Outdoors

Outdoorsy smartwatch works as a walkie-talkie in the wilderness

Outdoorsy smartwatch works as ...
The StarVox features a 1.5-in touchscreen
The StarVox features a 1.5-in touchscreen
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The StarVox combines digital outdoor sensors with two-way radio communications
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The StarVox combines digital outdoor sensors with two-way radio communications
The StarVox communicator smartwatch
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The StarVox communicator smartwatch
The StarVox's 1.2-mile range is enough for these two guys walking next to each other, but is it enough for other outdoor users?
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The StarVox's 1.2-mile range is enough for these two guys walking next to each other, but is it enough for other outdoor users?
The StarVox tracks things like GPS position and altitude
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The StarVox tracks things like GPS position and altitude
If you need to check in with your group, and you're out of cellular range, the StarVox provides another option
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If you need to check in with your group, and you're out of cellular range, the StarVox provides another option
The StarVox is up on Kickstarter now
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The StarVox is up on Kickstarter now
The StarVox features a 1.5-in touchscreen
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The StarVox features a 1.5-in touchscreen
StarVox walkie-talkie watch
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StarVox walkie-talkie watch
Starvox walkie-talkie watch
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Starvox walkie-talkie watch
Starvox walkie-talkie watch
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Starvox walkie-talkie watch
Starvox walkie-talkie watch
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Starvox walkie-talkie watch
Starvox walkie-talkie watch
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Starvox walkie-talkie watch
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Wearable walkie-talkies for outdoor enthusiasts are slowly growing into a significant category, with the emergence of products like the Combat+ Sync headphones, Coros Linx bike helmet and Bonx earpiece. The StarVox adds one more product to that group along with a new form factor. Instead of sitting on your head, the SmartVox straps to your wrist. Not only is it a two-way radio, it's an outdoor-specific smartwatch with touchscreen, GPS, pedometer and more.

There are already wrist-top walkie-talkies out there, but others we've seen are more toy, less smartwatch. The StarVox seems more the latter, putting two-way radio communications into the greater feature set of an outdoor smartwatch. With a 1.5-in color touchscreen-based interface, it gives the user GPS tracking, step counting, temperature reading and altitude logging. It also includes Bluetooth, a compass and a hygrometer.

We're not sure the StarVox is going to give the Suuntos or Garmins of the world a run for their money, but the walkie-talkie feature does set it apart from those and other outdoor watches. It's easy to imagine built-in radio communications proving useful for all kinds of activities, including skiing at a resort, mountain biking, hiking through the forest, or roaming around a festival.

If you need to check in with your group, and you're out of cellular range, the StarVox provides another option
If you need to check in with your group, and you're out of cellular range, the StarVox provides another option

StarVox designers say that the 400- to 470MHz radio system can support an unlimited number of users, so even larger groups can keep connected. The antenna is integrated into the watch strap, keeping the metal watch body fairly streamlined, though it certainly looks thicker than your typical timepiece.

The rechargeable 420mAh battery provides up to 1.5 hour of active talk time or 192 hours in basic watch mode. It charges in approximately 100 minutes.

Of course, stuffing all those electronics into a wrist-based timepiece isn't without compromises. The most glaring compromise appears to be the limited radio range of 1.2 mile (2 km), which seems like it could be wholly inadequate for a lot of outdoor uses where you might quickly stray farther than a mile from other members of your group. The aforementioned Combat+Sync headphones offer a 10-mile (16-mile) range, and the new Garmin Rino 750, a handheld GPS/radio, offers 20 miles (32 km).

Starvox walkie-talkie watch
Starvox walkie-talkie watch

StarVox designers are raising money on Kickstarter now, where they've surpassed a US$20,000 goal. The watch is available at pledge levels of $59 and up or $99 for two watches. The watch's estimated retail price is $109.

Source: Kickstarter

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1 comment
RussellD
Seems like an external antenna input could easily solve the limited range issue.