Anyone use ZOLEO satellite communicator device?
Mar 8, 2021 at 8:41 pm #3703335Anthony HBPL Member
So I got my Dividend check back from REI and I’m really looking at getting the ZOLEO satellite communicator device. Anyone have or use this device and have pro’s and con’s on it? I was looking at the Garmin InReach Mini but its 150.00 dollars more and I hear mixed reviews on it. Some things that I found mentioned in reviews is its Frustrating (if not primitive) screen operations and connectivity to the website; website navigating confusing; sometimes Garmin server down, Battery life is a bit disappointing, and the programing for sending messages is quite poor to name a few. Any thoughts would be appreciated. ThanksMar 8, 2021 at 8:56 pm #3703336Lowell kBPL Member
I have a Zoleo, and had the Mini too. I prefer the Zoleo, easier to use for me, less steps to send the check-in message I usually send (one button to push), sends a minim map picture to my wife when I hit the check-in button, easier to turn on/off, I really like the text messaging feature, a little heavier than the mini but less expensive.Mar 8, 2021 at 9:18 pm #3703340Michael BBPL Member
A relatively recent review about their service.
Andrew Skurka did a review as well, you might Google it, he is usually pretty thorough.Mar 8, 2021 at 10:13 pm #3703343
It is great to see another device on the market and it looks very good. I read the reviews that exist and for me the Inreach Mini still seems a better choice. The biggest advantage mentioned for the Zoleo is its “seamless” messaging. I really don’t have any problem with using the Garmin app on my iphone to assist with messaging on my Inreach. After that, the Garmin seems to win out on multiple counts: (1) It is lighter. (2) I like the fact that the rudimentary screen on the Inreach allows for texting even if the iPhone is not functional. (3) The Zoleo does not do tracking! I go off-trail solo for a week at a time and depend on tracking as a back-up safety precaution so that if I become incapacitated it will be much faster to flag that I might be in trouble and to actually locate me. I suppose that if you check in frequently on the Zoleo one might be able to locate you by GPS through your last text? I don’t know. Skurka is correct in ignoring the intial price difference in the devices; the maintenance plans quickly render that initial cost as a moot issue.Mar 9, 2021 at 9:32 am #3703392John S.BPL Member
and Garmin now owns the center that will respond to non-plb distress calls.Mar 9, 2021 at 7:22 pm #3703491Josh JBPL Member
@uahikerMar 9, 2021 at 9:20 pm #3703511
I forgot to mention one more item, and it also concerns tracking. In addition to the safety offered by leaving GPS breadcrumbs while I hike, I also depend on tracking to document my trips. The tracking offered by GAIA GPS is really detailed but very “expensive” in energy use. I can easily rip through 60% in iPhone battery in one day. I figure that the weight savings offered by relying solely on Inreach tracking even offsets the weight of the device. So the inReach tracking feature offers a double-advantage for me.Mar 10, 2021 at 5:42 am #3703532Alex HBPL Member
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Cameron that is lot of power use. I have a Moto G Power with admittedly a large 5000mAh battery but only use 2% per hour with the CalTopo app so for 8 hours of walking 16-18% drain.Mar 10, 2021 at 6:37 am #3703536
Cameron that is lot of power use.
Yes, it is a high figure that has been consistent across at least four different iPhones I have owned. GAIA claims that even though their sample rate is high, power consumption would not change if they dialed it back to one or two minute samples, probably because the GPS is constantly in seek-mode regardless of sample rate. Could it be that you are only consulting CalTopo but not doing continuous tracking? Off-trail, I have continuous tracking on and I also wake up the iPhone constantly to check my position. I don’t use it to tell me where to go but I certainly do constant reality-checks.
However my attribution of power use to GAIA may be incorrect and I should do a careful test isolating GAIA use only. I take a ton of photos which could be another prime power culprit. (I also never realized until this last summer how much the photo-taking slows me down. Walking with someone else, I kept falling far behind! The photo-taking probably adds an hour to my hiking time every day, but for me it is an essential way that I engage in the landscape and what I am doing.)
Returning to your calculation, Alex, I walk 10-12 hour days. So let’s say that amounts to at least 24% drain on your 5,000 mAh battery = 1,200 mAh. The typical fresh best-case battery efficiency is around 70%. So that one day of Caltopo use costs 1,714 mAh in battery. That would mean that a typical 10,000. mAh Anker battery would only give you 6 extra days of GAIA use, and it weighs over 5 oz.Mar 10, 2021 at 4:18 pm #3703665Michael SirofchuckBPL Member
@mr_squishyLocale: Great Wet North
I’m an Old School KISS kind of guy. I bought a DeLorme InReach for a very low price when Garmin bought them out, discontinued the DeLorme models, and released their new Garmin models. Yes, it’s a little heavier, but I like the simplicity of using just one device for satcom and not having to depend on a smartphone. It does what I want – two-way satcom as well as tracking my route and posting it to an online website my family and friends can access. The battery is VERY long lasting, especially if I only turn it on to send a message. It uses Iridium satellites, so I know I have worldwide coverage and experience has borne this out. The subscription is not too expensive and it’s easy to created preset messages and import contacts.Mar 11, 2021 at 5:05 am #3703718Alex HBPL Member
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Could it be that you are only consulting CalTopo but not doing continuous tracking?
That is continuous tracking and stopping to check locations, etc. I have been keeping an eye on it this winter as I have been exploring a new area near me, off trail.
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