A Complete Review of the Sena SMH10R

This one's for all the motorcycle and biking fans - let's talk about the Sena SMH10R, the new and improved version of the SMH10.

While reviews of the SMH10 were fantastic, the slimmer, smaller version of this motorcycle helmet radio has everyone talking.

If you haven't got your hands on one of these motorcycle gadgets, here's an in-depth review to help you decide.

An Overview of the Sena SMH10R

This latest version of the SMH10R has been called ''low profile'' which is going over a treat as riders appreciate its slimline, smaller size.

Described as the main benefit over the older SMH10, this device is virtually invisible when attached to your riding helmet.

The overall functionality of the SMH10R and SMH10 is very similar, with both supplying top-notch Bluetooth functionality.

The control unit of the SMH10R is now smaller and flatter, featuring just three buttons, versus the jog dial and button combo of the SMH10.

Due to its smaller size, the buttons are a little closer together and a little more sensitive. For some riders, this could prove frustrating, especially with thick riding gloves on.

As a smaller, low profile unit, the separate battery pack also needs to be attached to your helmet.

The best place for this is usually the back of your helmet, with the SMH10R unit attached along the side of your helmet.

For those not in the know, Sena is a Korean company who is currently dominating the Bluetooth communicator market, hence this outstanding product.

Rider to Rider Communication

The pairing of SMH10R units with one another has been described as completely seamless and fuss-free. The pairing of devices is basically immediate.

Both helmets need to be set to ''intercom pairing mode'' and after a quick 10-20 second search, the helmets will immediately pair together.

Additionally, there's no need to press any buttons to aid the connection, it's as simple as turning on pairing mode and the connection is almost instant.

At high speed, sound quality has been described as excellent, a far cry from the sound quality of previous models such as the SMH5.

The intercom distance between two devices is set at a maximum of approximately 500 meters. If you go over this distance or pass behind another vehicle or building you may lose communication.

While connected with your partner, the functionality of other apps on your connected device are still in play.

For example, Google Maps will still be able to read out directions to you, even during a conversation. However, music is interrupted when having a conversation.

Friends who are connected via the same device, or an older version such as the SMH10, are also able to enter your conversation. This makes for an immediate three-way call.

Battery Life

The standard battery life of the SMH10R is roughly 8 hours. That includes up to 8 hours, talk time and 8 hours of music playback.

The battery also has a standby life of up to 7 days, before it needs to be fully charged. Typically, the battery requires 2 full hours of charging.

It's important to note that the battery pack is separate to the actual SMH10R unit, while you are usually provided with a backup battery too.

In order to charge the battery, you will need to slide it out of the battery mount which is attached to your helmet.


Sena does state that the unit is only water-resistant and not fully waterproof. However, some riders have experienced otherwise.

For the most part, the SMH10R has an advantage over the older SHM10 in that it is far more water-resistant- possibly due to its smaller size.

Installation of the SMH10R

When compared with the SMH10, this is where the updated version of the device faces a few negatives.

First of all, the installation process is a little longer because the entire SMH10R unit is divided into four separate components.

In this case, you have to find four separate areas of your helmet for all these components, although they are quite small. These components include the control unit, battery, earpads, and microphone.

The control unit attaches to the side of your helmet with Velcro, the battery to the back with 3M adhesive and the ear pads and microphone on the inside.

Unfortunately, there are a few wires to hide, which means having to use gaffer tape in order to tack them down in place.

Finally, the installation of the SMH10R is far more permanent than the SMH10. It's not as easy to remove or transfer to another helmet and would require re-wiring.

The Pros and Cons

Just some of the stand-out negatives of the SMH10R when compared to the previous model, SMH10 include:

  • A reduced battery life by approximately 35%
  • A little more complicated to install onto a riding helmet, including loose wires
  • The three-button control unit may be a little less intuitive and clumsier to handle
  • Cannot be quickly or easily removed and attached to another helmet

Despite these negatives, there are a number of positives in investing in this sleek, modern and popular motorcycling gadget:

  • A new and improved design makes for a smaller, slimline device
  • It weighs much less than the SMH10 and is less bulky looking
  • It's far more waterproof than previous models
  • Improved sound quality
  • You're able to host a conversation with multiple people
  • It allows for the functionality of other apps or programs on your connected device

Both sets, the SMH10 and the SMH10R cost the exact same price - US $219 if bought directly from Sena.

While both models have their key differences, they are both highly reliable gadgets which add to your overall riding experience.

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