I am admitting to the dangerous practice of taking photos while riding. I open my modular helmet, use my teeth to remove my left glove, place the glove under my crotch, set my iPhone to photo, and unlatch it from its holder. I take the photos and reverse the process. That is an extreme amount of distracted riding.
I was just about to mitigate this crash waiting to happen by buying a Sena 10C Evo when I was assigned the job of reviewing that exact model of communications device with an integrated still and video camera. So, I won’t be doing that stupid, one-handed, distracted photography anymore, and you won’t have to either if you buy yourself a Sena 10C Evo. The camera is the reason to get this Sena Bluetooth unit. If you don’t want to take pictures or shoot video while riding, there are many other great Sena units to choose from.
The Sena 10C Evo has the features I want in a communications device:
- 4K video at 30 fps, or 1080P at up to 60 fps
- Up to 12-megapixel still camera with time-lapse capability of 1,2 5 or 10 seconds
- Ability to use a 128 GB MicroSD card (not included)
- 1 hour and 40 minutes of continuous recording before low battery shuts off recording (as tested)
- One hour of Bluetooth intercom/music after using the battery for continuous recording (as tested)
- Up to 20 hours of music/talk time on a full charge (claimed by Sena) with occasional photo or short video recording only reducing battery life slightly
- Only 2.5 hours to fully charge
- Records voice over the video—great for narration
- Accepts Sena’s new HD Speakers Type B ($39 MSRP), which boosts audio volume and Sena says increases clarity by over 50 percent
- Bluetooth handsfree intercom up to one mile in open terrain, and connection to up to four riders
- Built-in WiFi to transfer photos and videos to a mobile phone
- Connects to mobile phone for calls and music
- Connects to GPS for audible turn by turn directions
- FM radio
- Compatibility with the Sena Utility app for smartphones
The Sena 10C Evo comes with a set of stock speakers, two mics, and three mounting options—a 3M double-stick tape mount, an expandable helmet edge mount, and an adjustable angle helmet edge mount. The adjustable mount gives you the vertical adjustment needed so the camera does not point too far down or up. The adjustable mount sticks out the farthest from the helmet due to its screw adjuster.
The Sena Camera app, connected by WiFi, gives you a live video feed from the camera. Once the Sena 10C Evo is attached to the helmet, you can adjust for the best view.
When mounted as far forward as possible on my HJC RPHA 90 modular helmet and my Klim F3 off-road helmet, part of the right side of the field of view of the camera is blocked. With the provided mounting brackets, which do a great job of securing the 10C Evo to the left side of the helmet, there is simply no way to avoid the lens seeing some of the helmet due to the 125-degree field of view. That can be considered a feature or a bug.
It definitely shows that this is the rider’s point of view, but you will have to turn your head accordingly to get a photo or video of subjects on your right side. Knowing this, I simply turn my head the extra 30ish degrees to get the right-side subject in-frame.
WiFi on the 10C Evo is easy to connect, though you can only initiate a WiFi connection within 10 seconds of turning the unit on, and it shuts off soon after inactivity. The WiFi connectivity sequence requires you to start the unit, press the camera button, then go to your phone WiFi connection settings. The 10C WiFi shows up within about four seconds—click on it. Next, go to the Sena Camera app to see the live feed, or download photos and videos—none of those are things I need to do while riding.
Turning on video recording or taking photos takes a few seconds each. If you have a closure rate of 140 mph and want to take a photo or video of a passing group of riders, you better press the camera button as soon as they come into view to get the process started. The camera is off by default, unless you turn it on or it is loop recording mode.
Start by touching the photo button, which turns the camera on. Then, it takes a single touch for photos or one-second press for video. It all happens with a bit of delay, but you get used to the timing after a while. You get audio cues such as “camera on”, “recording”, and a shutter sound. You can also take stills while recording in the highest definition, though the photo resolution is reduced to 8MP from the maximum of 12MP.
I did a few direct comparison photos of the same scene using my 12MP iPhone 12 mini camera and the 10C Evo set to 12MP. The Sena 10C Evo photos don’t allow cropping as nicely as the iPhone photos. However, the 10C Evo photos have great color and look really good for a camera integrated into a water-resistant Bluetooth intercom constructed to withstand the rigors of 100 percent outdoor use. Keep in mind that the rubber covers over the Micro-2USB charging port and the microSD must be in place and secure for the unit to be water-resistant. Sena will replace the covers during the two-year warranty period if you lose them.
The installation of the speakers and wiring harness are straightforward. I used the boom mic for the HJC modular and the wired mic for the Klim full-face off-road helmet. I did have a little trouble with the harness connector that connects to the 10C Evo unit from the mic and speaker wires. I was overthinking it.
The marketing materials say it can be done with one hand, and I was using two and struggling to get the latch to work. I took a step back and tried it again. Using no force and calm demeanor, it locks into place lightly and simply. The HD speakers are a $39 add-on item. When you buy them, which I recommend, you end up being able to use your 10C Evo on two helmets. I used the HD speakers with the boom mic in the HJC and the stock speakers with the fixed mic in the Klim.
I am not an audiophile, but I can tell the difference between the stock speakers and the HD speakers. The stock speakers sound great, unless you try the HD speakers. I can’t describe to you more than to say it seems to be a fuller, richer sound with higher volume available and increased clarity. The HD speakers also allow you to adjust for more bass, more treble, or more midrange. The HD speakers require a setting change in the Sena Utility app. The manual says the speakers can be damaged if that setting is not changed before connecting them.
The full 10C manual is available from inside the Sena Utility app. If this is your first Sena unit, you will find reading the manual especially helpful, and the unit’s controls straight forward and easy to use, even with winter gloves.
I connected the 10C Evo with my Sena 10S and my Sena SF1—Senas love connecting to each other. Although I can successfully connect the 10C Evo to a competitive brand Bluetooth intercom, it requires a much more non-conventional connection process. Plus, the connection has limited range and no ability to include multiple riders. Unfortunately, this is an issue with competitive brands connecting to each other.
Although the Sena 10C Evo does not have digital stabilization, it appears from the videos I took and reviewed, that my neck handles that function very well. If you want to have an all-day video recording and your butt is up to the challenge, you can plug the 10C into an external power supply, and your recording can last from sunrise to sunset. The 10C Evo camera does not have low-light capability, so you won’t get any usable video after the sun goes down.
The Sena 10C Evo’s MSRP is $399. I look at it like I am getting the Sena 10S Bluetooth intercom and spending $160 to add a high resolution, video/still recording camera, and the very cool feature of audio narration. For an additional $39 for the HD speakers, you can end up with your Sena 10C Evo attachable to two helmets (or $45 to get a second complete mounting kit with stock speakers). From now, on I will be a much safer rider who takes photos and videos without taking my eyes or attention off the road.
Sena 10C Evo Specs
- Height: 2.3 inches
- Length: 3.7 inches
- Depth: 1.2 inches
- Weight: 3.2 ounces
- Speaker diameter: 1.4 inches
- Speaker depth: 0.3 inches
VIDEO and PHOTOGRAPHY
- Field of view: 125 degrees
- Aspect ratio: 4:3
- Lens rotation: 30 degrees
- 2160p @ 30fps
- 1440p @ 30fps
- 1080p @ 60fps
- 1080p @ 30fps
- File format: MP4 (H.265)
- Pixel count: 12 MP
- Burst rate: 8 photos per second
- Time lapse: Every 1, 2, 5 or 10 seconds
- Talk time: 20 hours
- Video recording: 1.5 hours
- Battery charge time: 3.5 hours
- Data storage: MicroSD card (U3 or higher)
- Bluetooth intercom maximum range: 1.0 miles (maximum four riders)
- Bluetooth protocol: 4.1
- WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n/a
- FM radio: 10 presents
- Warranty: 2 years
Sena 10C Evo Price: $399 MSRP