A beacon that talks to you? Yep! Well, technically the Ortovox Diract Voice is only a chatty Cathy during search mode. Nonetheless, as the world's first beacon featuring voice navigation, Ortovox built the Diract Voice with the intent to create an even more intuitive beacon. Imagine for a minute that you're in the beacon park taking the time to educate yourself. As the drill begins and the beacon springs to life, out comes a clear and concise instruction of "run straight!" Your momma taught you to listen and so of course you find the first target, mark it with the extremely simple two-button interface. After that, as per the beacon's instructions, you take off to the right in search of the next beacon signal. A few more rounds of practice and you feel comfortable with the Diract Voice's intuitive operation. Now you can rest assured knowing that this unique beacon feature will help improve your rescue response in a real-life scenario. Although the voice navigation steals the show, the rest of the beacon is no slouch either - the battery is rechargeable, the shoulder holster is RECCO infused, the firmware is updatable via the Ortovox app, and the beacon's design is slim and svelte. On the flip side, if your beacon is the one that is under the snow, you can rest easy knowing that Ortovox has integrated SMART ANTENNA TECHNOLOGY into the Diract beacon line. This feature switches the transmission into the antenna that is best suited to your situation, thus nearly doubling your range and chances of being found. Ortovox has smartly integrated both visual and auditory directions into the Diract Voice and, in the process has possibly changed the course of all avalanche beacon design.
- Three antennas so you have two more than one.
- SMART-ANTENNA-TECHNOLOGY nearly doubles your transmission range.
- Clear Voice Navigation Diracts you in all stages of the search.
- World’s first voice Diract-ed beacon for an intuitive and simpler approach to avalanche rescue.
- A large display gives you the ability to search visually to compliment the auditory outbursts.
- RECCO reflector integrated into the holster adds passive search technology.
- A rechargeable battery gives you the ability to juice up on the way and prevents unexpected stops.
- Small size fits Diract-ly in the palm of your hand or pants pocket.
- Ortovox app automatically updates the beacons software so you don’t have to.
- 9 language choices because 7 billion people don't speak English.
|Number of Victims||4|
|Battery Life||250 hours transmit,|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Notes||World's first voice directed avalanche beacon|
|Bottom Line||Voice direction added to an already easy to use beacon|
|Compare to other Beacons|
Questions & Reviews
Although the testing period window and my personal schedule did not provide me the opportunity to conduct as thorough a set of tests as I would have preferred, I nevertheless am quite confident in the following two main conclusions:
1. The voice guidance works nearly perfectly, and is a major enhancement to search performance for less-skilled searchers, i.e., the vast majority of backcountry recreationalists. Okay, sorry if that comes off as somewhat condescending, although as an avy course instructor for both NSP and AIARE, I often see some discouraging performances. But the Diract Voice is like having me there as your coach, except probably more patient and polite than I am if you make some major mistakes, which the Diract Voice will instantly correct. This beacon really has the potential to save lives in searches that would otherwise be botched.
2. As for its search capabilities other than the voice guidance, it's ... okay. Definitely not as good as my favorite models, but the bar keeps getting reset so high that being a half-click behind the leaders is no big deal. (Maybe kinda like having a carbon upper cuff race boot that weighs a bit over 3 lb instead of a full-cf boot that weigh ~2.5 lb?)
3. I like many of the other innovations too, especially the Send <> Search switch, although the internal rechargeable battery will certainly have its detractors.
For add'l details, you can check out my full impressions over at the Beacon Reviews website, under New & Rumors / Latest News, in the entry for January 31, 2021.
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