Firstly, I would like to thank Pete from Just Helmets, a UK motorcycle helmet supplier, hosting large stock of all styles and sizes, for helping me get the helmet, and consequently the Bluetooth, as soon as it became available on the market. It should be made clear that like the Schuberth C4 helmet, I consider the Communication System SC1 Advance to be top spec.
This review is based only on my own experience using this product. I have been using the SC1 for over 5 months now and I have covered over 6000 miles with it, using it on all sorts of roads and in all sorts of weather conditions.
The main reason why I bought the C4 was actually for the communication system. I wanted something that could fully integrate into the helmet with no units showing on the outside. However, I was not prepared to compromise on the performance. Having to order the helmet without seeing it or without any other information other than that provided on the manufactures website, I began to research Sena who manufacture the SC1. After all, if I bought this helmet I would have to buy a Sena unit for Natalia.
As previously mentioned in my the C4 review, the helmet arrived in impeccable conditions; displaying its quality and luxury from the moment I opened the box. The comms system was no different. A perfect, tidy box glistened in its packaging, waiting to be opened and reveal the jewels inside. All very well presented and carefully packaged, the box included a small booklet with instructions, the battery, the controller and a small tool to remove the controller from the helmet.
My first move was to open the booklet in order to learn how to install the device, into my brand new C4 – the last thing I wanted was to damage the helmet or the Bluetooth due to an incorrect installation. I must admit, I found the device extremely easy to fit into the helmet. It fitted perfectly; you can tell Sena and Schuberth have been closely collaborating to create this.
The SC1 is easy to use, with only two buttons needed to use all the functions. The Sena App is also available to download free of charge, which helps when configuring the advance settings; a graphic interface is always welcome. The device can be configured by using either the App or by using the built-in controls. Despite both being intuitive and quick, I personally recommend downloading the App on your phone as it also allows you to update the software of the device.
The two devices connect extremely quickly when one begins the conversation, there is hardly any waiting period. The sound quality is also brilliant when using the intercom mode between both Sena devices. Even at speeds of 70mph on the motorways you can maintain a conversation with no trouble, with speech being heard clearly and volume being lowered or raised easily. However, this is not the case when using the group intercom function. If for any reason the normal intercom failed, we were forced to use the group intercom mode. This mode, specifically designed for groups up to 4 people, can also be used with just one other person. The problem with resorting to the group intercom mode, with only two people connected, is that the sound quality is really disappointing. There is a lot of muffling and background noise which makes it almost, if not impossible to speak to one another. Additionally, this mode only works in very close distances.
Both these intercoms have working distances up to 1.0 miles (1.6 km) in open terrain. Sadly, this is something we haven’t been able to prove. A connection can be established at distances of approximately 200 yards and once the conversation is on, the distance can increase up to about 300 yards. When trying to initiate a conversation being further apart, you received a very annoying message: “Intercom failed, try again later!”. One of the main reasons I bought this helmet was because of the Bluetooth and its range, I am quite disappointed by this.
Using the SC1 with my phone and my SatNav is simple and easy. Once the Bluetooth is on it connects to both devices routing the audio through. The sound quality during phone calls is extremely good. However, when receiving navigation instructions, the quality is not that good, it cuts between instructions sometimes and it is not clear.
Overall the SC1 is a good Bluetooth device. But, is it worth £284.99? My honest answer is no. I was expected much more from it. I expected better range, better quality in group intercom mode and better quality when receiving instructions from my SatNav. Bearing in mind the Bluetooth and its integration with the helmet is what made me buy the Schuberth C4, I am rather dissatisfied. They both cost a lot of money and now I cannot fit another Bluetooth in it as the helmet has all the speakers and microphone for this device only. I hope Sena will release software updates for the SC1 to fix the issues I am having. Check our Twitter and FB pages for further updates on the SC1 performance after updates.
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