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DeLorme AG-008449-201 inReach Two-Way Satellite Communicator for Smartphones

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 7.2 x 12.1 cm ; 227 g
  • Boxed-product Weight: 45 g
  • Delivery Destinations: Visit the Delivery Destinations Help page to see where this item can be delivered.
    Find out more about our Delivery Rates and Returns Policy
  • Batteries 2 AA batteries required. (included)
  • Item model number: AG-008449-201
  • ASIN: B007ZOK6B2
  • Date first available at Amazon.co.uk: 25 Jan. 2013
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 140,950 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)

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This is an impressive product which offers real advantage over its competitors such as the Spot as, combined with a smart phone, it allows for two way communication by text to a nominated third party. For marine use, this is especially useful as it provides a crucial level of emergency alarm BELOW that of an out and out SOS for lesser emergencies such as an engine breakdown where the exact nature of the emergency (as well as the precise location of the unit when sent)can be communicated by text or email to someone on the phones address list. It also allows a third party with access to a computer to track the location of the device every ten minutes.
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I've had my Delorme for quite a while now. It's used primarily for tracking a glider, though we have used it for tracking runs and walks as well. So far it has performed very well - track reliability is much higher than the Spots, and it's really helpful getting altitude, speed and direction information. Pairing with an iPhone works well and I haven't had any trouble sending or receiving messages.

Delorme support is superb. I have contacted them about a few minor issues (website), they were quick to respond and confirm the issue. The website is easy to use, though admittedly a bit slow in the UK - everything is hosted in the US (easy to get used to google maps and how fast it is). This seems to have got better recently.
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Excellent device, it's nice to know you can keep in touch wherever you are. Easy to use and to set up on your smartphone. Excellent and flexible subscription packages available.
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Because. The product is very good and does what it says on the box and does not have any equivalent
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars 52 reviews
156 of 158 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is relatively expensive, but it works 14 Jun. 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I had been using a Spot unit (the original model) for 3 years before I bought my Delorme inReach. I've been happy with my Spot: it was cheaper to buy, slightly cheaper to operate, and it was pretty reliable, but, alas, it only communicated one-way. I have found the inReach for Android to be completely reliable and easy to use in my tests thus far. I do not have the inReach that works with both Android and iOS, so I cannot comment on iOS reliability.

For me, the question boiled down to whether two-way communication was worth the extra money. The subscriptions for the two products do not match up perfectly (apples and oranges), so a simple price comparison really doesn't make sense.

The inReach "Safety" plan costs $120/yr and gives you 10 messages per month (sent and received) and does not include "tracking" (useless to me because I use my GPS for tracking). When on the trail I used to check in once a day on my Spot, so 10 days per month is adequate for me, and I like having the capability of receiving info in the event someone back home needs to communicate with me (gives me peace of mind). The Spot basic subscription is $100/yr. The extra $20 per year is worth it to me. And if I go over my 10 messages per month, it's only $1.50 per additional message, which will not likely break the bank.

Moving up the subscription ladder, I suppose the next useful comparison would be the inReach "Recreation" plan ($300/yr, which gives you "tracking" and 40 messages per month) and the Spot's basic service, plus tracking, plus "type and send" service--adds up to $180/yr for the Spot services. Here, you need to ask yourself whether two-way communication is worth the extra $120/yr. I think Delorme would do well to reduce the price of their Recreation plan, although I must admit that I doubt I would find it tempting, even at $180/yr.

Another nice feature of the inReach is that it communicates with my Android phone, and I am able to download topo maps to my phone. The maps are of high-quality and are quite detailed for the United States (24k). You can also get maps covering other regions of the world, but these maps are not nearly as detailed. Bottom line, if you want two-way communication at a reasonable price on a satellite network that covers the entire planet, then the inReach is really the only game in town.
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works Great with iPhone 4s 19 Nov. 2012
By Another reader - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Some of the negative reviews may be from people with older androids, which as was pointed out, don't work with this device.

The Iridium system is always available, but my understanding about Globalstar is that it is NOT always available because they don't have all their satellites up yet. I think that $120 per year plus $.50 per waypoint and $1.50 per message is an inexpensive way to reliably let your loved ones know where you are when out of cell range. Since SPOT works on Globalstar and can not receive messages, I never gave it serious consideration.

One thing that Delorme does NOT tell you, is that if you DO push the panic button and call for search and rescue, there can be expensive charges for the SAR. GEOS, the company that monitors the emergency calls sells a pre-paid search and rescue plan for $15 per year which will cover up to $100,000 per year in SAR costs. Again, pretty cheap for peace of mind.

It is true that a message takes about 20-25 minutes to reach its destination, or about 45 minutes to receive a reply once you send a message. So its not Instant messaging, but it does allow you to connect using either a text to a cell phone or by e-mail.

Battery life for the Delorme is not bad. One set of disposable lithium batteries will last 24 hours if synced by bluetooth to your iPhone or 125 hours if not. But the iPhone battery would not last that long. i use an Energ4 protective battery case which works great and gives me about 16 hours of continuous iPhone use or about 4 days standby. In addition, i have started carrying an ANKER back up battery, which I have tested, but not actually used in the field. Theoretically, it should triple my iPhone battery time from the above. I also carry a 4-pak of spare AA lithium batteries for the Delorme.

It communicates via the Iridium Network.
On the iPhone, you first download topo maps of your area of interest before you head into the field using Wi-Fi. The GPS portion of the iPhone works quite well even when out of cell phone range and shows your current position as well as previously uploaded waypoints on the topo map. I also use the Trimble Outdoors navigator app on my iPhone which has better navigational capabilities. ( the Trimble compass feature can be set to point at any waypoint, like your car, so you can find your way back if you get lost)
91 of 103 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor preformance! 14 Oct. 2012
By pigfly - Published on Amazon.com
I purchased the Delorme inreach to provide a reliable form of communication from a remote cabin in the forests
of northern California.When testing from the cabin location the Inreach stand alone messages and tracking eventually worked fine.My text messages sent from Android phone to the paired Inreach worked fairly well but took 5 to 10 minutes to go through.The problem was in the receiving of return text messages from the people I contacted.I received only 1 return text message of several sent.The Iridium satellites had to be "in view" because the unit worked fairly well in stand alone mode!The Inreach was a fairly good transmitter but a very poor receiver of messages!
The next problem was with pairing between android and Inreach unit which I found the solution with a "power start" by holding
power and tracking buttons simultaneously.(not in owners manual).The inability of the Delorme Inreach to reliably receive text messages from my remote location was disappointing to say the least.I expected the inreach to work simply and reliably as does my spot messenger but I found it to be cumbersome and very finicky in actual use.I tired of solving a new issue each time I tested the unit.Delorme claims the unit sends and receives text messages but in reality my experience was negative on most all counts!Battery life was very poor using 4 sets of lithium batteries during my testing.
I returned the Inreach to Amazon for a refund and received a very fair credit to my account.
Update:
I called Delorme customer service to discuss terminating service.I was told I would be required to pay the full year of
service contract agreement despite Inreach flaws and 2 months service.
Update:9/24/2015 Globalstar Satellite phone has very good connectivity from remote cabin location and when using from other remote locations with a clear view of the sky.Voice quality is excellent!I find satellite signal to be immediate probably %95 of the time!(impressive) New Globalstar GSP 1700 phone about $500 and voice plan around $40 month.The satellite phone coupled with the spot messenger and Garmin gps for location and check in, I believe this is the way to go ATV riding! Globalstar has a basic 120 minute a year plan for around $300 per year.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works for me! 16 July 2014
By K. Selbo - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Such a large number of negative reviews would normally be a deal breaker for me, but the price of competing devices was significantly higher for less function (not waterproof, no SOS button). That kept bringing me back. I even emailed a competing manufacturer asking them to tell me what should make me choose their device over the inReach, but got no answer.

A close examination of the reviews indicated that many problems arose from customer support, and there was also dissatisfaction with the annual contract. The device itself appeared to work as advertised.

Now that I've owned and used the inReach on a ten day hike in the wilderness I can say yes, the customer support could use some improvement. The phone support is good, but expect a fairly long wait on hold for it. Delorme now offers month by month contracts. Users should start out with this (more expensive) option until they're sure they want to commit to a cheaper but non-refundable annual option.

Email support appears to have a one day minimum turnaround and one of the answers I got was incorrect. The inReach website informed me that there was a firmware update for my device. I installed it and the website still said there was an update. I emailed customer support. The reply told me I should always install when the website said an update was available. This seemed bogus to me so I called customer support and after a long time on hold the answer was that my firmware was up to date and the email support was wrong.

Some of the other reviews mentioned an undocumented reset that involved pressing a combination of buttons. I made a point of asking phone support about it. There is such a reset. They told me what it was and I wrote it down and entered it into a text file on my phone. Since I use my phone to control the inReach, I always have the instructions with me. I also downloaded the manual and installed it on my phone.

So how does the device itself work? I purchased service by the month since I don't expect to use it year round. The unlimited tracking and forty message plan suited me fine. I tried it out all the functions (except the SOS of course) right after receiving it and they all worked. Phone pairing is easy, just follow the instructions in the app. By the way, I installed rechargeable NMH batteries for this testing; no point in using up expensive long-life lithium when you're at home.

The real test was taking the inReach on a ten day hike in the Emigrant Wilderness just north of Yosemite. No real complaints here either. Tracking points went to the website reliably. I didn't check to see that all the tracking points went out. A glance at the map didn't show any obvious gaps. I'm sure some points were delayed by canopy obstruction because I the red signal light indicated that the inReach couldn't contact the satellite at times. All the canned safe arrival messages I sent at the end of the day were received. I would always check the signal light and move the device out into the open if no signal was indicated. I sent three messages to our re-supply person to make changes in our re-supply. Two were emails and one was an SMS text. All were received and I received all replies. The important thing to remember is that if you're not moving, make sure that the inReach has an unobstructed view of the sky for sending and receiving.

The inReach low battery function didn't appear to work as advertised. The "on" LED is supposed to turn red when the battery is getting low. Instead, function became erratic. When I turned on tracking for the day, the "tracking" light did not come on. Since I'd been using the same batteries for over 100 hours, I replaced the batteries and tracking started working.

When I returned from the trip, I reviewed the tracking points and emails at the website. I noticed that I did not receive one message that had been sent to me. I queried customer service and was informed that messages are held in the iridium queue for twelve hours. This is an iridium characteristic over which Delorme apparently has no control. The message was sent just after I turned off the inReach when we stopped to camp for the night and was gone by the time I turned the inReach on for tracking the next morning. Lesson learned: don't let twelve hours go by without turning on the inReach to ping the iridium system for messages.

The GPS/earthmate function? I thought it was very good. The GPS aquired quickly and even worked in a building when I tested it.

One thing that could stand improvement is the website. Subscribers only have two messaging options. Let anyone who you've given the password to send you messages, or disable the messaging function completely. I'd like to let a lot of people view my track on the website but limit who can send me messages. The lower cost plans charge fifty cents a message. This could get very expensive if all those people could send messages to me. I've requested that there be a second password for messaging so that option can be limited to responsible adults.

The bottom line is that the device works as advertised. I think it's best to be tech savvy and good at understanding printed instructions if you use this particular device. It met my expectations and was extremely useful.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I had hoped for! 29 Jun. 2013
By Alan Mazer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I do a lot of hiking alone and for a while have wanted one of these things, but the price held me back. Finally I have one. Here are the things to know:

First, there's now a newer model, the SE. It doesn't let you change batteries in the field, it's more expensive, and it still requires a phone to show where you are. Enough said.

I'm using it on an Android, a Samsung Galaxy, but have friends who use it with an iPhone.

Setup isn't difficult but there are multiple steps. You'll need an internet connection, your VISA card, and afterward, the ability (and time) to go outside for a while. You need to follow the directions carefully, I found some ambiguities in the wording, but it worked. (One of the most annoying things was getting the battery cover off. There are little rings that you turn to disconnect the cover, but the manual doesn't say that. Took me several minutes to figure it out.) Overall the setup process probably took about an hour. There is lots of stuff to configure on their web page. Since I hike most of the year, I chose an annual plan at an initial $25 a month, but will drop back to the $10 a month plan once the weather gets colder. (You can also do a 4-month/summer plan at $40 a month.)

They'll provide you with an account on share.delorme.com for your friends/family to use when tracking you. If you log in before you've enabled tracking it'll show you in the Atlantic and say that your users are improperly "filtered". It'll work once you enable tracking in the field.

I've taken the thing on a bunch of hikes now, and it's performed flawlessly.

The first test was a hike through local mountains. I kept it off until I got to the trailhead. It immediately synced up with my phone, I turned everything off on my phone except for Bluetooth, and it tracked me as I hiked for about 8 miles, in and out of tree cover, up and back down the side of a mountain. I received one message from a friend (sent through the Delorme web site), sent pre-configured messages from the InReach itself, and sent custom texts through my Android's contact list. I left it on after my hike and let it track me on the highway home as well, and once I got home, checked all the tracking marks and text messages. Everything was there.

My longest hike was a 5-day backpack through the Sierras. I powered on and enabled tracking when I woke up each morning around 6 a.m., and turned it off every night around 8 p.m. My phone I powered only when I wanted to send or receive messages, or check where I was on the Delorme app's map. A few times it reported no signal, but within a few minutes it would always find one. It's been on other hikes as well, with similar performance. I really take it with me now whenever I go out.

Basic usage is very simple: hold down the power button to turn on, hold down the tracking button to enable tracking, and when the message light blinks, that means someone has sent you a message. There are, however, more advanced options which require the holding down of multiple buttons, or the holding down of buttons until lights blink in particular patterns. I haven't needed these but be aware that if you do need these advanced capabilities, a cheat sheet might be required. That part of the user interface is very complicated.

People can send you messages either by responding to something you sent, or by starting their own conversation with you through the share.delorme.com web site. Either way, the InReach will light the message LED to let you know a message has arrived, and then you can use the Delorme Earthmate app on your phone to read the message and reply back.

Texting will not always be at regular cellphone speeds, but my wife and I are frequently able to text back and forth at a text every few minutes or so.

Finally, the "125 hours" battery life assumes the device is unpaired. Delorme suggests that you unpair the phone when you're not using it, but that seems to me an awkward process. I called their technical support and was told that if I left the pairing on, but turned my phone off when not using the application, I would get around 100 hours, so that's what I've been doing. I find that the batteries really last 80-90 hours, i.e., 5-6 full days of backpacking or a boatload of day hikes. With this model, you can also swap in extra batteries if necessary, so if I think I'm running low I just drop a couple spare batteries into my pack.

Overall, this is doing everything I had hoped. I can message people, receive messages, and provide tracking to my family. I have no problems pairing with my Samsung Galaxy phone. Bluetooth always connects when I turn my phone on. The size and weight are less than I expected, and perfectly acceptable.

This is really a remarkable device. I now carry it routinely.

AN UPDATE:
Since I wrote this review I've encountered one problem, which is actually pretty minor but needs to be mentioned. On one hike my wife texted me over cellular in the middle of the hike to say that my tracking was turned off. In fact, the tracking was on but the InReach, after more than an hour, still hadn't been able to determine my position through the GPS. Ever since that time I let the InReach figure out my position at the trailhead before I leave. This was only a problem on one out of many hikes, but it might bug someone if they're not aware of it.

AND A NOTE:
One of the things that was non-intuitive to me when I first got this, and I think to others as well based on reviews that I've read, is that you will not always have an Iridium connection. The Iridium satellites are not geosynchronous, and so are constantly moving in and out of range. So you can send your texts or your tracks, but they won't always go out right away. You can be in a pretty open space and still not have a signal. What I've found is that any time I lack a signal, I have only to wait a few minutes and I'm back in business. You don't generally need to be aware of this because the InReach will communicate as it's able. But if you're watching the signal light and frustrated that it's not green, give it a few minutes. I pretty much just ignore the light now. I know my stuff will make it out eventually.

UPDATE RE APP PUSHES:
Another issue I've had with this lately relates to updates pushes of the Earthmate app on my Android. Twice I've had the Earthmate app update automatically where the app needs to be uninstalled and reinstalled to work correctly. One time this happened the morning of a trip and I was without the app during my hike, so I was never sure that the InReach had located me correctly or that tracking was working. (It was working fine as I found out later.) The solution to this problem is to go to the Google Play Store, find the Earthmate app, and using the Play Store settings, disable automatic updates for just the Earthmate app.
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