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2012 Bluetooth Shootout: UClear UBC120 vs. Sena SPH10s

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 


images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR46NYQw4XId5UQpJpDp7qJ71oiAU1ljbzNb6ndCinwKnk_pWJd4g  vs.  logo_sena.jpg




I have had a chance to play with two of the newer Bluetooth helmet systems to hit the market, the UClear UBC120 (demoed the 100) and the Sena SPH10s. These two units are both state of the art and performed stellarly but there were a few pluses and with each brand.


The UBC100's sound quality is of a very high quality, just what you would expect from a company that designs communication units for military use. The UClear uses the stock ear pieces and do require a but of playing around to get the iR microphone to align (the speakers each have an IR receiver and have to be aligned just right) but once you do, it worked very well.  While the Uclear's speakers are internal and very clean in design, the controller is about 2"x1"x1" and had to attach to the helmet. The power and volume controls are rubber covered to protect them from the elements but not very easy to use. 


UClear UBC100 and the Smith Vantage


The Sena SPH10s might not be as streamlined in speaker design, it uses their own earpieces that have all the controls integrated with knobs and buttons. the Sena on the other hand uses a earpiece/speaker/microphone combo has you have to remove the stock earpieces on the Giro but on the Smith helmets does take a bit of time because you have to disassemble the headlock control to get the earpieces out (it wraps around the back). The Sena is offered in models designed to work specifically with Giro, Smith and Red. 


Both units charge with a supplied USB cable.




Sena SPH10s and the Giro Seam



USE: The Uclear's best feature is the complete hands free ability to answer the phone. When listening to music, and the phone rings, you will hear a "beep" and the music will pause (not just mute) and all you have to do is say "answer" and the call will be picked up, when you are done with the call, and it ends, the music will pick up where it left off.'s  While the Sena does not offer the complete hands free that the UClear does, the ease and access of the buttons is far superior and intuitive than the Uclear's buttons (volume, power, track control). The Sena also works very well with Apples Voice Control of my iPhone 4, I would be interested in seeing how Apple's Siri works. Both of these units to offer an intercom feature when paired with another like unit for quick on hill communication. While I haven't had a chance to test this feature both manufacturers claim a range up to 1000 yards. I am sure that will vary with the terrain of the mountain. I imagine this could be a good feature when on the lift and the other person is on either another chair or gondola/tram. 


OVERALL: Both the Sena and Uclear work very well and have exceptional battery life, 2-4 days of daily use without charging. Sound quality of both of these units and top notch and the build quality is exceptional for both. If complete hands free control is what you are looking for, the UClear is the one for you but overall I found the Sena worked better and is overall a better design especially if you are one who is constantly adjusting the volume and accessing music. 


Winner: Sena SPH10s

post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 

Review Addendum: 


INTERCOM: We had a chance to play with the intercom feature of the Sena. I will say it worked very well but with a limited range, The limitations were about 300 yards with either line of sight or partial line. In reality I am not sure if the expectations should be anything more, these are just headphones. In using the intercom, the sound was very clear and if communication was lost it would go back to the music that was playing then if the other recipient came back into range it would pick up. When would you use this? That is a question that TC and I bounced off of each other..while using the communicators...instruction...video, be it fun or MA, photography, setting up shots or even just talking amongst yourself. While I am not sure I would be the Sena's FOR the intercom, but it is a feature we might use for time to time. 

post #3 of 3

Here's my review of the Sena SPH10G (Giro version) bluetooth headsets (2 units purchased directly from Sena) which I got late January and have been testing ~4 weekends skiing crystal mt in varying weather conditions including some low-temp days in the teens, plus some rainy wet days.


Bottom line: B+ rating which would be A if the occasional lost pairing issue was resolved, and button placement re-arranged to address ergonomics using gloves.



  • Got the Giro version which fit my G9 and wife's G10 helmets perfectly.  Simply pull out the old flaps and insert the new ones. Great design.
  • Paired my unit with new Motorola Razr 4G-LTE andriod phone that is also configured with corporate enterprise email -- caused lost pairing problems, mostly resolved, more below.  Razr running Andriod 2.3.6, system version 6.12.173.XT912.Verizon.en.US, not rooted.
  • Paired wife's with older Motorola VU-204, no problems
  • Used Razr paired unit for bluetooth music, intercom and phone
  • Used wife's VU-204 paired unit for phone and intercom, did not try music



  • Had problems with my unit loosing pairing which I attribute to my corporate enterprise email automatic lock feature.  Problems were mostly fixed by configuring the andriod "location & security -> Allow bluetooth bypass" setting.  My unit continues to loose connection to the phone (for both calls and music) about 2-4 times a day during periods of inactivity (no music or calls) which is fixed by hitting the Razr multi-function unlock button.  Unclear if its a Sena firmware issue or andriod OS since the same issue was mentioned in one of the andriod forums involving bluetooth headsets.  I decided to keep the units since the work-around is easy and only required if I turn off the music and keep the unit idle for extended periods.  If music is kept on everything is fine.
  • Worked w/Sena support troubleshooting issues and exchanged the original 2 units with replacements.  Support was excellent, and Sena agreed to extend my return window to give me extra time to troubleshoot.  Sena agreed to look into the firmware issue and fix it with a firmware update (supported via web app) if it turns out to be on their end.
  • If your phone is configured with corporate enterprise email, you might have problems depending on the phone & OS.  No data on iPhones having this config.
  • Music quality is good though bass is lacking compared to previous $15 skullcandy wired giro tuneups which were better.
  • Tried my Creative Zen Nano mp3 player wired connection which worked, but volume was lacking even at max nano output. Tbd if issue is the nano player output voltage or the unit.  Mp3 not important for my usage.
  • Buttons and controls very good with gloves once you figure out how to not press both (lhs) buttons simultaneously and turn off the units.  Wife still has issues with this.  Suggested to Sena that they relocate the phone button to the rhs ear flap jog dial location which would allow optimal ergonmics by simply using an open palm glove to initiate calls, intercom, or music.
  • Phone call voice activation and call answer great.  Like the separate volume control for phone vs music vs intercom.
  • Music initiation and controls work great.
  • Intercom initiation and sound quality good but sync delay of 5+ seconds a bit annoying
  • Intercom range seems to be around 600-900' max line of sight, open terrain.  Limited testing in trees though ok for not-dense trees up to perhaps 200'.  When my tree ski buddy gets a unit we will give them the real test.
  • Units are compatible with an optional Sena gmrs radios bluetooth adapter (~$170) which is pricy, but would address the intercom range issue.  Cell phone reception very good at Crystal so I'm retiring the gmrs radios.
  • Battery life excellent... no issues loosing charge running music periodically all day (6hrs) while making occasional calls and using intercom.



I tried making cheaper solutions work over the past 4 years but gave up (2012 Giro $80 bluetooth links ... didn' work at all with my phone, skullcandy 2-way gmrs radio links worked ok ~2yrs but crappy materials/cabling broke multiple times, and ebay kawamall midland and skullcandy knock-offs lasted 6 weeks before failing, some units doa).  Finally looked into motorcycle solutions and found these which I think are the best of the bunch for the skiing application.  Craftsmanship is top-notch and controls very simple to use.  Would have been an A review if not for the lost paring issue and wife's issues working the button controls with gloves.  Hope to somehow migrate these units into my mtn bike helmet for the off-season, and would like to get a waterproof version for windsurfing.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › 2012 Bluetooth Shootout: UClear UBC120 vs. Sena SPH10s