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Topic: SMH-10 to 20S  (Read 9491 times)

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RBEmerson
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« on: October 30, 2015, 12:47:34 AM »

I bought a single 20S and just installed it.

Mechanically, it's a much better design, with positive locking for the brain. The base plate is, of course, not set up for the SMH-10. Meh - so it goes.

The software is... showing serious signs of becoming a pocket knife that has to be carried on a trailer. In some measure, Sena has figured this out and released apps on iOS and Android for managing the thing. Keeping the button presses straight is not for the faint of heart.

I expect to do an extended trip over the coming week. We'll see what the 20S looks and feels like after 1600+ miles.
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2015, 09:20:44 AM »

One thing the base plate does very well is hold the 20S in place. One of my two big gripes with the SMH-10 is the near lack of security in mounting the brain onto the base plate. The other gripe is the inability to replace the battery. the 20S has that problem, too.

Voice over music (that is, intercom voice causes music to drop in volume) isn't very impressive. I get a lot of drop-outs and general noise when running the SMH-10 and 20S together. The 20S still plays but the audio is, as I said, choppy.

At this point, I like some of the UI changes, the improved mount, but I'm mixed about the rest. Unfortunately, I'll be traveling alone and won't be able to test the intercom. One thing I am looking forward to, is the "ambient mode", bringing sound from outside into the side tone - that means being able to talk with someone without pulling the helmet to say "how far to the nearest Hooters?"
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2015, 12:28:22 AM »

I'm still at the start of the learning curve but it appears that Google may have finally come up with a near Siri product: Now. In tinkering with my new 20S, managed to get rid of the Samsung Car Mode (about as lame and obnoxious as any app I don't want to see again) and replace it with the standard Google audio interface to making calls. That, in turn, had me being introduced to Now. In general, I'm somewhat uncomfortable when Google tries to be helpful. No doubt I've sold much of my privacy to Google for a few nifty features, sort of a devil's bargain, but for now I'll live with it.

Push the 20S phone button and Now wakes up. All I have to say is "OK Google" and it's listening to my every word. Sort of. "OK Google When is sunset on Sunday?" "4:59PM" "OK Google Tell me a joke." "[recites Wikipedia article about jokes]" Siri this is not. Nonetheless Now offers a great deal of data access without having to touch or look at the phone.

The question is how well will "OK Google" and "Hello Sena" get along. As best I can tell, they don't trip over each other.
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2015, 03:59:43 AM »

I'm enjoying your reviews - thanks for sharing  Bigok
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2015, 10:47:33 AM »

You're welcome.

At the moment I'm swinging back and forth on my overall "was this worth $200 (eBay)" assessment. In some cases I don't think I got $200 [worth], and then I find something that changes my mind.

One significant down with Sena is their customer relations. They are pretty much at the bottom of the scale. They rarely respond to questions on the forum they run, and even when someone gets them on the phone there's often little progress. Part of it seems to be corporate culture and part of it is culture and language issues - AFAIK anyone who replies is from Asia. That has been my experience, anyway. For a communications company, their comms are the pits.
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2015, 09:45:38 PM »

890 miles later (~400 in varying amounts of rain)...

The 20S is still working after slabbing for 12 hours, including something like 6 hours of showers turning to fricking rain heavy enough to slow down even the insane (not just me). Maybe I got lucky. Maybe the seals are still new and tight enough. YMMV on waterproof.

Overall, the unit did what I asked. Sorta. Much of my annoyance, such as it is, was brought on by a mix of Google Maps and Google Now. But not all of it. Basically, the 20S kept me in touch with my cell phone, as I played music (hint: playing the huge box set of Woodstock CD's, all 6 of them, isn't for the faint of heart - I'd forgotten how annoying Melanie was, for example. OTOH I'd forgotten that Canned Heat was an amazing jam band) and occasionally heard from Google Maps (not a lot of turns on I-95).

Today, with lots of wind and buffeting, the damn thing started saying "say a command". A lot. The "tap the 20S to get the little genie to talk to you" feature fired off because of the dirty air behind 18-wheelers, oddball gusts from who knows where, and, for all I know, de Debil hisself. I'm looking into how to kill that feature. Permanently.

I've enabled some feature that, at low speed and with no music playing, causes the voice prompts to fade up to normal volume about 2-3 words into the sentence. That's on the kill list, too. Yew betcha it is!

One big surprise turned up. The "ambient" feature isn't just opening the mic and listening to it via side tone. Oh no, it's completely not that, it's an external mic, hidden somewhere on the 20S. While approaching a toll booth, I turned the ambient feature on and was rewarded with the sound of rushing wind, the noise that makes GoPro movies so lame when the noise is left in, or the noise is replaced with the Allman Brothers playing Ramblin' Man ( Hurl ). Worse, the bridge after the tolls was narrow, really really high, and I couldn't turn the damn noise off easily. I'll be far more careful about that in the future. You can take that to the bank.

Now, about Google... Google Maps, by itself, it pretty good. The biggest hole is the mobile app doesn't support editing a proposed route. Forget it, not an option. Someone from Google said "we never reveal future features, but we know people ask for this." Whatever that means. You can talk to Maps. Sorta. Ask it for traffic and it'll go away for a few seconds, stare at the sky, and then say "there's not much traffic (WTF does that mean when I'm on a crowded interstate???). You will reach your destination by 1102." You can ask about the next turn. And some other stuff, but it's not really chatty or that broadly informed.

Google Now, OTOH, knows how to find a lot, including how to read Wikipedia articles. It has no Siri sense of humor, though. "Tell me a joke" got me the Wikipedia definition of a joke. or maybe that was the joke? NTL, Google Now is useful. But...

Run Maps and Now concurrently, push the "phone" button on the 20S, and you won't know which app is responding.
Me: PUSH
Phone: pause
20S: sound of open mic
Phone: DING!
Me: Weather in Savannah
Phone: Not sure what to do with weather in Savannah
Phone: ding
Me: ARGH!!! I didn't get Now's attention
Me: PUSH
Phone: pause
20S: sound of open mic
Phone: DING!
Me: Traffic ahead
Phone: Not sure what to do with traffic ahead
Phone: ding
Me: ARGH!!! I did get Now's attention and I wanted Maps

If Google had their stuff all together in one sock, they'd pass the sound through one app and, if it didn't recognize what was said, let the other app take a shot at it. Or at least have a DING for Now, and a DONG for Maps, so the user would know which app was listening.

That said, when things go the right way: that is, Now recognizes I asked for the weather 50 miles away, or Maps recognizes I want a traffic report and ETA at the destination - when that happens, it's slicker than owl poop. When it doesn't work, it and a pile of bat poop are about the same thing: lumpy and smelly.

More news when I stop that damn "say a command" from a wind buffet, and fix the fade-in effect.

Oh, the battery... if the little genie in the 20S is to be believed, after 12 hours on the road, it said "battery charge high". I had to say "check battery". "Battery check" results in "say a command". what counts is the battery wasn't fading fast after 12 hours of playing music. Not too shabby.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2015, 09:51:28 PM by RBEmerson » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2015, 07:56:08 PM »

OK, the hyper-sensitive issue is fixed. Ditto the fade-in issue. Google remains confused as before.

Motion Sensor Sensitivity set to Disable works wonders for the "don't touch unless you mean it" syndrome.

Advanced Noise Control fixes the fade-in issue - yep, Disable.

Google? Who knows? They don't.  Headscratch
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2015, 08:28:09 PM »

Last report. Maybe.

Disabling Advanced Noise Control, it turns out, didn't do jack for the fade-in issue. Which leads to the following:

Now 2000 miles in 6 days (2 1/2 spent doing stuff in Fernandina Beach, FL) later, my assessment of the 20S is that it's got a few neat things (mainly voice over music), a lot of complexity (compare the SMH-10 and 20S setup options), and a lot of annoyances (e.g., the fade-in issue). Was it worth $200 for voice over music? Not really. Was it worth $200 to have a mount that actually locks the "brain" in place? Yep. Having an FM receiver? I turned it on once and turned it off. The "ambient" feature is weird. I expected that meant the helmet mic's enabled with side tone. Instead, it's a new feed from, I assume, a mic on the mounting plate. I switched it on [while] gassing up. The sound is weird - I can't put my finger on just what's [wrong], but it is.

As I said earlier, the 20S is the proverbial Swiss Army pocket knife, now so big it needs a flatbed truck to haul it. The many features get in each other's way and really need a phone app to manage. Bottom line: if you pay near retail for a 20S, you paid too, too much. Even the $200 I paid is too much.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 02:39:12 PM by RBEmerson » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2015, 09:50:02 PM »

Thanks for the detailed review. I use the google now function with my SMH10. One handy thing I like to do is ask it to open a particular app.
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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2015, 10:06:06 PM »

Now was far too ready to open apps I didn't want, or at least couldn't look at. Talk about texting while driving... Rolleyes All I want is for Now to talk to me. I need to spend more time with it, I guess. I could buy an iPhone so I can hook up with Siri. Oh wait, she doesn't date outside of her species.  Lol

At this point I'm down until June. The bike's ABS took a dump on me, and I dumped the bike (0 MPH gravel drop). I have other commitments that will carry me through until June (see my ride report).  Smile

[minor rant]In trying to figure out the 20S, I was again reminded that Sena, a communications company, doesn't communicate with its customers worth jack. It's certainly something to consider when figuring out what to buy. Or not. Which is a pity, as the SMH-10 hasd "good bones" and the 20S inherited much of that, even if the feature list is beginning to look like someone who overdosed on Botox.[/minor rant]

ADDED: When the SMH-10 came out, I was pretty much a fanboy for it. As the product has aged, it's become increasingly frustrating to see some problems and feature requests left untouched, or only show up in new products ("you bought us once, buy us again! And again! And again!") And then there's the issue of batteries dying of old age. Sena seems to have no clear repair or replacement process. DIY isn't that hard, but not everyone can or will want to do it.[/medium-sized rant]
« Last Edit: November 11, 2015, 10:12:08 PM by RBEmerson » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2015, 10:45:31 PM »

So I use google now to place a call or play some music mostly. I do like that I can use it to open Waze. As for reading to me, I use an app called ReadItToMe which will read whatever notifications you choose to have it do for you. So you can set the app up to only read text messages for example. Until I can get Google maps to route offline, I still carry a dedicated GPS on longer trips.
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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2015, 10:58:53 PM »

My problem was getting text at all. I didn't want it. Clearly I need to do some work with Now, and so does Google.
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2015, 02:44:38 PM »

(Warning: zero Sena content)

The new Google app (ex-Now?) integrates nicely with Maps. At the moment I'm driving around the Florida east coast and using Maps heavily to get to various locations. I light off the Google app, say navigate me to (wherever) and I'm literally good to go. On occasion I've changed destinations during a route. That works seamlessly, too. At this point, I'd say the grips about Google Now and Maps are history.

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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2015, 10:24:09 PM »

I know they did a big update to maps recently. They increased the amount of off-line data you can store and it will calculate a route when not connected to the internet. Also you can now search for things like gas along the route you are already following.
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« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2015, 10:34:01 PM »

I'm guessing but I think Google (or Alfabits or whoever they are this week) has the "Circle-G" app taking up functions that were in Maps previously. Note, for example, Maps no longer has a mic icon once it's navigating. Also, any search for a destination invokes the "OK Google" dialog.

I just finished driving north from the West Palm Beach area to north of Philadelphia, using Maps. changing routing (trying to avoid I-95 from Richmond north) on the fly is now much smoother.

I'm sending my bike to the dealer to fix my braking problems (see the ride report Phila -> Fernandina -> Phila for the details). If all goes well, I'll check out how this new setup plays out while using the 20S. should be interestin'...
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« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2016, 05:55:57 PM »

The bike is due back tomorrow (it sez here...), so no 20S time to date, but... It dawned on me that a BT "stick it in your ear" headset is a good 20S emulator. Driving around with a Blue Ant headset, I tested things a bit further. It turns out that Maps still listens to voice commands, too. To talk to Maps, just say what you've got to say. There's a "doink" and a response follows. To get to the big Google voice app, start with "OK Google". There's a little xylophone run - say what you came to say, and then there's a doink, followed by the response.

It's maybe a little schizophrenic, but it works without too much aggro.
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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2016, 10:49:23 PM »

I use the ok google feature quite a bit on and off the bike. I mostly use it to play music, make calls, and of course navigate someplace.
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« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2016, 10:25:22 PM »

I know this is an old topic but you have done a lot of work with the sena and the google functions. I am now looking to upgrade to the 20s. I was wondering if you ever invested in the remote for it and how your experience is currently with the device? Would you recommend moving from the smh10 to the 20s?
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« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2016, 12:30:58 AM »

Er, I'm not quite sure I follow the "remote" reference. Once the 20S is powered up and you've paired with your various Bluetooth devices and/or intercom buddies, there's not a lot of button pushing. OK, tap the phone button to make or take a call (not a big fan of VOX for the phone). Tap the jog dial if you're listening to BT music or maybe restoring an intercom link. But... I'm not sure I follow what your asking about.

FWIW, I now use a Sena Prism video camera, which is controlled through the 20S. I'm told Sena will add voice commands for the camera. For now, though, it's easy to control through the jog dial. There are things Sena could (should?) do differently, but I'm generally pleased with what I've got.

Does this at least start to address your question?
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« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2016, 03:34:04 PM »

Cyjo is referring to this Remote unit that mounts on the handlebars.  It was first introduced with the "10U" models that had more integrated mount setup with the Shoei Neotecs, Shuberth C3 etc and no exterior blob with controls.  Since its initial release they've added compatibility with multiple units.

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« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2016, 06:22:59 PM »

That's what I thought, but wasn't 100% sure. Truth is, there's so little button-pushing during normal use, $100 is rather spendy for doing not a lot. And that blob blocks access to the switches on the clutch-side switch pod. Pass. Or at least let me have to $100. I'll be more grateful for it than RevZilla or Sena. Smile
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« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2016, 09:37:06 PM »

Yep that is what I am talking about although i didn't realize it was a $100.
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« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2016, 07:54:26 AM »

Most of Sena's stuff makes sense. This one is a doodad with little real value. I suppose that if taking a hand off the clutch side is intimidating, OK. But most of the time, who cares? And, although I don't use it, IIRC the 20S can be voice controlled to some extent. Meh... lots of bucks to mess up controls and do not much for bucks that could go elsewhere.
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