Blu Armor C30 motorcycle communication system review - on a budget!
Helmet or motorcycle communication systems have been a desirable piece of gadget for a while now, but your options have been largely restricted to some expensive (Rs 15,000+) systems from Cardo or Sena or relatively inexpensive systems from Asian brands that we haven't even heard of. Of course, there have been some value-for-money options like the Sena-backed Parani, but the audio quality will leave you wanting. This is where the Indian brand Blu Armor (known for its helmet coolers) aims to disrupt the market with its C30 range of helmet communicators.
To begin with, the C30 has a chunky form factor that may not be to everyone's taste, but compared to some of the other compact communicators in its price bracket, the buttons on the C30 don't need a toothpick to be operated and work well on the go even with your gloves on. I'm yet to test the device in the rain so I can't comment yet on the waterproofing of the C30 or how the ergonomics are with thick rain gloves. The chunky form does create a fair bit of wind noise at speed and I'm worried about how well it will allow the helmet to deflect in case of an accident. The more expensive communicators usually have a more compact and slippery form and their mounts are designed to easily break away in case of impact. I would therefore recommend that you install the C30 as rearward as your helmet allows to make the mounting point relatively safer.
The mounting of the C30 has been a bit tricky on my Icon Airframe helmet since it doesn't have enough room for the speakers, mic and wiring, but the second unit we had on test was easy to install on an Arai XD4 which has a lot more room. So you might want to check your helmet first before placing an order for the C30. If you have multiple helmets, it's pretty easy to move the entire kit from one element to another, but you might need to order more 3M velcro stickers from Blu Armour (or Amazon) which are needed for fixing the speakers and mic in place. The communicator itself can be fixed using a simple snap-on clip or a 3M adhesive mount - whichever you prefer.
The pairing between the device and the phone or between two devices is pretty simple using the provided app. The C30, astonishingly, also supports mesh communication, which allows multiple riders to connect in a group ride and communicate amongst themselves. We couldn't test out this feature due to the lack of enough compatible devices in the group, but we could test the two-way intercom feature between the rider and pillion and it works quite well. Two riders can use this feature too, but beyond 400m, the audio/connection starts breaking.
Bundled with JBL speakers, the audio quality on the device is decent and reproduces the bass quite well too, but there is no way yet to fine-tune the audio settings to your liking. The quality of calls is clear and the mic picks up and transmits the rider's voice clearly at speeds up to 60kmph. Beyond this (at least on my helmets) the wind noise because quite pronounced for the listener. While the C30 does these basics well, it still needs to iron out Bluetooth connectivity issues. Once in a while, the music audio skips, the calls become inaudible or the device loses connection completely, and this is one grey area that Blu Armor acknowledges and has been at work with it through constant software updates. While the connectivity does take away from some of the experience, the constant support from the team is a positive sign and it's only a matter of time before they fix these niggles.
There is no denying the fact that the C30 offers a far better experience than many of the other solutions in this price band and if you are on a budget, the C30 is an excellent communicator to get that will tick most of the boxes for you that the other devices won't.
Price: Rs 10,999
Where to buy: TheBluArmor.com
Words Rohit Paradkar
Starts Rs 99,950