Spot 3 versus Delorme Inreach

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by DennisK_ID, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. DennisK_ID

    DennisK_ID Old and In the Way

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    Been burning days looking at these two and doing web searches. My hesitation is now the bad reviews I've read about the service of both. Spot does not allow automatic renewal to be turned off and can only be cancelled in a one month period. Delorme hits you with extra fees and taxes with no explanation and uses 30 of the allowable text characters to add an ad to your message. Plus issues with both not working and Delorme needing to be sent to the factory to check if it has issues.

    So what experience have you guys had? Is it that bad?

    ---Well I was hoping for some feed back re what experiences people have had with the service contracts of the two units. It does seem a bit like the manufacturers' reason for the units is to get your credit card and start charging for the service. For curmudgeons still whining about our deregulated phone bill and the ever increasing cable bill it's just another source of irritation at the modern world. Not really why I want to travel above the Arctic circle in the first place. I understand it is great having loved ones know where you are and if you're all right. Being able to send and receive text from above the arctic circle or from the tip of SA seems great and I'll probably go with the Delorme. (And, to my pea brain, being able to control month by month when they can charge my card is a plus.) Only caveat is the Spot with an arm band on the upper arm does seem less obtrusive.---
    #1
  2. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    I have the Delorme InReach SE (not the square one, but the yellow/black rectangular one). No problems at all with it. I passed on the SPOT device when I was comparing...because...

    They are two different types of devices.

    Both offer SOS services. Both can offer tracking to your family on a website.

    The InReach SE offers two-way text messaging. My wife and I can communicate with a extremely short delay in messaging...which means we stay in contact when I am remote where the cell phone won't work...and it allows me to immediately know when there's a problem. I traveled in the past without a way for my wife to contact me...and her dad died while I was gone...and I didn't find out for days. I'd give anything to have been back home much quicker when she needed me. So, the InReach is invaluable to me, even though it does cost more money to maintain the usage. I could care less if there's a problem at work while I'm gone because one of the other managers will take care of it...but when it comes to family, I want to know immediately.
    #2
  3. DennisK_ID

    DennisK_ID Old and In the Way

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    OK, put aside my crankiness (it's for my lovely wife, after all, not for me). Bought the Delorme and Richard at GPS City gave me the ADV discount (250 instead of 300).
    #3
  4. DirtSolace

    DirtSolace Been here awhile

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    +1 to the above perspective

    I used SPOT for a year, and thought it was slightly better at the desktop management level, but InReach better with two way texting....

    They are also getting better (slowly) with each new update. Latest one making buttons more efficient (screen lock/on-off) was significant.

    Suggest paying $20 for evacuation insurance.... best deal on the planet. (if you ride alone)
    #4
  5. Forzato

    Forzato baboodee

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    Can any inmate verify (after having used both the Spot and the Delorme) if there is a significant difference between the Spot/Delorme in tracking success when riding in dense woods?
    #5
  6. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    I had a first generation Spot and now have a Delorme inReach (not SE). I never had big problems in heavy woods with either. Each occasionally misses a tracking point. Mind you, I ride in the western US where forests are interspersed with meadows and mountain tops/ridges so YMMV in unending eastern forests.

    As mentioned earlier, the ability to both send and receive texts when away from cellular coverage was the deciding factor. It gives the wife just that little bit more peace of mind that she can reach me in the event of an emergency on her end when I'm off on adventures in BF Egypt.
    #6
  7. Forzato

    Forzato baboodee

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    Thanks Jonz. If I am correct the Delorme uses Iridium and Spot uses Inmarsat. I wondered if these different systems have different levels of performance between the Delorme and Spot (as they seem to with sat phones).
    #7
  8. HogWild

    HogWild Scott Whitney

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    SPOT uses Globalstar, not Inmarsat. There were problems with Globalstar sat phone connections due to a problem in the satellites. That problem did not affect the section of the satellites that handle SPOT communications. So, there is no related problem with the SPOTs. The problem satellites are being replaced, so the sat phones will work better than in the past. Even without problems, Iridium and Globalstar systems have MANY differences (orbits, number of satellites, ground links, etc.), so their performance will be different. The most obvious differenece is that Iridium covers the whole planet, while Globalstar has somewhat limited coverage areas (see the coverage map on the SPOT website).
    #8
  9. Forzato

    Forzato baboodee

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    Thanks Scott for clarifying. Sounds like there should be a negligible difference between the Delorme and SPOT in the woods of the northeast US.
    #9
  10. eddyturn

    eddyturn Eternal Wannabe Supporter

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    If you don't want SPOT to auto-renew, just change your CC number to all 4's or something else with a bogus exp. date. Not sure they won't have your previous number on file but you can always dispute it with your card issuer.
    #10
  11. Forzato

    Forzato baboodee

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    Granted, I've only used the Delorme Inreach SE a few times in tight woods (sunny days with a few clouds). I am careful to use the current firmware, and to mount antenna up and screen facing out with a clear path upwards (ie no obstruction to antenna or display of the Inreach). So far, on 10 minute tracking I am getting successful transmissions between 75% and 0% of the time. The tighter the woods, the less success transmitting. I'm riding in the typical mixed hardwood/softwood forests of the Catskills and Berkshires in upstate NY. I guess it is better than nothing.
    #11
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  12. Hikertrash

    Hikertrash Wasted Rock Ranger

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    Love my INREACH SE. Used it in remote parts of the Yukon this month texting back and forth with my wife when I had no cell service. I have the Freedom Plan now which is cheap. Had the yearly service for over a year when I first bought it. Only think I don't like about it is my wife can see how fast I'm going when it tracks me :D

    After having two Spots sent in for replacement due to stopping tracking, I sold the 3rd replacement. They claimed SOS was reliable, but tracking could be spotty. I usually ride in the desert so sky was never blocked. I blame it on their poor satellite system. I'll take iridium satellite if my life depends on it. I've never had any problems with the SE not tracking or sending messages. I also like that it'll ring when I get an incoming message. There's a reason you don't see the INREACH being sold in the FM and you'll see people giving Spots away.
    #12
  13. BigFishRGV

    BigFishRGV n00b

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    Does anyone know how to get the ADVrider discount at GPS City? I want the new Delorme Inreach Explorer.

    Thanks in advance!!
    Greg
    #13
  14. Hikertrash

    Hikertrash Wasted Rock Ranger

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    Pm them when you place your order with the order number. They don't put out the coupon code anymore because it was being abused.
    #14
  15. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer Supporter

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    Coming late to this (looking for Inreach vs. Spot info).

    Spot user here - presently using a Gen 3 unit - I was an early Spot adopter, and have had both a Gen 1 and a Gen 2 (gadget freak).

    FWIW, the LD crowd seems to use mainly Spots for ride tracking. The Spot is significantly cheaper than the Inreach to buy and for tracking.

    Spotwalla adds significant functionality to the Spot - not sure if they support the Inreach, though.
    #15
  16. SimonUK

    SimonUK Grumpy old bugger

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    Spot Gen3 user here. It is the only unit I have used so I can't comment on the other one mentioned. However, I have been pleased with the Spot. Very simple to set up and use.

    My wife and the rest of the family like the webpage interface to keep track of my trips. Spotwalla makes it easy to review trips at a later date.

    Spot Gen3 gets the thumbs up from me.
    #16
  17. Cow Boy Brad

    Cow Boy Brad brad1098

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    Can anyone comment on if the Explorer is worth the extra $100 over the SE.
    #17
  18. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS Supporter

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    "Worth" is a rather personal and subjective thing. But, if you want a single device that can show you your location relative to a predefined route and waypoints, then the inReach Explorer is the answer. But, it has a very small display so if you are going to carry another GPS (presumably with a larger display) then the inReach SE is sufficient.

    In the near future the SE & Earthmate App on a smartphone will be able to show your preplanned route and Waypoints just like the Explorer does now. Given that I see no reason to upgrade to an Explorer if one already has an SE.
    #18
  19. ArcticRider

    ArcticRider Been here awhile

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    This is exactly correct.

    Its important for users to understand that the InReach relies on the Iridium communication satellite network and these operate on a polar orbit...meaning that the satellites travel from pole to pole providing equal coverage at all latitudes. (The SPOT devices lose communication link at about 66 degrees latitude.

    I live in Alaska and work the high arctic and SPOT doesn't even have 'spotty' coverage up here...it is useless.

    The Iridium network is what we rely on for all SatPhones and for that reason the InReach is the only GPS-dependent emergency beacon to use.

    For those asking about the Explorer vs the SE, please do not think you can get rid of your Garmin GPS device when you carry any InReach device because the InReach was not designed for navigation--it is designed for emergency use. You will be better off if you continue to rely on your Garmin GPS navigation device for everything you currently do and carry the InReach for the sole purpose of emergency and sending SMS when you are outside of cell tower coverage.

    This means having your InReach powered ON and exposed to the sky (versus in your pack) so that it is constantly tracking satellites (both GPS and Iridium). When the device is utilized in this manner, then as soon as you come to a stop on the pavement, you can press the SOS button and then begin First Aid.

    I work for a rather large corporation with atleast 10 field crews in the field and we have tested the InReach SE's extensively from Anchorage to Prudhoe. Heavy tree canopy or sheer rock walls will limit your line-of-sight with the satellites. This means you might need to move to a clearing or higher elevation in an emergency in order to get a signal out.

    We carry Iridium SatPhones AND InReach SE's but if we could only carry one device for an emergency, we would leave the SatPhone at camp and KEEP the InReach device. (I have written a 2-page explanation for this claim based on thorough research and emails with the technicians of two companies if anyone would care to receive a copy.)

    As for the DeLorme Subscription options...they bend you over a barrrel.
    First you have the $30 Activation Fee on any new device, then you add the $24.95 Annual Enrollment Fee and then you still have the Freedom Month-to-Month service plan for another minimum of $14/month (and don't forget your various taxes). Its a great service in an emergency but you pay for that peace-of-mind.

    If you are hoping to take advantage of the $50 Rebate, it expires on 12/31/14 and it requires you Activate your device immediately and pay the above charges...in other words, its not exactly like they put $50 back in your pocket.

    Be Safe.
    #19
  20. ArcticRider

    ArcticRider Been here awhile

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    Dan is correct about this combination; however, if you are intending to use your InReach for emergencies or away from a power source then a dedicated GPS navigation unit like a Garmin is still a better option.
    #20