Sena 50R Vs 50S: Detailed Comparison

Sena made a lot of products, and picking one is a difficult task for anyone, unless you are an expert, and know everything. The same happened with many of us, the same names and same specifications create more confusion. 

Sena 50R and Sena 50S are these two products that create confusion among buyers about which one to buy and why that one is better. I have used both of them, and I can help you decide which one you need to pick in our Sena 50S vs 50R comparison.

Sena 50S has a jog dial whereas Sena 50R has a button control, the clamping mechanism is also different, Sena 50R has a double side adhesive clamp. Sena 50S has a slightly bigger battery and has three microphones. These extra features make it more expensive compared to the 50S.

Sena 50RSena 50S
Range5 miles / 8 km5 miles / 8 km
Connectivity6 riders within 1 miles / 1.6 km6 riders within 1 miles / 1.6 km
Channels9 (24 in private group)9 (24 in private group)
Talktime8 hours (mesh), 13 hours (Bluetooth)9 hours (Mesh), 14 hours (Bluetooth)
Bluetooth5.05.0
FeaturesMusic, Phone, GPS, AssistantMusic, Phone, GPS, Assistant
WaterproofNoNo
ChargingFast charge – 20 minutes (lasts up to 6 hours)Fully charge – 1 hourFast charge – 20 minutes (lasts up to 6 hours)Fully charge – 1 hour
Weight‎2 pounds‎2 pounds

As an avid motorcycle enthusiast, going on long tours with my friends is one of my all-time favorite activities during the year. However, communicating with each other during the ride can be quite a task, especially when the group is large.

Sena, a renowned motorcycle communications gadget manufacturer, came out with the new flagship Sena 50S and Sena 50R models. While these boasted of improvements in audio quality and communication, it left many riders wondering why there were two models released.

In this article, I explain the differences between both these models from Sena and voice my opinion of which model is the best. 

Read on as I review these products individually to give you a better idea about each one, which will help you understand exactly what both products have to offer. 

What are the Differences between Sena 50R and 50S?

In terms of specs, there is no difference between the Sena 50R and 50S. Then why Sena made two products if they are not different. The differences are in physical terms, the body and casing are different. 

Jog Dial vs Button Control

The Sena 50S has a jog dial which has been seen on previous models like the 20S. This feature is the most useful and convenient to riders wearing motorcycle gloves. 

It allows them to seamlessly complete a number of functions without having to remove their gloves. This includes the ability to answer calls, increase and decrease volume and even change music tracks.

On the other hand, the Sena 50R has a button control that consists of three buttons. While this provides the same functionality as the 50S, it can be harder to operate while riding. 

This is especially the case if the rider is wearing gloves. However, these buttons help slim down the device, giving it a sleek look that may appeal to riders looking for a visual aesthetic.

Clamping Mechanism

The clamping mechanism of the Sena 50S is the same as previous models of Sena. In fact, the S in the model name stands for standard, referring to the traditional clamp design introduced by the company. 

This consists of a glued surface mounting adapter that can be stuck to the exterior of the helmet, or a clamp kit that has to be installed.

However, the main advantage of this design is that the module can be detached thanks to a quick-release mechanism. 

This gives riders the advantage of separating the module from the clamp, increasing the convenience when it comes to charging and storage.

On the other hand, the Sena 50R has a double side adhesive clamp or a side clamping mechanism that has to be installed onto the helmet. 

It does not have a quick-release mechanism that allows the module to separate from the clap. As a result, you cannot remove the module from your helmet unless you completely disconnect the wires attached to the speaker and microphone. 

Battery and Charging 

The Sena 50S has a slightly larger Lithium Polymer battery compared to the Sena 50R. As a result, you have slightly increased battery life in the 50S, which offers upto 9 hours of connectivity in the Mesh mode and 14 hours of battery life in the Bluetooth mode.

On the other hand, the 50R, thanks mainly to its sleek profile, has a smaller battery which gives riders 8 hours of connectivity in Mesh mode and 13 hours of Bluetooth connectivity.

Microphones

The Sena 50S comes with three microphones that give riders increased choice when it comes to connecting their microphones. 

It includes a boom microphone, a wired boom microphone, and the wired microphone that can be attached in different ways to the helmet. This allows riders to be comfortable or choose better audio quality depending on their preferences.

However, the Sena 50R comes with only two microphones, the wired boom microphone, and wired microphone. 

This reduces the flexibility that comes with the wireless boom option, which restricts rider comfort to a certain extent. As a result, the module also stays connected to the microphone all the time, preventing quick-release dismounting.

Ambient Audio

Riders with the Sena 50S enjoy the Ambient Audio mode which allows riders to listen to their external surroundings without having to stop playback from the module. 

This can be very handy for riders when they stop at gas stations for refueling and want to interact with staff and the people around them. However, the Sena 50R lacks this feature.

But during our testing this doesn’t work as it tends to do, the mike doesn’t pick any audio at all until the person is too close, which is not possible.

Pricing

The Sena 50S is slightly more expensive than the Sena 50R, with a slightly bigger battery and the jog dial to increase the ease with which riders can shift between menus and make changes while on the move.

For those of you looking to understand the technical aspects of these two products from Sena, I have listed them below.

Which one is better: Sena 50R or 50S and Why? 

After going through the various features and specifications of the 50S and the 50R, I had to try both of them to help me understand which product was better. I managed to get my hands on both models while on a road trip with my friends.

After the ride, I realized that both models have very few differences. However, the Sena 50S was the better option compared to the Sena 50R. Read on to find out why I came to this decision

Better battery life

The Sena 50S offered an increase of one hour when it came to battery life. As a result, I could use the device for longer without having to worry about the battery dying on me. 

This also made it convenient while communicating with the rest of the group in Mesh mode, which helped us continue riding for longer periods.

Quick release clamping technology

The Sena 50S has the standard clamping technology found in previous Sena models. Even though the module and clamp are slightly bulkier, it includes a quick-release mechanism that allowed me to remove just the module.

It was most convenient when we stopped by a roadside cafe for a break. The module needed to be charged, but I wanted my helmet to dry in the sun for a while as well. 

All I had to do was detach the module and take it inside, leaving my helmet to dry outside.

Jog dial control

The Sena 50S has a jog dial control that works seamlessly on the road. I initially had to spend some time learning how to operate and switch between menus and controls. 

Once I got a hang of it, my ride became so much easier. I was able to make changes quickly without having to remove my hand from the handlebar for too long. 

This helped me keep my focus on the road and get the job done at the same time.

Ambient audio mode

Any riding enthusiast knows how annoying it is to communicate with people in your vicinity with your helmet on. You either struggle to understand what they are saying and vice versa. 

As a result, having to take your helmet off may be the only option, which is not always convenient.

With the ambient audio mode in the Sena 50S, the microphone on the module picks up sound from your environment. 

This allowed me to perceive speech and sounds in my environment clearly. It also helped me communicate in gas stations and stores without having to take my helmet off.

Sena 50R Review

The Sena 50R is one of the two flagship models of the Sena motorcycle communications headset lineup. It boasts of a sleek module designed to look slimmer and more elegant when placed on the helmet. 

It can be controlled with the help of three buttons that are friendly to use with gloves as well as an LED indicator for battery levels and other options.

Sena 50r review

The product has an easy installation manual that helps you come to terms with its various features quickly. 

It has multiple clamping options, giving riders the choice to install the device permanently on their helmet using adhesive or using the clamping mechanism for interchangeability between helmets.

In terms of connectivity, the 50R has a Bluetooth 5.0 system for seamless data transfer and zero lag while communicating. It also allows them to tune into local radio stations thanks to its FM radio option. 

This model also comes with voice control that allows riders to access the various features of the product using voice commands. 

One of its most popular features is Mesh 2.0 technology, which allows riders to pair with upto 24 others in a closed mesh and even more in the open mesh mode. 

With a regular range of 1.2 miles, it can be stretched upto 5 miles while reducing the number of riders in the mesh, making it an excellent option for highway rides and adventure trails. It also has GPS that provides driving directions to riders through the inbuilt speakers.

Sena 50R review

It has a decent battery life, lasting up to 8 hours in the mesh mode and an excellent 13 hours while using it in Bluetooth mode. 

It also boasts of rapid charging which allows users to get 6 hours of battery life by charging it for just 20 minutes. The USB-C charging port also ensures universal compatibility with a number of smartphone chargers.

The lack of connecting pins that allows for quick mounting in the Sena 50S makes the 50R a more rugged model. While it is still not waterproof, it does a better job to prevent the ingress of water during rains.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sleek and stylish design with a smaller footprint
  • Better water resistance compared to Sena 50S
  • User-friendly Sena 50 Utility app with multiple features
  • Great range, maximum of 5 miles
  • Open mesh connectivity for large groups
  • High definition speakers with improved clarity and loudness
  • Rapid charging feature
  • Bluetooth 5.0 for enhanced audio clarity and zero lag

Cons

  • Hardwired to speakers, does not have a quick-release mounting clamp
  • Not the best battery life compared to competitors at the same price point
  • Compatibility issues with Bluetooth headsets from other brands

Sena 50S Review

The Sena 50S is the second of the two flagship motorcycle Bluetooth headsets released by Sena. It has the traditional Sena module design similar to that of the 20S Evo and the 30K, with the S standing for Standard. The model has very similar features and specifications to the Sena 50R.

The jog dial control surface that has gained popularity over the years with Sena users is featured on this model. It also features the traditional Sena quick mounting clamp mechanism that allows riders to separate the module with just the click of a button. 

Sena 50R Vs 50S

However, this makes it susceptible to water seepage during heavy rains, which causes the module to shut down

The 50S has a Bluetooth 5.0 system and FM radio features that provide users with a plethora of entertainment options during their ride. It allows users to stream their favorite music from their smartphones without lag or tune into local radio stations. 

Voice control technology allows riders to enjoy a hands-free experience with the help of vocal commands. The ambient audio mode allows riders to interact with their immediate environment without having to remove their helmet

Just like the 50R, the 50S also has the Mesh 2.0 technology from Sena. This makes the model a favorite amongst riders in large groups looking to maintain constant communications during the ride. 

The addition of GPS for navigation with the help of driving directions makes it a great model to have for those looking to explore new places.

size comparison between sena 50s and cardano headset

It has a bigger battery than the 50R, with 9 hours in the mesh mode and 14 hours in Bluetooth mode. The USB-C charging port also ensures universal compatibility with a number of smartphone chargers. 

It also has the rapid charging feature which allows users to get 6 hours of battery life by charging it for just 20 minutes. 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • User-friendly Sena 50 Utility app with multiple features
  • Open mesh connectivity for large groups
  • Jog dial for easier control for riders with gloves
  • Quick-release mounting clamp
  • Ambient audio feature
  • Great range, maximum of 5 miles
  • Bluetooth 5.0 for enhanced audio clarity and zero lag
  • High definition speakers with improved clarity and loudness
  • Rapid charging feature

Cons

  • Rapid charging feature
  • More expensive compared to Sena 50R
  • Not the best battery life compared to competitors at the same price point
  • Compatibility issues with Bluetooth headsets from other brands

Conclusion

After using both the Sena 50S and Sena 50R, I was convinced that Sena had made two world-class products that certainly lived up to the hype. 

The Mesh 2.0 technology and improved audio quality helped iron out the previous issues with the Sena line-up, giving me a much more enjoyable rider experience. 

Despite having very similar features and specifications, I personally preferred the Sena 50S to the Sena 50R thanks to the addition of the ambient audio feature and better battery life. 

However, its slightly higher price point may make riders with budget constraints prefer the Sena 50R. Ultimately, it comes down to the individual rider and their personal preferences when it comes to choosing between the Sena 50S and Sena 50R.

Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset Buying Guide

If you don’t like any of the headsets, then you must know what are the things that are important for a good Bluetooth headset, there are hundreds of options out there, and you can use our detailed buying guide to buy one for you. 

  • Number of users

Motorcycle Bluetooth headsets serve multiple purposes. If you like to ride solo or with a pillion, then having a headset that can pair a few users will serve the purpose. In such situations, you do not have to worry about the range of the headset.

However, if you are riding as part of a group, you will need to have a Bluetooth headset that allows you to pair with multiple users at the same time. 

It will also have to accommodate an increased range of a mile or more and integrate mesh technology to allow for seamless communication.

  • Audio Quality

Audio quality is a critical factor that depends on the purpose you intend to use the Bluetooth headset for. If your main purpose is to communicate with fellow riders, then a basic speaker with decent audio quality will be enough. 

However, it is important that the module suppresses wind and engine noise so that riders can understand each other clearly.

However, if you are someone looking to listen to music while riding, it is better to go for headsets that come with dedicated stereo speakers that can be accommodated within your helmet. These ensure a great audio experience and make the riding experience more enjoyable.

  • Connectivity and Compatibility

Motorcycle Bluetooth headsets must have a dedicated antenna designed to increase the range and detect riders who are further away. They should also have an app that offers seamless connectivity and multiple features. 

Apps from Sena and Cardo do this, allowing you to assign riders in the network and giving you the flexibility to adjust commands and other controls.

Another important aspect to consider in this situation is if your Bluetooth headset is compatible with headsets from different brands. This will allow you to remain in touch with fellow riders owning a different brand or model of the headset, which is the case most of the time.

  • Battery life

It is important to have a Bluetooth headset that has good battery life. This is especially necessary if you want to communicate with fellow riders, which eats up the battery a lot faster. 

This can also be crucial if you are on adventure trails and do not have too much backup supply to recharge your module. Some models allow you to charge the headset simultaneously while using them on a ride, which can be helpful during extremely long rides.

  • Durability

Motorcycle Bluetooth headsets must be able to withstand adverse weather conditions and high winds. This ensures that the module can be used continuously irrespective of riding conditions, be it dust, wind or rain. 

A waterproof module helps prevent accumulation of water within, which could cause damage to the sensitive internal components and cause it to shut down,

  • Other features

Some models nowadays come with voice control technology that allows you to access menus and features using voice commands. This allows you to keep your focus on the road and enjoy a truly hands-free experience.

Many Bluetooth headsets come integrated with GPS nowadays. As a result, riders can receive driving directions from the module, allowing them to follow the route without having to visually refer to a phone-based map application while riding.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Which is better: Sena 50R or 50S?

The Sena 50S is better than the Sena 50R, but not by much. Even though it is slightly more expensive than the 50R, the 50S offers slight improvements such as better battery life, easier control access especially with gloves as well as the ambient audio mode. 

It also has a quick-release mounting mechanism and multiple clamping options to accommodate a large number of rider preferences.

  • Is Sena 50R waterproof?

No, the Sena 50R  is not waterproof and does not have an Ingress Protection (IP) rating. It is water-resistant as marketed by the manufacturer. Helping prevent water from entering the device to some extent. 

However, multiple riders have claimed that their 50R shut down in heavy rain. While the product worked fine after being dried for a bit, it proves that it is not the most effective to keep out water in adverse weather conditions.

  • What is the difference between Sena 50R and 50S?

The Sena 50S has a jog dial control mechanism while the 50R has a button control mechanism. The 50S is slightly bigger and has a larger battery compared to the 50R, which has a sleek profile. 

The Sena 50S has a quick-release clamping mechanism that allows the module to detach for charging, while the 50R must be permanently fitted to the helmet.

The Sena 50S is slightly more expensive than the Sena 50R. The 50S also comes with three microphones compared to just two for the 50R.

  • Is Cardo better than Sena?

This answer boils down to a rider’s personal preferences and priorities when it comes to picking out their motorcycle communication module.

Sena has a more reliable app that automatically pairs to the module. The jog dial on a few of its models is a great option for riders who wear gloves. 

It also boasts of a number of models that are designed to work well with other Bluetooth modules, making it a great buy for large riding groups.

On the other hand, Cardo models work very well when all the riders in a group have models from this brand only. It offers better audio quality and has waterproof models that make it more durable and rugged in adverse weather conditions.

  • When did the Sena 50S come out?

The Sena 50S was released along with the Sena 50R in April 2020 in North America. The models were introduced as the new flagship communications devices from the company with upgraded mesh technology and other features such as better audio quality and robust build quality.

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