Zoleo Satellite tv for pc Communicator Evaluation – 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 Larger Sydney), it doesn’t take lengthy for cell 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 take into account group as together with the emergency companies and those that might have to come back and provides me a hand if one thing goes improper within the bush, then carrying some type of a satellite tv for pc communication machine is completely important.

Zoleo deep in Wollemi Nationwide Park

There are two major sorts: 

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 companies, equivalent to AMSA in Australia; and 

2. Handheld Satellite tv for pc Communicators

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

Other than utilizing completely different satellite tv for pc networks, the primary distinction for us as customers, is that gadgets like Zoleo, permit us to speak two-way with mates, household or emergency companies. This could possibly be something from, “Hey, I’m having a ball, staying one other evening out right here” or “Terrain powerful going, very sluggish and working late. ETA at vehicles 11 pm. All OK.” To vital medical or rescue data equivalent 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 permit for particulars to be shared in an emergency

Zoleo (enjoyable truth: the identify 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 rather more.

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

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

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

Smartphone App

It was after I paired the machine with the Zoleo smartphone app, that I actually appreciated the complete spectrum of what this palm-of-your-hand little bit of equipment 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 proper quantity of capabilities – not too few and never too many – and as a consequence, it feels good.

Easy messaging by way of the smartphone app

Preliminary Setup

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

It’s right here that you just select your @zoleo.com electronic mail tackle and are issued with an Aussie cell quantity so you’ll be able to obtain textual content emails and SMS. Trace: In case your emergency contacts have these particulars they’ll 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 got with International Rescue in the event you activate an SOS from the app.

You’ll be able to ship easy ‘I’m OK’ (free) messages from the machine in addition to SOS.

Consumer 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 powerful 200+ hours from a 2-hour cost time) and bars that point out satellite tv for pc protection are notably useful. 

Throughout a take a look at, deep within the Jamison Valley, it was fascinating 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’ll be able to change the interval time between when it checks for messages (I had it set at 12-minute intervals), if it detects there aren’t any satellites above, it received’t chew battery life by regularly attempting to ship/obtain. After a couple of minutes of watching the display, I noticed 3 bars of satellite tv for pc abruptly seem and immediately, the Zoleo began to ship/obtain, regardless that the 12 minutes wasn’t up. Sensible.

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

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

Would you want breadcrumbs* with that?

The added fries function of a Zoleo subscription is the choice so as to add the Location Share+ function for $7.95 per 30 days. In case your contacts have the Zoleo App put in, they’ll observe alongside vicariously, because the armchair traveller in your adventures. That is good for nervous mother and father (or principals) of college or Scout teams.

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


On longer journeys, the flexibility to entry climate forecasts could be the distinction between an incredible expertise and a reasonably strange one. Getting an up-to-date 4-day forecast (in your location or a distinct 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. In the event you’re in a slender 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 should take for much longer. 

Personally, I’ve discovered Iridium to be more practical than GlobalStar and this can affect my selection of satellite tv for pc communicator sooner or later, nevertheless, you will need to word that I additionally carry a PLB. It is a private selection.


At $320 – 345 AUD** + month-to-month subscription of both $32, $55 or $80 – (nb: all plans embody limitless Test-in and SOS Alerts) versus $540 Garmin InReach Mini 2 or $470 Garmin Messenger/ACR Bivy, the Zoleo stands above its opponents 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 buy my time, however you’ll be able to’t purchase my opinion. This publish contains affiliate hyperlinks from which I could earn a small fee, when you pay no extra… win-win.

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

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