DeLorme InReach vs Spot Connect vs Spot II
I looked at the Spot Connect but discounted it because as a stand-alone device, it only has SOS and none of the other buttons of the Spot II (i.e. I'm okay, custom message, tracking). However, the DoLorme InReach seems to address those shortcomings, as a standalone unit, it has tracking, SOS, and what looks like the ability to dispatch pre-composed messages, pretty much what Spot II does. Then the advantage of the InReach kicks in, that is, if your cell phone is still alive, you can communicate by two-way texting.
A retailer's website shows the monthly subscription for InReach starting at $9.99 or roughly $120 per year. There are no details how many free messages you get or the per message cost or what other fees are involved.
For comparison, I'm into the second year on the subscription for the Spot II and I see the charges on my credit card was $180 USD. I was expecting something in the range of $149 but I see there is an $17.99 device replacement insurance cost and the annual $12.99 rescue insurance.
Given the difference of $60 between the Spot II and the DeLorme InReach annual subscription, I'm sure for the times that I use the InReach, I could send quite a few text messages for $60. Otherwise. 99% of the time I'd be using the tracking feature. The 10 min. interval on the Spot II is fine if you're traveling at high speed in or on a vehicle. For hiking, a longer interval and therefore more battery life would be fine. Apparently with the InReach, you can set the tracking interval.
The weak link in either the Connect or the InReach is the cell phone. At the rate smart phones consume power, the phone will die within days into the trip. Also it doesn't take much to mess up the phone, such as leaving it on, dropping it, or getting it wet.
The devices are slowly getting there. . One day it'll be a waterproof, floating device that will fit in the palm of your hand, weighing no more than 175 g and have a mechanical keyboard and a small text screen.