Spot Gen3 Replacement - Bidirectional SMS

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 16, 2022 at 10:57
ThreadID: 143255 Views:3175 Replies:4 FollowUps:8
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My Spot Gen3 is about due for replacement (I ran over it, its still functioning, but I don't trust it). I'm keen to get a bidirectional SMS device as a replacement. The tracking function for family/friends is still required as well.

The Garmin range seems to have changed recently. The Explorer+ is no longer sold but I see the Montana 700i seems to fit the bill? I also see the SpotX Two-way Messenger. Do Spot and Garmin use the same satellite constellation?

Are there other devices I should consider? Has anyone bought a device recently and could offer some insight into what they considered and what they ended up with?
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2022 at 11:15

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2022 at 11:15
Hi Duncan.
For communication Spot uses Globalstar while Garmin uses Iridium.
I have a SpotX which is a bit clunky to use but meets my needs. You can send and receive texts and email, but on the small keyboard you won't be writing War and Peace. Perfect for the occasional communication or calling for help, though.

I think the Garmin products link to your phone, so you get an easier user interface. However the plans are more expensive.

I think I would prefer the Garmins, but on a cost/benefit basis SpotX meets my needs.

FrankP

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2022 at 11:47

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2022 at 11:47
To add to the above, SpotX battery use is very efficient if you're using it as just a tracker and for the occasional pre-formatted "I'm OK" message. IIRC, from pre covid travelling days it will last about 3 days on a charge. And because it doesn't need an attached phone, you have only one device you need to keep charged. Depending on what you're doing that may or may not be significant.
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncan2H - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2022 at 11:55

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2022 at 11:55
Good info, thanks Frank I appreciate you taking the time to provide it.
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Reply By: Member - LeighW - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2022 at 13:32

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2022 at 13:32
I use an inreach mini, works well, has a battery jack so you can leave it pugged into a charger in the car, simple unplug and take it with you if you go walk about, just pop it in your pocket

Disadvantage is you need to use with your phone if you want to use maps etc, you can send messages from the unit itself but it is fiddly if your not going to send a precomposed message.

If find it cheaper than my previous spot as you can suspend the service when your not using it.

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Follow Up By: Member - Duncan2H - Wednesday, Feb 16, 2022 at 19:03

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2022 at 19:03
Thanks Leigh.. I had spotted those little InReach minis.. interesting feedback, thanks for the insight into them.
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Feb 17, 2022 at 07:39

Thursday, Feb 17, 2022 at 07:39
Leigh,

You can suspend the service on a monthly basis for a Spot device also. I only activate my subscription as I am about to begin a journey, then suspend the subscription at the end of the current month.
Bill


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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Thursday, Feb 17, 2022 at 09:01

Thursday, Feb 17, 2022 at 09:01
When I had mine you couldn't, they also had made the unit I had obsolete which it meant if you let the service lapse you could no longer register it back on the network which was a bit raw seeing nothing had changed.

Is Spot cheaper, with Inreach you have the flexiplan monthly fee but if you suspend a plan it doesn't cost you anything. Reactivating you just pay the monthly fee. On Spot I see they have an activation and a flexcharge fee, how does that work?

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Reply By: SMBooth - Friday, Feb 18, 2022 at 15:17

Friday, Feb 18, 2022 at 15:17
I ended up with a Garmin inReach mini, now there have just released the inReach mini 2. I pair that with my iphone and /or iPad. Mostly the inReach is for emergency and check in texts to home, the iPhone does a good job as GPS and mapping with ExplorOZ and Gaia. If the Montana has the same maps as the Garmin Earthmate then you be disappointed in the maps. Another option is the Zoleo, cheaper purchase but dearer subscription so in 18 mth you are paying more than the inReach mini. Except for SOS the Zoleo relies wholly on the seperate phone interface, i like the Garmin being freestanding if it needs to be.

Shane
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Follow Up By: Briste - Friday, Feb 18, 2022 at 22:30

Friday, Feb 18, 2022 at 22:30
Shane - do you subscribe to Gaia off-line maps? How do you find it?
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Follow Up By: SMBooth - Saturday, Feb 19, 2022 at 12:03

Saturday, Feb 19, 2022 at 12:03
No , i just use the free version.
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncan2H - Saturday, Feb 19, 2022 at 18:46

Saturday, Feb 19, 2022 at 18:46
Good information, thanks for taking the time to post it.

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Reply By: Member - Duncan2H - Wednesday, Feb 23, 2022 at 07:35

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2022 at 07:35
I ended up buying a Garmin InReach Explorer+

$639.

After 24hrs of tinkering and testing I'm feeling quite comfortable and happy with it. I havent got a decent length trip for a few weeks yet but I suspect its going to deliver the goods.
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