Spot X vs. Inreach Mini
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
Jaquomo 20-May-19
cnelk 20-May-19
Ambush 20-May-19
Jaquomo 20-May-19
SteveB 20-May-19
Native Okie 20-May-19
cnelk 20-May-19
Jaquomo 20-May-19
Ambush 20-May-19
smarba 20-May-19
Nick Muche 20-May-19
SteveB 20-May-19
Inshart 20-May-19
kota-man 20-May-19
TEmbry 22-May-19
Jaquomo 22-May-19
ryanrc 22-May-19
Ambush 22-May-19
Ambush 22-May-19
Jaquomo 22-May-19
midwest 22-May-19
Ambush 22-May-19
Kurt 22-May-19
Ambush 22-May-19
Rut Nut 22-May-19
Brotsky 24-May-19
Ziek 24-May-19
Kurt 24-May-19
ground hunter 31-May-19
ground hunter 31-May-19
BenP 31-May-19
Jaquomo 31-May-19
BenP 31-May-19
From: Jaquomo
20-May-19
I'm ready to upgrade my SatComm system. I know all about the Inreach Mini, but just started digging into the Spot X. Here are what I see as pros and cons of both, with the "Freedom Plans".

Annual and monthly costs are the same ($24.95 per year, + $14.95 per month). If I use my phone for mapping and navigation I'll need to carry two devices anyway. But the SPOT X is standalone communication with it's own keypad, where the InReach Mini will need both devices turned on and paired to communicate. If I'm not using my phone to navigate, etc, which is about 3/4 of the time, I won't have to carry it with the SPOT. SPOT X gives you a dedicated phone number, where InReach uses your existing phone number.

As for the plans - SPOT allows 20 custom texts a month, extra texts cost 0.25 each. InReach allows 10 texts a month, 0.50 per message. Both allow sending of unlimited "canned" messages per month. The Spot X costs $50 less for the device right now, when both are on sale. That will pay for 2 years of annual contract, and it operates as a standalone device if I want to.

Am I missing anything? Can someone convince me why the InReach Mini is better?

From: cnelk
20-May-19
Lou - what will you use for a camera? A phone or a 'real' camera?

I think many combine the phone uses - camera, gps, communication, etc - that are the InReach proponents

From: Ambush
20-May-19
One thing to consider is the company’s future. Garmin will always be around, whereas Spot, with a limited, narrow product line may get edged out. One of the fellows in caribou camp was demo’ing the Spot for his police division. He didn’t have it with him last week in bear camp but not sure why.

I have the Mini, after having the old Spot for years and it’s actually cheaper to operate, but that’s in Canada. For two way communication, I think the Garmin is a better choice, but the conventional Spot always worked for simple, out going “OK” messages.

From: Jaquomo
20-May-19
Real camera, since phone photos aren't acceptable for published articles. So no matter what, I'm carrying a camera, small GPS (eTrex for backup)

From: SteveB
20-May-19
Yes! The main reason (and the only one you need) is Iridium vs Globalstar. Spot uses Globalstar and InReach uses Iridium. Globalstar coverage simply sucks overall by comparison. Not even close. Worth not having a built in keyboard for the difference in coverage. Also, you can turn your service on and off which is great for guys like me that only need it on a few hunts per year.

From: Native Okie
20-May-19
inReach would be my choice, Lou.

From: cnelk
20-May-19
Lou - Seriously. Get the inReach

From: Jaquomo
20-May-19
Thanks, guys. I haven't ever had an issue with coverage anywhere with my current SPOT 2, and the SPOTX also offers the exact same month to month plan as InReach, except with less expensive texting. I was just trying to get away from always having to carry a GPS, a camera, a SatComn device, and now a phone too. (Yes, I carry a backup compass for navigation if needed, but somehow I've never figured out how to put waypoints into it...)

Has anyone who used a SPOT ever had real coverage issues? I have not, and I pinged my wife every night whenever I didn't have cell service. She always got it, no matter where I was. Once she was able to find me somewhere she'd never been before from the satellite map. So I guess I'm asking, are the coverage issues true, or just "maybe"? Asking for anyone who had used both.

From: Ambush
20-May-19
Never had a send failure with my Spot 1 or 2 all over BC, Alberta and the west Coastal waters. Just give it at least fifteen minutes to do it.

From: smarba
20-May-19
Never used the SPOT X, but did use the original SPOT & the Bluetooth 2nd version. I currently use the Inreach (not mini) because I wanted 2 way text and at that time SPOT didn't do it.

I found the Inreach to be much faster for acquiring/communicating and much more reliable service.

Agree that Iridium network is better and that Garmin isn't going anywhere.

That said I am using the Delorme Inreach, not the Garmin version, which was a much cheaper purchase when I first got it through Delorme.

From: Nick Muche
20-May-19
Get the Inreach Explorer, the orange one...and then ditch your GPS. It's a great GPS, just add the OnX chip and away you go... Iridium works everywhere, Globalstar does not.

From: SteveB
20-May-19
Yes, Globalstar might be ok lower 48 and SOME places beyond.....but is really testy when you are remote and not wide in the open. Can’t imagine anyone thinking it’s as good as InReach.

From: Inshart
20-May-19
I just purchased the Inreach Explorer from S&S Archery. They had it with a discount no tax and free shipping total $405.00. I haven't activated it yet.

From: kota-man
20-May-19
What Nick said....

From: TEmbry
22-May-19
I can’t imagine ever going back to a normal GPS again. The iPhone an inreach Mini and a small battery pack lasts me 10-14 days and serves dozens of functions. Sat photo with topo and land ownership overlays for literally the entire country for GPS app, flashlight, great camera, hunting regs downloaded, music, podcasts, audio books, card games (late fall hunts in alaska leave a lot of dark/tent time)... the list goes on. Everyone carries a phone either way, might as well utilize it.

From: Jaquomo
22-May-19
The reason I always carry a small eTrex GPS for backup is because I had a smartphone crash and die when I was in the mountains. Like, permanently tits-up, with no warning. Had another one go out of my pocket and down a raging stream when a moose was chasing me.

And as I mentioned before, I still have to carry a real camera since phone photos aren't acceptable for magazine feature articles because of the double-compression.

But you guys have sold me on the Mini. Thanks for the advice!

From: ryanrc
22-May-19
You can send and receive texts on the mini without a phone. It is a hunt for the letter and peck system, but you can do it.

From: Ambush
22-May-19
Good choice Lou and you won't regret it. I use the Mini only for communication, but it is also my backup GPS incase the phone with Gaia fails. And being old school and suspicious of technology, I also carry a good compass. Last spring I bought a real camera and now the phone pales in comparison for quality. I have it blue-toothed to my phone so I can load them on to it and text pics from wherever I have service.

From: Ambush
22-May-19

Ambush's embedded Photo
Ambush's embedded Photo
Camera to phone then text or email.

From: Jaquomo
22-May-19
Ambush, amazing you were able to do all that while running! ;-)

And I, too, always have a compass in my survival kit. I always wonder how many young nimrods would still be lost with a compass in hand if their electronics failed. Amazing how many people have absolutely no sense of direction.

From: midwest
22-May-19
What camera is that, Ambush?

From: Ambush
22-May-19
Canon Powershot SX730 HS, bought from Costco. As simple or advanced as you want and takes great video too. The grizzly pic is hand held at about forty yards. On a tripod it's a great tool for assessing animals at long range. Take a pic and expand the screen to examine carefully.

From: Kurt
22-May-19
Ambush did leave his camera for the bear for a while after that photo! (true story). Great photo and one of the 23 grizzly sightings we had over a 9 day black bear hunt....probably 10 different grizzlies.

From: Ambush
22-May-19
Kurt, it’s only funny now because he didn’t eat it!

From: Rut Nut
22-May-19
Thanks for the info everyone! Been trying to figure out which way to go. Will not be buying one until next year and will probably take Nick's advice when I do. By then I will be ready for a GPS upgrade, so might as well get the Explorer vs the Mini. Then have my old GPS as a backup unit.

From: Brotsky
24-May-19
FYI...quite a few places have the mini on sale for $299 right now.

From: Ziek
24-May-19
We're in the same spot - pun intended. Been using Spot, mostly for our summer trips up north, into remote areas. We send out canned messages to friends to let them know where we are, and of course for emergencies. Fortunately, we haven't had to use that feature. It seems to take a long time to acquire satellites, but otherwise has worked OK. Even sent a message from north of the Mackenzie Delta, out in the Beaufort Sea. Several days later, we got an email from one of them saying he hoped we were in a boat when we sent it. lol. But, we recently cancelled the service, due to expire at the end of this month. We will be going with the InReach Explorer due to additional features and my research into the Iridium GPS system vs Globalstar.

From: Kurt
24-May-19
Ziek, My Garmin InReach (SE+)has worked at 75* N out of Resolute and everywhere else I’ve had it over 2 years. Great unit. Nice to keep family up to date and hear what is happening back home. The world shrinks a bit though when you are touch. Kurt

31-May-19
If all you were looking for, is a device, to call for help, and that's it, in areas with no phone service, would the Spot X Generation 3 fit the bill?

No need for a device that is a gps or takes photos etc,,,,,, just for a emergency use only

31-May-19
One more question, with either device, where does that SOS signal go to? Does it go to area authorities?

From: BenP
31-May-19
Another one for Inreach. Many many reception issues with spot in many different areas of Alaska. Have not had an issue with Inreach ( iridium) and going on 4-5 yrs with it.

From: Jaquomo
31-May-19
Ground hunter, you don't need rhe Gen 3 for that - the Gen 2 will do that, plus send several pre-determined messages with your location and a satellite map to whomever you select for each message. I carried the Gen 2 for exactly your purpose.

I just switched to the Inreach for two way communication. I'll make you a heck of a deal on my Gen2. PM me if interested.

From: BenP
31-May-19
Another one for Inreach. Many many reception issues with spot in many different areas of Alaska. Have not had an issue with Inreach ( iridium) and going on 4-5 yrs with it.

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