Sena 20S Evo Bluetooth Headset Review


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Last Updated: 9th October 2020

Bluetooth headset systems have really taken off in the last decade.

Previously, wireless comms systems were mostly used by adventuring and touring riders.

But the rise of the smartphone means motorcyclists can use a bluetooth headset for comms and to link to a single device for music, podcasts and navigation.

Bottom Line Up Front

Sena 20s EVO product

Sena 20S Evo Intercom

Premium Headset

The original 20S was already a decent piece of kit, and upgrades to the device’s range, number of riders supported, noise cancellation and battery life are all present in the Evo.

Well worth considering if you want premium features and connectivity to up to 7 other riders. Check AmazonCheck SportsBikeShop

The 20S Evo, as its name suggests, is an evolution of the feature set present in the original 20S.

The most obvious update in the Evo when compared to the original 20S is the new shark fin antenna.

As well as its lower profile, the new antenna increases range and improves on intercom stability.

The original Sena 20S worked well with two riders.

But personal experience and lots of opinion online suggests it doesn’t always work well in larger groups.

There were problems with connectivity, people getting dropped from the group etc..

While Sena addressed most of this with software updates, the 20S Evo works great in larger groups right out of the box.

What’s In The Box?


Sena 20s EVO box shot

The box ships with the unit (which has an integrated universal clamp), both boom and wired mics, two speakers, all the associated cables and adhesive pads to fix everything in place.

Sena offers a reduced price for a ‘dual kit’.

If you’ve got a friend/friends who you regularly ride with, find out if they need to upgrade their comms before shelling out the higher price for a single unit.

Installation and Mounting


Sena 20s side profile

The unit clamps onto your helmet’s outer shell with the jog dial and antenna on the outside.

The process is simple and it can be uninstalled easily.

A boom mic for open face helmets and a wired mic full face are both connected by audio jack to the unit and secured in place by adhesive pads.

Cables for the speakers are easily run behind your cheek pads and secured with adhesive.

All in all, it’s a quick installation and leaves no permanent marks on your helmet.

Size and weight

The combined weight of all the unit’s pieces comes in at 61 grams.

Not something you’re likely to notice.

Look and feel

The Evo also has a lower profile than its predecessor, limiting its visual impact and reducing noise and buffeting.

While it is small, it doesn’t suffer from the ‘fiddliness’ that plagues some miniaturized electronics.

Check prices on SportsBikeShop.

Headset Controls


20s evo controls

Sena easily set themselves apart from their cheaper competition in this category.

I’ve used lots of lower-end headsets.

They certainly work, but there are more expletives and unexpected stops in the first leg of any trip when compared to Sena devices.

A simple shake of the 20S Evo will cause it to pair with the last known device – super easy!

The unit’s jog dial has a chunky, tactile feel and works well with gloved hands..

Sena have pared back the control scheme, making it easy to use on the fly and less distracting than competing units with a wider range of buttons.

The primary button is used for play/pause as well as answering and hanging up calls.

The jog dial is used to skip audio backward or forward and to cycle through menus.

This thing has been designed with real life situations in mind.

For example, when a call is incoming, touching either the button or jog dial will answer the call.

From user feedback, they figured out that with gloved hands, it’s easy to bump the wheel trying to find the button.

Check prices on SportsBikeShop.

Sena App

Sena app

Sena’s app is intuitive, with all the major functions laid out in a list format.

Most features are set to a simple on/off switch, and even navigating the apps more advanced systems is fairly simple.

Again, this is an area where Sena products separate themselves.

Cheaper, generic options will always be paired with an inferior, often poorly translated app.

The Sena app is regularly updated and uses a simple, modern interface.

Note:

*Sena sells an optional handlebar control unit.

It takes care of the features usually controlled through the app. It’s convenient, but not essential.

Bluetooth Pairing


The Evo pairs with either your GPS or smartphone like most domestic bluetooth interfaces

Holding down the button for a set number of seconds puts it into either smartphone or GPS pairing mode.

The unit will then show up, ready to be selected in your devices’ bluetooth settings.

Once paired, shaking the unit will pair it with the last connected device.

This is a nice touch and I can see it quickly becoming part of my ritual when getting ready to ride.

GPS

Though I didn’t try it, the 20S Evo will pair to any GPS unit with bluetooth function.

Most people these days use their smartphone for navigation, but including this feature is a nice touch, and means the product is also aimed at the slightly more ‘hardcore’ touring riders.

Sound Quality


The speakers feature an enhanced noise reduction system.

The original 20S already did a decent job of eliminating road/wind noise, and the Evo improves upon that delivering ultra clear voice reproduction.

The universal conference call feature from the original is also present here, meaning that when paired to other Sena users – everyone can speak together.

No more toggling between one rider and the next.

Even with several people talking at one, voice reproduction is still crisp and intelligible.

Listening to music streamed from your phone is also an option, and the sound quality is decent.

I’d say it’s comparable to a mid-ranged set of ‘can’ style headphones from a major audio brand.

Nothing stellar, but really good for helmet speakers.

This current Sena range will allow you to connect up any earbuds or speakers you want through its auxiliary port.

A feature for the audiophiles among us.

Range


20s evo detail

The 20S Evo supports the rider and seven other people over a 1.2 mile radius.

This measurement is a guideline and doesn’t take into account changes in elevation – mountains and valleys will shorten that distance considerably.

Initial setup with your group can take a moment to troubleshoot, but each device will remember its settings and auto-pair to devices it recognises.

Everything is easily controlled through the app, and a few minutes making sure everyone’s connected before taking off will save you time later.

I will say this – once connected the Evo never dropped another rider on me.

Other sets I’ve used have had problems in this regard, randomly disconnecting from other people in the group.

Battery time and Charging


This is improved from previous iterations with talk time of 13 hours and standby time of 10 days – all coming from a charge time of about 2.5 hours.

All of this makes it a decent option for motorcycle touring.

There’s enough talk time for a full day’s ride and it charges quickly enough to get back on the road the next morning.

Waterproofing


The advertising copy from Sena lists the unit as ‘water-resistant’.

This might be for legal/certification reasons, but, like I said before: Sena probably wouldn’t have a presence in the UK market if their gear didn’t hold up in the rain.

Mine’s been rained on plenty. And it’s working just fine.

Additional Features


Radio

An FM radio is included and the jog dial becomes a tuner wheel for those looking to tune in to local broadcasts.

I can see this being redundant to some, but I could see myself using it if I’m touring another country.

The jog dial also becomes the skip forward/backward control when listening to audio stored on your smartphone.

Conclusion


For people  looking for a full-fat, premium bluetooth headset experience – the 20S Evo is an excellent choice.

You can spend more money if you want to, but unless you’re looking for a very specific feature set – this is as much as you need.

Check Prices

Sena 20s EVO product

Sena 20S Evo Intercom

Premium Headset

The original 20S was already a decent piece of kit, and upgrades to the device’s range, number of riders supported, noise cancellation and battery life are all present in the Evo.

Well worth considering if you want premium features and connectivity to up to 7 other riders. Check AmazonCheck SportsBikeShop

Further Reading

Read our round up of the best motorcycle intercoms.

For a lower priced option with less features see our Sena 10S review.

For a next generation option see our Sena 30K review

For a comparison see Sena 10s vs Sena 20s