Zoleo Two-Way Satellite Communicator
The Zoleo Two Way Satellite communicator was first launched by Zoleo in January 2020, As a joint venture between Beam Communications Pty. Ltd Australia and Roadpost Inc Canada.
The unit was launched in the UK in the summer of 2022, we have been selling the Zoleo device since its UK launch and have been very impressed with how it performs and what it can do.
What is the Zoleo ZL1000 Two Way Satellite Communicator?
For Anyone Who Ventures Beyond Mobile Network Coverage.
The Iridium® based ZOLEO Global Satellite Communicator offers everything you need to stay connected and secure when venturing beyond mobile coverage. With ZOLEO, you’ll enjoy seamless global messaging that follows you in/out of mobile network coverage, and a personal safety system you can count on world-wide. Simply connect the lightweight, durable ZOLEO device with the free app on your phone or tablet to enjoy: Two-way global messaging and SOS alerting, check-in, AerisWeather™ forecasts, the ability to share your GPS location, and more.
Zoleo Key Features
- Iridium Connected™ for messaging coverage everywhere on Earth
- Dedicated SMS number and email address (sharable, recognizable)
- SOS alerting button with 24/7 monitoring and dispatch included*
- Check-in button to let others know you’re OK*
- Includes 24/7 access to non-emergency medical advice via Medical Assist
- Free app for phones/tablets supports: Two-way messaging, Two-way SOS alerting, check in, weather forecasts, location sharing and more (the app also transmits via mobile network and Wi-Fi when available)
- 200 hours of battery life, checking messages every 12 min.
- Shock-resistant, dust- and water-resistant (IP68, MIL-STD 810G)
- Subscription required (sold separately, visit ZOLEO Plans)
- 2-Year Manufacturer’s Warranty
What is the Zoleo device like to use, our own personal experience
We have been using the Zoleo device since its launch in the UK in the summer of 2022 and have been very impressed on what this two-satellite communicator can do and how it performs, giving you peace of mind when you are out of mobile phone coverage.
Activating / Pairing with the Zoleo App & selecting your service plan
Activating and pairing the Zoleo device with the app was one of the easiest processes that we have done before with this type of device.
Included in the box is a very straightforward instruction guide, listing out the easy steps to take for activating and pairing with the Zoleo App.
The first thing we did was to charge the device via the included USB Micro Cable, a USB plug is not included but we just used a standard USB plug that we use to charge our mobile phone with, Zoleo do advise that a fully depleted device could take up to 4hours to charge, we only had to put our unit on charge for 1 hour.
You are then directed to the zoleo.com/activate website where you create your new account, once you are signed in it was a straightforward process to enter in IMEI & Serial numbers from the back of your device to start the activation.
We really like that you also get to create a Zoleo email address so that friends and family can also send you text messages via email and not just via phone texts.
What is also great is that your device also has a unique mobile number assigned to it which is emailed to you after activation, you can then simply give friends and family this number so that they can send you text messages without the need for the Zoleo App on their phone, great for family & friends who may not own a smart phone.
There are three different subscription plans to choose from starting from £18.00 a month, all of the information is clearly laid out to help you choose which plan is the best one for you – we have a great video our the Zoleo product pages Video menu tab that goes through the different plans – more info here
We like the flexibility that after a minimum of 3 months you can suspend your subscription until it is required again, so that you keep your Zoleo Mobile number that you are assigned there is a small monthly amount of £3.50 per month.
Once we had selected our plan we just had to add in some SOS / Check-in message contact details, you can add up to 5 check-in contacts, the pre-set check-in message is free to send to your check-in contacts, this is a great quick way to let friends & family know that all is okay and to show them your current location.
After completing your payment details for you account the final process was to download the Zoleo App to our Mobile phone to pair with the device.
Pairing with the App was one of the easiest processes that we have done, once the app was opened and the device icon selected it simply found the devices IMEI number with a prompt to pair, a process that took less than a minute.
Using the device in the field
Once you have your Zoleo device setup and activated it can be used standalone without a mobile phone as it has a Check-in and SOS button on the device itself, but to get the full benefit out of the Zoleo Device being able to send and receive text messages the Mobile App is required.
You do not need any mobile network / Wi-Fi coverage to use the app with the device to send & receive messages as these are sent via the Iridium Satellite system as long as your device has a clear view of the sky.
We do like that when the Zoleo device is paired with the Zoleo app that when you send text messages and have a mobile signal, your messages will be sent using mobile data and will not come off your satellite messages allowance, if you are then sent replies from the recipients and still have mobile signal they will also be received this way, when you have no mobile connection your messages are sent and received via the Iridium Satellite network.
With this method of sending & receiving messages it means you never miss messages when you are away with your device.
If you then turned off your Zoleo device i.e. in an evening when at your accommodation and you have mobile data, you will still receive any text messages or emails sent to your Zoleo number / email address in the Zoleo App.
Carrying the Zoleo Device
The tough compact device only weights 150g, measuring L x W x D): 9.1 x 6.6 x 2.7 cm (3.58 x 2.6 x 1.06 in).
With a Weather rating of IP68, MIL-STD 810G: shock-resistant and works in temperatures of -20°C to 55°C (-4°F to 131°F) the unit can be carried outside in all weathers.
You are supplied with a Carabiner clip in the box with your Zoleo Device to attach it to your backpack or belt loop etc for easy access.
There is also an additional Zoleo Cradle mount kit available that gives you more attachments methods, including a belt clip and strap infill mount – more info here
You can put the Zoleo device in the top zipped pocked of a backpack, it is personal choice to where you carry the device for ease of access if needed, but if you are using the Location Share Tracking function which lets family & friends track your live movements make sure that if the device is in your backpack top pocket, that it is facing up and has nothing on top of it, we have used the location share tracking function ourselves with the Zoleo device in our backpack top pocket with no issues, but we would recommend that you test this first in your own backpack.
Sending Check-in Messages and Activating an SOS directly from the device
The device itself has a clearly marked Check-in button with a tick icon and the SOS button is protected by a simple lift-up flap to stop accidental activation.
To simply send a check-in I’m OK message you simply momentarily press in the Check-in Tick Button, the ZOLEO will make a tone and show flashing green lights on the LEDs going clockwise while sending. It will repeat the initial tone three times and stop flashing when the message is sent.
In your check-in settings you can opt to also include your location with the message so that as well as your family & friends knowing that you are okay, they can see your location.
If you need to use the SOS button, you simply lift the SOS button flap and hold in the Red SOS button for 3 seconds, LEDS on the ZOLEO device will SPIN RED and a 10-second countdown start’s, The ZOLEO device will also emit an ascending chirp sound.
There is a 10-second countdown, during this you can cancel the SOS request by pressing & holding in the SOS button for 5 seconds.
We have not had to use the SOS button ourselves,
If you do activate the SOS button, your position location is sent every six minutes to the emergency response centre, this is helpful if you move from the location that you sent the SOS from i.e. for shelter.
The coordination partner will attempt to communicate with you via messaging over the ZOLEO app. If you are unresponsive, they will continue with their emergency protocol. Local 911 services or search and rescue services will be dispatched to your location.
you can message back via the Zoleo App with information about your situation and be kept updated to where the emergency services are.
The emergency response center will also contact your SOS contacts to let them know what is happening and to also find out any more information that may help them with your rescue i.e. information on where you were heading etc if known.
Using the Zoleo App
The Zoleo mobile app is very straightforward to use,
Sending Check-in Message or Activating an SOS
You can easily send Check-in message & activate an SOS directly from the paired Zoleo app on your phone, this is a great feature if you cannot reach your Zoleo device but it is within Bluetooth range and has a clear view of the sky.
To send a Check-In, you simply open up the Zoleo App on your phone, touch the Check-In button at the top of the screen; the button is a green rectangle with a white check mark inside.
To activate an SOS via the app you simply touch the SOS menu tab at the bottom of the screen and then hold down on the Red Send SOS box for 3 Seconds.
Sending & receiving text messages
One of the main functions of the app is to use it for two-way satellite messaging.
This feature is very easy to use and functioned like many other mobile phone messaging apps that you will be familiar with, you simply select the speech bubble message icon on the app and using a + icon search for an existing contact in your phone or type in a new number, type your message and send.
When sending your message you also have an option to include your location with the message.
If you have no mobile data and your Zoleo device paired with the app and a view of the sky the messages are sent via the Iridium Satellite network.
There is a maximum number of 900 characters per single text, please note you cannot send pictures but can include emojis.
One thing to remember is that if you receive messages back from family & friends and have no mobile signal hence the messages are received using the Iridium Satellite network these received messages will also count as part of your monthly satellite messages allowance.
You can also request weather data via the Zoleo App, please note weather data received via the Iridium Satellite network will class as one satellite message and come off your monthly satellite message allowance, we have found this a great way to be able to get up to date weather data when you are off-grid and have no mobile signal.
Each forecast includes:
Current conditions: current and apparent temperature, wind speed, wind bearing, visibility, UV index.
Hourly forecasts for 44 hours*: conditions, temperature, wind speed, wind bearing, expected precipitation (% and millimeters), type of precipitation.
Daily forecasts for 5 days: conditions, temperature (daily high/low), sunrise, sunset, expected precipitation (% and millimeters), type of precipitation.
This is a recently added feature in June 2023 which we have not yet used ourselves, this new feature via the app gives you access to non-emergency medical advice 24/7.
With a simple tap of the Medical Assist feature in the ZOLEO mobile app, users now have direct access to medical professionals for non-emergency help, anywhere in the world. Access to this innovative service is included for all ZOLEO subscribers and offers the following benefits:
Medical advice from highly trained experts, supported by Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Division, Assistance in locating a local clinic, hospital, dentist, or pharmacy.
Help in replacing medical supplies, like lost prescription glasses or medications while travelling.
Location Share +
We have found the location share a great add on feature, with this feature turned on your Check-in contacts (Maximum of 5) can follow your live movements across a map on the Zoleo App.
It is easy to start a Location share session from the App, with location update interval settings from 6 minutes, 12 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour , 2 hour & 4 hour intervals.
The shorter the interval setting the more battery your Zoleo device will use, we tend to have our own unit set at either 12minutes or 30minutes intervals.
A battery life of approximately 200 hrs can be achieved with the 12 minute intervals, the battery life will also be affected by how many other messages you send, outside temperatures etc.
There is an additional monthly cost of £4.50 to use Location Share + feature, this is a great peace of mind tracking function for your family & friends, alternatively to keep your costs down you could simply send a check-in message on a regular basis with your location shown, but we do like this function as you do not have to remember to send check-in’s and it can be set to automatically start when your unit is turned on for extra peace of mind.
The big thing for us with the Zoleo device is its ease of using it and setting it up, if you are going to carry this type of device for emergencies it needs to be simple & straightforward to use, we found whether using the buttons directly on the device or the mobile app the Zoleo certainly ticks all the ease-of-use boxes.
Sending text messages via the app was very simple and a great way for us to keep in touch with family & friends when we were away from mobile signal, in our testing we found that the messages when sent via the Iridium Satellite system were being sent and received in under two minutes which was very impressive.
Our family & friends have also liked the tracking function and all commented on how easy it was for them to use the Zoleo app for tracking & sending messages back to us.
We also like that Zoleo gives your device a designated mobile number so that if you do have friends & family who do not own a smart phone they can still send messages to you using there phones own messaging system to your Zoleo mobile number.
We mentioned in our review how easy it was to pair the Zoleo device with the mobile app, we should also mention that if you want to share the device amongst family members to use it was very straightforward to unpair and re-pair with a different phone and for privacy the new user does not see your historic messages.
The device is compact and light enough to carry with the supplied carabiner clip, also Zoleo is a robust, touch weatherproof device tested to IP68 hence no issues with it been attached to the outer of your backpack for ease of getting to it quickly when needed, although we do like that you can also activate the SOS or Check-in button commands directly from the phone app if you have your phone to hand.
On our long treks the battery life has performed very well, and we are achieving the advertised figures of up to 200hrs when using 12minute tracking.
If you are looking for a reliable easy to use two-way Satellite communicator, with great battery life and worldwide coverage* on land or sea the Zoleo two-way satellite communicator is a device to definitely consider.
*See our FAQS product page tab regarding countries that regulate or prohibit the use of a satellite communicators