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: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

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!
Outdoors

Built to take a beating and still perform, these are the best hiking watches

A proper hiking watch should track exercise metrics and act as a navigational co-pilot during any kind of hike. Ideally, it'll even have a built-in GPS system and sensors. Here are five of the best hiking watches.
Wearables

The Apple Watch Series 4's heart-monitoring ECG feature is now available

Apple officially unveiled the Apple Watch Series 4. From a larger display to a built-in electrical heart sensor, the latest device brings along some notable new features. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

SatPaq’s satellite messaging is a lifeline for when you’re off the grid

The great outdoors can be a beautiful place, but it's also fraught with danger and hazards. Make sure you're always able to connect with the world with SatPaq's satellite messaging accessory.
Deals

REI’s Cyber Week deals will save you up to 65 percent on top brands

Cyber Week deals are still going strong at REI, with discounts lasting up until this weekend. If you've been meaning to follow REI's mission and hit the outdoors, now is the perfect time to save big on outdoor gear and more.
Deals

Cyber Monday Extended: Best Cyber Week Smartwatch Deals

Cyber Monday is known for its awesome online sales. Smartwatches, fitness trackers .. they both will see deep discounts. Now is your chance to score a new wearable at rock bottom prices.
Outdoors

Columbia’s latest Star Wars jacket will keep you as warm as a Wookiee

Columbia Sportswear introduced a limited edition parka based on the jackets that were worn by the crew that filmed The Empire Strikes Back in 1979 that are sure to be a coveted item for Star Wars fans.
Deals

REI slashed the price of the Garmin Fenix 5, but the sale ends today

The Garmin Fenix 5 is a multisport fitness watch, built almost entirely for use with just about any indoor or outdoor activity you can think of. From now until the end of the day on December 1, you can save $150 on a brand new model.
Emerging Tech

The best solar chargers for your phone, tablet, and other battery-powered gear

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.
Outdoors

The best sleeping bags to help you conquer the cold, no matter what season it is

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.
Outdoors

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Black Diamond and Petzl to Coast here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Outdoors

Onak 2.0 is an origami-inspired folding canoe for waterborne adventures

The Onak 2.0 is an origami-inspired folding kayak that measures 15 feet in length when fully assembled, yet can breakdown and be stored in a small, easily transported box making it a great option for apartment dwellers.
Outdoors

Lime’s dockless electric bikes land in London, but its scooters aren’t allowed

Lime has landed in London with its dockless bikesharing service. The pedal-assisted electric bikes are unlocked via Lime's app and can reach speeds of 15 mph. It plans to have 1,000 bikes on the streets before the end of the year.
Outdoors

Forget pumps. This innovative filter purifies H2O in 8 seconds flat

The Grayl Geopress water purification system removes more than 99 percent of all bacteria, cysts, and viruses from water in just eight seconds, providing clean drinking water to travelers and outdoor adventurers.