♦ Introduction ♦
The Snowtalk by Sena is just as the name suggests: It's a Bluetooth communication device designed around snow sport activities such as skiing and snowboarding, so you can talk to your friends whilst doing the thing you love; this is not only great for general conversation purposes, but also relaying advice, or warning each other of things ahead.
But its uses don't end there. You can also connect to your smartphone to retrieve calls or listen to music.
- Main Features:
∙ Intercom range up to 700m.
∙ Up to four-way intercom.
∙ 6 hours talk time (not including other Bluetooth connectivity uses).
∙ Connect to smartphone (answer calls & listen to music).
∙ Music sharing.
∙ "Advanced Noise Control".
∙ Firmware upgradable.
♦ Box Contents ♦
The box is smartly presented and everything inside is well organised. The contents you will find are as follows:
∙ 1x Snowtalk Headset: The speakers are made out of light plastic, though cables are braided for extra durability.
∙ Ear Warmer Headset Casing: Quite tricky to get the speakers in, but once they are, they stay in place snugly. These are used to store/use the speakers when not in use with a ski helmet. Apparently they're supposed to go around your neck despite them being called "ear warmers"; I guess it does make sense considering they don't fit my head size at all. On a good note, they are comfy and allow good volume of sound out.
∙ L-Shaped Micro USB Cable (For charging & updating headset).
∙ 4x Quick Start Guides (English, French, German, Italian & Spanish).
You will need access to a powered USB port to charge the device, this could be from a laptop/PC or USB wall adapter
The Snowtalk system will require your ski helmet to have ear pockets, otherwise there won't be anything to hold them into place.
Having just one set of this product will allow you to answer/reject calls and listen to music. If you want to use the intercom feature, you will need to have access to more than one. The Snowtalk feature can link three others to it allowing for a four-way intercom.
♦ First Use & Set-Up ♦
It's always best to charge up devices before use. Once it has been fully charged, hold down the Left & right button down for one second, this will turn the unit on.
- Pairing with mobile phone:
1) Ensure your smartphones Bluetooth function is enabled.
2) Hold the 'R' button down for five seconds; a voice prompt will tell you when it's in pairing mode.
3) On your smartphone, scan for devices and click to connect to "Sena Snowtalk".
4) You should now be paired.
- Pairing with other Snowtalk headset:
1) Ensure both headsets are on.
2) Hold the 'L' button on both headsets for five seconds; voice prompts will tell you when they're in pairing mode.
3) Tap 'L' button on one of the headsets and wait for pairing to complete.
4) If the two don't automatically connect after pairing, tap one of the 'L' buttons and they should connect.
#) NOTE: When turning the headsets back on, follow step 4 to start intercom.
I had no issues when pairing the Snowtalk with either smartphone (Xperia Z3 Compact) or other headset.
♦ Ease of Use ♦
Navigating around the headset can seem daunting at first as it relies on using just two buttons: 'Left' & 'Right'. The hardest part is remembering the commands as some requires tapping the buttons, some holding for one or two seconds.
Here are some commands that I found myself using most:
∙ On/Off: Hold 'L' & 'R' for 1 second.
∙ Intercom Connect/Disconnect: Tap 'L'.
∙ Volume Up: Tap 'R'.
∙ Volume Down: Double Tap 'R'.
∙ Play/Pause Music: Hold 'L' for 1 second (Some smartphones may require the music application to be already open).
∙ Answer Phone Call: Tap 'R'.
∙ End Phone Call: Hold 'R' for 1 second.
∙ Reject Phone Call: Hold 'R' for 1 second.
∙ Share music with other intercom: Hold 'L' for 2 seconds (When intercom & Bluetooth is connected and music is activated.
♦ Overall Quality ♦
∙ Music Sound Quality: I honestly can't fault the quality when it comes to playing music. For what it is, the quality is very good. Even with the music volume at its loudest I couldn't notice much distortion, however I couldn't test it that long on such volume as it was way too loud for me.
∙ Intercom Sound Quality: Speech from one to another was understandable but could be a bit clearer in my opinion. That said, there is an external microphone port which may give you better results.
∙ Phone Call Quality: I called two different friends, both of which I could hear fine, however they said whilst I was clear enough to understand, they could tell I wasn't using my phone directly and there is room for slight improvement. As a comparison, whenever I use Sena's other product, the 20S (motorcycle intercom), they can never tell that I'm riding my motorcycle whilst talking to them.
∙ Bluetooth Range:
Unfortunately I won't be near any slopes for quite some time, but did do a quick test going to the other end of my street (open area) where they both stayed connected, which seems promising.
However the real test will be when we're on the actual slopes where more elements are in play, such as: The speed both users are travelling at or objects in the way that may cause interference.
♦ Final Thoughts ♦
If you're looking for an intercom which has a much further reach than 700m, then you may want to look elsewhere.
For what this headset is and to how I've tested it so far, it does a decent job. Though would like to test it even further when I can.
The best thing about using Bluetooth intercoms is that you won't get anyone interfering with your conversations; all you need to do is make sure you're within the Bluetooth range to stay in contact.
✓ Simple set-up & easy to use.
✓ External mic.
✓ Has multiple uses.
✓ Good quality speakers.
✓ 6 hours talk time is reasonable.
✘ Voice clarity has room for improvement.