Contributors to this thread:
InReach.... Performance and Service?
So I’ve been reading some reviews on both the Explorer and the SE. 30 percent of them or absolutely terrible. Unable to activate the unit. Unit doesn’t work without updates from a laptop. Inaccurate locations. Short battery life. Delayed messaging both sending and receiving. On/off switch not working. Continued billing after plans are cancelled. Support techs not able to help at all and downright rude.
I’d like to hear from the guys on here about the good the bad and the ugly. Also I have a gps that I love as well as onX Maps. Should I even consider the Explorer Plus or just the SE? Or screw that get a sat phone??? I figured a backup gps can’t be a bad idea but my main purpose it texting.
I have the SE and mini. Absolutely no issue with either of them.. both are paired to my phone any everything gets done on my phone, texts and navigation. The website with your account is very easy to use, changed plans, suspended service ect ect...all accomplished easly from my account page after the log in. I have never needed their CS. I do keep both units updated with the lastest firmware and updates. Again easy to do. I no longer carry a stand alone gps. I use my phone and if i needed a back up i could navigate easy enough with the SE.
I've had mine for over 3 years, had excellent results with it in South Africa, Argentina, Canada, Alaska and Western US. Never any problems with billing.
4 years running with the SE. Alaska, Wyoming wilderness, Colorado mtns, with not one issue.
The Earthmate app saved me last fall when OnX waypoints decided to take a shit in the middle of the elk hunt.
I have the Mini. Excellent. Used it in Idaho. Texts and weather reports were spot on. Battery life was excellent....left it on 24/7 and charged at night. Paired it with my phone And texted right through my phone and the Earthmate App was perfect. Download the maps before hand. Turned off service as soon as I got home. Zero issues.
Went from a Spot to the Mini a couple years ago. Website is easy to navigate and plan changes are simple enough even for me accomplish. So far, reliable from Arizona to northern BC and out on the remote ocean. The only issue I had was messaging to a Spot device while we were both in a very remote area. The two systems seemed to resist each other.
Had the SE for a few years and switched to the mini last year. Nothing but good things to say.
I accidentally signed up for the annual plan instead of the freedom plan last year. After using for a month, I realized my mistake when I couldn't discontinue service for the next month. I called CS and they took care of it immediately....fast and super friendly.
going on 6 Years with the original "Yellow" Inreach unit. Not one single issue.
Best investment in hunting gear I have done in a long time. Have the old SE unit never had a issue
Same as elkmtngear- I have the Delorme Inreach and zero issues. I have had it since 2015. I typically only turn it on in the evenings to check in. On a 14 day hunt, I will have almost 90% left on battery.
I have the original Delorme Inreach - works great easy to set up - battery last a long time. Text key people every day from my I phone blue tooth. I start my plan 5 days before trip and get it all tested and I am good to go. Cancel when I get home. Easy as can be.
What about buying a used unit that’s already been activated by the original purchaser and paired to their device and then switching it over to yours? Easy, problematic?
The concept of buying a used electronics device, to me is about the same as buying a used taxi.
Midwest gave his SE unit to my son. He’s had no problems reactivating it.
Its very easy to switch from person to person. You delete the unit off your account and the new ower adds it to their account . On the unit you go to the main menu and do a factory reset ...and your good to go. Very simple process.
No problems with my Explorer + but it is slow at times. Once turned on, it takes almost 20 minutes for it to acquire sats and pair with the phone. Part of this issue though may be where I turn it on; as in sitting in a hole with mountains all around. Once it acquires sats, it works flawlessly. I used the share hunt option last year and had friends tracking me and texting with me while I was hunting. I would not venture into griz country without it.
In 2018 I rode my motorcycle from Michigan to Alaska and back solo. Before I went I bought a Delorme Inreach. I never had trouble connecting and it really worked flawless. The best thing was that my wife could track my progress on her computer which really helped ease her mind. I found the battery life to be excellent. I had no problems activating and deactivating with the freedom plan. It’s easy to do, just go to your account and a couple of clicks and your done. I use mine here at home now because I can’t get a cell signal at some of my stands. I will be taking it elk hunting this fall too.
I've had my mini for a year, no problems. It pairs to my phone, my account on Garmin's website is easy. Have used it in and out of the country. Could not be happier.
I bought a garmin 66i last year and it worked great on our moose hunt
I got the mini for Christmas, I have not set it up yet. So I will need the Earthmate App on my smart phone to activate the device? Any other tips and tricks would be appreciated.
I like the idea of the Freedom plan. Do you guys find the basic Safety service plan is adequate, or do you step up to the Recreation or Expedition plans?
Anyone setting up an InReach should go to YouTube and search ‘Garmin Inreach Setup’.
Like everything else, someone’s already done it.
Ok, so I figured I should at least research these a little. Googled it and see a mini,Explorer, 66i, 86i, and 86sci. Sounds like most on hear like the mini and a Freedom plan that you can buy for a month on and off. Which level? There's safety, by far the cheapest, and Rec, and Exp. Still need to study what they actually do as far as messages, maps etc. Use them only when your cell phone has no signal?
I many times send a message to my email from a hunting spot that I think might be a honey hole. When I’m home, I simply click the sent link and a satellite pic comes up and I can study it further and create a waypoint if I like.
"Use them only when your cell phone has no signal"?
That's when I use it, and when I'm in the Rockies on an elk hunt, that is pretty much all the time. Every time I text my Wife for example, it plots the text online on the map. So, she'll no exactly where I was the last time I contacted her. You can designate which of your contacts have map access, and which don't.
With my 2017 Garmin SE battery life is great. The IR uses about 20% as much battery as my iPhone while hunting. I only turn either on when I am using them, and probably could make a 10 or 12 day hunt without recharging the IR...but will charge it when it gets down a bit (say below 60%) just in case a true emergency arises and you need to leave it on and send a bunch of messages.
No issues dealing with Garmin on plan changes, which we probably do 10 or 12 times a year (12 is max for the plan I have). You do want to check to see if there are software updates when you reactivate your account.
Had my explorer for a couple years. I hunt on and off all year so I just keep it on an annual plan. My only problem has been occasional difficulty getting it to turn on. The button on top of the unit works, but you have to hit the arrow key to move the curser over or it thinks you accidentally hit the button and shuts back off. I've always been able to get it to work eventually, but not without some hassle. Love how it works though. Battery life is phenomenal. I've sent plenty of texts to friends and family from nowhere.
Can anyone tell me if there’s a difference in functions and more importantly performance between the Garmin SE and the SE from Delorme??? I’m considering a used but like new Delorme. It’s a one time investment so I want one that’s going to be worth buying.
I was an early adopter, buying the very first model in 2012. Last year, I went ahead and upgraded to a Mini.
I have nothing but good things to say about my InReach experience. Plans are easy to turn on and off, never had an issue with billing or establishing service. I've run different plans, with the main difference being how many messages you want to send.
The only complaint I would have is that there can be a delay in sending and receiving messages and sometimes it is hard to get a signal without going to an open area and picking up a satellite. This means you sometimes have to leave your tent, camper, or cabin to actually be able to communicate in "real-time" with it. But on the whole, that is a minor gripe for a product that keeps you connected and safe.
If you want quicker response in communication, be sure to set the ‘Listen Mode’ to accommodate your needs.
It can be Continuous (affects battery life) 2 Minutes, 5 Minutes, etc.
The on/off function can be tricky until you get the sequence down. To turn on, you push button but then have to use the < button to move the green cursor over to “turn on” then you have to hit the check mark. You have ten seconds to do it before it goes blank.
Thanks for the link Brad. Very helpful.
Do I have to use my Iphone with the SE? (Delorme and Garmin)
Don't have to use your phone but you'll be searching and clicking to text anything from the unit.
A paired phone makes it more intuitive however it’s can be used without it. I would go with an SE minimum if your going to use it with out a phone. If you are for sure going to have phone with you always a mini is an option. I had the Delorm version and now the SE and mini ....I wouldn’t buy a Delorm at this point as they are getting on in years by now.
Is that different than with the Mini or Explorer?
Using an InReach as a stand alone, is doable, but cumbersome.
So many good reasons to pair it [bluetooth] with a smart phone.
BTW, had mine up and running since Dec. and no issues whatsoever. Got an error message when I was following the instructions on the initial set-up, but a fairly quick 10 min call to customer service got it straightened out.
With an Otter Box on my IPhone the touch screen doesn’t work for shit if it’s wet or if my fingers are wet.
based on the linked article, Garmin bought Delourme, so don't get one of them! If all I really need is a way to do bi-direcitonal text with my wife while out of cell service, the mini seems to do it right?
What I need, aside from "I'm hurt", is something like "just shot an elk, it's sunset, I won't be home for hours, don't panic" :-)
I wouldnt be afraid to buy a used DeLorme InReach SE - especially if you got a good deal on it.
Contact Garmin and ask them about their future support for older DeLorme models
I have the original Delorme model and it has been nothing short of amazing all over the world.
It's good to hear so many positive things about these units. Like the OP stated, there are so many bad reviews online it makes a person skeptical. I'm still looking at them as a lot of the area I hunt is no cell service. Would have come in handy a few years ago when I thought I lost my truck keys and had to hike out.
If all I really need is a way to do bi-direcitonal text with my wife while out of cell service, the mini seems to do it right?
Yup. Pretty sure every inReach unit does. As others have pointed out, you need to pair it with your phone and use your phone to do the texting through the Earthmate app. But it's really easy and intuitive. The units I've had required the use of a phone (original big black box and the Mini), but as others have said, using the phone to communicate via the device is probably quicker anyway. If that's all you're looking for, the Mini will get it done.
You can text with the Mini without the phone, it just takes way longer. I usually just hit the button to send a preset message as that’s quick and free.
If you’re remote for any length of time, the up to date weather forecasts are handy to.
I have the mini- it works pretty much exactly how I want it to. I like disconnecting, but I also sleep better getting a text from my wife that everything is ok at home with her and my little guy.
As others have said it's pretty slow when texting home, I would say it's 10-15 minutes before I get a reply. When doing in-reach to inreach it takes a lot longer, like 45 minutes to reply, but if you kill something and send a message to a buddy on his inreach, he can follow it right to you. Also works good for a noon check in letting your hunting partner know how its going. It seems like it's a lot quicker from mini to explorer model based on how it worked last year, but that could just be in my head.