Motorola Defy Satellite Link Review

No mobile coverage? No problem.

A promising tagline for the Defy Satellite Link from Motorola, but how well does it work in the field?

We have been using the Defy out in the wilds of Wensleydale and beyond for a few weeks now and are happy to share our thoughts on this handy little gadget.

As anyone who has been into the depths of the Yorkshire Dales will tell you, the mobile signal is patchy at best. As a bike shop running guided rides and cycling holidays we constantly face the challenges of being without phone signal. A lot of our pre ride planning is based on what to do if an accident occurs in a signal black spot, in fact we have a pretty extensive mental map of where you can get signal up and down the dale.

Enter the Defy!

This pocket-sized device from can be connected to your smartphone and allows you to send messages via satellite link rather than having to rely on mobile signal. Messages can be received by any mobile, and if the recipient downloads the Bullitt app they can reply to you as well. 

The Defy also features a Check In button that will send a message and location pin to a pre-chosen contact, as well as a SOS button solely for emergency use.

We have found the message function useful for updating team members back at the shop, letting them know any changes to routes we are guiding and any delays in getting back.

The Defy found and kept the satellite signal with ease and we found messages and replies came through with almost no delay.

The Check In function has also impressed us, allowing you to send a location tag without having to get your phone out is fantastic in cold and wet weather, especially if wearing gloves, and the location has been reliably precise through our testing.

Thankfully the SOS button has remained untested so far but  in an emergency it will send an alert to a global response centre who will then contact local emergency services and share your GPS location. One initial concern we had was over the accidental use of the SOS button, however it takes a long 5 second press of the button to send the alert and the chances of that happening by accident seem very small.

The device itself is only 70g and is both water, temperature and shock proof. With it clipped to the outside of a rucksack there was no worrying about rain and mud and after a while we didn't even notice it was there. The claimed battery life of the device is 5 days so is going to last longer than your phone and still allow you to check in and let others know you are safe.

Our only criticism is over the process for others to be able to reply to messages. Anyone can receive and read messages sent via the Defy, but to reply the recipient has to download the Bullitt app, and create their own account to reply.

Of course it would be sensible to get your emergency contact to do this prior to your adventure, but in an emergency there may be reasons you have to contact someone else. Again it could be argued that in an emergency you just need to relay the information to your recipient and a reply is not massively important.

The Bullitt app will send a delivery receipt so you know your contact has received the message, but it would be interesting to know if there is a way to set up a 'read receipt' or allow a one time 'guest' reply feature just so you know the message has been seen.


The Motorola Defy Satellite Link is an essential piece of kit for anyone spending period of time well away from mobile coverage. The little rugged device can be clipped to your rucksack and give you the peace of mind that no matter where you go you will be able to reach help or let people know you are safe.

The excellent Check In and SOS buttons mean that even if you phone dies, you can still share your location or call for help in an emergency.

Priced at £159 for the unit with message plans starting from £4.99 a month it is certainly an investment, but is a much more budget friendly option than other similar devices out there. And in the grand scheme of things not a lot for something that could save your life.

It has definitely been added to our list of essential kit you grab every time you head out the door.