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UClear HBC220 Snow Bluetooth


Pros: Excellent sound quality, excellent microphone, amazing battery life, easy installation, rugged

Cons: Sometimes fiddly to connect units at the start of the day, expensive

I wanted to post an updated review of this communicator, since there have been some software updates that improved its functionality. I believe some earlier users had problems when the units would lose their connection (due to range), and then would have to be re-associated manually. This is no longer a problem, the software update allows all of these to automatically re-pair when a connection is lost and rediscovered.


I'll keep it short and simple -- these communicators are the best investment we have made in skiing with the family. It's my wife, myself and our 7 year-old, and we pair the UClear's together for a 3-way simultaneous intercom. The pairing process can sometimes be fiddly, but once it's set you're good to go for the entire day. I think the batteries last 12 hours, we have never run these dead; that means you can configure them at home in the morning, ski all day, and turn them off at the end of the day when you're done. The intercom function can be switched on-and-off during the day easily, so you can stop the chatting without losing the pairings (on the chair lift, for example).


I can't overstate how much more fun it is to ski with your kid when you can actually talk without shouting. We are able to give each other encouragement or funny trash talk, point out problems or features on the trail to each other, and make plans while on the move. It allows me to ski ahead without worrying about losing the kid, and allows me to let him ski ahead without worrying about which trail he is going to take. When I bought these I thought they were an extravagant splurge -- now that I've used them, when skiing with the family I'd never be without them.


If you're a solo skier they're still pretty great. They pair perfectly with my iPhone, the buttons on the uClear can easily be pressed with gloves, and the sound quality is absolutely fabulous. If music or telephone access while skiing is important to you, then they are worth it solo. But they really shine for a family.


Pros: Amazing Communication Quality, Fantastic Audio quality, Easy to install

Cons: Not enough people know about it!

This product is AMAZING. If you want wireless communication with friends/family on the mountain, have the desire to stream some music and take calls (but who really wants to take calls?), YOU CAN, and you can do it flawlessly! 

Yes the intercom range IS line of sight, which can make it tricky at TIMES but you do have 700 Meters of range between each user and they now have an auto re-sync Firmware update for the 220 AND 100PLUS. If anyone gets out of range they can automatically chime back into the group, WITHOUT pressing a single button. 

Shredding through the trees is NOT a problem. My brother and I used the product at Alta up in the trees towards High Rustler- I could not see my brother but we were still in crystal clear communication. AMAZING. 

And the new HBC120PLUS model looks like a great mid range option for the UClear product line. Christmas gift for the parents! 

And NOW!! UClear has hammered it home- they have come out with an EAR BUD OPTION! The sound quality for this option IS INCREDIBLE! All the bass and volume you could need. And the Mics work wonderfully! 

If you only want to stream music and take calls (no intercom communication) get your hands on the DISCONTINUED (super low priced right now) HBC120 model! ($90). I bought that 2 years ago and it was great!...Until I heard about the 220/120PLUS. 


WE LOVE UCLEAR!!! They nailed it on the head.


Let the snow fly!


Pros: Pretty user friendly & simple to set it up. The sound is much higher quality than my expensive earbuds.

Cons: The touch controls take some getting used to & of course you cannot see the colored indicator lights when you have the helmet on.

I haven't had a chance to do more than a dry run with the intercom system.  My intention was to use it with one of our blind students in our adaptive program, but that never came to fruition.  I could really see the Uclear being a real advantage in this application.  Hope to get to it next season.  I did get a chance to use the phone & music functions where it seemed to work quite well.


Pros: Good sound quality, mostly easy to use

Cons: Range is not a good a suggested

We've been using a couple of these to ski with during the last US season. They were really quite good up to about 100mtrs line of sight then cut out. 

They were very handy skiing in difficult terrain when we were close to each other. Good to be able to use the phone easily. Able to answer without too much difficulty though the buttons are a little difficult with gloves on.

I think they would be a great training tool, instructor/student - they are easy to fit to most helmets.

The battery life is pretty good, worked all day using the intercom.

Now to use them in the Australian season.


Pros: Great way to stay in touch on the slopes, clear audio, phone and music handsfree operation

Cons: Becomes unpaired if out of range, Bulky unit on helmet

I have been old fashioned in the sense of no helmet, no music, and no bluetooth earpiece while I have been skiing. I had an old helmet that didn't fit well so it sat in the closet. When we received the UClear headsets, I installed the units into my old helmet so we could try them out. Installation into a helmet is dependent on the design of the helmet, as the earpieces fit into a pocket on the helmet's ear muffs. Some helmets have a slot to slid the earpieces into but others do not.  Some helmets also have a set of audio earpieces already installed so the ear muff gets bulky installing the UClear ear pieces. Long story short is that I bought a new helmet which fit better and I looked for the ability to install the UClear ear pieces in the ear pockets.


Pairing the bluetooth was easy as was pairing the headsets to each other. I would turn them on in the lodge as the buttons are easy to use with bare fingers but not as easy with gloves on. Battery life was good so having them on all day was not a problem. Talking to your skiing partner turned out to be a lot nicer than I thought it would be. Audio was clear and the volume control is easy to set. The range of the units is dependent on line of sight. We found that a small hill between us would loose contact. The 700 meter range is definitely line of sight.


Another feature that I liked was the noise canceling. When it was windy the audio was still good. This would be more important using them on bicycles or motorcycles.


Overall the UClear is a quality product. The other comments on having a longer cord so the control unit could be in a coat pocket and the automatic repairing which is being worked on would make the UClear a 5 star product.


Pros: Easy to Use, Safety, Efficiency

Cons: Re-pairing After Losing Connection

After several days with the UClear helmet audio on intercom, I have found that I really prefer skiing with them to without them when I'm skiing with my husband (my ski buddy). While you probably don't want to be chatting away while you're skiing, you can let your buddy know when you're going to explore another part of the run and decide where to meet back up, so you're not wasting time waiting for each other or feeling like you're stuck going the same route when maybe you would like to go somewhere else. The outcome is more runs, greater harmony and happier skiing!


If you're skiing the trees or fog (or trees in fog) the intercom system can be a lifesaver. Imagine if one of us fell in a tree-well! I used the system at Whitefish with my daughter in just those circumstances while my husband, who had lent his system to her, was on his own. My daughter and I were literally on the same wavelength and stayed together while my husband wandered off and we had to try to intuit where he might have gone. As mentioned previously, that wasted a lot of time waiting to meet up again, not to mention the mental strain from worrying about his welfare, his mood, etc. If the three of us had the systems we could have chained them and had a three-way conversation and all stayed in touch through the fog and thick trees. Either way, Whitefish was a blast with the UClear audio!


The only problem we encountered was when we were skiing the trees and each of us took a separate chute and our systems got unpaired. It's easy enough to get re-paired once you're together, but it's like a dropped call. I understand this won't be an issue in the next iteration. 


I was impressed with how clear the sound is -- like the other person on intercom is in your head. This is what excites me about this as a tool for ski instructors, especially for private lessons. The studies show that concurrent feedback is the most powerful kind of feedback, especially when contrasted with the alternative for ski instruction, which is terminal feedback, or that which is given after the performance is over, and relies on a person remembering what they were doing/feeling at the time. I think it is a game-changer and that ski instructors who give private lessons (top level ski instructors, Level 3 PSIA and 4 CSIA) will be a strong market for the product. As far as moving the units from one helmet to another, that's not a problem, because the units are easy to set up and easy to use. A timed trial took about a minute and a half to take the unit out of a helmet and set it back up, so setting it up would maybe take that long, accounting for unfamiliarity with another helmet. 


The battery life has not been an issue for us at all. We got two days on the snow without having to recharge. 


In summary, I found that I really prefer skiing connected to my partner than not, which was a surprise. It added to the shared experience immensely, made skiing in dangerous situations less so, and the fact that we were always in earshot made it possible to get in more skiing because we spent a lot less time waiting at the end of runs or discussing where we should take our next run. With the UClear, we don't have to ski in sight of each other to stay together, and that has proved to be a huge boon to the peace and harmony in our ski-buddy-hood. 


Pros: Easy to use, compact, with clear audio capability and long battery life

Cons: Lose contact when out of line-of-sight, visual appearance of unit on helmet, I/O button use

Overall, very impressive and helpful. So long as there is line-of-sight positioning, they worked great. Even in the trees or with slight line-of-sight obstruction, there was good communication between units. As with FRS radios, once there was full obstruction like past a rollover, they blocked out, which would be expected without repeater capability. Setting up and getting accustomed to how to best use the system took a couple of days but was really very easy. I didn't try the phone or music capability so can't comment on that but it would seem to be just as easy to operate.
The integrated speaker/microphone appliance is very good with high clarity sound and comfort in my helmet. My partner's helmet doesn't have earphone slots so he had some discomfort with it after some days as the speaker rested directly on his ears but that's more of a helmet problem than the speakers. 
The control unit is sleek and apparently quite moisture resistant. We storm skied a couple of days with them with no problems at all. Battery life is very good, lasting at least three full days at one point, and charging time is short so no issues there.
My three biggest suggestions are to: 1) Extend the pigtail lead on the speakers in order to place the control unit somewhere other than the helmet. For filming, having it on the side of the helmet looks a little odd so I would prefer putting just on my collar or just inside my jacket. For one thing, if I could see the unit while operating it, it would be easier. With this suggestion, another mount that would integrate with this suggested positioning would be helpful. 2) I found I had to take my glove off each time I shut it off or turned it back on. The 'spread' of the up and down functions is small and difficult to find with my glove on and without seeing it so if it were a little bigger target with a more positive touch, I think I would have been able to function better without removing my glove. 3) I would like a push button, temporary mute as I turned it off quite a bit in order to not have three conversations going at the same time. If I could mute it for a few seconds while talking to or listening to someone else, that would be helpful.
Of lesser scale, the system needs to be re-initiated (up button pushed) each time communication is lost for a few seconds. If the shut-off delay could be extended to 30 seconds or a minute, that would be helpful. Many times, we would just be over a rollover for a few seconds and would lose communication, meaning I had to take my glove off and hold the button again. This was not so great on the storm days or when it was very cold out.
In general, I am very happy with how this tool worked for our efforts. In fact, we want to get two more units so we can make use of the daisy-chain function and set up relays for longer shots as many shots are with obstructions that precluded our full use of the product. We're excited to use this for our future work!


Pros: loud and clear transmissions, long battery life/charge

Cons: more range please, slight initial learning curve to operate

My adult son and I have utilized the UClear device for seven ski days now, two in PA and five in VT. We used it exclusively as an intercom device while on the ski slopes. Top advantage: it allows you to continue a discussion with your ski buddy while riding the iconic Mad River Glen single chair.biggrin.gif

Additional points including input from my son.

-Once the initial connection has been established it is very easy to connect and disconnect with each other.
-Clear sound quality and also it doesn't pick up wind which is really nice when you are talking and skiing at the same time.
-If you are on a wide groomer or in an open area the range is pretty good (for example we were able to talk to each other from two different chair lifts at Mad River Glen, VT).
-Can connect to multiple people, not just two at a time. So you can buy 10 of these and have all ten people talking with each other, allow for mass communication.
-Battery was great, it lasted a super long time on one charge. In fact, we charged it once and it has not been recharged after seven ski days of nearly constant use.
-The intercom feature was particularly useful skiing off-piste in glades and natural snow trails where skiers/users could advise each other about snow conditions, photo opportunities, rocky areas, downed skiers, and other hazards.

-A little tricky to understand how to start the initial connection (we had to have Cirquerider help us out with getting it set up).
-Works really well with Smith helmets (my son has one of these), because you can open up the ear pads and stick the speakers in there. However, for older helmets like mine (ones that don't have the zippers) it is a bit difficult. Occasionally the speakers would press in an awkward, uncomfortable way against the ear.
-Drops connection when out of range. This might be a battery saver strategy on the manufactures part, but it would be nice to have some set up so that the speakers automatically reconnect again when you get back in range after dropping out of range. We had to reconnect a few times in Vermont when we went out of range.
-As an intercom we found that increased range would be very helpful. Sometimes we could communicate from 1/2 mile apart in open situations, other times we would lose contact in less than 50 yards in thick trees or if simple terrain undulation blocked the line of sight. Any increase in range would be useful.

Additional comments:
-Essentially I think the device worked well for us, but in reality we only used it as an intercom/communicator and didn't test much of its significant additional capabilities to connect to other Bluetooth devices. e.g. phone, smart phone, ipod... etc. I am wondering how it would work if you wanted to talk on the phone... would all the other people connected to you be able to listen to your phone call? Would all your friends be able to listen to the music you are playing on your ipod/smart phone, or just yourself?  Suspect the answer to the last two questions is no.

-Basically I would recommend this device if the buyer has a Smith helmet (or any helmet with ear pockets that you can store the speakers in) and wants a device for him/herself and a friend, because the unit is sold in pairs. It would be a good way for a parent to keep in touch with a child, for instructor to coach student, or communication between off-piste skiers/boarders especially in open terrain where range increases to a 1/2 mile or more.


Pros: Voice clarity, voice activated phone calls, group intercom,

Cons: no firmware updates yet

I have used this product almost every day this season and found that it works just as advertised. The clarity is amazing and the voice activated calling is pretty cool. I thought the range was a long shot on their specs but I was able to talk from the top of Mineral Basin to my buddy at the bottom just fine. I don't know if I was just in super ideal conditions or what, but it worked. Great product!

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UClear HBC220 Snow Bluetooth

HBC220 Snow Bluetooth Helmet communicator without boom microphones - Boomless helmet communications - Multi-Hop Technology delivers range up to 700 meters/0.43 miles - Super Group Intercom connects up to 10 UCLEAR users - Open channel, full duplex communication - Superior sound and voice quality - Firmware updateable - Auto loudness adjustment - Suitable for both open face and closed face helmets - Powerful speakers ensure clarity under noisy conditions - Aerodynamic design - Ruggedized weather resistant design

Recommended UseSnowsports communication
Weight3.2 oz
Battery TypeRechargable Li-Po
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC