Motorola Defy Satellite Dongle Brings Off-Grid Texting to Smartphones

Leave it to one American cellular brand to condense a longed-for off-grid capability into a packable gadget.

This article was originally published on GearJunkie.

For many of us who spend a lot of time outside, there’s usefulness in being able to communicate with our phones from anywhere.

Satellite communications have come a long way in a short time, and now Motorola is taking the technology one step further. The Motorola Defy Satellite Link is a palm-sized device that pairs with an Android or iOS app via Bluetooth to facilitate two-way messaging and emergency calling capability.

A focus on improved satellite communications has been popular lately in the mobile device world. Apple added it to the iPhone 14 last September, and Qualcomm recently announced its Snapdragon Satellite service. Motorola also beat Qualcomm to the punch — a planned launch in April is months before Qualcomm’s “late 2023” release.

The Defy Satellite Link joins products like the similar ACR Bivystick and ZOLEO Satellite Communicator (devices that cost more than twice as much). Defy works with Android and iOS devices 2020 and newer, and arrives alongside the second generation of Motorola’s rugged-built smartphone, the Defy 2.

The Defy Satellite Link incorporates the work of three separate companies, Digitaltrends reported. The Bullitt Group makes the device, which contains a MediaTek MT6825 chipset to establish the satellite connection. Then the Bullitt Satellite Messenger app connects to your device. That’s all that’s needed to access the dongle and its special ability.

Once connected, the Defy Satellite Link should send and receive messages, share your location, and provide the ability to connect with emergency services in case of an accident. All without requiring cellular service.

There are a few reasons why the Motorola device stands out. Digitaltrends reported IP68 water and dust resistance (on par with ZOLEO and one-way messaging devices like the Spot), MIL-STD 810 performance and durability standards, and light weight — 70 g, or less than 2.5 ounces. The weight is really what sets it apart from competitors; half the weight, and also half the price. It’s also only 11 mm thick.

The Motorola Defy puck has no screen, but a 600mAh battery that should keep it powered up for days. Digitaltrends reported it comes with its own native GPS, so you can share your location even when not paired to a device.

The Motorola Defy Satellite Link will cost $99 on its April 2023 release. The Bullitt Satellite Messenger app requires a subscription, which starts at $5/month and includes access to the SOS emergency service, provided by FocusPoint International.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.