Accessories . Similar to this, there is also the Bivystick, if people are interested in comparing: The inReach devices offers GPS navigation, through the device itself (sometimes limited) and also in the Earthmate app. The ZOLEO platform â comprised of the device and the app â offers seamless messaging across all connection methods. Using a Personal Locator Beacon for SOS instead of a device with 2-way communication like the the inReach is borderline anti-social. Direct cost comparisons are difficult because each company offers different types of service subscriptions and terms of service. If the correspondent in civilization equips themself with the free ZOLEO app, two people can correspond with even longer messages than if the civilization correspondent were using just an email address or phone number. I see the Zoleo notification on my phone, I know it’s family, not some Chinese phone hacker trying to scam me, or a survey, etc . Yes, you can communicate with emergency responders through the zoleo app. I very much prefer Windy and Meteoblue. So conversations can be continuous, and no incoming messages are missed because they were sent to the app not use in use. Bivystick -Best Satellite Communicator, Weather forecast, SOS service, Tracking and location sharing, 5200 mAh backup battery. I’ve never understood why people want to text so much while backpacking, that’s one of the things I enjoy leaving behind. At the very least, with this attribute and a good understanding between you and your emergency contacts in civilization, if you damage or lose your smartphone you can still let people know that you are safe. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. The person sending the message doesn’t need to know where the recipient is to get the message through. An accidental depressing of the SOS button is unlikely, though I’d be comforted if its snap closure required more force to open. And that’s the single biggest advantage of this platform, that the messaging experience is seamless whether you are in the backcountry or in the front country. How many years do you expect to get out of these SLO (Mustang?)? Since they both use the Iridium network, this is what you’d expect. We like that a help message can be sent either from the app or from the device alone. Here’s a new one that’s worth consideration: the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator ($200, 5.3 oz), which debuted in January. You might have a connection now and lose it in minutes. In certain terrain (dense forest, inside buildings, deep and narrow canyons), you might never get any sort of satellite signal. We especially like that conversations in the. It isn't perfect, but it introduced an attribute that will raise the bar of other options. From the device, two messages can be sent: Notably, the unit does allow for location tracking, like on a 5- or 10-minute basis. Can you please elaborate? From the ZOLEO app, texts and emails can be sent using: In comparison, an inReach owner uses at least two messaging apps (personally, Google Voice and Garmin Earthmate), often resulting in disjointed conversations and missed messages, especially for those who bounce regularly between the frontcountry and backcountry like thru-hikers, avid weekend warriors, international travelers, and residents of very rural areas. There are other, smaller options on the market, but not by much. My engineering take, minus my XLS, is that Zoleo will come The Zoleo device, in use on a hike in Death Valley National Park. You can operate it without service fees, or if you want there is an option to pay a fee to be able to send as many texts and email as you like. This is fairly consistent across the handful of two-way satellite messaging products on the market. Outdoor Maps Hunting Maps Wearable Maps DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer. Preview: Altra Lone Peak 4.0 || More durable upper & new stickier outsole, Review: Hoka One One Clifton 5 || Iterative changes from 4th gen, Long-term review: Suunto Ambit2 GPS watch || Training + navigating revolution. With a 2-way communication device, you can provide first responders with additional details about the situation, so they know what they are getting into and what kind of response is required. I just returned from two 7-day trips in the San Juan’s in southwestern Colorado, and the weather forecasts that clients were pulling on their inReach devices were utterly useless and inaccurate. We dig it. We had hoped to use our InReach Mini’s to communicate with each other when Missions spooled up. Thinking of getting Zoleo. The exterior is made of a rubberized plastic, and seems to offer a good balance of weight, durability, and grip. GearLab is reader-supported. They can find out from you what the exact problem and urgency is, and mobilize a more appropriate response. If you want a messenger that can feed GPS information to your phone, then you could use the inReach Mini and your phone (with Earthmate app). We only wish one could do even more directly on the device, without the app. However, when the recipient also uses the ZOLEO app (which is free even without purchase), the cap is increased to 950 characters, or the equivalent of about six text messages. This website is supported by affiliate marketing, whereby for referral traffic I receive a small commission from select vendors like Amazon or REI, at no cost to the reader. There is such a difference in plan costs that when looking at total cost of ownership, the plan cost is the biggest if not only factor. Would this suffice or could you or any others suggest another option that may be more advantageous? Typing in the smartphone app will always be easier. At the moment it is not clear what will happen in the future, but InReach and Zoleo might have to switch to another weather provider. So far this has not worked out well with the InReach. When the Garmin inReach Mini ($300, 3.5 oz) was released two years ago, it seemed like the holy grail: reliable two-way messaging, location-based weather forecasting, and functional GPS navigation in a palm-sized package. The Zoleo is also the least expensive unit, costing $100 less than the inReach â¦ In my opinion, as far as pricing goes, the price of the device is irrelevant. As an added perk, if your contacts send and recieve messages from you through the ZOLEO app (which is free), messages can contain up to 950 characters. This is similar to other products on the market. Second, and more importantly, the Mini has a small screen that: This latter use is probably rare, since the Mini will most often be tethered to a smartphone, but it’s a nice option to have “just in case.”. The messages always work, even when unit is off. I tend not to put too much stock in the retail price of these units, however, since its lifetime cost is largely determined by the monthly service fees. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. As an example, here is a seamless conversation I had with Dave, sent over both Wifi and satellite: The 5.2-oz devices shares similar dimensions as a Canon ELPH camera (3.58 x 2.6 x 1.06 in), and lacks an awkwardly protruding antenna. If you’re okay with standalone messaging and GPS, then you could separately use the Zoleo or any inReach device (Mini recommended) and your phone (with Gaia). 2020 © Andrew Skurka. Thank you for researching. The Iridium® based ZOLEO satellite communicator offers everything you need to stay connected and secure when venturing beyond cell coverage. Some additional reading for you, https://andrewskurka.com/navigation-system-equipment-watch-compass-altimeter-gps/. This is nice. Do you have any feel for the timing of Garmin’s product cycles and if we might expect an updated mini any time soon? Thankfully, we did not have to employ the SOS messaging attributes of the ZOLEO. Curious why the inreach has not worked for you. The inReach, Bivy, ZOLEO, and Somewear products use the same satellite network with global coverage. The Iridium network covers the entire earth but is subject to all the ubiquitous vagaries of satellite communications. The Zoleo platform, which is comprised of the device and the app, offers seamless communication across all connection methods. Apps. A sampling of the tested devices, showing relative sizes. Hi Andrew, I noticed you said the zoleo has no navigation , but you are able to navigate using the Gaia gps app. Did you get to compare battery life between the Garmins and this unit? Handhelds Satellite Communicators Off-Road Adventure Watches Sportsman & Tactical Sporting Dogs Household Pets. around to tracking via this device and for no more $. The unit does not have a screen. And there is already one other on the market. I would not trust them with my life. Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. Messages can be sent directly with the ZOLEO unit, or using the ZOLEO smartphone app (which connects to the unit via Bluetooth). In you review you write “Notably, the unit does allow for location tracking, like on a 5- or 10-minute basis.” I can’t find any information in the user manual or online on this feature. Our test team has extensive experience with this communication network and can vouch for it. Feature/Benefit inReach Explorer®+ inReach SE®+ inReach Explorer inReach SE SPOT; Price: $589: $499: $495: $395: $149.99: Coverage/Satellite Network: 100% Global, Iridium: 100% Global, Iridium: Most Land Masses. Otherwise, the ZOLEO messaging experience is better in every way. The Safety plan includes unlimited preset messages but only 10 custom messages ($0.50 per overage); tracking, location requests, weather forecasts are available but are charged a la carte. and the ability for the user to view or compose customized messages from the device itself. The ZOLEO is a brand new, mature contender in the category of two-way satellite messengers. In contrast, if the recipient has it in reach, they’re probably not walking around town with it on, some messages sent to the inreach aren’t received. In my mind, I imagine that “rattlesnake bite in the middle of nowhere and puking guts out” and “injured myself and can’t walk, but have shelter and food for a few days” might cause two very different responses. Do messages sent from the Zoleo include embedded GPS location info so that the recipient can click on it and see on a map service (gogle maps or something comparable to Earthmate) where it was sent from exactly? HeyDan: I was wondering if you could provided a little more insight into the Zoleo. The one major advantage of the zoleo is messaging happens seamlessly regardless of whether you’re in the front country or the back country. If you want integrated messenger and GPS functionality, then you should look at Garmin inReach Explorer. We have had a busy season so we need a reliable solution. The ZOLEO website is well designed, in terms of both its aesthetics and intuitiveness, and I successfully sent my first message about thirty minutes after unboxing the device. Something we’ve been testing in my workplace is Everywhere Communications. For outdoor activities the ensemble forcast is a game changer as it allows to get an idea for the worst case. You help support OutdoorGearLab's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners. High route guides, a free food e-book, and signed copies of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide. It is the only unit to have a dedicated phone number for fully transparent text messaging.â Adventure Alan Top Pick - â¦ The ZOLEO device is almost as small and light as the smallest options on the market. I can give a cell number that only family knows, and it will get messages to my phone, even when Zoleo is off. One of the best features are comparing multiple models (Windy) and the ensemble forecast (Meteoblue). How does the ZOLEO stack up against the Garmin inReach Mini? Garmin’s inReach service is available in four devices, with my favorite being the inReach Mini (my preview) because it’s the lightest and least expensive option while still having all the functionality as the other units (assuming it’s paired to a smartphone). We are pleased with the portability of the ZOLEO. Otherwise, the ZOLEO has messaging, satellite coverage, portability, and ease of use that tops the field. When you push the sos button does it have the same function as the inReach? All satellite communications require an unobstructed "line of sight" between the device and the satellite it is communicating with. Please check your entries and try again. If you are in range for standard data you would continue to receive messages even if the Zoleo is turned off if you are not in airplane mode or have data turned off. ZOLEO enters a market with just two other brands: SPOT and Garmin. From the ZOLEO app, three types of messages can be sent: SMS is capped at 160 characters; email, at 200. Discover . I’m not aware of anything new from Garmin. inReach® Mini is a compact hiking GPS & satellite communicator that serves as your go-to connection for off-the-grid contact. https://forums.garmin.com/outdoor-recreation/inreach/f/inreach-mini/169222/weather-report-via-inreach-for-mountaineers. Thanks, With inReach satellite technology from Garmin and a satellite subscription, you can stay in touch globally. In addition to the extra demands on your phone (which is really not a big deal), you are also paying for a separate GPS nav app. Looking for a product to take into the back country and use with the Gaia Map app but need a more reliable GPS receiver than the one in my phone. Well the unit will not grab messages from satellites when it’s off, your messages will continue to come through the app delivered by Wi-Fi or cell service. When you click on links to buy products we may earn money to support, Excellent network, seamless communication, some on-device functionality, No on-device message viewing or composition, no tracking, heavier than close competitors. A circumnavigation of the remote upper headwaters of the Tuolumne…, The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide (Second Edition): Tools & Techniques to Hit the Trail, Review: ZOLEO Satellite Communicator || Seamless messaging, Free download: My 12 go-to breakfasts & dinners, https://andrewskurka.com/navigation-system-equipment-watch-compass-altimeter-gps/. Does the Zoleo offer tracking or is it just a messaging service? The ZOLEO is polished and effective. ... Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator PART NUMBER: 010-01879-00. Bivystick Satellite. I think it’s been on the market two years now? Easy to dismiss and say “well, you just need line of sight.” Yet somehow, my phone invariably manages to get a position faster. Maps . Likewise, can someone use the Google maps app to gauge their location on a map with Zoleo? With the Expedition Plan, everything is essentially unlimited. Please check your email for further instructions. Thanks for the review, sounds great. Thanks Andrew! As a hiker, I don’t particularly see the value in this service (as opposed to, say, a pilot or sea kayaker), but I know that some backpackers do use it. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for ZOLEO Satellite Communicator â Two-Way Global SMS Text Messenger & Email, Emergency SOS Alerting, Check-in & GPS Location â Android iOS Smartphone Accessory at Amazon.com. Sure, it could get smaller, but not by much. Affordable monthly plan. The ZOLEO does as well or better than most, but will never replicate the ease of texting with cell signal or wifi. The messaging reliability seems about the same between my inReach and the ZOLEO. If youâve poked around the website over the past 6 years, you would have seen my many posts about the Delorme (now Garmin) inReach satellite communicator device. They seem to work ok in cities, but I have seen a few times that their model was way off in the mountains. The ECMWF weather forecast is the best for mountain weather and tends to be superior to the NWS GFS weather model. The newsletter is sent once per month, max, and normally contains informative reviews and skill tutorials. The ZOLEO platform — comprised of the device and the app — offers seamless messaging across all connection methods. The Garmin inReach Mini (MSRP $350) and the inReach Explorer+ (MSRP $449) are satellite-based communicators that share a common set of capabilities in terms of emergency communication, two-way messaging, tracking, and navigation. Scroll to the section “GPS technology”. In essence, we are looking for Satellite paging and texting that actually works, which the InReach never seems to do. The construction feels solid, and the subscription options are clean and competitive. Let us know! Inreach Mini Messaging Capabilities. For owners, the messaging is centralized (in the ZOLEO app), rather than being split between conventional messaging apps (when using cell service or Wifi) and the Garmin Earthmate app (when using the inReach). Thanks for subscribing! SPOT offers the SPOT X (my review), which I wouldn’t recommend. You might not see a signal right now, but it could appear in a little bit. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. It feels robust, and all the buttons are secure and weatherproofed. Contrary to popular belief and the lack of their own advertising, it is capable of one-way texts and emails. If you trigger an SOS with a PLB, you are asking first responders to put themselves in harm’s way with zero information about the situation.