I’ve covered several satellite phones over the years, from sleeves that can turn your existing iPhone or Android smartphone into a satellite phone, satellite hotspot, stand-alone satellite phones, to handheld GPS receivers that can access the Iridium satellite network.
But are there any Android smartphones that also have satellite capability?
Yes. The Thuraya X5-Touch, the world’s first Android satellite phone.
The Thuraya X5-Touch is a fully-ruggedized dual-SIM Android smartphone that offers access to GSM/LTE networks, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and satellite coverage (coverage map here, note that the satellite network does not cover North or South America – for this area you need a handset that accesses the Iridium or Inmarsat networks – but GSM coverage is available).
The X5-Touch features a 5.2-inch full HD touchscreen made of glare-resistant Gorilla glass, is powered by a Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor, 8-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front camera, 16GB eMMC memory, 2GB of RAM, and runs Android Nougat 7.1.2.
The 3,800mAh battery is good for 11 hours of talk time and 100 hours of standby.
Storage can also be expanded using the microSD card slot, but only by 32GB.
A wide variety of accessories are also available, from docks to satellite chargers to external satellite antennas. Everything you need to stay connected when away from civilization.
The handset also has a dedicated SOS button, handy when you get into distress (perhaps when seeing the price or the cost of accessing the satellite network).
Full spec here.
This handset is not cheap – priced around $1,250, and connecting to the satellite network is also scarily pricy, but for those who need the flexibility of an Android smartphone combined with satellite access when they are off the grid, this is a worthy combination. The handset is super-robust and will handle a level of abuse that would leave a regular smartphone in bits.