Much like the goTenna, which we reviewed back in January, the Beartooth connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth technology. A special app is then installed on your device that allows the user to send text messages to other Beartooth users who are within range. But unlike the goTenna, this device can actually transmit voice messages as well using a push-to-talk option that is part of the app too. There is even group messaging for both text and voice as well.
Other nice features include GPS tracking that allows the user to share his or her location with others. That point shows up on detailed maps that can be downloaded prior to departure for use offline. The Beartooth even has the capability to serve as a USB battery pack for your smartphone too, providing an extra charge via its 3000 mAh battery.
The Beartooth has a range of 2 miles, which is about half that off the goTenna, but the device is smaller and doesn't need to be dangled from your pack or tent via a carabiner. Instead, you simply activate it and put it inside your backpack. From there, you can pretty much forget about it, using just your smartphone to communicate.
When Beartooth begins shipping later in the year, it'll come with two devices, one for you and one for the person you need to communicate with in the backcountry. The MSRP is expected to be $399, but those who preorder now can get the device for just $249. That seems like a small price to pay for what could be the future of communications in the backcountry.