Somewear Global Hotspot | Game-changing Gear - Outdoors Magic

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Somewear Global Hotspot | Game-changing Gear

A little device that transforms your phone into a two-way satellite communicator, enabling you to stay in touch with loved-ones in a mobile reception blackspot

Have you ever found yourself wandering around a craggy mountainside at dusk, holding up your phone above your head in the hope your arm will act like an antenna? “Just one bar of reception – is that really too much to ask?” you whisper angrily, in between expletives. The text you’d promised to send to your mum/wife/boyfriend – “I’m alive, don’t worry about me, all is well x” – has that exclamation mark next to it. Unsent. Before you know it, the tranquillity and escapism of wild camping has been shattered, replaced by the stress of trying to placate your anxious loved-ones.

The solution? You need your phone to work even in a reception blackspot – and this nifty little device allows you to do so. The Somewear Global Hotspot gives any smartphone the ability to keep working when cellular service fails. It tethers your phone to the Iridium satellite phone network, and then allows you to send messages, track activities and access weather reports via an app. It has 100% global coverage, features an SOS button (for use in life-threatening emergencies) and requires a monthly subscription to work.

Other satellite communication options exist on the market, mostly notably the Garmin inReach Mini. But some of these hardwear devices have tiny screens and are clunky to use, with sending a simple message requiring almost super-human finger dexterity. The Somewear Global Hotspot is different: almost all of its functionality is accessed via an intuitive app on your smartphone. As the brand puts it, the “Somewear mobile app brings the power of satellite connectivity to your favourite screen. Pairing the hotspot with the mobile app transforms the hotspot from a tracking and SOS device to a method of connecting the supercomputer in your pocket to space!”

This approach is a double-edged sword, however. Ease-of-use is enhanced (we all know how to use our smartphones, after all), but an over-reliance on your smartphone’s battery will worry some. Dead smartphone battery equals no access to the app, which means no satellite functionality – so it’s certainly best to carry a reliable powerpack.

But if you’re not concerned about the smartphone reliance, Somewear claim the benefit of this app-based approach is an intuitive and simple-to-use interface. The app’s two-way messaging feature “works seamlessly”, for example, with “a clean text messaging interface” (basically the same as using WhatsApp or text on your phone). It also features so-called ‘smart routing’, with the mobile app choosing the most efficient method for sending your messages and data. If you’re in cellular coverage or have WiFi, it’ll use that method, but as soon as you leave that coverage, it’ll automatically switch over to satellite.

“It has a physical SOS button which can be used even if your phone battery has died.”

Other important features include access to in-app weather reports and, of course, live satellite tracking with offline mapping. The latter works via Somewear’s onboard GPS and interval tracking, making it simple for friends and family to follow your adventures in real time. Battery life of the Somewear Global Hotspot is over 10 days on 10 minute continuous tracking intervals. You also get a physical SOS button on the hotspot itself, meaning you can raise the alarm in the case of an emergency, even if your phone battery has died and you can’t access the app.

The Somewear Global Hotspot weighs 113g and is sized 7.6 x 9.1 x 2cm. It can operate down to -4F and has an IP68 rating, meaning it’s water-resistant at 2m for 30 minutes. It is charged via micro USB and can send and receive over 1,000 messages per charge. A small clip enables it to be secured to a backpack or gear loop. It costs $349.99, while subscription charges range from $8.33 to $50 per month.

“We offer the most cost effective and flexible data plans on the market with no hidden fees for pausing or resuming your plan”, says Jonathan Besquin, marketing manager at Somewear.

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