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Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2

Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2

In recent years, the market for satellite communicators has become increasingly competitive, with two products emerging as popular choices among outdoor enthusiasts: the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator and the Garmin InReach Mini 2. As we venture into the great outdoors, the ability to stay connected becomes increasingly important. Satellite communicators can provide essential communication functions and help ensure our safety in remote areas without reliable cellular coverage. Today we are going to do a Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2 comparison.

Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2 – device overview

Zoleo Satellite Communicator

Zoleo Satellite Communicator

The Zoleo Satellite Communicator is a portable device designed for global communication when out of mobile phone range. It offers two-way messaging, SOS alerts, and location sharing, all through the user-friendly Zoleo app. The device connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and the app is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.

Some highlights of the Zoleo Satellite Communicator include:

  • Global coverage through the Iridium satellite network
  • Two-way messaging with delivery confirmation
  • Compact and lightweight design (weighs 150g)
  • Weatherproof and rugged construction

Garmin InReach Mini 2

Garmin inReach Mini 2

The Garmin InReach Mini 2 is a compact, lightweight satellite communicator that provides communication, navigation, and SOS functions when off the grid. This device is user-friendly, with a small screen for essential information and buttons for easy operation. It also connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth to use the Garmin Earthmate app for additional features and convenience.

Key features of the Garmin InReach Mini 2 include:

  • Global coverage through the Iridium satellite network
  • Two-way messaging, location sharing, and tracking
  • Navigation features with access to detailed maps and waypoints
  • Lightweight and compact design (weighs 99g)
  • Robust and weather-resistant construction

Messaging capabilities of the Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2

When it comes to messaging capabilities, both the Zoleo Satellite Communicator and the Garmin InReach Mini 2 offer reliable and efficient ways to stay connected in remote areas.

Firstly, both devices allow users to send and receive text messages, even when they’re off the grid. However, Zoleo offers seamless messaging: when a cellular or Wi-Fi connection is available, messages are sent via these networks, while satellite networks are used as a backup. On the other hand, the InReach Mini 2 relies solely on the Iridium satellite network for messaging, regardless of the availability of cellular or Wi-Fi connections.

Feature

Zoleo Satellite Communicator

Garmin InReach Mini 2

Send & Receive Text Messages

Yes

Yes

Seamless Messaging

Yes

No

Presets & Quick Texts

Yes

Yes

Another important factor is the use of presets and quick texts. Both devices enable users to create and send customised preset messages, making it easy to communicate with friends and family without having to type a full message each time. They also offer quick texts, which are canned responses that make communication faster and more efficient.


Navigation features of the Zoleo Satellite Communicator compared to the Garmin InReach Mini 2

Starting with the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator, its primary purpose is to provide seamless messaging capabilities, and it doesn’t have built-in GPS or navigation features. However, you can still obtain your GPS location through the connected smartphone app, which allows you to share your location with others. It’s essential to keep in mind that the ZOLEO needs a smartphone to provide its full functionality.

On the other hand, Garmin’s inReach Mini 2 offers navigation features straight from the device. It has a global Iridium satellite network, providing essential navigation tools such as waypoints, routes, and tracking. The Earthmate app expands its capabilities, allowing users to access topographic maps, aerial imagery, weather forecasts, and more. Additional features include:

  • GPS tracking with adjustable intervals
  • Location share with MapShare
  • Preloaded DeLorme TOPO maps
  • Weather information retrieval

Garmin inReach Mini 2 provides a more comprehensive range of navigation features compared to the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator. For those seeking a device with integrated navigation tools and the ability to function without a smartphone, the inReach Mini 2 may be a more suitable choice. On the contrary, if you primarily require a communication device and can rely on your smartphone for navigation purposes, the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator could be your preferred option.


SOS functionality of the Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2

In terms of SOS functionality, both the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator and Garmin inReach Mini 2 devices have their advantages.

Firstly, let’s dive into the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator’s SOS functionality. ZOLEO’s dedicated SOS button, protected by a safety flap, allows users to send an emergency signal to GEOS, a 24/7 emergency response coordination centre. The user’s GPS coordinates are transmitted to the centre, so the rescue teams are well-informed of the user’s location during an emergency.

Here are a few essential ZOLEO SOS features:

  • Dedicated SOS button with safety flap
  • 24/7 global emergency response by GEOS
  • GPS location tracking and transmission
  • Two-way messaging for incident updates

Moving on to the Garmin inReach Mini 2, this device also offers a reliable SOS function. Similar to ZOLEO, Garmin’s device utilises a dedicated SOS button, which connects users to GEOS for 24/7 global monitoring and response. Additionally, the inReach Mini 2 offers two-way messaging through the built-in interactive SOS feature, ensuring that users can communicate with rescue teams during emergencies.

Here are a few essential Garmin inReach Mini 2 SOS features:

  • Dedicated SOS button
  • 24/7 global emergency response by GEOS
  • GPS location tracking and transmission
  • Interactive SOS for two-way communication

While both devices provide reliable and effective emergency services, some minor differences set them apart. For instance, the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator provides a safety flap to prevent accidentally sending false SOS alarms, while the Garmin inReach Mini 2 does not. That being said, both devices boast strong SOS capabilities to ensure that assistance is readily available during crisis situations.


Battery life and charging of the Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2

The ZOLEO Satellite Communicator boasts a long-lasting, rechargeable battery that provides up to 200 hours of use on a single charge when set to 12-minute check-in intervals. On the other hand, the Garmin inReach Mini 2 offers up to 90 hours of battery life on its default 10-minute tracking mode, which can be extended up to 24 days by adjusting tracking settings.

When it comes to charging, both devices utilise similar methods. They can be charged via micro-USB, allowing you to recharge them using wall adapters, car chargers, or portable battery packs. The charging time for both devices typically takes around 2 to 3 hours to reach a full charge.

In terms of battery management, both models offer power-saving features. For the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator, you can adjust check-in intervals or opt for manual check-in to conserve battery life. With the Garmin inReach Mini 2, you can customise tracking intervals or switch to Expedition mode to save power.

While the devices differ in their maximum battery life, choosing between them mainly depends on individual requirements and preferences. Consider factors such as the duration of your trips, the availability of charging options, and the desired tracking intervals while making your decision.


Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2 – durability and water resistance

When it comes to durability and water resistance, both the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator and Garmin inReach Mini 2 offer impressive features.

The ZOLEO Satellite Communicator boasts an IP68 rating. This means that it is dust-tight and can be submerged in water up to 1.5 metres for 30 minutes without suffering damage. In addition, it has been drop tested and can withstand drops from 1.2 metres.

The Garmin inReach Mini 2, on the other hand, comes equipped with an IPX7 rating. It guarantees that the device can be submerged in water up to a depth of one metre for 30 minutes without any issues. The inReach Mini 2 also has a robust construction, which allows it to endure rough handling and drops from various heights.

ZOLEO Satellite Communicator

Garmin inReach Mini 2

Water Resistance

IP68 (1.5 metres for 30 minutes)

IPX7 (1 metre for 30 minutes)

Drop Resistance

1.2 metres

Various heights (no specific figure)

Both devices offer reliable protection against water and damage. However, the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator has a slightly higher water resistance rating compared to the Garmin inReach Mini 2. In terms of durability, the ZOLEO device has a specified drop resistance, while the inReach Mini 2 is built to handle rough conditions without stating a specific drop height.


Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2 – subscription plans and pricing

Rather like when you buy a mobile phone on contract, you need to budget for buying the communicator device and then a subscription for things like text messages, SOS, check-ins, weather forecasts, location tracking.

Buying the device

Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2 – price checker

Subscription plans

We are not giving prices for the subscription part here because the monthly prices are likely to vary, so your best bet is to check the latest prices when you buy your device. You can also suspend most plans for a monthly fee when not in use. This is beneficial for seasonal travellers or occasional adventurers.


Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2 – ease of use and interface

The interfaces of both devices are well-organised, providing quick access to essential features.

For ZOLEO, the mobile app is simple and intuitive to use. Even those with limited experience with satellite communication devices will find it easy to send and receive messages, request weather updates, and check-in with friends and family. The device’s interface is straightforward, with clear icons and visual cues, allowing for seamless communication in remote areas.

Garmin inReach Mini 2 also offers an accessible user interface. The device itself is more compact than ZOLEO, so menu navigation is done primarily through the paired smartphone app, Garmin Explore. Despite being feature-rich, the app is neatly organised and provides step-by-step guidance, making it easy to understand its various capabilities.

When it comes to messaging, both ZOLEO and inReach Mini 2 offer text and email options. Both the ZOLEO and the Garmin InReach Mini 2 come with two-way messaging, text, email and offline message access.

Both devices also come with a comprehensive user manual, which thoroughly explains how to use each feature. In our experience, these resources helped in navigating the ins and outs of satellite communication.


Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2 – accessories and compatibility

ZOLEO Satellite Communicator accessories:

  • Carrying case
  • Device cradle
  • External battery pack

These accessories are designed to enhance the user experience and make it more convenient to carry and use the device. In terms of compatibility, the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator connects to the ZOLEO app on your smartphone via Bluetooth, allowing you to send and receive messages and emails, as well as access weather forecasts.

Garmin inReach Mini 2 accessories:

  • Protective pouch
  • Mounting bracket
  • External power pack

Similar to the ZOLEO, these accessories aim to improve the overall usability and handling of the device. In terms of compatibility, the inReach Mini 2 connects to the Garmin Explore app on your smartphone, providing access to features like two-way messaging, location tracking, and access to detailed weather forecasts.

Both devices can be paired with various navigation and tracking apps, enhancing their capabilities and offering additional features depending on the app.


Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2 – pros and cons summary

Zoleo Satellite Communicator

Zoleo Satellite Communicator pros:

  • Easy to use with a straightforward interface
  • Reliable global coverage with the Iridium satellite network
  • Supports two-way messaging and SOS alerts
  • Longer battery life compared to the InReach Mini 2

Zoleo Satellite Communicator cons:

  • Subscription plans can be more expensive
  • Bulky design, making it less convenient for extended trips
  • No built-in GPS navigation or mapping features

Garmin InReach Mini 2

Garmin InReach Mini 2 pros:

  • Compact and lightweight design for easy portability
  • Connection to the Iridium satellite network for worldwide coverage
  • Supports two-way messaging, SOS alerts, and GPS tracking
  • Integration with the Garmin ecosystem for additional features

Garmin InReach Mini 2 cons:

  • Shorter battery life compared to the Zoleo Satellite Communicator
  • Smaller display may be challenging to read for some users
  • Higher upfront cost of the device

Related: Looking for an action camera to film your adventures? Check out our action camera guide – What to look for in a budget action camera. If you fancy a new shelter, check out our OneTigris Tetra 130 vs 160 article or our Budget 2 person wild-camping tents article. Fancy an ebike? Check out our quick What to Look for in an Ebike guide.


Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2 – conclusion

These are both cracking devices to ensure your safety when out on adventures. Whilst being similar in specs, there are a few key differences. Zoleo Satellite Communicator tends to have better battery life, while the Garmin InReach Mini 2 showcases a more versatile feature set like GPS and navigation capabilities. Ultimately, the better choice for you depends on your individual needs.

We suggest considering the following when making your decision:

  • The type of activities you’ll be involved in
  • Battery life requirements
  • Weight and size preferences
  • Your budget

We hope this Zoleo Satellite Communicator vs Garmin InReach Mini 2 comparison has been helpful for you in choosing the appropriate satellite communicator for your needs. Stay safe and connected during your outdoor adventures.

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Disclaimer

The specs in our articles have been compiled on a best effort basis from research on the manufacturers’ own websites, and on other websites selling the products. We do not guarantee the data we have given is correct and cannot be held responsible for incorrect information. Always do your own spec checks before making a purchase.