Sena 20s vs Sena 20s Evo: Which One is Better?
Gone are the days of stone-age motorcycle communication systems where one could only chat with one’s buddy while riding together. With the advances of Bluetooth, there has been a lot of progress in communication systems.
Ever since the release of Sena 20s Evo, there has been a huge furore in the market regarding this Bluetooth headset motorcycle communication system and its predecessor Sena 20s.
Some say Sena 20s is a class apart while others say the upgrade is not worth the money – the camp is split.
To clear up the issue, we decided to review the two separately, and then peg them against each other to see how they hold their own.
From noise reduction to multitasking to design – there are a lot of features to be considered. There are many features that overlap, expectedly so, since Sena 20s Evo is an upgrade over Sena 20s.
But is it worth it? Let’s find out.
First up, let’s take a look at Sena 20s. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this product in itself was quite revolutionary.
There are a lot of features here that we need to talk about to provide you with the complete picture of how Sena 20s can change the way you ride your bike.
The Sena 20s features the standard mounting method for communicators. The unit can be mounted firmly to the outside of your left year, if your helmet will allow it.
Those helmets that cannot accommodate the clamping mount, a stick-on mount is provided. To ensure that both open face and full face helmets are accommodated, a wired as well as a boom microphone is provided.
The microphones themselves are of top quality and folks on the other end of the call will hardly even realize that you’re talking to them while riding.
The speakers are of a manageable size and give decent frequency response. If you feel the drivers are a bit too far away from your ear and you’re not able to hear properly over the road noise, you can make use of the pads provided and conveniently move them closer to your ear.
The list of features on Sena 20s is virtually endless. It is possible to pair it with 9 different headsets. Though it pairs easily with other Sena units, its Universal mode allows you to pair it with Bluetooth headsets of other manufacturers.
Riders can easily initiate intercom conversations and switch from one to another through the buttons or via voice command.
If you have set up a group intercom list, you can easily initiate connection with all listed units with voice command or a simple two-second button press.
Missing a bit of music on the road? Sena 20s allows you to access up to 10 of your favorite FM stations and access them through voice command or turning the multi-dial. You can even turn on the Ambient mode that lets you listen to the outside sounds while you listen to music.
Its interaction with smart phones is quite flawless. With a single touch of the rear button, you can bring up the voice assistant and interact even while you’re listening to music or when you’re on group intercom.
Buttons and Dials
A simple physical interface that can be operated easily is a must for helmet communications. Fortunately, Sena 20s keeps things simple with a jog-dial and a couple of buttons. The former can be used in a number of ways. It can be pressed, turned like a dial, or pressed and dialed together to access a variety of inputs.
As for the buttons, there is the Ambient Mode button on the bottom that brings up, you guessed it, the Ambient Mode. It is also used for voice command. The other button is on the unit’s rear and performs a variety of functions including answering calls, engaging voice commands, and turning FM on/off.
The challenge of operating the functions is not so much a physical as it is mental. It can be hard to remember which mode your Sena 20s is in. That is why, the best way to set it up is via its app where you can go through the most-used settings and upload them to your unit.
The conversations in individual and Group intercoms are very clear. The unit even announces when a rider has dropped the connection or gone beyond its range, never forcing excessive static to the conversation. Since the rider that sets up the sessions is the hub, it is best s/he be placed in the middle of the pack.
There is 13 hours of talk time that you can get out of the unit which is quite reasonable. It is also easily recharged with a USB port.
Now, let us talk about the latest edition or the big brother to Sena 20s – Sena 20s EVO. Since it its features are more or less the same as that of 20s, we shall cover the aspects that have changed with the addition of those three letters.
For the most part, Sena 20s Evo looks the same as its cousin with one striking exception. That is the shark-fin sprouting from its rear top edge. This replaces the antenna which was used to communicate with other riders.
Evidently, the fin, combined with upgraded electronics, provides for a better range than the setup on Sena 20s.
Another slight change that is related to the design is that the micro-USB rubber plug has its opening at the bottom which makes it less likely for the rain to enter it. Lastly, there is the addition of a twist-on mechanism for the microphone.
The range for rider-to-rider communication is increased by a healthy 10 to 15 percent which is a welcome upgrade. Such a change makes all the difference when you’re riding with your gang. On the open highway it is quite respectable while on the sinuous mountain roads, it is well beyond the line-of-sight. The connection extends to a couple of corners before it drops.
Although at the very edge of the connection the words begin to break up, the range is respectable.
Users also report that Sena 20s Evo’s noise reduction works much better than the previous unit. Although people on the other end may know that you’re using a headset, the noise attenuation feature might not allow them to guess how fast you’re riding.
Sena 20s EVO’s speakers have been upgraded as well. They work amazingly well and can overpower wind power when they’re mounted and are in very close contact to the ears. It is great for trips around town.
The Ambient function is given a slight tweak as well. If you want to be able to have a conversation with your earphones in place, you can turn the volume of the external microphone and get sound amplified from the surroundings. The speakers have a snug fit in most helmet cutouts while the pads that are included with the set allow you to move it closer to your ear for better sound.
Sena 20s vs, Sena 20s Evo Buyer’s Guide/FAQ
I have compiled a few important questions that users ask prior to purchasing and also after using a motorcycle communication systems.
How do I pair my Sena 20s Evo intercom?
Turn on the two Sena 20s Evo headsets that you want to pair. Then press and hold the jog dial of the two headsets for 6 seconds until red LEDs start blinking. Now, you can pair the two together.
How do I restore my Sena 20s?
To restore your Sena 20s, press and hold the phone button for 12 seconds until you hear a beep and the red LEDs show a solid red. A voice prompt will ask you to confirm ‘Factory reset’. Hold the Jog dial for 5 seconds to confirm.
How do I check the battery on Sena 20s and Sena 20s Evo?
Once your headset is on, press the Jog Button and the Phone button simultaneously for 3 seconds until you hear three beeps. A voice prompt will let you know the battery level.
How long does Sena 20s take to charge?
The time taken for the Sena 20S from zero to full charge is around 2.5 hours. While charging the LED light will glow red and turn to blue on a full charge.
Any standard model micro USB can be used for charging the device.
How do you check the battery life on a Sena?
When the headset is powering on, the red LED flashes rapidly indicating the battery level.
4 flashes = High, 70~100%
3 flashes = Medium, 30~70%
2 flashes = Low, 0~30%
Both Sena 20s and its cousin Sena 20s EVO are amazing Bluetooth communication systems for riders. They are decked with state-of-the-art features that will significantly enhance your riding experience both solo and in a group.
Everything from their ergonomic design to their wide-ranged connection is crafted with ingenuity and care and work to provide you with a seamless communication system. Although both the units are exceptional in their design and quality, they do have a few minor details that set them apart.
If you’ve been looking at Sena 20s and haven’t had the opportunity to get one yet, its cousin Sena 20s EVO would be a good upgrade to try out. That is not to say that Sena 20s is the lesser of the two. In fact, it could even be said that Sena 20s has more value for money.
Regardless of the unit you end up getting, you can rest assured knowing that Sena’s Bluetooth communication systems are easily the best in the market.