Garmin recently announced the inReach SE+ and inReach Explorer+ – two Garmin devices with inReach* satellite communication technology. Both devices allow two-way messaging and SOS alerting anywhere in the world, covered by the global Iridium satellite network.
(* former DeLorme technology; DeLorme was acquired by Garmin in 2016)
Most exciting features are two-way communication, location sharing and SOS functionality:
Using the worldwide coverage of the Iridium satellite network, the inReach SE+ and inReach Explorer+ can send and receive text messages with any cell phone number, email address or another inReach device, so users can be outside of cellular range without compromising their loved ones’ peace of mind. Both devices have an interactive SOS, which triggers an emergency response from GEOS®, the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center. After the SOS is received, inReach users are then able to communicate back and forth with GEOS about the nature of the emergency, and receive confirmation when help is on the way. Users can also set up emergency contacts on their devices that will also be notified in the event of an SOS. (source: Garmin)
In addition, the inReach SE+ and inReach Explorer+ include a built-in GPS for location tracking and basic navigation. The inReach Explorer+ adds preloaded TOPO maps, compass, barometric altimeter and accelerometer.
Both models are compatible with the web-based MapShare portal: user’s can send trip data (messages, tracks, waypoint updates at preselected intervals), so friends and family can follow user’s locations, request a location update or exchange messages (example: “MapShare Portal” button on the right).
For using the Iridium network and all communication features, an active satellite subscription is required. Annual plans range from $11.95 to $79.95 per month (+ activation fee), and month-to-month plans range from $14.95 to $99.95 per month.
The inReach SE+ and inReach Explorer+ will be available in the first quarter of 2017. The inReach SE+ will have a price of $399.99, the inReach Explorer+ will go $449.99 (suggested retail prices).
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Garmin inReach – compared to SPOT Gen3
inReach’s main competitor is the SPOT Gen3 messenger, a SOS device lacking two-way communication and other features like smartphone connection and corresponding app.
Garmin inReach – Pros compared to SPOT
- Iridium global coverage (vs. Globalstar)
- Two-Way Communication (for your safety!)
- Earthmate App feature set (e.g. sending individual messages to every contact without cell service)
- Navigation features
- Antenna position (vertical orientation is best, pointing to the sky; e.g. when attached to the backpack)
- Altimeter, compass (Explorer+)
- Topographic maps (Explorer+)
- Freedom plans (suspending your subsription, saving money)
Garmin inReach – Cons compared to SPOT
- Size & weight
- Higher price tag (device only)
Garmin inReach – depends on
- Internal battery (inReach) vs. AAA batteries (SPOT)
Garmin inReach – to be reviewed
- Reliability (satellite reception etc.)
- Overall handling
- Service plans (inReach vs. SPOT)