If you’ve 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. This was a 2-way communicator mainly geared towards the outdoorsy people. Over the years the technology was slowly moving towards an all-in-one GPS + Satellite communicator.
However over the years I’ve been receiving feedback that a main drawback of trying to go full inReach is that most of the time people don’t want to get yet another GPS devices or not being able to use their Garmin maps on the new device.
Another drawback is the cost of buying a new device that is essentially uses for text messaging and with the use of smartphones, you are working between two ecosystems. Another main problem is that the SMS number that would be assigned to you would rotate so that you are constantly telling your contacts to expect a text from an odd number. On top of that, the messages you exchange on stuck on the device and not on your smartphone.
Those are the problems that ZOLEO are attempting to solve with their new satellite communicator and associated smartphone app:
- Unified messaging app to send sms or email messages across cellular, wifi or the iridium satellites based on the best option.
- Offline messaging in wifi (when the device is off)
- Dedicated SMS number & email until you unsubscribe from the service (like when you are selling the device)
- Check-in, Weather & SOS functions found on inReach using iridium satellites
I did a quick Cost-Of-Ownership compare table to show the difference between the ZOLEO, inReach and SPOT which are the main competitors in this space (at least in North America).
For service plan between the three, I selected the middle plan.
Buy online via Roadpost here.
|Device Price||$199.99||$349.99 (iR mini)|
|$349.99 (Spot X)|
|12 months subscription||$420.00 ($35/month)||$299.40 ($24.95/month)||$239.40 ($19.95/month)|
|Suspend Service?||✅($4/month)||✅(annual fee $24.94/year + freedom plan)||✅(annual fee $23.95 /year + flex plan)|
|Weather via Darksky||✅||✅||❌|
|Dedicated SMS & email address||✅||❌||❌|
Learn more about ZOLEO here: https://www.zoleo.com/