Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Zoleo Satellite tv for pc Communicator Assessment – Lotsafreshair


Getting the message out

The place I reside within the Blue Mountains, (the place a lot to the native’s dismay, is taken into account a part of Better Sydney), it doesn’t take lengthy for cellular protection to drop out alongside even the preferred bushwalking tracks and trails.

The sharing/democratisation of knowledge on-line has meant that so many extra of us are discovering locations to go, but additionally want to contemplate what’s ‘accountable’ adventuring. Accountable to the earth, to our family members and to the group. And if we contemplate group as together with the emergency providers and people who might have to come back and provides me a hand if one thing goes mistaken within the bush, then carrying some type of a satellite tv for pc communication system is completely important.

Zoleo deep in Wollemi Nationwide Park

There are two fundamental varieties: 

1. Private Locator Beacons (PLB)

One button, one job, one-way communication = SOS, which makes use of the non-profit, international humanitarian Cospas-Sarsat System (made up of GPS, Galileo and GLONASS – these are Mid Earth Orbit ‘MEO’ satellites plus others) to speak instantly with emergency providers, akin to AMSA in Australia; and 

2. Handheld Satellite tv for pc Communicators

Equivalent to Zoleo, Garmin InReach/Messenger or ACR Bivy Stick, which talk on the Iridium community or SPOT gadgets that use the World Star community. These are all in Low Earth Orbit ‘LEO’. When SOS is activated from these gadgets it’s obtained by way of a third social gathering 24/7 emergency name centre (normally within the US) and relayed to the related native emergency operations centre, akin to AMSA (Australian Maritime Security Authority) in Canberra.

Other than utilizing completely different satellite tv for pc networks, the principle distinction for us as customers, is that gadgets like Zoleo, enable us to speak two-way with buddies, household or emergency providers. This could possibly be something from, “Hey, I’m having a ball, staying one other evening out right here” or “Terrain robust going, very gradual and working late. ETA at automobiles 11 pm. All OK.” To essential medical or rescue data akin to: 

“Dan bitten by snake at 2.35pm. Utilized comp bandage and motionless. Nausea, delicate delirium, headache. Storm approaching, constructed shelter.”

2-way satellite tv for pc communicators enable for particulars to be shared in an emergency

Zoleo (enjoyable truth: the title comes from the LEO satellite tv for pc system) is a simple-to-use, 150-gram, water and shock-resistant gadget that may do that and far more.

It may be used stand-alone for fundamental communications like sending an SOS to emergency providers by way of the 24/7 World Rescue emergency centre, or a one-touch, ‘I’m OK’, to your pre-programmed emergency contact individual.

Each message mechanically contains your latitude and longitude coordinates and a hyperlink for recipients to view your location on Open Avenue Map.

Full functionality is realised when paired with a smartphone [image: M.Cairn-Duff]

Smartphone App

It was once I paired the system with the Zoleo smartphone app, that I actually appreciated the total spectrum of what this palm-of-your-hand little bit of package can do. Fortunately, it’s not weighed down with a bunch of capabilities you don’t need – like connecting to social media. The intelligent individuals behind this (Aussie firm Beam Communications and Roadpost in Canada) have created a Goldilocks gadget with the right quantity of capabilities – not too few and never too many – and as a consequence, it feels excellent.

Easy messaging by way of the smartphone app

Preliminary Setup

Out-of-the-box, the account setup by way of was simple and also you’re stepped via including your system, selecting your month-to-month plan, nominating your SOS and Verify-in contacts (they are often completely different) and including further options like Location Share+*.

It’s right here that you simply select your e mail handle and are issued with an Aussie cellular quantity so you may obtain textual content emails and SMS. Trace: In case your emergency contacts have these particulars they will ahead them to native Police, to allow them to try to contact you direct within the occasion of an emergency. That is along with the continued communication channel that you’ve with World Rescue if you happen to activate an SOS from the app.

You possibly can ship easy ‘I’m OK’ (free) messages from the system in addition to SOS.

Person Expertise

The app interface, which mimics normal messaging apps like SMS, WhatsApp or Messenger, is tremendous intuitive and straightforward to make use of. 

Display screen indicators present battery standing (with a formidable 200+ hours from a 2-hour cost time) and bars that point out satellite tv for pc protection are significantly useful. 

Throughout a check, deep within the Jamison Valley, it was attention-grabbing to look at the protection bars go up and down because the (invisible throughout daylight) LEO satellites zoomed previous at about 28,000 km/hour (that’s about 7.8 km per second) round 2,000 km above me. 

It was right here that I realised simply one of many smarts within the Zoleo: While you may change the interval time between when it checks for messages (I had it set at 12-minute intervals), if it detects there are not any satellites above, it gained’t chew battery life by regularly attempting to ship/obtain. After a couple of minutes of watching the display screen, I noticed 3 bars of satellite tv for pc instantly seem and immediately, the Zoleo began to ship/obtain, though the 12 minutes wasn’t up. Good.

WIFI, Cellular or Sat – it’s received you coated

Not solely does the Zoleo not chew battery, but it surely additionally works cleverly to not chew $$. When utilizing the app, it switches seamlessly between accessible WIFI, cellular community or satellite tv for pc, to ship/obtain by satellite tv for pc because the final resort. Which means if I’m on the essential subscription ($32/mth, 25 included SMS, 65c every extra**), I’m not losing a satellite tv for pc message on one thing that might have been despatched by SMS.

Would you want breadcrumbs* with that?

The added fries characteristic of a Zoleo subscription is the choice so as to add the Location Share+ characteristic for $7.95 per thirty days. In case your contacts have the Zoleo App put in, they will observe alongside vicariously, because the armchair traveller in your adventures. That is excellent for nervous mother and father (or principals) of faculty or Scout teams.

Breadcrumbs additionally gives the ‘no motion reported since’ functionality. That is significantly good for solo adventurers.


On longer journeys, the power to entry climate forecasts may be the distinction between an incredible expertise and a reasonably peculiar one. Getting an up-to-date 4-day forecast (on your location or a unique one) is as simple as tapping the cloud icon on the app. That is included within the month-to-month plans and counts as an SMS.


All satellite tv for pc communications want a transparent view of the sky – and the extra open terrain – the higher. For those who’re in a slim canyon or gorge, with solely a slit of sky above you, it means there’s much less time for these zooming satellites to be above you receiving your message. It could get it will definitely, however it can take for much longer. 

Personally, I’ve discovered Iridium to be simpler than GlobalStar and this may impression my selection of satellite tv for pc communicator sooner or later, nevertheless, you will need to be aware that I additionally carry a PLB. This can be a private selection.


At $320 – 345 AUD** + month-to-month subscription of both $32, $55 or $80 – (nb: all plans embody limitless Verify-in and SOS Alerts) versus $540 Garmin InReach Mini 2 or $470 Garmin Messenger/ACR Bivy, the Zoleo stands above its rivals as a dependable, easy, satellite tv for pc communicator.

**Pricing as at Jan 2023.

Purchase Zoleo right here.

A shorter model of this text first appeared in Nice Walks Journal. After testing the Zoleo for this assessment I agreed to come back onboard with Zoleo as an envoy. You should purchase my time, however you may’t purchase my opinion. This submit contains affiliate hyperlinks from which I could earn a small fee, whilst you pay no extra… win-win.

Lights and sound warn you to standing [Image: M.Cairn-Duff]


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