Sena wants you to have an action cam. How? By creating a low-priced entry into the action camera market in the form of the Sena Prism Tube. For just $119, you get a 1.0-inch diameter by 3.9-inch length aluminum cylinder capable of capturing about two hours of 1080p 30fps video and audio. Once mounted to the rider’s helmet via the included mounting system, operating the unit couldn’t be any easier. Simply sliding the ring around the outside of the tube forward turns the Prism Tube on and begins recording. It’s that simple.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Let’s take a look at the unit itself.
The design is compact and clever. One of the biggest issues with mounting an action cam on a motorcycle helmet is getting the orientation of the camera correct. Sena simplifies this by making the mounting bracket responsible for the up/down orientation while the camera rotates to level the horizon. A red-colored raised portion of the on/off switch indicates which way is up. However, this ease of adjustment is also the Tube’s biggest weakness. It is far too easy to accidentally rotate the Tube in its mount while turning it on or off. The good news is that a well-placed piece of tape easily negates the issue.
The Prism Tube is sealed from the elements with the exception of the back end of the unit where the MicroSD card is inserted, the format button is located, and MicroUSB plug that charges the battery and allows the external microphone and speaker to plug in. These openings are protected by a rubber gasket and screw-on covers (one for use without the external microphone/speaker and one for use with them), meaning you can use the Prism Tube in all weather. The speaker gives audio feedback for starting and stopping recording and low battery so that the rider can be certain that the unit is operational.
Two other external features of the Tube bear mentioning. The first is the LED on the top rear of the Tube, which indicates recording and charging status. The second is the small hole on the bottom of the on/off switch that uncovers the built-in microphone when the unit is powered on.
If you want to have your video files encoded with the correct date and time as their creation, Sena made this possible for the user by putting a text file on the MicroSD card which the Tube reads and uses to set the clock. Very clever.
Our Prism Tube test unit has been all over the world at various bike introductions and performed flawlessly – with the one exception of its ease of rotation in its mount that we noted above. The video quality of the 125° view compares to its sibling the Sena Prism which similar resolution and costs significantly more. The audio quality is also good, though the microphone can be over modulated if you talk too loudly. With a little practice, you can learn to reduce the distortion.
In the Prism Tube kit, you get the Tube itself, a charging cable, a mount that has two means of attaching to a helmet (a clamp and a stick-on mount point, meaning you could use the two mounts on two helmets), and the microphone/speaker. With a retail price of $119, the Prism Tube is a great way to get into the motorcycle action cam game without breaking the bank.