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UClear HBC200 Helmet Communicator

  • Product: HBC200 Force Communications System

    Manufacturer: UCLEAR

    Website: www.uclear-digital.com

    MSRP: Single Unit: $249.95 - Dual System: $449.95


    Reviewed By: Lucky

    Overall Rating: Excellent

    [UCLEAR Profile]

    Where to Buy: Motorcycle Dealers, Amazon.com, UCLEAR Website


     

    Manufacturer's Description:

    UCLEAR – Loud & Clear. Our exclusive wireless noise canceling communication essentials are designed to enhance the lifestyle of our customers. UCLEAR has been created with the vision to bring the patented Advanced Digital Signal Processing technology of military and industrial applications to the home consumer scene. This enables our collection of UCLEAR innovations to manage the dynamic surrounding noise with focus on speech clarity and the duplex conversation.

    Our HBC200 is a Helmet Communicator without boom microphones

    • Connect in many ways. Latest Bluetooth technology allows you to make and take cell phone calls, connect directly with others, and listen to your favorite music.
    • Include everybody in the conversation. Full-duplex intercom system expands connection availability to an unlimited amount of riders in your group and increases the connection range up to .4 miles between each HBC200 unit.
    • Make sure they hear what you’re saying. Boomless mic, high-quality speakers, and noise suppression and patented ABF® technologies eliminate road and engine noise and other ambient sounds for clear conversations.
    • Talk to the lead riders even if you can’t see them. With 10 users connected, Multi-Hop Technology® extends maximum range to nearly 4 miles and allows non-line-of-sight connections.
    • Ride in any weather. Water and temperature resistant. Operating temperature from -30ºC (-20ºF) to 60ºC (140ºF) ensures reliable operation even in extreme weather.
    • Keep your hands on the handlebars. Voice-activated pick-up allows hands-free operation.
    • The HBC200 installs in most helmets quickly and easily


    Kit Includes:

    • HBC200 control unit
    • 2 high-fidelity speakers with embedded microphones
    • Brackets for mounting controller to helmets
    • AC/USB charger
    • Velcro speaker mounts for attaching speakers to helmet

    Note: Dual System includes 2 each - control unit, speaker set, mounting accessories


    Review:

    I tested the HBC 100 system with multiple devices including the iPhone 5, iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy S4, TomTom Rider Navigation System and a second HBC200 for helmet to helmet communication.  Testing was also done using multiple helmet styles including my half helmet, a 3/4 helmet (with and without a face shield) and a full face helmet.  Each device/helmet combination was tested in various types of riding conditions including open road, busy highways and inner city.  Since I live in Southern California, I could only test it in one type of weather: SUNNY :-).

    The basic system includes the HBC200 Helmet Communicator Control Unit, Stereo Speakers, AC Charger, and Mounting Hardware to mount the system on most helmet types - with the exception of a beanie style half helmet that doesn't have ear flaps (more on that below).

    If you plan on using the system on more than one helmet, I would recommend buying a second set of speakers ($39.95) and a second control unit mounting clip ($4.99) .  Then to use your second helmet all you need to do is remove the Control Unit from its quick release mount, snap it on to the second helmet, plug in the speakers and you're ready to go!

    To use the speakers with a half helmet that doesn't have solid ear flaps you will need to purchase a set of audio ear pads which are sold separately.  The ones I used were made by Echo Helmet Accessories (see photo to right). They installed easily on my helmet using two velcro strips that hold them securely to the helmet straps and then the speakers are held securely and comfortably in the built in pockets.  Helmet audio pads can be found at most motorcycle dealers, motorcycle accessory stores and through many online sites at a cost of around $15.00.

    Installation and setup of the system is very easy and took me less than ten minutes.  The speakers are installed in the ear cavity of a full face or 3/4 helmet and held in place with velcro pads, or slipped into the pockets of the audio pads on a 1/2 helmet.  The wires running between the left and right speakers can be concealed by gently sliding them up between the helmet padding and shell with the edge of a credit card .  The main control unit is secured to the outside of the helmet using one of the included quick release brackets - one uses double sided adhesive tape to semi-permanently affix the bracket to the helmet, the other uses a clip style bracket that slips over the bottom of the helmet.  I personally preferred the adhesive bracket because it was a much cleaner look.  Once the system hardware was installed on my helmets, all I needed to do was pair it with my phone and to the second unit installed on my wife's helmet for helmet to helmet communication.

    Pairing the device with your cell phone or music player is very simple.  Just hold the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons for two seconds and the system is in "pairing mode".  Then follow the instructions on your bluetooth device (phone, music player, etc) to complete the pairing and you're ready to go.  Pairing the HBC200 with another HBC200 for helmet to helmet communication is just as easy.

    All of the functions of the HBC200 are controlled with just three buttons on the main control unit that's mounted on the outside of your helmet.  The buttons are large enough to find easily and press, even with heavy gloves on.  All of the common functions used while riding are accessed by pressing just one of the buttons.  The system also works with basic voice commands such as saying "hello" or "pick up" to answer a call and voice dialing to make a call (if your phone supports voice dialing).

    I tested the HBC200 using the different phones and music players and different style helmets with the same positive results each time.  As expected, the sound quality of my voice to the person I was talking to was even a little better with the 3/4 helmet with a face shield and with a full face helmet, the person I was talking to said the quality was that of a land line even when I was riding at high speeds. 

    The new feature of the HBC200 (vs the HBC100 we tested last year) was the bike to bike communication.  The HBC200 can be pair with multiple other HBC200s so that an entire group can talk together.  The range from HBC200 to HBC200 is about .4 mile, however with Multi-Hop Technology® extends maximum range to nearly 4 miles and allows non-line-of-sight connections as long as you maintain .4 miles between each HBC200 unit.

    Up to two BlueTooth devices to be connected to each HBC200 system and are assigned the following priorities...

    Phone
    Intercom
    Music

    For example, if a call comes in while listening to music, the call will take priority. When the call is terminated, the music will automatically come back on. You can switch from music to intercom or vice versa.

    However I found that when using my navigation system it was easier to pair my phone to the navigation system and then the navigation system to the HBC200.

    As for the battery life, the company states the battery life is 2 weeks standby and 10 hours of talk time.  There is no doubt that it is at least that because I've been using it heavily for just under two weeks and forgot I was supposed to charge it.

    Overall, I was VERY impressed with the HBC200 and would recommend this as THE system to buy for anyone in the market for a Bluetooth helmet communication system.  Not only does this system out perform all of the others I have tried, it does it without a boom microphone hanging out in front of your face.  Even after the guys at UCLEAR explaining to me how it works, I still think it's magic :-)

     
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    Note: Please only use the comment area on this product review if you have actually tried this product and would like to share your experience or opinion of it.

Comments

1 comment
  • astrorileysprout
    astrorileysprout I have the HBC 200 set and recently bought an extra set of speakers for an additional helmet. I got the pro series and I like the speakers a lot. The new pro series are more clear and louder. I recommend this product.
    November 19, 2013