The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Senz Smart S Review

The Senz has a fun look but does not provide a lot of rain coverage and is difficult to store.
Senz Smart S
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Price:  $38 List
Pros:  Stylish, does well in wind
Cons:  Awkward, difficult to store, sharp edges
Manufacturer:   Senz
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2017
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40
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 12
  • Rain Protection - 30% 3
  • Ease of Transport - 30% 6
  • Durability - 20% 3
  • Ease of Use - 15% 3
  • Style - 5% 5

The Skinny

This unique-looking umbrella trades style and novelty of design for functionality. In its defense, it did line up aerodynamically in the wind, giving it a slight performance boost, but the canopy was too shallow, the shape awkward to stow, and the design didn't improve rain protection in any of our reviews. In the now-immortal words of one of our reviewers, "better umbrellas have existed than this one."


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Senz Smart S looks smart, but when it left us wet and grumpy, we were less impressed.

Performance Comparison


The Smart S umbrella.
The Smart S umbrella.

Rain Protection


The Senz Smart S is a bit of a wild card in the rain. Due to the asymmetrical design, we often got wet on one side. We thought the design would keep our backpacks dry when walking through rainstorms, but that was often not the case. In our OGL Rain Test, raindrops struck at the upper thigh and mid-bicep.

The Smart S umbrella has a funky shape that doesn't help its rain protection much.
The Smart S umbrella has a funky shape that doesn't help its rain protection much.

For a similarly light and compact umbrella that has excellent coverage, check out our award winner, the Lewis N Clark.

Ease of Transport


The asymmetrical design of the Senz Smart makes the canopy bunch up unevenly when you collapse it. This makes it hard to stuff back into the storage sleeve.

The Smart S umbrella is compact but lopsided which makes it difficult to store in its storage sleeve.
The Smart S umbrella is compact but lopsided which makes it difficult to store in its storage sleeve.

Otherwise, this is a relatively compact and lightweight model, similar to the Lewis N Clark.

A side-by-side view of the products in this review  complete with a standard yard stick for reference. Compact umbrellas are on the left. From top left  reading like a book: Lewis N Clark  EEZ-Y  Sea to Summit  Blunt  Senz  and Gustbuster; fixed shaft on the right: Helinox  Swing Trek  Glamore  totes
A side-by-side view of the products in this review, complete with a standard yard stick for reference. Compact umbrellas are on the left. From top left, reading like a book: Lewis N Clark, EEZ-Y, Sea to Summit, Blunt, Senz, and Gustbuster; fixed shaft on the right: Helinox, Swing Trek, Glamore, totes

Durability


The Senz Smart S did well in our OGL Wind test, sustaining winds up to 40mph. It takes on the wind aerodynamically, lining itself up into the wind naturally. It inverted easily at 10mph but reverted easily too.

The Smart S umbrella's durable  flexible tips.
The Smart S umbrella's durable, flexible tips.

The Gustbuster Metro and the Blunt XS Metro are two more contenders specifically designed for the wind. None of these products were overly impressive: in most cases, the windproofing focus detracted significantly from other more desirable features.

The Senz Smart S umbrella has a lot of sharp metal edges that can be difficult to work with.
The Senz Smart S umbrella has a lot of sharp metal edges that can be difficult to work with.

The Senz has a lot of metal moving parts, which is less durable than fiberglass (such as in the Swing Trek or Helinox), but it does have flexible tips which save the canopy from bumps and collisions in crowds.

Ease of Use


The Senz's metal canopy hinges always seemed to be close to our fingers, which made us cautious when handling it because we felt we could get pinched or snagged unexpectedly. This umbrella does not provide a "soft" design, nor gentle handling. For this, our favorites were the two award winners, the Swing Trek LiteFlex Hiking and the Helinox Trekking. But the Blunt XS Metro also had a very nice feel with the smooth runner and the hidden rib tips.

The Smart S umbrella has some sharp edges and joints that pinch.
The Smart S umbrella has some sharp edges and joints that pinch.

The button on the Senz seems to be there to lock the canopy open or closed, but it functions the same without pressing the button. This umbrella opens and closes, thus, completely manually, and we found the closing phase to be difficult.

Style


The Senz certainly gets style points, even at rock bottom. The cool, asymmetrical shape as a certain "je ne sais quoi," a sort of wind-swept hairdo look. For another funky umbrella, take a look at the Blunt XS Metro. Or if you just want something simple and ordinary that works well and isn't trying to make a statement, we appreciated the Lewis N Clark Umbrella.

Best Applications


The Senz Smart is another product best purchased for the stylish, interesting, and novel design, not because it is more adept at keeping the rain off the user.

Value


If you can find this model on sale and you like the style, this could be a great value.

Conclusion


The Smart S umbrella.
The Smart S umbrella.

This product did not excel in our two most important categories: Rain Protection and Ease of Transport.


Lyra Pierotti