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Old 02-14-2010, 04:03 PM   #1
owrstrich OP
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Interphone F 4 Intercom Review

the story... i have been using the camos system since the first release of the bhs 600 4 years ago... i was upgraded to the bts 200... then i was upgraded to the bts 300... all 3 of the camos systems worked as advertised although was always yearning for more volume and longer battery life... now... its time to move on...

it turned painful looking through pages and pages and pages of reviews from around the world for the chatterbox... scala rider... interphone... midland... all of them... most of the info on the new scala rider g4 and interphone f4 came from distant lands where the units were initially released and folks have had some time with them... also talked to some of these folks... they were very helpful...

i decided to go with the interphone f4... one reason is because its waterproof... confirmed by reading euro reviews of folks who have been riding in torrential rain... it seems to be waterproof per their reports... another reason is the battery life... i know bluetooth sucks the battery down especially in full duplex intercom mode... but the reviews were consistent at about 10 to 11 hours of on time using the intercom + gps + cell + mp3... also... the sound quality and the ability to hear each other on the super slabb was important... really important... and the final significant reason was webbikeworlds assessment... its their favorite pre g4... we shall see post g4...

webbikeworld review + videos...

i checked around to find the best cash deal... the best customer service... the best return and warrant situation if needed...

i ended up scoring 2 units for $400 out of pocket delivered from wirelessriders.com... the folks... tony and dempsy were 100% spot on... they answered my questions... i paypaled the cash... they were shipped the same day... i received them in socal from missouri in 2 days... i gotts to say the motorcycle joints were about $50 more with some charging tax and some charging shipping and some tax and shipping free... but i just felt good about wirelessriders.com ... they are not just gadget guys... they are riders too...

upon receipt i charged the units and mounted them... all straight forward as per webbikeworld and the f4 manual...

advrider has been a tremendous information source to me... so im paying it forward with a review of the recently released unit... the interphione f 4 bluetooth intercom system...

these f 4 units are new out of the box... on initial full charge... paired in rider passenger intercom mode...

1... battery life test... enabled the intercom at 6am... disabled the intercom it at 9pm... its was still strong with no signs of low battery... thats 15 hours on... jabbering most the time except for 1 1/2 hours at lunch... so... im thinking 13 1/2 + hours in full duplex mode anyway...

2... music test... non bluetooth music player with wirevo bluetooth unit... paired instantly... worked as advertised...

3... cell phone test...bluetooth motorola... pared instantly... worked as advertised...

4... gps test... are you ch1tt1ng me... i aints gots no stinking gps...

5... the sound level... kbc ffr helmet with rider wearing 30db earplugs and hjc symax hlemet with passenger wearing 32db earplugs.. good to at least 100mph... probably much faster than that... the volume was never an issue... we had everybit of volume we wanted...

6... the sound quality... same helmets and earplugs as 5... perfect sound level and quality... wow... better than anticipated... with visors down the intercom is crystal clear and the cell phone is crystal clear and the music is stereo quality.... with visors up the wind noise made it hard to hear above 30mph... with visors down... perfect so far... im thinking if we were using open face helmets we would be sending these back because of the visor up noise... but since we ride with closed face helmets with the visors down... yeeeeeehaaaaa....

7... distance test... in hindsight i should have clicked off the tenths on the odo... o well... gut feeling... it was at least a 3/8 mile unobstructed and it had more distance to go...

just a note... the kbc ffr is an xxl so not much room for speakers... i used the supplied velcro to mount the speakers and mic... i had to fuss with it to get the speakers lined up to the ear canals... the hjc symax is xs so there is a deep gap between the ear and the helmet shell... i used armaflex foam tape to build up the speaker holes to move the speaker close to the ear canals... then i used the supplied velcro to mount the speakers and mic... it took some doing to get the speaker location right... but since we used these helmets for camos intercom... we had a hand up on 1st time installers...

the kit... everything seemed to be quality... even a spare mic wind sock was supplied...





1 wall charger will charge 2 units... less to pack... it all adds up...



the right speaker has a jack... would be nice if both speakers had a jack for ear buds...



i was concerned the mic boom would be too short for my enormous head...



its not really my head that is enormous... its my snood... i have an enormous snood...



i mounted both units with my own velcro... cause im gonna use them on more than 1 helmet... the supplied clip look to be fine quality and would be too much to mess with on an ongoing basis...



i mounted it high enough so the bottom speaker mic connector would not hit the ground with the helmet laid flat... also low enough so the flip up bar doesnt interfere with the mounting...





nosecone...



silicone...



there you go...

j o

owrstrich screwed with this post 02-14-2010 at 09:37 PM
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:46 AM   #2
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owrstrich,

Thanks for doing such a detailed review. I'm still doing my search for the right system for me and this one is on the short list along with the G4 and who knows?

Great work. I love this place.
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Old 02-15-2010, 04:38 AM   #3
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Is there a way to plug in earbuds? Ideally, I'd like a system that has helmet speakers for around town, while at the same time be able to plug in earbuds for longer jaunts.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:23 PM   #4
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rodger that...

it was between the g4 and the f4 for us... i hate wasting money and buyers remorse... i did my due diligence and then some... but as everything... the f4 isnt for everyone... but no buyers remorse here... but it did take 4 hours to achieve full recharge on a totally dead battery...

i donated my camos stuff to the kingpin of the midwest motobrick bandits... he scored a set this year... now he has some spare ch1t if he needs it... including the ear bud adapter that i never got to use...

the f4... you would have to do some cutting and soldering for this system to accept ear buds...

i took camos 3 years for them to release an oem plug for ear buds... perhaps interphone will release an oem plug in the future...

yesterday we rolled another day ride with these things... the intercom was in full duplex mode for about 12 hours and was still going strong... the volume and sound quality was still perfect...

tonight i fitted the f4 to mickis brand new shoei multitech... its was way easier than the kbc or the hjc... i had forgot what a quality helmet was like...

j o
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Old 03-10-2010, 12:25 PM   #5
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waterproofing update...

i rode in torrential rain over the weekend... it took out my lumix camera which was in a zip lock with an apparent pin hole... but the rain had no adverse effect on the interphone f 4...

now i need to upgrade my cell phone cause the cell battery in the moto razr gets wiped out fast...

but for the f 4... battery life and sound quality and everything overall still +1...

j o
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by owrstrich
the f4... you would have to do some cutting and soldering for this system to accept ear buds...


Have you actually tried buds? In your pic above, the jack in the right speaker is a 3 conductor pin. Just wondering if you would still get stereo out of it if you plugged in buds. I can't see any other reason to use a stereo 3 conductor pin vs a mono 2-conductor going to just the right speaker.


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Old 03-12-2010, 04:55 PM   #7
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interesting... im gonna try it tonight... will let you know...

ok... jvc marshmallow ear buds... the jvc jack is larger than the interphone jack... must be 3.5mm vs 2.5mm... me no got...

j o
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:36 AM   #8
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I am really interested in this product. Anyone have experience connecting to a ZUMO and streaming music?
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:14 PM   #9
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Anyone using the F4 with an iPhone 3G? I have read about some issues and trying to determine if they have been resolved. I will be pairing the 3G to Zumo 550 to the headset.

Not to hijack the thread but has anyone seen the SENA SMH10? Cool idea but I'm not sure how the jog dial will be in the rain.

Edit: I spoke to the folks at Sena and they tell me the Jog Dial will be fine in the rain.
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtMerchant
Anyone using the F4 with an iPhone 3G? I have read about some issues and trying to determine if they have been resolved. I will be pairing the 3G to Zumo 550 to the headset.

Not to hijack the thread but has anyone seen the SENA SMH10? Cool idea but I'm not sure how the jog dial will be in the rain.
I don't have an F4, but if you're having issues with A2DP and the iPhone, apparently the iPhone doesn't support A2DP controls yet (i.e. play, next, etc).
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nnichols
I don't have an F4, but if you're having issues with A2DP and the iPhone, apparently the iPhone doesn't support A2DP controls yet (i.e. play, next, etc).
OS 3.0 updated the iPhone to support A2DP. I don't have the F4 yet; just trying to get my head around the pros and cons of the various units.....

This is a cut and paste from HERE that had me concerned

BlueAnt F4: Not iPhone friendly, January 15, 2010
By bugman (Arkansas) - See all my reviews
I have owned a pair of these since November (I bought them within a day of their availability in the US), and have lots of miles on them. Don's (Daugherty) review is excellent, and I won't repeat it. I have used these on both my custom Harley (loud) as well as a cruiser, and I can tell you that volume is fantastic, as is the fidelity. However, as Don notes, they are NOT iPhone friendly. The problem is not the A2dp compatiability (BlueAnt tech is using that excuse, but is using old iPhones), as only the first generation iPhones and iTouch's had that problem.
See this link for proof: [...]

The problem is that the BlueAnt F4 is NOT sending the "pause" code when it enters intercom mode. It does send the proper code when it enters telephone mode (the music stops playing and returns when stopped). You do get the music back when the phone call terminates. When an intercom "call" terminates, you can not get back to your music without taking out and fiddling with the iPhone.

Don noted that the external (redundant) Bluetooth adapter works (sort of true), in that the music returns. However, the music has continued playing while you were on intercom, proving that the F4 did not send the pause signal. If it HAD sent the pause signal to the iPhone (or iPod), you would not have to use the external Bluetooth device.

What is bad about the external Bluetooth device hanging on your iPhone? It costs extra, for one. More importantly, it absolutely drains your iPhone battery quickly (you are running 2 Bluetooths on the phone!), AND you can't have your phone plugged into the bike for power since the Bluetooth adapater is occupying the iPhone charging slot!

So, if you aren't using the iPhone as your music and phone device, I fully recommend the BlueAnt F4. However, if you are an iPhone user, you will be frustrated, as the 10h battery life of the BlueAnt means nothing when your iPhone craps out in less than 4 hours !!!

BlueAnt can fix this with a protocol change, and I surely expect them to. Until then, iPhone buyers beware.

AND

Blueant F4 Stereo Bluetooth Interphone Motorcycle Kit, January 14, 2010
By Donald Daugherty "Don" (Oklahoma) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
Just received two of these and installed them on mine and my wife's helmets, easy install. This is the third set of headsets I have purchased for my Goldwing. First I tried the J&M corded model. Could hardly hear my wife even when the bike was not moving, plus the cords are a pain. Then I got the first version of the Interphone for Motorcycle (one speaker) much better product, no cords and worked well; however, I am hard of hearing so when riding I could never hear when a phone call came in, if I slowed to a stop I could then have a discussion; yes I know that is the safe way to use the phone but you can't pull off and stop if you never hear the call come in. Now I have the new version the Interphone F4. I have not used it on my bike yet because it is too cold to ride; however, when playing my Ipod around the house I have to turn down the volume because it is too loud. That never happened with either of the others. There is a problem with these headsets if you use IPHONE or ITOUCH, even though both of my apple devices are bluetooth stereo models they will not work properly. When you switch from intercom back to music they will not restart -- lots of fussing to make them come back on again. I contacted interphone and was told Apple does not support the "A2DP protocol" to make the Apple products work properly you need to add an adapter to them that does support the A2DP protocol. So... I happened to have such a device that I use in my shop to broadcast my XM radio to my bluetooth headset. I synced that adapter with my headset then plugged the adapter into the Iphone and "bang" it works perfectly with the interphone f4. Bottom line, I am very happy. Even though I have not tried these on the road yet, I am positive that I will be able to hear much much better than any other previous headset I tried. Also, note I am hard of hearing so I am not a great judge of sound quality but these speakers put out a lot of sound, both highs and lows.


I really want this unit to work, hopefully they have fixed this issue.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:30 PM   #12
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They haven't fixed the issue. You can't manipulate tracks using remote control with the iPhone because it doesn't support AVRCP.
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memery26
They haven't fixed the issue. You can't manipulate tracks using remote control with the iPhone because it doesn't support AVRCP.

According to Apple it is supported in 3G / 3GS and Touch V2; see HERE
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Old 03-14-2010, 03:39 AM   #14
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Hmmm, seems like a great product. I've got a Starcom Digital 1 now but hate always having to plug and unplug the helmet cord every time I'm on and off the bike. I think the F4 and the Zumo550 would be a great combo.

They claim a distance of 500metres...would it make a difference if that 500meters was between two F4s or if that was between an F4 and a Zumo? The reason I ask is because I have a few friends that have Starcoms and Zumo550s. If I buy an F4 will their Zumo be able to pair with it and they would hear/talk to me via their StarCom/Zumo combo? Clear as mud right?

Also, any F4 battery charge options off the bike other than a 110v inverter? 12v or USB would be handy.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtMerchant
According to Apple it is supported in 3G / 3GS and Touch V2; see HERE
Yes, you can stop it and start it, but not change the track, fast forward, or fast rewind.
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