have to play with I guess.

    Intercom. Yes this does pair with the older Interphone systems BUT...... I have found that I can pair with my mates older interphone and chat away, good. But when I then connect to my son who's using the other F4, this works fine, but the pairing with the older interphone is lost, meaning they have to be 'paired' again before communication will work again. A bit of a faff about.
    As I mentioned earlier we're going on a bike trip to Germany this year, my son pillion with me and my mate Dave on his VFR, so three way comms would be nice. I haven't tried 3 or more F4 systems together so can't comment on whether or not more than one pairing can remain active, I doubt it though.
    But all is not lost, my son says he'd rather listen to music on the back and comms between riders is probably better to avoid getting split up / lost. How did I ever manage without technology lol!

    All is not lost, Celularline are releasing the TriBE system in April 2011. This is a PMR system which allows any bluetooth headset to connect with the TriBE decive. The TriBE devices then act like PMR radios with a much greater range and unlimited users. So I'm looking forward to try out those.

    Conclusion.
    If you want intercom and phone use only, the cheap chinese sets are perfectly fine. About £100 on eBay for a dual set.
    If you want to be able to listen to music you really need a much better set such as the Interphone F4 or the Sena SMH10.
    Multi-way communications.
    The Sena allows 4 riders to communicate, but only 2 at a time. And switching between riders involves multiple pressing turning of the control knob, bound to be frustrating.
    Interphone TriBE, sounds very promising, lets hope it delivers!

    Minuses?
    Why on earth doesn't the kit come with an on bike charger, the Sena system does!
    Multiple pairing of intercom units would be nice, but how do you manage them?

    Am I glad I spent £300 on the Interphone F4?
    The fact it comes with four headsets was the winner for me, at about £30 each this presented quite a saving over the Sena SMH10 system. The Interphone F4 system can pair with older Interphone systems. The sound quality is superb and very very loud! So overall, yes it was a winner.
    #1
  2. R1200GSbabe

    R1200GSbabe n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
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    2
    Hello,

    Thank you for putting such a good review about Interphone. We are the UK distributor and i am contacting you to ask if we may use ypur review on our website?

    Thank you once again.

    Lesa @ Motohaus
    #2
  3. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

    Joined:
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    812
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    Off route, recalculating
    Thinking about going down the bluetooth rider/pillion intercom route, so this review was much appreciated. Thanks for taking the trouble to post it.
    #3
  4. afrazier

    afrazier n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
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    3
    I'm glad you posted this. I've been considering the Interphone 4... and I use the SyMax II helmet also. You mentioned the Interphone TriBE... I can't seem to find much info on it. Do you have a link for details, ie specs and release dates?

    Thanks,
    Andy
    #4
  5. xNOKIAx

    xNOKIAx Adventurer

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    #5
  6. markallinson

    markallinson Getting Started

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
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    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    I looked at the Sena SMH10 at the NEC bike show in 2010. Yes you can pair four units at once, but you can only ever communicate between two devices at any one time, i.e.
    A, B, C and D are paired,
    A to B
    A to C
    or A to D
    Not A to B and C
    What I wanted was a conference call type communication, this is where the TRIbe system comes in. Can't wait for it to be released!
    I'm struggling to find information about TRIbe, but here's a link.
    TRIbe
    #6
  7. markallinson

    markallinson Getting Started

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  8. HowlingMad

    HowlingMad drags knuckles

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cranberry Country, MA
    Howdy,
    This seems to be the best resource on the F4, so I'm hoping someone can help me with pairing an F4 model with the previous version. I seem to have paired them and can connect from the new to the old, but not the other way around. Since I can't seem to find any other references to this issue, I assume the error is mine.

    Anyone successfully done this? What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks
    #8