Forgoing all of the fancy extras, Somewear relies heavily on users’ telephones to power its own wearable hotspot. But does that ease of use make for reliability headaches? We put together the app-based satellite communicator into the evaluation.
Simplicity will save lives in a crisis. That seems to be the headline supporting the Somewear Global Hotspot, which functions exclusively through an app for its two-way communicating and location tracking. Beyond the SOS activation button, then your device is free of standalone operation.
This design simplifies the hardware side of things also makes use intuitive. But additionally, it adds yet another burden to your phone’s battery lifetime. Launched in spring 2018 around Kickstarter, Somewear released to the public for about $350 in November. Subscription programs about the Iridium satellite network range from $100 annually for very little usage (10 communications and 24/7 SOS tracking ) to $50 a month for unlimited messages and pin drops.
I tested the device for a couple of weeks leading up to its debut.
In short: The Somewear hotspot is a very easy-to-use worldwide satellite messenger. Because all works other than SOS work through a program, sending a message or coordinates is as simple as sending text. Tracking also proves near simple to start and discuss. And the app opens up the possibility for some different purposes, such as the now-available weather reporting. Because the limiting factor is the user’s telephone battery lifetime, Somewear is an perfect companion for shorter experiences.
Somewear Labs required the minimalist route with this device. The device measures 3 x 3.6 x 0.8 inches and includes a confirmed pounds of 4.2 ounce. Its semicircular shape occupies no edges or corners to catch on equipment or float branches. And there is an adjustable clip to secure it to a bunch or equipment loop. The outside surface stays indicative of buttons or a screen, just a blinking LED light that indicates power and battery status.
A cap shields the SOS button, which must be pressed for six seconds to trigger a crisis transmission. Once SOS is triggered, LEDs confirm the status of the message: received or sent. In addition, the user may even cancel an SOS together with evidence of cancellation.
Employing the Somewear app (Apple and Android) was super intuitive. I didn’t need instructions of any kind to successfully send messages, place, initiate and discuss tracking, or receive weather updates. And sending an email message (U.S. or Canada telephone numbers) or email was as simple as sending normally through the telephone .
Although messaging services were available to the receiver without the use of this app, acquiring the free app on both ends of the exchange streamlines the user experience by eliminating extraneous links and steps.
Meanwhile, place companies require the receiver to use the app — and all works are also available via web.
For now, tracking waypoints deploy in 30-minute periods. Although this isn’t user-definable at the moment, Somewear Labs said it plans to include flexible periods in another app upgrade.
The program ’s weather function created present states, an hourly forecast, and also a seven-day forecast. Adding into the machine ’s simplicity, besides numbers for low and high temps, the data shows as basic icons: high sun, cloud, wind, or precipitation.
Somewear Global Hotspot Review
Joining the hotspot for my cellphone through Bluetooth LE only took a couple of seconds. And the satellite connection status and hotspot battery lifetime immediately appeared on the app upon connecting. I confirmed through the program ’s delivery standing (and audible notification) that the messages and places I sent during the testing period successfully transmitted. And, based on satellite connection status, my transmissions took a couple of moments to a few minutes — which is similar to some other satellite messengers.
Somewear elevates the Global Hotspot’s battery lifetime in more than 1,000 messages, received or sent, per charge. But, my seat-of-the-pants battery lifetime analysis put that in far lower number. During my first testing interval, Somewear showed a 10 percent decrease in battery lifetime after sending out only two messages and concurrently tracking for one hour. Thankfully, the app used mobile signal when available, saving as much drain on the hotspot battery as possible.
The device’s tracking function performed flawlessly during my evaluation. And because the app may download users can zoom in on their existing location with greater resolution of position. Unfortunately, the maps aren’t topographic or satellite-based.
The unit felt very robust, and its simple layout promised little can fail. The shortage of buttons and a screen, coupled with all the MIL-STD-810 shockproof evaluation and IPX7 waterproof rating, lent confidence into this hardware’s durability. What’s more, Somewear touts the device will work between -4 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
While I didn’t even subject the device to anywhere close to the limits of these ratings or claims, I really did put it through some tough handling, dust, and even light rain. However, not one of these burdens affected the hotspot. From what I discovered, the telephone is your weak link within the Somewear program. Keep the smartphone charged and safe, and Somewear should stay stout.
The only region of the hardware that drew any concern was the stretch cord clip. Over time, I guess this could drop elasticity or endure abrasion.
Where Does the Somewear Global Hotspot Fit?
There are a couple of recognized satellite-based emergency communicators. Several of these put functionality into the device , preventing them by a phone’s or program ’s connectivity. This provides some clear advantages in reliability.
However, I discovered the Somewear Global Hotspot has been the easiest to use of all of the messengers I have attempted thanks to its simplicity and the intuitive app. Because of smart phones ’ ubiquity, lots of users should feel comfortable using the Somewear apparatus.
However, this installation has its own drawbacks. Although most adventurers I understand carry a telephone, they do so primarily to capture images. Therefore, even on airplane style, battery life remains a considerable matter. For me, this relegates the Somewear Global Hotspot to weekend backcountry experiences.
In a way, though, the weakness of this Somewear system also provides an benefit. Like all apps, Somewear will evolve. And since the Somewear Labs team comprises software engineers in Apple, Intuit, and Tesla, I expect it’ll enlarge app capacities later on. The company hasn’t said what it has in store, but I guess there’ll be a plethora of improvements and added functionality to deal with user issues and suggestions.
The post Somewear Global Hotspot Review: Simple Off-Grid Assistance appeared first on GearJunkie.
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