SENA Helmet Camera & Communication System
It’s been a few years since we have seen a major change in helmet-cam technology. Sure, the resolution has gotten a little better, but that’s about it. Sena Technologies has changed that with their latest helmet communications product, which includes a POV (point of view) camera that also captures the audio from the communications system and stores it on top of the full 1080p video. The unit weighs less than a pound and also takes 3.5-megapixel still images.
Like Sena’s other Bluetooth communication products, the unit mounts to the side of the helmet along the lower edge. The 10C clamps on with small Allen screws. The speaker wires route under the helmet liner and gets centered inside the ear pockets above the cheek pads. A boom microphone gets routed along the side of the helmet up to the chin bar.
Each Sena 10C retails for $349. You can use two together so you capture all the action from the quad in front or the quads in the dust, or you can pair one 10C to any other Sena Bluetooth communications headset. Up to four riders can connect at once, so this is a perfect product for a four-seat UTV too. According to Sena, battery life is strong and talk time is 17 hours and record time is limited to 2 hours. You can use up to a 32GB Micro SD card. In our testing, it took about 1GB of space for every 10 minutes of record time. The field of view is 125 degrees, which isn’t as wide as a GoPro (170), so you don’t have to ride right on your buddy’s rear bumper to get some cool action. Typically, when we ride using a helmet communication system, we try to ride just out of each others’ dust, and Sena claims, with a clear view, the Bluetooth will stay connected up to one mile apart. We felt the audio got pretty scratchy just before we reached that one-mile mark. Other than that, it was crystal clear, even in the woods. Furthermore, the lens can be rotated up to 30 degrees, so getting the aim right won’t be a problem on those curvy helmets. The mount, too, is adjustable, so you can rotate the camera up or down depending how you typically ride.
INSTALL AND CAPTURE
We installed a pair of 10C’s on new HJC helmets. The slim steel clamp easily slid between the cheek pad and the helmet’s inner shell, then clamps securely to the outer shell. Small rubber pads provide a non-slip grip to both surfaces, and the Allen screws held the clamp tight. The unit then slipped on to the clamp, making the unit removable to take into the house for charging if needed. Complete charge time was around three hours.
When we first turned on the camera option, we loved it instantly. The fact that you can hear via voice prompts that the camera is on was great. With just about every push of a button, the unit prompts you to what is going on. Whether you are turning the intercom on or off or starting or stopping recording, the voice prompt lets you know. This way you can start and stop the camera only when needed and not get a bunch of useless footage.
As far as that footage is concerned, it’s crystal clear and as good as anything else we have used. The colors are vibrant, and it adjusts well to low light too. Any time you have the camera on and recording, you hear the audio as well. The audio records perfectly, and both riders are recorded at the exact same volume level. Wind noise is hardly noticeable, and the audio from engine noise or other sounds doesn’t seem to be distorted whatsoever. The controls are easy to navigate, even with gloves on.
Sena does have an app where you can find updates and instructions if needed. In the app, you can also make settings adjustments, program preset radio stations or enter your contact list for phone calls you might want to make while out riding. Yes, it does that too. About the only thing this unit does not do is allow you to view footage wirelessly from your phone. However, it is easy to remove the Micro SD card from the headset and view it on a home computer or tablet.
Having the ability to capture audio with the videos we take with helmet cams will not only help us in our testing, we should be able to bring you even more informative content on www.dirtwheelsmag.com. Both of the main features—being able to talk to riders and now capture video and still pictures—are what have always attracted us to Sena products. The 10C was more than expected and will make the testing duties at Dirt Wheels even more enjoyable. If you would like to share the memories of your next enjoyable ride with your friends, contact Sena Communications at www.sena.com or call directly to (866) 887-7362.