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  • Writer's pictureRichard Weremiuk

Zoleo vs. Garmin inReach Mini 2: A Comprehensive Comparison

Updated: Jul 3


In the realm of compact Iridium satellite communication devices, two names stand out: Zoleo and Garmin inReach Mini 2. These small yet powerful trackers offer a lifeline for those venturing beyond the reach of mobile networks. But which one reigns supreme? Let's delve into a comparison to help you make an informed decision.


Features Overview


Zoleo




  • Global satellite coverage: Zoleo boasts seamless global satellite coverage, ensuring connectivity even in remote corners of the world.

  • Tri-network communication: Zoleo utilizes a unique tri-network approach, combining satellite, mobile/cellular, and Wi-Fi connectivity for unparalleled communication capabilities.

  • Messaging and SOS alerts: Zoleo facilitates two-way messaging with loved ones and emergency services, along with SOS alerts for life-threatening situations.

  • Weather updates: Zoleo provides detailed weather updates, including forecasts, radar imagery, and marine weather data.

  • App compatibility: Zoleo works seamlessly with the Zoleo app, offering a user-friendly interface for tracking, messaging, and weather data access.

Garmin inReach Mini 2




  • Global Iridium satellite coverage: The inReach Mini 2 utilizes the same Iridium satellite network, offering global coverage for reliable communication.

  • Two-way messaging and SOS alerts: The inReach Mini 2 enables two-way messaging with loved ones and emergency services, along with SOS alerts for critical situations.


  • Navigation: Can display navigation waypoints and data on the device screen

  • Weather updates: The inReach Mini 2 provides weather updates, including forecasts and marine weather data.

  • App compatibility: The inReach Mini 2 works with the Garmin Explore / Earthmate app, offering a user-friendly interface for tracking, messaging, and weather data access.

Pros and Cons


Zoleo

Pros:

  • Global and tri-network communication for unparalleled connectivity

  • Seamless integration with mobile/cellular and Wi-Fi networks

  • User-friendly app with intuitive interface, requires linking to your phone

  • Lower cost than the inReach Mini 2

Cons:

  • Form Factor not as convenient as the Mini 2 - weighs more at 150g

  • Lacks the screen and waypoint, trackback features of the Mini 2

  • Costs £3.50 per month if you do not use it. Hibernate/suspend the contract


Garmin inReach Mini 2

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight design ; 100g

  • Proven Iridium satellite network for reliable coverage

  • Can text and use limited navigation features on the device screen

  • Garmin's reputation for quality and durability

Cons:

  • Relies solely on satellite communication, lacking mobile and Wi-Fi integration

  • Costs more to own and operate

Cost Comparison

Zoleo

  • Upfront cost: £199

  • Subscription plans:

    • £18.50, £32 or £58 a month depending on your requirements. Plus optional £4.50 for tracking - highly likely needed to make it comparable to the Mini 2

    • £3.50 per month if you suspend the contract


Garmin inReach Mini 2

  • Upfront cost: £299

  • Subscription plans:

    • £15, £35, £65 a month depending on your requirements

    • No contract suspension costs on a normal user contract (£5 a month if you put it in a suspended pro contract - there is no compelling reason to use a pro contract!)


Recommendation


The choice between Zoleo and Garmin inReach Mini 2 ultimately depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you prioritise global connectivity, advanced features, and seamless integration with mobile/cellular and Wi-Fi networks, the Zoleo is a compelling option. However, if you prioritise compact design, use of enhanced features on the device itself, without having to pair to a phone, then Garmin inReach Mini 2 is a worthy contender.


Consider your specific requirements and budget, and evaluate both options carefully before making a decision. Whether you choose Zoleo or Garmin inReach Mini 2, you'll be equipped with a trusted companion for your off-the-grid adventures.

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