Very Preliminary Impression
Spent considerable time with a demo unit yesterday. Nice and small. Setup is easy. Operation is not very intuitive. LEDs and button operation can be confusing unless you commit some stuff to memory. Biggest concern is reliability and on this point a lot more testing needs to be done. So far in testing around Reno/Tahoe I'm finding that the unit definately needs a reasonably clear view of the southern horizon to get its message out. With a clear view the messages are delivered promptly. However, my concern is crashing alone in a heavily timbered or easy-west facing canyon and not being able to walk the unit up so it can communicate with the GS satellite. Getting a GPS fix appears easier than sending the message out successfully. When it works it's great! Being able to send check-ins or non-catastrophic helps is an adventurer's dream come true. Looks like for two or more riders it may be just the ticket, but when riding solo I'm still a bit concerned that certain situations might keep the user from getting his message out - in which case a real PLB is still the much safer solution.
I'm reserving judgement until after more real world testing over the next 10 days. I'll be riding in several narrow east-west canyons next week and will do a number of test messages with those back home to get a better sense of how much I can count on it. I'll report back then.
2007 KTM 990 Adventure
2008 KTM 450 EXC-R
2005 Honda Elite (just because)
If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going.