Sena +Mesh review by Jim Hulme
The Sena +Mesh Adaptor is designed to seamlessly and easily link riders into a group conversation without broken links. We sent rider Jim Hulme out to test the $259 unit on the road with his riding partners. Here’s his review:
Out of the box
The +Mesh adaptor click-locks into either a rubber-strap-connected base or a surface-mount adhesive base. The adaptor containing the electronics and screw-on antenna easily separates from the base with the press of a button.
For my test, the rubber strap base could not be used on my BMW handlebars as there is no available handlebar real estate.
So I tested it in my jacket front pocket, inside my top box and finally on the pillion grab handles.
While mounted on the grab handles, it was easy to reach and activate the mesh intercom because Sena has provided it with a nice big button on the front of the unit.
The waterproof rubber-sealed USB port for charging can be difficult to access.
Setup and range
The +Mesh adaptor is easily paired with your Sena headset, then it automatically connects each time.
The 30K in the test was used to create a mesh group and the +Mesh client (Sena SRL integrated into the Shoei Neotec II helmet) was added to the group. During use, the main button could be used to leave and return to the mesh group as required.
The +Mesh adaptor is claimed to have 800m range in an uninterrupted straight line.
My experience with measured stops and voice quality checks verified this is accurate.
Sena claims it works with both Bluetooth4.1 and Bluetooth3.0 models, however, the audio quality is best with Bluetooth 4.1 models.
The +Mesh Adaptor takes up one of your bluetooth intercom spaces. If your headset is capable of connecting with three other headsets for four-way intercom, the +Mesh will take up one of those three spaces, leaving two spaces remaining for bluetooth intercom connections.
At least 2 mesh devices are required to be in a Mesh Intercom.
My use of two Sena SRL models provided almost flawless performance, but connections between the SRL and a Sena 30K were frustrating.
The biggest problem with the SRL is that it is not possible to use while charging. It also has an “irreplaceable rechargeable battery”, so when the battery ages, you have to buy a new SRL.
However, the 30K can connect to others in either “bluetooth intercom” mode which requires pairing, or mesh intercom which doesn’t require pairing.
Link and sound quality
Once the mesh link is established, increased distance and lack of “line of sight” due to curves and hills etc have a dramatic effect.
While the sound level can be still good, speech is unintelligible.
In most cases, this will recover as the link path improves, but can sometimes remain poor. This is a problem I experienced in other Sena devices such as the 30K.
To fix it, try disconnecting/reconnecting the link or turning it off and on again.
I also experienced intermittent, short, loud “screaming” sounds which my 30K partner could not hear.
I thought it was caused by the +Mesh adaptor, but later testing between two 30K units in a mesh connection resulted in some similar noise, but less often.
Following the adaptor test, we changed to two 30K units and tried them in normal paired connection and mesh connection.
In normal paired connection, there were significant sound quality issues, failure of the link after separation, and this didn’t recover without a reboot. There was no apparent increase in the range.
Then we changed to mesh connection and while the sound quality was not always perfect, the overall communication satisfaction was better.
As the two units recovered from the lost link connectivity, they seamlessly reconnected to the mesh. As reported with the +Mesh adaptor, the occasional loud screeching noises were still happening but not so often as when using the adaptor.
I think the +Mesh adaptor provides a better functional experience when connecting dissimilar units.
They also improved range and sound quality over a mesh of more than two units as they enhance the network signal strength.
The combined cost of the adaptor and your existing communication unit is significant so unless you really needed to use it to participate in a group of mesh users, you are probably better off just buying a 30K instead.