ProView – ORTOVOX DIRACT VOICE
As a ski guide and avalanche instructor, I naturally pay close attention to all things ski touring — the latest technology and innovation, new brands entering the market, and current trends. ORTOVOX has been on my radar for years as an industry leader, especially when it comes to avalanche safety gear. I am familiar with their line of avalanche transceivers from recent years, and I’ve personally used their S1+ and 3+ models. I often recommend the Zoom+ as a great option for new backcountry skiers and riders, and it’s the model we use in our rental fleet for guiding and avalanche courses at Oregon Ski Guides. I’ve heard the buzz about ORTOVOX’s new DIRAT VOICE this season, but I hadn’t had a chance to get my hands on it yet—so I jumped at the opportunity to test it for Outdoor Prolink.
ORTOVOX DIRACT VOICE
Product Name: OORTOVOX DIRACT VOICE
Product Description: ORTOVOX is setting out on a new, innovate path: The DIRACT VOICE is the world's first avalanche transceiver with integrated voice navigation and will reliably and quickly guide you to your buried companion in an emergency.
Offer price: MSRP: $380.00
Innovative and high-performing—it’s an award-winner for good reason!
- App support
- Voice speaks to you
- Easy to read display
Technology & Performance
When the DIRACT VOICE arrived, the first thing I noticed was that I needed to download the app. The free app is compatible with iOS and Android, and it allows me to connect the transceiver with my phone via Bluetooth to configure settings. I was also able to register the device for ORTOVOX’s 5-year warranty, view the instruction manual, peruse FAQs and video tutorials, update software, and view the battery charge. I know ORTOVOX isn’t the first manufacturer to use Bluetooth for these types of services, but it was my first experience using a transceiver with these capabilities. I have to say, it’s pretty slick. If the days of sending my beacon in for repair or software updates are behind me, you won’t hear me complaining.
Next, this transceiver is rechargeable, and that’s probably my favorite thing about it. Avalanche beacons are generally pretty efficient, and I don’t tend to burn through a lot of battery sets in a season. That said, it’s nice to be able to stick this thing on a charger after a full day of rescue practice and know that it’ll be ready for the next day.
Fit & Features
The transceiver itself is small, lightweight, and compact. It fits in my palm and is easy to handle while wearing bulky ski gloves. It is also intuitive to use. After powering on, it can be operated with the “flagging” button, which can be used to toggle through options on the screen. To go into search mode, simply flip the orange tab at the top. Otherwise, it has all the standard features of modern avalanche beacons, including 3 antennas, flagging function, and group check.
What really puts the DIRACT VOICE a step ahead (and has led to its many awards) is its voice command. It is the world’s first avalanche transceiver with integrated voice navigation, which provides step-by-step instructions to guide users through an avalanche rescue.
I wondered whether the audio would be distracting while performing a rescue—I did giggle a few times when I first tried it. Yet while I think it will take some getting used to, I can see the obvious benefits in a high-stress avalanche rescue scenario, where rescuers don’t have time to think through the steps of conducting a search. I can imagine the Diract Voice’s clear instructions snapping rescuers into action and providing another layer of efficiency in a rescue situation.
In addition to the audio step-by-step instructions, the DIRACT VOICE has a big, clear digital display that shows each step visually. I viewed the display in a variety of weather conditions–sunny, cloudy, and stormy, and it performed consistently well.
The Final Word
When it comes down to it, most avalanche transceivers across the industry perform very well, and they operate and function similarly. This is great, especially for avalanche instructors and ski guides who are often assisting people in using their beacons for the first time. For me, the rechargeable battery, voice navigation, and clear display screen are stand-out features that place the DIRACT VOICE among the best avalanche transceivers currently on the market.
About the Gear Tester
Alli Hartz works as an AIARE avalanche instructor and AMGA apprentice ski guide in Bend, Oregon. She skis almost every day from December until June, and spends the summer trail running with her dogs, Riggins and Firnspiegel. Follow her adventures on Instagram at @allimmmiles.