Snowtalk Bluetooth for Winter Sports Helmet

SNOWTALK_.jpg
Sena Technologies, Inc

The Snowtalk, by Sena Technologies, Inc. is a Bluetooth Stereo headset designed specifically for snow sports activities and fits into most winter sports helmets. The Sena Snowtalk promotional material states that users can call hands-free on their Bluetooth mobile phone, listen to stereo music, and have intercom conversations in full duplex with up to four companions.

Before we look at the hands-free claims for the Snowtalk, here's a look what I have to do to stay connected while on the slopes using a good pair of hard wired helmet speakers.

Skiing Connected and Tethered to a Smart Phone

Historically, or at least for the past ten years or so, I always listen to music when I ski. It’s at a little softer and lower volume if I'm skiing with a companion, but there is always something on my smart phone playing through the speakers in my helmet. In fact, when I buy a ski helmet the first thing I look for, after checking for the required safety rating, is whether the helmet ear pockets accept speakers.

Of course, it's also necessary to make sure that whatever ski jacket I'm intending to wear has a 'media port.'  The media port is a little banded opening on the inside of the jacket pocket that holds my phone and allows the cord connecting my helmet speakers to slip through and plug into my phone.

This scenario has always worked, but always with the caveat that if you value your phone don't even think about answering a phone call on a chairlift or adjusting the volume.

The possibility is always there that you could drop your phone or your glove while struggling to get the phone out of your pocket and push the right button before the call runs into voicemail.

The best fix is to always let the call drop into VM and pick up the message or call back when off the chair and in a safe place, where if you do drop the phone or your glove you can find it and hope neither is too snow logged.

Another problem or nuisance with a cord connected phone is that the cord is always too long. It has to be to ensure it reaches your helmet from what could be a faraway pocket. Believe me, if the cord gets caught on your knee when you sit and take off your helmet for coffee or lunch it will be yanked out of the helmet interface plug. Or, when you put your skis on your shoulder the cord will pull out of the interface, and you'll find it the end on the ground - hoping you didn't step on it!

Ski Untethered and Free Your Phone

The reason I listed all the above problems associated with skiing while hard-wired to a phone is because since I last tried and rejected a helmet cord-free setup several years ago, I thought the problems and nuisances of the cord would always be the trade off to listen to music while skiing.

I was very apprehensive about even trying Bluetooth technology again after the bad user experience I had several years ago. However, the promotions for the Sena Technology Snowtalk showed that, if in fact the Snowtalk did half of what it was advertised to do it would eliminate all the ills of being hard wired to a smart phone.

I very carefully followed the simple directions to insert the one-piece headset with antenna - that right there won my attention.

When I tried Bluetooth before the antenna was separate and external.  I charged the unit  - yes the unit needs to stay charged, but it is easily done by pulling the charging wand from under the ear pocket zipper and using any standard USB charging device - and within ten minutes of installing the speakers into the helmet was ready for the big test.

Snowtalk by Sena - Great Sound, Clear and Wind Free Phone Calls and Very Affordable

I carefully reread the directions to start up - actually too simple. With my helmet on I pushed the buttons in both ear pieces and Voila!  - a cheery voice says "Hello" and five seconds later she adds "Your Phone is Connected." This is way too easy.

I set my music playlist, put my untethered phone in a handy pocket - with no need for a media port - and went out to ski with great sound and volume adjustable with one gloved finger.

Next test - an incoming phone call. My wife called as directed, and the phone alert overrode the music.  I answered while on a windy chairlift, again using one gloved finger. No static, no wind noise and great reception at over 9,000' elevation.

I didn't have the opportunity to test the intercom capabilities of Snowtalk - communication with up to four friends with 760 yards of one another, but I could find no reason why that wouldn't work as advertised.

Snowtalk Features Include:

  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • Bluetooth intercom up to 700 meters (760 yards in open terrain)
  • Four-way intercom
  • Advanced Noise Control™
  • Music sharing
  • Easy installation in the ear pocket
  • Easy operation by two big buttons
  • Up to 6 hours talk time, 6 days stand-by time
  • Firmware upgradeable
  • Peace of mind – thanks to the two-year warranty

Recommendation:

If Bluetooth has always been the technology you use, the best part of Snowtalk for you will be the value. If you are thinking about trying Bluetooth helmet speakers - I say unplug, cut the cord and go wireless.

Compare prices, compare features and you'll see why I believe Snowtalk is the leader in this technology - then give me a shout on the intercom and we can share some music.

More Information: Snowtalk

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