HD sound quality, wide connectivity range, noise control, and digital voice assistance —the SENA 50S has it all.
This Bluetooth headset built for gregarious motorcycle riders has an intuitive interface. You don’t even have to toggle too much due to the seamless voice command support across eight languages.
Difference between SENA 50S and SENA 50R
While the Sena 50S and 50R are similar in many ways, there are some key distinctions between the two:
- The SENA 50S uses a clamp to attach to your helmet, whereas the 50R is designed to stick straight to your helmet for a low profile look.
- The 50S clamp kit includes an AUX port for non-Bluetooth MP3 players while the 50R is compatible with a 10R earphone adapter split cable.
- The 50R has a design containing three buttons. On the other hand, the 50S uses the traditional Jog Dial.
- In terms of battery life, the SENA 50S has the upper hand with nine hours for the mesh intercom and 14 hours for the Bluetooth intercom compared to the respective 8 and 13 hours of the 50R.
- The 50Scomes with three microphones and the 50R ships with two.
Sena markets the 50R as a more rugged option for off-road and challenging terrain due to its sleek profile and easy-to-use buttons. Due to its superior battery life and extra accessories, we recommend the 50S for most riders.
What’s in the Box?
NOTE: The dual pack is generally cheaper than buying two single units. It could be worth splitting the cost with your buddy if you usually ride in a pair.
Right off the bat, the SENA 50S box has a premium look.
Once you take the headset out of the slide box, you will notice it looks a lot like the SENA 30K. Even the dial, the mesh intercom button, and the antenna that pops up have an uncanny resemblance.
The headset module is attached to the universal base with a clamp adapter plate accompanied by pre-installed Sena HD speakers.
Once you set aside the headset, the first thing that may catch your attention is the microphones; one on the base, a wired boom, and a wired lead mic.
All three mics are 2.5mm plug compatible for easy connectivity to your phone or other devices, and there are four extra mic sponges for future wearing. All the necessary fasteners, paddings, and adhesives are in the box, allowing for easy installation.
For people who hated the micro USB port, we have good news. The SENA 50s comes with a USB type C charging port that supports rapid charging with a 90-degree cable in the package you receive.
The main highlight, however, is the intelligent Wifi adapter harness. You can connect to a Wifi, do a one-time installation, and when you charge the headset with the USB C cable, it will automatically install any firmware updates. Pretty cool, right?
Installation and mounting
A quick wipe down of the Sena 50S base and it’s time to mount up.
Putting the base unit on
You’ll need to securely adjust the two Allen screws on the base clamp with the speakers and microphone to the bottom of your helmet. It’s important that you customize this clamp unit with different rubber pad thicknesses to find one that fits perfectly with the headgear of your choice.
To make sure that you can properly listen to your music and communicate with other people while wearing your helmet, here are some steps you should follow.
First off, place the speaker in line with the center of your ear using the hook-and-loop fasteners so it’ll stay secure.
If there are deep pockets on the sides of your helmet, then use pads for placement. Otherwise, just put them closer to where your ears go by pressing firmly over them with one hand until they stick but only as hard as is necessary because we don’t want any permanent damage.
Finally, secure the wires by inserting them behind the padding of your helmet.
Microphone positioning and headset attachment
Next up comes microphone positioning. Set this outwards from where our lips usually rest when speaking. It should be situated preferably outside our mouth area, away from anything too close.
To attach the headset, align it with both parts of the clamp unit. Push down so that it clicks into place and then release to remove it when you’re done.
If you’re having trouble with the helmet’s clamp unit, don’t worry! You can use a surface-mounted adapter to fix it on the outside of your headgear.
Size and Dimensions
The SENA 50S is a lightweight headset with high-quality sound. The size and dimensions are compatible with most helmets. Due to the adjustability of the mount and the plethora of attachment options, this is as versatile as they come.
Here are the sizes and dimensions of everything that comes in the package.
- Main module: 102 mm x 56 mm x 27mm (4.0 in x 2.2 in x 1.1 in)
- Speaker Driver Unit: 40 mm – thickness – 7.2 mm
- Boom microphone: length – 190 mm
- Wire between speakers: length – 555 mm
- Weight: main module – 64 g (2.26 oz)
Voice Controls and Jog Wheel
The Sena’s large jog wheel is great for quickly changing volume, but you’ll have to get used to turning it backward when increasing the level. The buttons are easy enough to find and use with gloves on.
The 50S really shines through its voice recognition features, with several commands available to control all aspects of the headset. (All commands are listed in the user guide.)
One pro tip when giving voice commands is to pause a bit between different commands to ensure they’re carried out smoothly.
Remember that when you want to use digital assistance through “Ok Google” and “Hey Siri” commands, make sure you’re not at top speed as your phone won’t have a noise-cancellation feature like the headset to process them seamlessly.
You can also have the controls of the SENA 50s on your phone through the SENA utility app. Just mount your phone vertically near the handlebars, and that should do it. However, keep in mind that your gloves need to have touch-screen compatibility for you to have a hassle-free experience with the app.
Bluetooth and Mesh Connectivity
Sena’s 50S motorcycle headset utilizes Bluetooth 5.0 technology, which allows for improved communication with smartphones, GPS devices, and other compatible headsets. This is a huge step-up from the previous Bluetooth 4.1 since 5.0 uses less power while performing with clearer audio quality and a more stable connection.
The Bluetooth intercom in SENA 50s can go up to a distance of two kilometers between the riders. However, a limit of four riders can connect in one session, which is a bummer.
One thing to be aware of – the experience of pairing the SENA 50S with non-Sena headsets isn’t as intuitive as it should be. You will need to set the other device like a phone for it to work. It will require some practice from your end before you start to get the hang of it.
Mesh is Sena’s latest networking technology and allows for a huge range and pretty much unlimited rider connections.
Its Mesh 2.0 comes with two mesh modes. The Multi-Channel Open Mode gives you the option of connecting to a limitless number of riders within a five-mile range. So for the large club rides, this is sure to be a treat. On the other hand, the Group Mode lets you connect to a group of 24 riders, wherein six can talk at one time.
With Mesh 2.0, you don’t have to worry about manually connecting riders that go out of range. Reconnection is done automatically when they come back in the range. Compare that to the Bluetooth intercom mode, where the whole intercom session shuts down, which is a massive inconvenience.
The battery life of the SENA 50S is nothing out of this world compared to the other premium headsets.
It offers nine hours of talk time in mesh mode and 14 hours in Bluetooth mode. Combined with listening to music, it lasts for at least 10 hours on an average single charge.
However, thanks to its USB-C fast charging, the charging time is only one hour which is a big relief when comparing it to the SENA 30k.
The unit ships with a high-quality HD audio speaker that offers excellent deep bass and treble performance. When the volume is turned up, you may notice some distortion in the sound; the equalizer setting on your phone app can adjust this.
You’ll also enjoy using ambient mode, which lets riders hear their surroundings without removing their helmets.
Continuing with its benchmark of creating individual apps for each of its premium headsets, SENA has created the Utility app, a collection of everything related to the 50s.
It’s well laid out, easy to use, and available for iOS and Android. Features include mesh and Bluetooth intercom settings, phone, music, FM radio, system-wide management, and WiFi adapter usage.
This Bluetooth headset is easy to recommend with its range, simplicity, quality sound, and Mesh 2.0 intercom.