In order to review this product properly I would need to undertake some sort of global expedition or join the SAS. Since I’m not planning to to do either of these things, I’ll make some general observations.
The Track24 PackMaster Lo-Pro is designed to keep you in touch with the outside world wherever you may be. More specifically it is designed to let other people know where you are and allow you to send and receive text messages with them. What makes this different from any modern mobile phone is that it uses the Iridium satellite network to communicate. That means that as long as you have a clear line if sight to the sky, you can literally use it anywhere in the world.
The unit is incredibly well put together and feels like it could definitely survive a round the world trip. Suffice to say the same unit is used in military applications where I’m sure it sees a great deal of abuse. As you can imagine in those situations, power sockets are not easy to come by so it also features a one month battery life. Finally on the feature count is the panic button, configurable to text and email anyone you choose at a single press. This is protected by a nice anodised metal cover that makes it feel very James Bond.
The user interface is pretty straightforward, though messaging is a little tedious without an alphanumeric keypad. Instead you scroll around a virtual keyboard with the direction arrows, though you can create a series of preset messages in advance so that it’s easy to tell people quickly “I’m fine” or “Send cake”.
If you’re used to any current smartphone then this device feels a little basic – and expensive at circa £750. But then you have to remember what it is designed and built for, and that no mobile phone is going to allow you to call for help in the middle of the desert after nearly a month without recharging.
For that reason, and the fact that carrying it makes you feel like a spy, it gets a solid four stars.