Hiking Motivation! Join the 52 Hike Challenge!

Motorola Defy Review Featured
play video
Garmin inReach

Motorola Defy Satellite Link Review

The Motorola Defy Satellite Link is a revolutionary device that allows users to send messages back and forth, as well as send SOS signals via satellite. This functionality proves crucial in places where cellular Wi-Fi connection is non-existent, such as the backcountry. The Defy is comparable to an Garmin inReach, but far more affordable.

In this Guide:
  • How the Defy Performed
  • Differences With inReach & ZOLEO
  • Is the Defy Right for You?

This review is not sponsored by or affiliated with Motorola or Bullit, the company that runs the service. The review is wholly independent and supported by readers like you.

Design and Usability

Weighing under 70 grams, the Motorola Defy Satellite Link is smaller than a deck of cards. Its rugged design is perfect for outdoor adventures. The buttons have a tactile click feel, and there is haptic feedback confirming successful button presses. The device meets military specifications and is rated IP68, meaning it's resistant to dust, dirt, and sand, and is water-resistant. However, it lacks a carabiner and merely features a small clip on top, so a carabiner needs to be added for secure attachment to a backpack.

One potential design flaw is the uncovered SOS button, which may accidentally be pressed if carried inside a pack. Perhaps a protective cover will be introduced in future versions to mitigate this risk.

The device charges using a USB-C port and includes a USB-C to USB-A cable. Despite some initial hiccups during the setup process, overall, the device hardware proved reliable and robust.

Features and Messaging

The Motorola Defy Satellite Link is a messaging device. Users must download the Bullit app and set up an account, which requires an initial data connection. The device uses your phone number as your account ID. Unlike the ZOLEO, the device does not have a dedicated phone number or email.

The Bullit app pairs with your phone via Bluetooth and is compatible with both iPhones and Android 10+ devices. The app also allows users to set up an SOS emergency contact and provide information about any medical conditions they might have. Messaging works via the Bullit app, which automatically switches to Wi-Fi or cellular if these connections are available.

Satellite and Battery Performance

The device's satellite system provides an almost instantaneous messaging service, which is impressive. However, the device occasionally lost the satellite connection, particularly when in a northward facing position, likely due to the satellites' southern horizon positioning.

Battery life for the Motorola Defy Satellite Link is listed as up to four days, although this varies based on usage frequency. In my testing, the battery lasted between 65 to 70 hours with the device continuously on and under regular use. Charging is made convenient by the USB-C port, allowing for easy integration with other charging systems.

Emergency Services

One of the key features of the Motorola Defy Satellite Link is its SOS capability. In an emergency, users can press the SOS button, sending a signal to emergency services via FocusPoint International, a well-established organization providing global emergency response services. While the company doesn't have a blog with rescue stories, news stories show hikers being rescued using their service.

Update After a Few Weeks

Conclusion

For a basic messaging and SOS service in the backcountry, the Motorola Defy Satellite Link offers impressive functionality at a reasonable price. However, for those requiring worldwide coverage, navigation functions, location sharing, and weather reports, devices like the Garmin inReach or ZOLEO may be a better fit. Overall, the device's compact form factor, coupled with its robust design and intuitive functionality, makes it a worthy consideration for outdoor enthusiasts. As technology advances, we can expect even more comprehensive and user-friendly devices to emerge in the future.

Need More Info?

This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.