The Iridium 9555 is a compact self-contained satellite telephone and the newest addition to the companies sat phone lineup. From the factory this Iridium sat phone ships with the handset, battery, AC and DC chargers, an international plug kit, headset, auxiliary antenna, and antenna adaptor tray.
The sat phone case measures approximately 5.6-inches tall, 2.2-inches wide, and 1.2-inches thick. The built-in antenna extends the height by 1.7-inches when in the retracted position, extended it reaches 6-inches and can fold left to right to a 45 degrees angle for better reception with the phone at your ear. The handset weighed in at 9.7 ounces.
The 9555 satellite telephone features a top-mounted on/off pushbutton, left-side volume up/down keys, and a right-side convenience key. Pressing the convenience key turns on the display and pushbutton backlighting.
A DC power jack, headset jack, and mini USB port are also side mounted and weather protected with rubber flaps. Battery access is on the case back. It needs to be removed to access the SIM card slot.
Once on, phone operations are handled through front panel soft keys, an up/down arrow key, a green key, red key, and the alphanumeric keypad. The microphone, earpiece, and status light are front panel mounted too.
I found it easiest to make calls by storing my phone numbers in memory and then recalling as needed using menu prompts. The phone will store up to 100 entries with names, multiple numbers, and notes.
The 9555 performed well in our testing. We made a number of voice calls and sent several text messages to see how well the phone worked. Voice calls were clear and crisp every time with no noticeable delay. Voice calls worked well when using the accompanying headset too.
One thing I noticed, when a long text message is received youll need to use the side-mounted volume keys to scroll down to read the end of message.
The external antenna has a magnetic base and about five feet of cable. Youll need to place the phone in the antenna adapter to connect the external antenna. Again the phone worked well for voice and text messages when connected to the external antenna.
The accompanying AC and DC chargers both fully charged a depleted battery in a couple of hours. During our testing the 2200 mAH lithium-ion battery had no problem keeping the phone useable all day long.
We rated the 1.7-inch monochrome display on the Iridium 9555 as good. It has a battery charge level icon in the upper right corner and a signal strength gauge in the upper left. When locked to the satellites it displays time and date. The bottom line of the display shows soft key labels. Bright, even backlighting make the display easy to read in low light conditions.
According to Iridium, this sat phone is not specifically rated for waterproofness. However they claim it is weather resistent and can sustain a few drops of rain with no ill effects. The phone passed our drop test from a height of 1 meter onto a hard surface with no problems noted.
The Iridium 9555 is the latest and greatest satellite phone available from Iridium. For a sat phone it is small and easy to use. No question, a sat phone is an expensive piece of marine electronics gear to both buy and operate. Still, it does something nothing else can, provide a link back home from anywhere.