The Ortovox S1+ is one of the most technically advanced avalanche beacons on the market, but it has a few unique quirks that can take a little longer to get used to. It was one of our higher performing products in nearly every category and was also reasonably easy to use. However, it is uniquely designed from all other contenders on the market because it doesn't follow flux lines in a conventional way. Instead of following a generally rounded flux-line that brings the rescuer in on a curved line, it instead calculates the flux-lines and brings the searcher straight to the buried signal. It also likely has the most features and options of almost any beacon out there (with the newer Mammut Barryvox being the possible exception). While its straight-to-the-victim design is quite cool, it does take some getting used to just because it feels different than any other beacon.
The S1+ is easy to use for basic functions, searching and sending, but going through the icon based menu was sometimes more challenging than we expected. The S1+ was one of our top scorers for speed at finding a single victim or multiple victims and had a fantastic display of these features, similar to an older style video game. We did notice that with the S1+ we had to move marginally slower than with some of the other top scoring products. While it is expensive, it is not that much more than its competitors.
The overall maximum range is among the best we tested, which allows large search strip widths. Its closest competitors are the Pieps DSP Pro and Mammut Pulse Barryvox. In choosing between the three, it comes down to if you are comfortable with the more advanced digital display of the S1 or prefer a more standard display. Some of our testers (especially those with more experience) were more skeptical at first because the S1+ looks for victims and assists you in finding your victim in a totally different way. Unlike all other models we've ever used, the S1 doesn't assist you with directional arrows to help you stay on a flux line to find your victim in a traditional way. Instead it uses "sensors" (hence the name S1) and calculates distances and angles of the flux lines and takes you straight to the victim. You just line the body icon on the screen up in your "sights" and walk. If you are only doing a few trips a year, this product might be a little too complex and may not be for you, but for intermediate to advanced users the S1+ has plenty to offer and with a little practice can be super fast.