Friday, January 20, 2012

There's music in the air! (UClear Helmet Communicator / Speaker System REVIEW)


You may remember my post pre-Christmas 2011 about the Uclear Helmet Communicator (here is the link if not). I finally got the UClear strapped onto my Trek Riding Helmet once down in California and I can say it was everything I hoped !

Firstly, disclosure as we are in the USA and it never hurts to be honest. This product was sent to me to test and review on the bike. I will discuss the pros and cons of my initial usage and give you an idea of whether it is a product you might add to your cycling adventures.

Installation of the Uclear HBC130 is pretty easy. There are a few spare parts that make the prospect of installation seem difficult initially but once broken down to the speakers and control unit it is quite a quick process. As I installed the unit I was quite happy that the speakers and control unit were very light. The added weight has not been noticeable during long duration or offroad riding.

Removal for racing or riding sans-music is easy and leaves you with only a small Velcro sticker on the sides of helmet.

Velcro stickers attach the little speakers firmly to each side of helmet and a Velcro strap with clip for the main control unit allows for secure use and easy removal for charging. I went with a rear mount of the unit since I would not be testing the Communication function (video below) and because my helmet offered a relatively easy nook to install the controls. Typical installation seems to be left side mounted controls as shown HERE. There is an extender cable if you prefer to put the controls in a pocket.
 ** I used small twist ties to fasten the rubber speakers to the helmet, this may be a tweak worth looking into as there did not seem to be a provided method of fastening the speakers to the helmet.

My first installation was too far rearward and so sound was not loud enough in the wind but as I moved the speakers forward and the sound was quite good in all conditions. My flowing long locks may be a slight issue in the use of this device getting close to skin, but my latest ride with the unit was quite good so I am confident a few more tweaks in my positioning will make it perfect.

Battery Life is superb with the unit blasting tunes from my Iphone wirelessly for over 5hrs. Charging is pretty quick and accomplished via the provided and specific USB cable. 

Sound will likely not appease the biggest music fans but having stereo sound back after years of one ear bud  riding was very neat and sound is quite good, especially when slowed down and/or away from traffic.  
BlueTooth Connection to my Iphone 4 was flawless and very easy to  connect, even while riding with helmet on. Controls allow for skipping songs, changing volume and pausing. The 3 button interface makes use very intuitive.
 
Video for the Communication and Noise Cancellation Properties


This is a super product with a lot of potential, I look forward to more use over the next few months in California both on and off road. Hopefully adding in a few calls and maybe a friend with intercom features for great conversation while riding !

Please see the Uclear product info and homepage here
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