The SPOT X offers peace of mind if an emergency occurs out of cell phone range.
Whether you're an angler, a hunter, a canoeist or a hiker, exploring new terrain or bodies of water is part of the passion that fuels our adventures. Getting "lost" in nature is never a bad thing, that is until an emergency occurs.
Although cell phones are wonderful tools for staying in touch or relying on for help, one real risk that's always present would be a lack of service. I'm sure all of us can relate.
I was recently sent the new SPOT X two-way satellite messenger to field test and review. Having never used a satellite unit to date, I was more than eager to put this one through its paces.
The SPOT X is a lightweight handheld device, sporting an illuminated qwerty keyboard and 2.7-inch backlit display. With a rugged plastic body and rubber surround, it's impact-resistant, dust and waterproof.
Having the ability to stay in touch with friends and family when outside of cellular range is a big selling point with the SPOT X. The two-way satellite messaging allows you to exchange messages (text messages or emails) with any cell phone number or email address from virtually anywhere in the world. Not only is this useful for checking in with family while off on an adventure, but it also gives friends or loved ones the ability for direct communication with you if the need arises. Sometimes a simple check in goes a long way.
What makes the SPOT X a must-have in my mind is the S.O.S. feature. With a simple push of the S.O.S. button (which is hidden under a flip-up plastic latch) the Search & Rescue center is alerted to your emergency. This feature alone could literally save your life. (Accidents do happen and can turn deadly in the blink of an eye.)
If you need to use the S.O.S. feature, you also have the ability to exchange messages with Search & Rescue about the nature of your emergency and will receive confirmation when help is on the way.
The user has the ability to select from 2.5-, 5-, 10-, 30- or 60-minute tracking intervals, and SPOT X's Google Maps interface allows your family and friends the ability to see in real time your progress and location.
Although I didn't give it a try, the SPOT X also allows you to post to social media accounts, such as Facebook. While it's unnecessary in my eyes, but some users may enjoy this feature.
Scrolling through the menu and sending messages was easy. The SPOT X is simple to use and the raised buttons on the keyboard can be manipulated without issue. The unit also has a built-in compass and programmable waypoints to help you navigate.
Battery life is excellent with this unit, offering up 240 hours (10 days) in continuous 10-minute tracking mode. The battery itself is rechargeable lithium.
SPOT X provides you with your own personal mobile U.S. number, and once the unit is purchased, there are a number of yearly or one-month term flex plans available for purchase.
Is the SPOT X worth the investment? Absolutely. I've enjoyed a number of outdoor adventures that were off the grid, and if nothing else, this unit offers peace of mind. That alone goes a long way when you're "lost" in the middle of nowhere.
The SPOT X retails for $249.99 USD and plans start at $11.95 USD per month.
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