Sena Prism Camera | SR Tested

Sena has entered into the action video camera market with its new Prism camera

Sena Prism camera

Sena Prism Camera

Buy It Now!Sport Rider

Makers of some of the better Bluetooth intercom headsets in the industry, Sena has entered into the action video camera market with its new Prism camera. In a market as cutthroat as the action-camera industry, Sena knew it had to make the Prism stand out, so it built in a number of features that aren't found anywhere else.

The biggest feature is Bluetooth 4.0 technology that allows it to be remote controlled via a headset intercom system like the Sena 20S (Sena claims compatibility with other brands as well). You can switch from video to various photo formats, start and stop filming, and even turn the camera off and on using the 20S. A smartphone app is also available that uses Bluetooth to allow easy navigation through the camera’s menu to make changes.

The Bluetooth also allows the user to record audio narration from the intercom (either from the user or conversation from a group if paired together) over the video, adding a new dimension to on-board videos.

The Prism comes with a waterproof case and multiple mounts, pieces that can cost extra with other action cameras. Everything from suction cup to stick-on or clip-on mounts are included, with all the mounting kits utilizing a ball joint providing omnidirectional positioning that is much easier than the multi-jointed rigs on other cameras.

The Prism camera itself measures 2.6 x 1.7 x 0.9 inches, weighs about 4.4 ounces, and is well built with a water-resistant casing and outer clear lens that protects the camera’s primary lens (unlike GoPro that requires use of the waterproof case to protect its lens). It can record video in 1080p resolution at 30fps; 720p at 30 or 60fps; and 480p at up to 120fps. It can also shoot photos in the following resolution/formats: 3.5MP/3:2, 3.2MP/4:3, 3.0MP/16:9, and 5.0MP/16:9. The camera has HDMI and mini-USB outputs, its lithium-ion battery is claimed to last up to two hours, and it records onto a microSD card (up to 32GB, not included). Raw video files are MPEG-4, accepted by most video editing programs.

Pairing the Prism with both our Sena 20S intercom and smartphone was a little finicky at first, but once we deleted the initial pairings and redid them, the camera paired up with both consistently. Controlling the Prism using the 20S intercom was a joy for the most part; being able to select when and where you are filming, as well as shutting off the camera during longer rides to save the battery (even though we found battery life to be excellent, accidentally recording an hour video without issue), was a godsend. And the ability to narrate a video, or even have your riding buddies join in the conversation, is huge.

The numerous mounting setups are easy to install, with the helmet mount kit standing out as the best. Using the same-style bracket as Sena intercoms that clip onto the bottom rim of your helmet, the mount provides a sturdy, rider’s-eye view, aided aerodynamically by the fact that the Prism mounts longitudinally rather than laterally as with the GoPro. We did notice that some of the Prism’s taller single-pole mounting kits suffer from shaking over bumps that can affect video quality, which are likely caused by the concentration of weight at the end of the ball joint mount.

Video quality is excellent, and audio quality is good, though the camera’s built-in mic is too susceptible to wind noise above 30 mph; an auto-mute feature only uses the intercom mic when paired with a headset, but you need to ensure that is out of the wind as well. The Prism is also lacking a live view (either on the camera or through the app) that allows you to see what the camera sees, but Sena reps say a solution update will be available soon. And it’s best to only have the Prism paired with the intercom; we had a few issues when we also paired the intercom with our smartphone while riding.

Despite those minor gripes, we like the Sena Prism and feel it has massive potential. This is the company’s first try after all, while the others had a big head start.

Retail: $399

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