3.2 C
HomeAccessoriesSena 5S Bluetooth Headset Review - Great Budget Pick!

Sena 5S Bluetooth Headset Review – Great Budget Pick!

Sena is one of the most known motorcycle Bluetooth headset brands out there. They certainly make quality products, but there’s no doubt that they also stamp premium pricing on their headsets. Are their budget options worthwhile? Well, our Sena 5S Bluetooth headset review aims to resolve that question!

First of all, Sena 5S is the newest headset from Sena’s lineup, but it targets solo riders and those riding in pairs. It is definitely a worthwhile replacement for their old SMH5 headset.

Read on our review down below to find all the perks and a few nitpicks with the 5S headset!

Sena 5S Bluetooth Headset Review – Features

Sena 5S Bluetooth Headset Review - Features

If in a rush, here is a quick overview of all the essential features of the Sena 5S Bluetooth communication system:

  • Weighs 48 grams
  • Utilizes Bluetooth 5.0 technology
  • Can connect with 4 riders
  • Duplex intercom communication (communication with two riders simultaneously)
  • Maximum range of 0,4 miles (700 meters)
  • HD audio speakers for improved audio quality
  • Advanced audio distribution for less background noise
  • Voice control support for 8 languages
  • Built-in FM radio
  • Water-resistant
  • 7 hours of talk time, 7 days of standby
  • 1,5 hours of charge time

Without further ado, let’s dive into our Sena 5S Bluetooth headset review!

Design & Installation

The Sena 5S Bluetooth headset package.

Sena 5S is an incredibly light Bluetooth headset at 48 grams. It looks strikingly similar to the SMH5 headset from Sena, with one key difference – an LCD screen

This is the first time that Sena uses the LCD screen on any of their headsets. The LCD screen isn’t that useful when you have this headset mounted, but it is good to have during the initial setup. Things are a little bit better when you can see what options you have in front of your eyes.

As this headset is optimized for full-face, modular, and jet helmets, it’s coming with wired and boom microphones right out of the box. You can either clamp it to the side of your helmet or use a surface mounting adapter to mount it.

When it comes to the button configuration, we have the jog dial that serves as navigation between menus and a volume control button. Then, there is the red Phone button that serves as a toggle for connection with your smartphone.

Overall, the design of the 5S is simplistic, with all the functions quite easy to grasp. The value of the LCD screen is questionable, but at least it doesn’t pump the price up too much.

Here is how to install the Sena 5S Bluetooth headset on a half helmet!

Bluetooth Pairing

With Bluetooth 5.0, the data sharing speed and pairing efficiency are greatly increased with the Sena 5S Bluetooth headset. You can pair with a variety of Bluetooth devices, including smartphones, GPS devices, media players, and more. The pairing procedure will be required once for each device, as the 5S remembers all paired devices.

Pairing with any Bluetooth device can be done via three methods.

First, you can utilize automatic initiation, which triggers Phone Pairing mode automatically when you turn on this headset.

The second pairing method is when your 5S is turned off. You just hold down the jog dial and Phone buttons for three seconds, and you will trigger Phone Pairing (also seen on the LCD display).

The third pairing method can be done when your 5S Bluetooth headset is turned on. You will need to hold the jog dial and Phone buttons for five seconds, and the Phone Pairing will be triggered.

Overall, the pairing procedure with your smartphone is quite simple, but what about pairing with other Bluetooth headsets? You can also utilize three methods, including:

  • Smart Intercom Pairing
  • Manual Intercom Pairing
  • Universal Intercom Pairing

Down below are the explanations for each individual intercom pairing method!

Smart Intercom Pairing

The Smart Intercom Pairing procedure in detail.

This is a Sena-exclusive functionality that supports over 60 Sena headsets for quick intercom pairing. You can utilize this via the Sena Utility App, even when the comm units are off. Basically, the connection information is stored on the app as long as you keep using it. This creates a handy universal intercom pairing solution that only works with compatible Sena headsets.

Manual Intercom Pairing

This is how to pair the two Sena 5S Bluetooth headsets.

While you can pair the Sena 5S with three other headsets, you can only make an intercom session with two users simultaneously. Manual pairing isn’t that complicated and didn’t prove to be a headache.

With two systems, just hold the jog dials for five seconds until you hear the “Intercom Pairing” message. Now, just tap the jog dial and you’re all set.

Universal Intercom Pairing

Like with most other modern Bluetooth headsets, the 5S can also pair with non-Sena headsets. To pair with headsets other than Sena, just hold the jog dial button on the 5S for ten seconds. Then, wait for the “Configuration Menu” audio cue. Afterward, you should see the “Gearwheel” icon on the LCD panel.

Now, you will need to rotate the jog dial until you don’t reach the “Universal Intercom Pairing” menu and the “Sharing via BT” icon. Then, all you need to do is press the Phone button and you’re all set!

Connection Range

Sena 5S has a connection range of 0,4 miles (or 700 meters).

Let’s get one thing straight. The Sena 50S features a duplex (or two-way) intercom communication powered by Bluetooth 5.0. This essentially means that you can talk with one more rider in one intercom group. 

Of course, the duplex intercom communication translates in a mid-range of up to 0,4 miles (or 700 meters). Yes, this range isn’t always up to maximum, as it will depend on external factors like a forest, building, and traffic density. Also, there will be a notable range difference when riding on hills.

The Sena 5S Bluetooth headset is best if you are consistently riding in a pair with another rider and are not going far away from each other. If looking for something a bit more long-range, check out the Sena 30K, which utilizes Mesh technology to improve the intercom range greatly.

Sound Quality

Sena HD audio speakers provide a nice boost to sound clarity.

One of the most welcome upgrades that the Sena 50S Bluetooth communication system brings to the game are the improved HD audio speakers. These bad boys measure 40mm, making them fit for most motorcycle helmets out there. But, are Sena’s HD audio speakers a worthwhile competition to Cardo’s JBL speakers?

First of all, the HD audio speakers provide a nice boost to overall bass and audio clarity. Combined with the equalizer settings under the Sena Utility App, they provide a significant audio boost over the original speakers found in the Sena SMH5 model.

The audio performance is improved when it comes to the intercom feature, with much cleaner voice input on the duplex connection. This is all due to the advanced audio distribution system that helps cancel all the background noise.

And finally, let’s talk comfort. The Sena HD audio speakers come with a beveled taper on the mounting surface to provide better ear clearance, and overall – more comfort.

In a nutshell, the HD audio speakers are a surprise, but they still aren’t better than JBL speakers from Cardo. But, these will suffice, so don’t worry about audio quality in the Sena 5S Bluetooth headset.

Voice Control

This video shows how voice commands work with the 5S Bluetooth headset.

Don’t worry; the Sena 5S comes with a robust voice command system, and you can essentially use it hands-free once you mount it on the helmet. 

This robust system is made possible by the Vox technology from Sena themselves. Basically, you can utilize commands like turning the volume up and down and turning the music on or off.

This system supports eight languages, including:

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Spanish

If you want to control the smartphone voice assistant, there is a little trick to do. You will need to push the red Phone button on the back of the 5S headset, and that’s how you trigger that type of voice control. That means you will need to pull one hand off the handlebar, so bear that in mind.

Additional Features

As we continue our Sena 5S Bluetooth headset review, here are some features of its features that are worth a mention:

FM Radio

Sena 5S has a fully functional FM radio if you want to tune in to your favorite radio station in the region. Whether you want to listen to a radio DJ music selection, news, or weather reports, having an FM radio on hand is a pretty helpful feature. 

This FM radio comes with ten radio station presets and with an automatic scan functionality. These are not a novelty, though, as many other Bluetooth headsets come with a fully functional FM radio.

Sena Utility App

Serving as a companion app, you can do all kinds of cool things in this app, from triggering Smart Intercom Pairing, using the equalizer, checking the user manual, and adjusting other available settings.

You can download this app either on Google Play or App Store, depending on the smartphone type.

Water Resistant or Waterproof?

Sena 5S provides high water resistance along with an ability to withstand extreme temperatures.

Sena has always made water-resistant Bluetooth devices, and the 50S headset is no different. 

Keep in mind that the 50S is not waterproof, so make sure to avoid excessive riding in heavy rain, as that could possibly permanently hinder the functionalities of this Bluetooth headset. Light or medium rain conditions should suffice, though.

Along with this, Sena claims that their 50S motorcycle Bluetooth communication device can withstand extreme temperatures (from -10 C to 55 C). Sadly, we haven’t tested this, so we cannot give an objective outlook on that.

Battery Life

The battery life of the Sena 5S Bluetooth headset will withstand 7 hours of talk time.

Thanks to the Bluetooth 5.0 integration, the battery life of the Sena 5S Bluetooth headset is greatly improved. In this particular case, we are talking about a Lithium Polymer battery that provides talk time up to seven hours, which is more than enough for a single extended ride. On the other hand, the standby time is seven days.

It will take 1,5 hours to charge its battery fully. Overall, we are quite impressed with the battery life of the Sena 5S Bluetooth headset.


With a great feature set for a solo rider or for two riders, Sena 5S comes at quite a reasonable price.

Sena 5S single pack costs $159/€130/£112, while the dual pack costs $299/€245/£211. It is quite a nice price, especially when you consider that a single pack of Cardo Freecom Plus costs 50$ less and provides just 10m of range. Sena has stepped up when it comes to competing with Cardo on the single/duo rider Bluetooth communication front.


Now that we are at the end of our Sena 5S Bluetooth headset review, how does it fare under our lens?

Let’s get a few things straight. You definitely aren’t buying this headset if you want to talk to a group of riders, as it only supports duplex communication. This headset is a blast if you’re riding solo and want an awesome audio experience or riding with one other rider.

The battery will last for a while, and you will certainly be able to use most of its features in a one lengthy ride session. Also, it’s fairly easy to pair it with other Sena and non-Sena devices, so no headaches on that front.

If looking for a premium solo or duo rider Bluetooth headset, Sena has taken the crown with their 5S headset for now. But, if you want a Bluetooth headset fit for group riding, check out their other offerings, such as Sena 30K, or Sena 20S Evo.

Want to see more Bluetooth headsets? Then head on to our Bluetooth headset review section!

David Gabric
David Gabric
An outdoors and motorcycle enthusiast. Loves to do a long motorcycle road trip here in a while to freshen up. Enjoys writing about and researching motorcycles. Crazy about ADVs.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Sena is one of the most known motorcycle Bluetooth headset brands out there. They certainly make quality products, but there's no doubt that they also stamp premium pricing on their headsets. Are their budget options worthwhile? Well, our Sena 5S Bluetooth headset review aims...Sena 5S Bluetooth Headset Review - Great Budget Pick!