StarVox is a sporty walkie-talkie disguised as a smartwatch

starvox walkie talkie smartwatch
One of the biggest challenges that outdoor enthusiasts face on any backpacking or camping trip is how to stay in communication with one another while off the grid. After all, cellphone service can be at a premium in the backcountry, which makes it difficult to stay in contact or coordinate activities away from the campsite. But a new smartwatch that recently launched on Kickstarter promises to alleviate this issue by putting walkie-talkie-like functionality right on your wrist.

The StarVox hopes to revolutionize the way we communicate in remote areas by providing voice communications directly from your watch. The device allows individuals or groups to chat with one another over a distance of up to 1.2 miles (2 km) without the need to carry bulky radio equipment or ponderous handsets. You simply raise the watch, tap an on-screen button, and begin the conversation. Other StarVox users within range will hear the message and can just as easily respond. In other words, it is a bit like having a two-way radio with you at all times.

In addition to being a portable communications device, the StarVox also includes a number of features often associated with smartwatches, particularly ones designed for use in the outdoors. For instance, in addition to being able to tell time, the wearable also comes with a built-in pedometer for counting your steps, as well as an altimeter for measuring altitude gained and lost while hiking. It also comes with a built-in thermometer, barometer, and hygrometer which can come in handy when keeping tabs on changing atmospheric conditions or trying to predict potential shifts in the weather.

The StarVox is even equipped with a digital compass to aid in navigation, and the designers promise both GPS capabilities and Bluetooth connectivity, too, although they don’t share just what form either of those features will take.

The team behind the StarVox is hoping to raise $20,000 to get its device into production. At the moment, it’s about a third of the way toward that goal with a little over a month remaining in the Kickstarter campaign. If all goes according to plan, they hope to have the walkie-talkie/smartwatch in production by March of next year and begin shipping in April. The device is expected to have a price tag of $109.

Of course, early bird backers can get their own StarVox now for as little as $59 for a single watch or $99 for a set of two. But as intriguing as the device is, there are some unanswered questions that remain. For instance, the Kickstarter page doesn’t indicate how long of a battery life the watch has, nor how easy is it to recharge in the backcountry. The 1.2-mile range isn’t especially impressive either when you consider that standard walkie-talkies often communicate over distances of 20 miles or more. Still, as a lightweight, easy to use, and multifunctional tool for use in the outdoors, the StarVox definitely shows promise.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

High-tech but low-key, these are the amazing materials inside your outdoor gear

We take a look at some of the materials that are used in the creation of our favorite outdoor gear, making our jackets, sleeping bags, tents, and other items warmer, drier, and more comfortable even in harsh weather conditions.
Product Review

The Oaxis Timepiece is minimalist in style, maximalist in frustration.

The Oaxis Timepiece wants to be a traditional watch, a fitness tracker, and a basic smartwatch all-in-one. That’s a tall order, despite it sounding quite simple, so can the sub-$180 wearable manage to pull it off?

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for February 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.

Strava joins Slopes to record your ski and snowboard stats

Skiers and snowboarders can now share their activity on the hill within their Strava profile thanks to a new collaboration with the fitness-tracking app and Slopes, an app designed for use on the hill.

REI slashes prices on The North Face, Columbia, and Nike clearance Items

It's never too early to plan your next adventure and REI is your one-stop shop to get you prepared. Now until February 18, REI is offering up to 50 percent off on camp gear, outerwear, winter boots, and lifestyle footwear. Find discounts…

REI drops prices on Suunto, Fitbit, and Garmin Fenix smartwatches

Looking for some great deals on outdoor and fitness watches? Garmin, Fitbit, and Suunto smartwatches have all been discounted for a limited time during the REI Winter Clearance Sale.
Emerging Tech

Tokyo 2020 is on track to create Olympic medals with recycled electronics

The committee behind the Tokyo 2020 Olympics revealed that it is on target to be able to forge all winning athletes’ gold, silver and bronze medals from recycled electronic waste.

Skullcandy turns to action sports with the Vert Bluetooth earbuds

The new Skullcandy Vert Bluetooth earbuds are designed with action sports athletes in mind, putting audio controls on a convenient dial that provides glove-friendly options to pause and play music, and adjust volume.

Uber’s bikesharing service is eating into its regular business

A bikesharing service acquired by Uber nearly a year ago is causing riders to take fewer car journeys with the company. It is, however, part of the plan as Uber looks to offer an integrated mobility platform for cities.

Keep the rain away and the bugs at bay with this hybrid camping hammock

The new Kammock Mantis hammock is a lightweight all-in-one solution that includes a rainfly, built-in insect netting, onboard storage, and tree-friendly straps to create a complete and comfortable camping system that is easy to set up.

These wireless earbuds use an A.I. to get you moving faster

The new Soul Blade wireless earbuds provide the ability to track your heart rate during a workout while an A.I.-powered coach gives advice and info on how to improve form and efficiency while exercising.

The Naseka electric snowmobile is built for kids, but you’ll likely want one too

The Naseka electric snowmobile is a vehicle built for kids, allowing them to have a safe and efficient ride on snow, with the ability to trade out the ski for a wheel for use in the summer too.

General Motors cycles into a new market with its first-ever ebikes

When General Motors launched a public campaign last year to name its new ebike brand, many wondered if Bikey McBikeface might win out. But it didn't. Instead, it's called Arīv, and the two bikes are up for pre-order this week.