This Commander helmet is actually surprisingly good. If you stack it up against other helmets with built in communication systems anywhere near this price point, it’s really, really good. Purchasing a helmet and a communication system separately does have one major advantage over purchasing an integrated setup like this Commander, options. It enables you to find the very best fitting helmet for your head, and couple it to the communication system that best suits your needs, with a control setup that is easy for you to operate. There are definitely numerous advantages to integrated systems, though, as well. The biggest one is cost. Purchasing a helmet with an integrated unit can save you hundreds of dollars in some cases. Integrated systems also typically come fully assembled, so there is no installation required, or compatibility to consider. Most complaints of poorly performing speakers and microphones in add on type units aren’t the fault of the headset, but a result of poor installation. You can avoid all of that with helmets like the Commander. Integrated systems also typically have a much lower physical profile, since the unit is recessed into the shell. This makes the unit more stable, and therefore easier to operate, and also doesn’t buffet as much at higher speeds. Let’s take a look at some of the features. First, we’ll take a closer look at the helmet itself, then I’ll go through the functionality of the Bluetooth communicator. The shell of the Commander helmet is made of ABS and polycarbonate and carries DOT and ECE approvals. It’s available in sizes extra small thru double extra-large, and the fitment is accurate per the size chart. I have a twenty three and a half inch head circumference with a long oval head shape and this extra-large fits perfectly. This helmet does have a little weight to it, coming in at almost four pounds, but that really isn’t too bad considering this helmet is equipped with a communication system and an interior sunshade. Speaking of sunshades, the Commander’s is spring loaded and deploys easily by pushing this little button. To retract it, you just slide this lever. The sunshade feature is one that could use just a little bit of fine tuning but overall is very good. I personally would bring the sunshade down a little bit farther when it’s fully deployed so that you aren’t looking at the bottom edge of it, and I would turn this button around so that you are using the side with the larger surface area. Also, the static position of this spring loaded system is the down position, which I would also reverse. If the release button fails, not that it would, the shield would be stuck in the down position. I would prefer a sunshade be stuck in the up position, for safety reasons, and so I could still use the helmet at night. While we’re looking at shields, let’s take a look at the face shield. The optics are pretty good, but the areas where this shield really shines are in both the quick release system, and in the eye port gasket. The release system is very easy to operate, and reinstalling the shield is as easy as pressing it against the baseplate. The eye port gasket on this commander seals as well as many of the helmets out there with spring tensioned baseplates. This is especially important on helmets with communication systems because of the reduced wind noise. One of the toughest tasks given to helmet to be used with a communication device is ventilation. You want the helmet to be cool and comfortable, but the helmet also has to be relatively quiet. O’Neal has done a pretty good job of getting this helmet to shoosh. The adjustable vents on the crown work with the exhaust vent ports that are integrated into the spoiler to draw cool air into the helmet and extract hot air out. There is also a vent on the chinbar to minimize shield fog. The vent system gets some help keeping the helmet quiet from the removable, washable liner. The cheek pads have a very unique design. They are very pronounced near the eye port, and extend all the way up to the top of the temple. This creates a seal around the ear that not only helps keep out the wind noise, but also creates a speaker box of sorts that amplifies the sound coming out of the speakers, making this one of the loudest communication systems I’ve heard. If you remove the comfort liner, you can see a very sophisticated EPS liner for a helmet of this price point. This liner is multi-piece and multi-density. The polystyrene in the crown is much softer than the material used in the perimeter, and is deeply channeled to help with ventilation and impact absorption. The Commander’s physical features make a good platform for this Blink Bluetooth Communication System. Let’s take a closer look. This system features a rechargeable lithium polymer battery, so the first step, before you do anything else, is a full charge of the battery. The battery is located behind a cover that is located underneath this rear portion of the neck curtain. I prefer to remove this neck curtain for charging to keep the charger plug from wearing into the material. To access the charging port, you can either rotate this rubber plug out of the way, which is kind of tough unless you have nails, or just remove the cover altogether. Once the battery is charged, you are ready to sink your helmet to either another helmet, or to your cell phone, GPS, or MP3 player. You can only sink to one other helmet with this system, and the secondary user must be within about ten yards for the systems to communicate. Press the MFB, or Multi Function Button, for three to four seconds on the primary helmet. The blue LED should be flashing. Press the MFB on the secondary helmet for six to seven seconds until the blue and the red LED’s are flashing alternately. Turn the MFB clockwise on the primary helmet until the blue and the red LED’s are flashing. When you release the button, the helmets will be ready. To talk to the other rider, either helmet can initiate a conversation by pressing the MFB once. A few seconds later the other headset will ring, and the wearer can answer by also pressing their MFB. Pairing a phone or other device is pretty standard. First, activate the Bluetooth antenna on your phone. Next, with the communicator turned off, press and hold the MFB for seven to nine seconds. Regardless of what name comes up in your phone’s Bluetooth menu, just choose the one that wasn’t available two seconds ago. You will know if pairing was successful because the red light will disappear and the blue light will flash slowly. To answer a call, press the MFB briefly. To end a call, press the MFB again. To reject a call, press and hold the MFB for three seconds. These are the basic phone controls. Detailed phone operations instructions can be found in the instruction manual that comes with the helmet. The final control functions I want to clarify for you are volume control versus track selection. To adjust the volume, rotate the MFB briefly forward or backward. If you are using your phone for music playback, and hold the volume control too long, you will select the next or previous track from your playlist.