Looking for a new helmet communicator? If you’re just looking for basic functionality and reasonable pricing, the new Sena 5S is worth checking out; it doesn’t have all the flash features of Sena’s highest-priced products, but it’s going to be enough to satisfy most users.
Recently, the helmet comm market has been taken over by mesh communication technology. Instead of a simple rider-to-rider connection, many modern comms now connect to a virtual network, allowing riders to chat with far larger groups, and bounce their communications through longer distances via multi-hop technology.
There’s a time and place for that sort of tech, but not everyone needs it—some people just want to be able to talk to a buddy while riding, or maybe their pillion. That seems to be the target market for the Sena 5S.
The 5S is based on the old SMH5 communicator, with Bluetooth 5 technology, an external re-design, and an LCD screen on the side. Sena still uses the simple jog dial input system, and a boom mic. The marketing talks about “HD speakers,” and Sena says they really are an improvement over the previous models. As per the website, “The newly redesigned in-helmet speakers are optimized for both physical comfort and impressive audio performance. These particular speakers have been designed with a beveled taper and easily fit in the speaker pockets of a helmet, giving the rider a comfortable experience. The 5S speakers have a marked increase in volume, bass boost, and clarity.” So, if Sena’s right, they’ll sound better, and be more comfortable.
Like previous Sena designs, the 5S has voice commands in eight languages, and should connect to most smartphones. FM radio capability is standard, too. The new LCD screen certainly looks like an improvement over previous models, as it was often difficult to navigate the setup process with no visual indication as to what was going on; the LCD should make that easier. The firmware is upgradeable, and of course, the devices will come with universal helmet mounts.
That’s really a decent amount of features for the pricing ($159 for a single unit, $299 for a pair). While testing may reveal other flaws, the only red flag in the initial details is the 700-metre range and the 7-hour talktime. Those aren’t great numbers, but again, they should work for the majority of users. Find more details at Sena’s website, or watch the marketeering video below if you need to know more.