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Announcement, Handheld GPS, What's New

Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger – Released in Australia

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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Posted: 30/10/2019 at 4:15 AM   /   by   /   comments (0)

Update 29/10/19: After working on their Satellite network offering  for ground stations the Spot X is now available in Australia

It’s been years since we’ve heard about a new product being released from FindMeSpot but they have broken that silence with a new 2-way Satellite Messenger the Spot X. The Spot X is Spot’s first big entrant into the 2-way Satellite Messaging category which has been dominated largely by Garmin with their inReach products. This new satellite messenger was first announced in 2018 but it's only become availalbe in Australia recently. Initially Spot didn't have the networking infrastructure in our region to support 2-way Satellite Messaging however Spot has invested to increase the it's network range and Australia is now covered fully for 2-way messaging.

Quick Review

The Spot X is $469 RRP in Australia and is available for preorder now. It's a satellite communicator that unlike other spot models allows you to send and receive messages to any number in the world 24/7.

In the box: Spot X, Strap and Carabiner, Micro USB Power/Data Cable, Quick Start Guide, S.O.S Mirrored Sticker, Warranty Card, GEOS Reference Guide

Key features:

  • SOS Emergency features 24/7
  • GPS Tracking 2.5, 5, 10, 30 or 60 minutes waypoints plotted via Google Maps
  • Bluetooth connection with Spot X App allowing you to Spots Satelilte network to message people via your phone
  • Check in - Push a button to send a preset message to your family/friends to let them know you're ok
  • Post to social (share your adventures with friends on Facbeook or Twitter)
  • Compass  - built-in compass and programmable waypoints to help you navigate.
  • Full Illuminated QWERTY Keyboard
  • IP67 (Submersible up to 1m for 30 minutes)
  • Up to 240 hours (10 days) of battery life in 10 Minute Tracking mode

Full Breakdown

Hardware/Design

The Spot represents a great first entry for Spot into the 2-way satellite messenger category. Spot has opted to include a physical keyboard with their messenger unlike notable satellite messangers like the Garmin inReach models. It's 16.61cm in Height, 7.37cm in Width and 2.39cm in Thickness and weighs 198.4g with rechargeable lithium batteries. It's suprsingly skinny considering that it has a full keyboard on the front of the unit and while it migth be a little too wide for some adventurers I don't think it would be a major issue.

On the front of the device you have the standard SPOT buttons with the instant tracking button, return key and SOS button. The SOS button is underneath a plastic hinged flap, so no worries about accidentally pressing that in your pocket your pack. The QWERTY keyboard on the device is standard with no special button options. You also have the directional pad on the middle of the device which makes navigating through the menu interface very quick. The charging port for this device is on the base and charges via Micro-USB.

 

Spot X Charging Flap

Spot X Charging Flap

Spot X

Spot X

 

Satellite Function, Tracking and Navigation features.

The Spot X device will have its own dedicated cell phone number which makes it a breeze for friends and family to reply to your messages. The messaging and SOS functions like all Satellite devices work best with a clear line of sight to the sky. Putting yourself in a location like a dense forest or valley will make it unlikely for a signal to actually get to any satellites and send out. Keep this in mind when you're adventuring to give your device the best possible to chance to function correctly.

Tracking features are customisable on the Spot and each subscription tier has different options available (more on this later). The tracking feature is a great way to keep people updated on your travels without needing to text them your position. Spot will automatically send your geolocation as a waypoint onto a map that people you've selected can view and check your progress.

Navigating via the Spot is not as in-depth as other satellite messenger options like the inReach Explorer+ or inReach Mini. You can navigate to a waypoint you may have setup via the app or imported onto the device. The navigating menu will give you an arrow that points in the direction you need to go alongside giving you information on the destinoans coordinates, your coordinates, distance to destinantion, heading and the ability to show the compass. This is a passable navigation feature but defintely not a selling point for the Spot device.

Pricing and Plan tiers for Australia

Spot offers a flexible plan or an annual contract plan with different tiers within these plans.

  FLEX BASIC FLEX ADVANCED FLEX UNLIMITED
$17.88/mo. USD $35.20/mo. USD $46.20/mo. USD
1 MONTH MINIMUM Term Applies 1 MONTH MINIMUM Term Applies 1 MONTH MINIMUM Term Applies
20 Custom Messages (Overages: 25c per msg) 100 Custom Messages (Overages: 25c per msg) Unlimited Custom Messages
Unlimited S.O.S. Unlimited S.O.S. Unlimited S.O.S.
Unlimited Check In Messages Unlimited Check In Messages Unlimited Check In Messages
Unlimited Predefined Messages Unlimited Predefined Messages Unlimited Predefined Messages
Tracking

10, 30, 60 minutes

Tracking

5, 10, 30, 60 minutes

Tracking

2.5, 5, 10, 30, 60 minutes

Movement Alert

Not Included

Movement Alert

30 min, 60 min, 4 hr, 12 hr

Movement Alert

30 min, 60 min, 4 hr, 12 hr

Activation Fee: $22.00 USD Activation Fee: $22.00 USD Activation Fee: $22.00 USD
Flex Charge: $27.50 USD* Flex Charge: $27.50 USD* Flex Charge: $27.50 USD*

 

  BASIC ADVANCED UNLIMITED
$15.13/mo. or $181.50/yr USD $24.20/mo. or $290.40/yr USD $35.20/mo. or $422.40/yr USD
12 MONTH MINIMUM Term Applies 12 MONTH MINIMUM Term Applies 12 MONTH MINIMUM Term Applies
20 Custom Messages (Overages: 25c per msg) 100 Custom Messages (Overages: 25c per msg) Unlimited Custom Messages
Unlimited S.O.S. Unlimited S.O.S. Unlimited S.O.S.
Unlimited Check In Messages Unlimited Check In Messages Unlimited Check In Messages
Unlimited Predefined Messages Unlimited Predefined Messages Unlimited Predefined Messages
Tracking

10, 30, 60 minutes

Tracking

5, 10, 30, 60 minutes

Tracking

2.5, 5, 10, 30, 60 minutes

Movement Alert

Not Included

Movement Alert

30 min, 60 min, 4 hr, 12 hr

Movement Alert

30 min, 60 min, 4 hr, 12 hr

Activation Fee: $19.95 USD Activation Fee: $19.95 USD Activation Fee: $19.95 USD

These prices are accurate as of 30/10/19

Summary

Spot has introduced a contending product to the dominant inReach devices from Garmin. I think this device will be extremely popular with adventurers who are familiar with Spot and haven't wanted to move over to Garmin. This device just builds on the great features Spot traditionally offers and now adds in sending and receiving message functionality.