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Sena 10C Pro Review - Communicator and Camera

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Published in: Gear

Sena 10C Pro Review - Communicator and Camera

Is the Sena 10C Pro worth the upgrade from the standard 10C? It comes in at the same price point of the original, but what’s new and improved? Let's highlight some of the new features and upgrades and let you decide.

Back in 2014 I acquired a 10C, a pretty cool helmet cam with integrated voice communications and the ability to link up with three other riders. It also utilized my smartphone via voice command to tap into some of the phone’s features while riding. Further, it was mostly handsfree.

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What I loved about the original 10C was the “all in one device” aspect. Voice communications seemed to work good except when I was out of line of sight or beyond one-mile limit range. It’s camera captured some decent pictures and videos, especially considering it was a small helmet-mounted system.

Fast forward to 2019, it seems as though my trusty 2014 Sena 10C doesn’t hold a battery charge as well as it once did, and on occasion I hear the voice prompt telling me it no longer recognizes my micro SD card. I must say, I have done many miles both on- and off-road with a sprinkling of “get offs” in the dirt, mud, and sand—and it hasn’t fully failed me yet. But in the last few months, on occasion, I’ve had to reinsert the 32G micro SD card to get the unit to re-recognize it.

I also have a frayed microphone cable due to the abuse I’ve put it through. All things considered, I’d say the original 10C has held up pretty good. I still have good audio communications and a working camera. If my 10C battery decides to run out sooner than when it was new, I could still plug it into a portable battery or run power from the bike’s USB to keep it alive. I could also bring along spare 32G micro SD cards to continue capturing all the fun times. OR… I could simply upgrade to the newer, updated 10C Pro with its fresh battery and larger storage capacity.

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A detail that might help make the 10C Pro upgrade decision is the 3.7-megapixel (16:9) camera that comes with the ability to utilize a 64G micro SD card that’s Class 10 or higher. The camera gives you a set 135° field of view which seems perfect for a helmet-mounted camera. The lithium polymer battery has the same capacity as the older unit and after charging it for 3.5 hours, you should get about 17 hours of music, phone talk, and music sharing with three other riders. You should get seven days of standby use, but I’d suggest you always top off the unit’s battery the night before you ride.

As with any battery-powered product, real world battery life values may differ depending on ambient temps and other factors. With a full charge you should get just over two hours of 30 fps of 1440p camera use, which translates to a 64G micro SD card. You could also change the resolution to 1080p with either 30 fps or 60 fps. From my tests, I’d suggest the sweet spot is 1080p @ 60 fps, as it seems smoother than the higher resolution 1440 at 30 fps. If battery life is a big issue, then run power to the unit and continue to use it while it recharges, just like the older 10C. At that point, the only limiting factor is data storage and that solution is obvious: carry spare 64G micro SD cards.

My favorite new feature is the wifi to your phone so that you  can run the Sena camera app. Meaning, you could preview live what you are recording so that you can manually adjust both horizontal lens angle, up to 30° and vertical camera tilt to get the framing you want. In the older unit, there was no way to see what you were capturing until you downloaded the footage and viewed it on a proper screen. With the 10C Pro, you can download pictures and videos onto a smartphone and upload them to social media from there. In other words, you could share almost instantly your journey with your family and friends.

I chose to utilize the camera controls on my smartphone via the Sena camera app, it saves from manipulating the actual Sena device and gives a visual control panel on the phone’s screen instead of navigating it manually on the device. I can even record video or take pictures via the phone app. I really like that.

Another cool feature is the time lapse mode that can be set to snap a picture every second or every 10 seconds. To not miss out on constant video recording, put it on “Loop Recording” mode, which will continuously record videos of an assigned length of time. If the memory reaches maximum, the oldest footage is automatically deleted to store the most recent footage.

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Another phone app controllable option is “Smart Audio Mix” which allows you to record not only your conversations with the other riders, but you can have your favorite music in the background.

Besides these new features, you still get the ability to listen to FM radio with 10 customizable presets. And to help enjoy your music, the new unit comes with “Advanced Noise Control” which is designed to block out the ambient noises of the road. Aesthetically, the device remains the same except for it is now all black.

Overall, I think the combined upgrades and enhancements benefit the user and simplify the use of the unit to capture stills and videos while communicating with your buds on a ride, or just listening to your tunes through a smartphone. The device will hold up well to abuse from both the rider and the environment well into the near future until Sena redesigns the next generation of the 10C line with the then latest technologies. Seeing that the price point hasn’t changed, I think it’s a bargain. I don’t really know of another unit that has these capabilities in an all-in-one device.

Sena.com

MSRP: $349.00

 

• PROS:

Larger data storage capacity

Higher resolution camera

Very useful smartphone app

• CONS:

Easy to lose the rubber lens cover (ask me how I know)

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