Sena 10C Test | Video, Radio, Phone, and Voice Capable
It’s hard not to get addicted to the Sena 10C Motorcycle Bluetooth Camera and Communication System. Before I had a camera on my helmet, I was content sharing my ride verbally in the moment with my riding buddy.
Now, not only can we comment to each other about the things we’re seeing, but also I can capture it all in 1080p at 30 fps and share it with others after the fact.
Getting up and running with the Sena 10C takes a bit of time. Installation on your helmet is straightforward; if you’ve used any of Sena’s other excellent communication productions you already know the drill.
The in-helmet speakers have wires long enough for you to route them wherever best suits the helmet you are working with. You have a choice of microphones—either a boom or a wired mic. Take care when installing the wired mic not to pinch the fine wire when snapping cheek foam pieces back into the helmet.
The headset/camera main unit can be mounted via a clamp unit on the side of your helmet, or can be affixed to the side using the surface-mounting adhesive plate. I have not tested the 10C using the adhesive mount, but have used this option with other Sena communication models. I’ve successfully peeled the units off and transferred them to other helmets on numerous occasions, so I wouldn’t hesitate to mount the 10C in this fashion if it’s difficult to use the clamp on a particular helmet.
Once the 10C is installed, you will need to adjust the lens on the camera. Shoot a quick test video from your normal riding position on your bike to get a starting point. The lens can be adjusted to level your horizon, and well as to set the view ahead so that you’re not simply seeing your mirrors, dash, and tank. It may take a few attempts until you’re satisfied with the POV, and it will change if you switch between motorcycles.
There is no monitor on the Sena 10C, so you cannot quickly remove your helmet and review the video. Instead, you will need to pop out the micro SD card and insert it into a reader. If you have an SD reader that is compatible with your smartphone, that can save some time. After a bit of experimenting, you’ll have a good sense of what the camera is seeing from its vantage on your helmet.
The main unit can be removed from the helmet by sliding it off the mounting plate and disconnecting the speaker cables. You can then view videos directly on your TV using a Micro HDMI cable. I prefer popping the SD card out so as not to mess with the angle I’ve set up.
Because I test bikes with different ergonomics, I’ve found that I can tweak the 10C’s position. There’s enough leeway in how tightly I have it clamped such that I can adjust it upwards slightly when I’m leaned over on a sport bike, or tilt it down a smidge when I’m on an upright standard.
Do be careful, though. Once while doing this on the fly, I inadvertently slid the 10C off the mount—not good! I managed to tuck the dangling unit into the top of my jacket collar until I could exit the freeway, pull over and reseat the unit (which required removing the helmet).
Operating the Sena 10C with gloved hands is simple. One button on the top of the unit turns the camera on, as well as activates its various functions. The jog dial on the side of the main unit handles all things audio—adjusts volume, initiates pairing with other devices, allows phone calls—and is used to get into the configuration menu.
From a tactile standpoint, the jog dial is a bit small. This piece is larger and easier to manipulate on some of the other Sena products. That said, you will learn to finesse it.
The configuration menu has an extensive list of options for both the audio and video functions. You can set the Sena 10C up for single shot pictures or a burst of five, shooting a normal video or using time lapse, continuous loop or video tagging, pairing your headset with other users, voice-activated phone calls, tweaking the unit for noise control, and adding date captions, to name just a few. You can also reformat your SD card from this menu.
The menu is fairly easy to navigate. The camera-related options are found by turning the jog dial clockwise, and counterclockwise for the video options. Or you can simply rotate one direction and go the long way around.
Another way to operate the Sena 10C is the Sena Handlebar Remote. Fellow UM Associate Editor Jonathan Handler has reviewed the Sena Handlebar Remote and found it to be a worthwhile $99 accessory.
The video quality from the Sena 10C is impressive—we use it in most of the videos on the Ultimate Motorcycling YouTube channel. The wide-angle lens captures a sweeping 125-degree view, and the camera does well in low light thanks to an aperture of f/2.
You can choose to include your audio in the recorded video, and if connected via helmet-to-helmet communication, record your buddy’s comments, too. Or not. The audio quality is quite good, as it uses the in-helmet microphone. As with any helmet communication device, the faster you go the more likely you are to run into wind noise issues, even with a full-face helmet.
If you decide to use the Sena 10C for phone calls, you can answer a call handsfree if you’ve made that choice in the configuration menu. Calls can also be initiated by voice. I rarely make calls while riding, but from the calls I’ve received, it’s clear that the caller cannot tell that I am riding a motorcycle—the noise cancelling is that effective.
Once you start using the 10C, it’s hard to ride without it. I had already become so hooked on the Sena 10S that on one occasion when we were heading out for a fun ride and discovered the Senas hadn’t been charged up, we changed our minds and stayed home.
Having gotten used to being able to talk during our ride, whether sharing comments about the cool things we were passing, discussing the bikes we were testing, or warning each other about a drifting car, the idea of riding and only being able to gesture to communicate seemed so last century.
Speaking of charging, if you’re going to be going on a long ride or shooting quite a bit of video, you will want to bring an external battery. You can wire it up to the Sena 10C by plugging the cable into the Micro USB charging port—it will operate the 10C and charge it at the same time if you have a high-output battery.
By adding video to the mix with the 10C, I can capture my ride, sharing it with others or just myself. I can add commentary, save audio notes, and there’s also the safety factor. As a daily commuter—check out my how-to video on commuting—it becomes habit to turn it on as soon as I hit the freeway, documenting my ride should I have an incident with another vehicle.
In today’s social media focused world, being able to create content for pleasure—or business—just got easier with the Sena 10C Motorcycle Bluetooth Camera and Communication System.
Sena 10C Motorcycle Bluetooth Camera and Communication System Fast Facts
- Weight: 3.2 ounces
- Battery: Non-removable lithium polymer
- Recharge time: 3.5 hours
- Claimed talk time: 17 hours
- Claimed video recording time: 2 hours
- Bluetooth: 4.1 w/ HSP, HFP, A2DP, and AVRCP
- Intercom range: Up to one mile
- Maximum intercom participants: Four
- Radio: FM w/ 10 presets, plus scanning
- Optical: f/2 lens w/ 125-degree field of view
- Video: 1080p at 30 fps; 720p at 60 fps
- Audio: 48 kHz sampling rate w/ built-in SBC Codec and Advanced Noise Control
- Photos: Single shot; 5-pic burst mode; time-lapse
- Photo resolution: 3.5 megapixels; 3:2 aspect ratio
- Memory: MicroSD card (32 GB maximum)
- Sena 10C Motorcycle Bluetooth Camera and Communication System Price: $349 MSRP