Satellite communication


Review: Somewear Global Hotspot || 4.0 oz with seamless messaging

By Andrew Skurka / May 28, 2021 /

For years Garmin has dominated the satellite messaging category with its family of inReach devices. But competitors have emerged, thankfully, and it’s helping to keep prices down, drive product innovation, and perhaps improve customer service. For nearly three weeks this spring I used the Somewear Global Hotspot ($280, 4 oz/113 grams), one of these newer…

Preview: SPOT Gen4 || Updated 1-way messenger

By Andrew Skurka / August 3, 2020 /

The SPOT Gen4 was officially released today. This fourth-generation device remains a one-way messenger, and both its hardware and software has been updated from its predecessor, the Gen3 (my review), which was released more than six years ago. Functionality Like the Gen3, the Gen4 can send outgoing messages only, limited to: SOS, Help, Check in/OKAY,…

Review: ZOLEO Satellite Communicator || Seamless messaging

By Andrew Skurka / May 18, 2020 /

The satellite messaging market only has two players: SPOT and Garmin, with the latter getting most of the market share. For a product that’s now so ubiquitous and high-dollar (largely because of the subscription revenue), I’d like to see more brands competing and innovating in this space. Here’s a new one that’s worth consideration: the…

Long-term review: Garmin inReach Explorer+ || Sat comm + GPS unit 2-in-1

By Samuel Chaneles / November 28, 2018 /

For different trips, I often wear and carry different gear. But some items are so vital that they end up on every trip — and my Garmin inReach Explorer+ is one of them. Since its release in early-2017, I have used my inReach Explorer+ on many trips around the globe, including on the southern Appalachian Trail,…

Review: SPOT X Satellite Messenger || I’ll keep my inReach, thanks

By Andrew Skurka / October 23, 2018 /

Exactly one week after Garmin announced the inReach Mini in May, SPOT released its first new device in five years and its first device with two-way satellite messaging. The SPOT X retails for $250, weighs 6.7 oz, and features a 2.7-inch dot matrix illuminated screen and physical QWERTY keyboard. It looks like an orange Blackberry with an over-sized antenna.…

Preview: SPOT X || 2-way messenger with physical keyboard

By Andrew Skurka / June 6, 2018 /

SPOT revolutionized backcountry communication in the late-2000’s with its original device, the SPOT Personal Tracker (my review), which retailed for $170 (plus an annual service plan) and which could send three one-way messages: Okay, Help, and SOS. The Tracker was less expensive to own and operate than a satellite phone. It was more functional than…

Comps: inReach Mini vs SE+/Explorer+, SPOT Gen3, and PLB’s

By Andrew Skurka / May 11, 2018 /

For Outside I have written a piece on the primary differences between the new Garmin inReach Mini, which was released last week, and existing satellite communication devices like the inReach SE+, inReach Explorer+, SPOT Gen3, and personal locator beacons like the ACR Electronics ResQLink. Here’s the link: The Garmin InReach Mini vs. the Competition If…

Preview: Garmin inReach Mini || 2-way satellite messaging for 3.5 oz!

By Andrew Skurka / May 3, 2018 /

Garmin dropped a big surprise this morning: a new addition to its popular inReach line, the inReach Mini. This new device is noteworthy for two reasons: 1. Size The inReach Mini weighs just 3.5 oz (100 grams) and measures 4″ x 2″ x 1″ (5 cm x 10 cm x 2.5 cm), making it about half…

Are Garmin’s inReach Units Accidentally Calling SAR?

By Andrew Skurka / April 2, 2018 /

By applying normal pressure to the SOS button on my inReach, I can initiate a SOS message despite the lock switch being properly engaged. Can you?

Garmin inReach deep dive: Default & downloadable maps & imagery

By Andrew Skurka / March 28, 2018 /

Overnight I received this question from reader Bob B.: This question — and just about any other that you can imagine — has been answered previously in my previous posts about the Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+: Preview: New Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+ 12 FAQ’s: inReach SE+ & Explorer+ || Incl, Will old devices…