Zoleo Satellite Communicator Review

While treading the backcountry, communication is usually a problem. Many times cellular networks and WiFi are fluctuating, and sometimes, unavailable. 

There are crucial moments when you need to communicate with your folks and vice versa. For such times, you will need a means of communication that doesn’t just depend on mobile networks and WiFi. 

This is where Zoleo Satellite Communicator comes in. With ZOLEO, you have access to seamless global messaging. 

It is very portable, durable, and easy to use. There is a covering on the SOS button to prevent false alarms and quick access to check-in (OK) messages.

Overview

The ZOLEO Satellite Communicator has two packages, the ZOLEO device itself and a mobile app. You can send and receive messages from both. 

As for the device, you can send two message types: SOS and Check-In. Honestly, this might be the most important reason you need a satellite communicator; emergency and assurance.

Once you trigger the SOS alert, an emergency message from your location will be sent out. GEOS (Zoleo monitoring partner), a world-leading 24/7 SOS monitoring agency, will respond and send dispatch.

If you lose your ZOLEO device, it’s possible to find it when it’s within Bluetooth range. Just tap “Find my device,” it will emit a sound and pink LED lights on your device. It’s that easy! 

Description

The device has a very cool design, with black and green being the main colors. 

Carrying it is easy as it doesn’t put any extra weight on you or your travel pack. 

It is very compact with a weight of about 5 Ounces. Its length, width, and thickness are 9.1cm, 6.6cm, and 2.7cm, respectively. So small, small like a bar of soap, and fits perfectly into your hand.

It also has a super solid feel, like I could drop it down a mountain and still won’t be worried (but I wouldn’t, please don’t). 

Other visible features include a micro-USB port, power button, Check-In button, and an SOS alerting button.

Mistakes happen; it’s possible to trigger the SOS alert mistakenly. Because of this, the SOS button is covered so that the alarm will not go off unintended. 

It has LEDs for SMS, power, check-in, and SOS. The lights from the LEDs serve as indicators for the corresponding buttons. The device is dust-resistant, shock-resistant, and water-resistant. 

It also has audible alerts for messages. You can also set your desired tone for these alerts.

It comes with a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery with a charging time of 2 hours and a battery life of over 200 hours. In the box package, you will also find a lanyard, carabiner, USB cable (50cm), and a quick start guide. 

How it works

The most significant advantage you enjoy with this satellite messenger over most communicator devices is seamless messaging. 

You can send and receive messages via cellular networks and WiFi. However, in the backcountry, it’s very typical for networks to be unavailable. ZOLEO will automatically switch the network means to satellite network (Iridium). With this, you are never stranded. 

Device Setup

Before using the device, ensure you check the following list.

Register your ZOLEO device.

Download the smartphone app

Select a package plan

Synchronize your phone with the device.

How to Send Messages

You can send your messages from the ZOLEO device or the mobile (android and iOS) app. With the device, you can only send SOS and Check-in. But from the smartphone app, you can do more than that. 

To use the app, you have to connect the app with the ZOLEO device through Bluetooth. Once connected, you have access to an SMS of about 160 characters and an email of about 200 characters. There is an advantage if the recipient also uses a ZOLEO app (even without the device). The characters can be up to 950.

Once you send an SOS, your signal and GPS coordinates will be sent to the ZOLEO dispatch partner, GEOS. Then you will receive a confirmation of the reception of your alert. If it was a mistake/false alarm, you can cancel it.

For the Check-in, your message will be sent to your check-in contacts (the contacts you add). You can also include your location; this is, however, optional. With this, they get to know that you are OK.

How to Receive Messages

As a ZOLEO user (owner), you get a dedicated phone number and email. The email usually has a format of yourname@zoleo.com. You can give these details to your contacts to enable them to reach you through any device or platform.

zoleo

Mobile Messaging App

With the ZOLEO smartphone app, you can enjoy their following features:

SMS: you can send and receive SMS.

Email access: you can also send and receive emails.

Real-time chat: You can chat with your contacts when they download the ZOLEO app (even without the ZOLEO device)

Access to a two-way satellite network

Use with cellular and mobile network.

Free App Usage: You can invite your contacts to use the ZOLEO app without (them) purchasing the device.

Weather Forecast: Get access to hourly and daily weather forecasts. Also, you can get current weather conditions for certain locations.

Increased Character Limits: With all your contacts using the ZOLEO app, you can have up to 950 characters limit, beyond the normal character limit of 160.  

Find Your Device: let’s say you misplaced your device; you can find it using your smartphone. Just tap the “find my device” in the app, your device will emit a loud sound and pink lights.  

Easy Check-in: Tap check-in to send a message to let your folks know you are OK.

2-way SOS Alert: You can trigger an SOS alert, and GEOS will respond. 

What’s more, you can exchange updates through the app until the situation is under control.

ZOLEO Plans and Pricing

You can get the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator for $200, but you will need to make a monthly subscription too. There are three packages in the ZOLEO monthly plans: Basic, In Touch, and Unlimited. 

The suitable one for you will be dependent on how frequently you want to use it.

Note that all these plans by default include a custom email address and SMS number, unlimited SOS messaging, and flexibility to modify, suspend, or cancel your subscription (terms and conditions applied). 

Below is a list of what you get in each package per month:

Basic

Monthly fee of $20

Unlimited Cellular and WiFi messages

Additional messages cost 50¢/ea

25 satellite messages

Satellite SOS alerts

GEOS SOS monitoring services.

In Touch

Monthly fee of $30

Unlimited Cellular and WiFi messages

Additional messages cost 25¢/ea

250 satellite messages

Satellite SOS alerts

GEOS SOS monitoring services.

Unlimited

Monthly fee of $50

Unlimited Cellular and WiFi messages

Free additional messages

Unlimited satellite messages

Satellite SOS alerts

GEOS SOS monitoring services.

What Makes ZOLEO a Better Satellite Messenger

Seamless messaging

It is lightweight and compact. 

It is resistant to shock, dust, and water.

Tethering to a mobile phone could be a disadvantage as the app features (which are not available on the device) will be an extra demand for your mobile phone battery. And once the battery is dead, access to these features cease.

Verdict

With $200, ZOLEO Satellite Communicator is relatively cheap for its features and functions. This device hits the market with the greatest advantage of seamless messaging that is unbeatable presently. 

You need not worry about it being an extra burden as it is light and compact. The instant app-app messaging with friends and team makes an excellent feature. 

Another edge you get from this satellite messenger is the ability to suspend your subscription. When you think there’s probably no need for the device at the moment, maybe you are thinking of postponing your adventure. In that case, you can suspend your subscription and activate it when you are ready (terms and conditions apply, check the T & Cs on the ZOLEO website).

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