Sena has introduced the next generation of Bluetooth helmet intercoms with the new 50 series that includes wifi capability to efficiently charge and automatically download firmware updates.
That means there is no longer any need to plug it into your computer, just plug in the wifi charger and connect to a nearby wifi source such as your phone’s hotspot.
We expected a 40 series would be next after the 10 and 20 series.
However, they have skipped ahead to the 50 series which includes the 50R and slimline 50S.
While the slimline model retains the easy-to-use “jog” dial, the 50R now comes with buttons.
They claim charging time is 30% faster, but the 50S has a smaller battery so bluetooth talk time is limited to five hours or three hours on group chat.
There is no word from Sena Australia on pricing and when they will arrive, but we notice on their website they have added a section for the 50 series which is currently blank.
However, in the US they will cost $US329 (about $A475) for the 50S and $US299 ($A430) for the 50R which is only slightly higher than the current 30 series.
More reliable series
Critics of the current models say the Mesh 2.0 software that is supposed to provide faultless group chat is unreliable.
Sena claim the flaws have been fixed and rather than “daisy-chaining” group connections, you can now join in a group of nine with one connection.
Apart from more reliable group chat, they also claim there is experience less interference from surrounding obstacles such as blind corners, trees, buildings, etc.
The other major update is 7% more volume.
Sena don’t want to deafen riders, but they acknowledge that many riders now use filtered earplugs such as the Alpine MotoSafe which filter out harmful wind noise, but also slightly reduce the volume from intercom units.
To improve rider comfort, speakers are now thinner and bevelled so they don’t hurt your ears under a tight helmet.
The 50 Series will also connect to digital assistants such as Siri or Google using standard voice commands of ‘Hey Siri’ or ‘Ok Google’.
They claim their app has also been improved and restyled.