Scorpion’s new Exo-Com Bluetooth Communicator is sourced from Uclear Digital and designed to fit into the company’s new EXO-T520 and EXO-GT930 helmets. I recently reviewed the Scorpion Exo-T520 and GT930 and have been awaiting the release of these new communication units.
Now that they’ve finally arrived, let’s dive into the features and workings of the devices. BT comms are some of my favorite rider accessories, and I make sure I have one on all my helmets. They are weather-proof and use the latest Bluetooth 5.0 software.
Installation was straightforward with no complications. Scorpion has several helpful videos on their website to take you quickly through installation, plus smartphone and app pairing. The app lets me know whether the firmware is up to date (it was), my battery life, several settings (see graphic), and enables me to register ownership.
As with the Uclear HBC200 I reviewed in 2013, the Exo-Com microphones are built into the “premium tuned and graphic EQ” 40mm speakers. They utilize patented Advanced Beam Forming (ABF) technology to focus the dual mics on the user’s mouth. It is designed to eliminate the need for a boom or other external microphone, and the hassle of mounting or having a mic rub one’s mustache the wrong way. This worked in 2013, and is still brilliant now.
The units also incorporate adjustable digital signal processing (DSP) noise cancellation. DSP listens to the input noise waveform and generates an opposite waveform to negate the noise. It works seamlessly and effectively. The music quality is top-notch, with plenty of volume, excellent clarity, and solid bass.
Control of the Scorpion Exo-Com is via three easy-to-use buttons. They operate in a manner similar to Uclear’s other comm units. Because I am familiar with the Uclear pattern, there was nothing new to learn. A fourth button, Quick Access, is located at the bottom of the unit. A press will summon Siri or Google Assistant, allowing riders to operate their smartphones’ voice-control resources.
On the first try, the system proved easy to use and reliable. I powered it on for two seconds with the center button. Next, I held the up and down buttons for two seconds, putting the unit in phone-pairing mode. I acknowledged this on the phone and was connected.
Next, I started the Exo-Com Mobile App. The app asked to press the power button once. The app immediately connected to the Exo-Com, and I was in business. I found that the firmware was up to date, so I could not test the firmware update via smartphone feature, but it is available.
Intercom pairing was just as easy. This system requires that you power-on up to four units, then press and hold the Quick Access button for five seconds on each unit. They will all blink purple. Once that happens, a single press of the power button on any unit will initiate the process of intercom pairing with each unit, satisfyingly announcing as it paired in succession.
I had two Scorpion Exo-Com units, and they paired quickly. From there, I added two more Uclear Motion Infinity units. They also initiate pairing with their Quick Access buttons. All our units then allowed us to turn on or off the intercom, play music, have music overlay, and worked nicely.
Intercom bike-to-bike communications are via mesh radio and support up to four riders. If you’ve read anything about mesh, you will likely know that pairing with other riders is much easier than with the old Bluetooth-powered intercoms. Mesh typically has a longer range, clearer signal, and allows riders to enter the pack, exit, or swap places, all while remaining connected. It’s very good stuff and, naturally, compatible with any Uclear device as well. Scorpion claims up to a half-mile range between riders, which we experienced.
On the road, the Exo-Com units offered us relatively static-free reception and clear communication. As with most Bluetooth communications devices, they delivered the range they claim. While we didn’t measure scientifically, they certainly performed well, given our usual rider-to-rider spacing. We would experience the occasional dropout when the leader got too far ahead and rounded a canyon wall, but this is true of all comm units I’ve tested. We automatically reconnected when that rider was no longer blocked by rock or distance.
Recharging requires battery removal and disconnection from the system. Although not difficult, it is also not very elegant. It’s a Uclear thing on all its models I am familiar with. On the plus side, if you are an Iron Butt rider and need more than the claimed 15-hour battery life, you may carry spare batteries and swap when necessary.
Universal device pairing is an option. The Scorpion Exo-Com will pair multiple devices, such as smartphones, GPS, OEM info systems, and other brand devices. Pairing to other brand comm units is now common in this space, although that requires utilizing that device’s Bluetooth Hands Free Profile (HFP). That means the device will lose its other functions, including playing music or making phone calls. I’ve never done this kind of connection with another brand but imagine it might be useful in a pinch. Throughout my years of reviewing motorcycle intercom communications devices, I’ve lobbied manufacturers to create a common standard for full cross-brand interoperability. No one has listened, but I’m still hopeful.
For a small unit, the Exo-Com has all the features one might want, save FM radio, which Uclear does not offer in any of their comms. I have tried, though never regularly used FM, in any comm units that have. I don’t want to bother finding and tuning the ever-changing radio spectrum as I ride. Streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora are okay, though I often lose cellular service in the backcountry and mostly stick to my onboard playlist.
The Scorpion Exo-Com retails for $190, and can be had semi-installed on the Scorpion Exo-T520 and Exo-GT930 helmets (in Matte Black only). It has the features I need, is easy to operate, the sound quality is excellent, the installation is slick, and the price point is around or below other major manufacturers’ offerings. This is a solid piece of kit and highly recommended.