DeLorme inReach Product Review

The DeLorme inReach is a two-way satellite communication transceiver with GPS capability. DeLorme has steadily updated the inReach product line over the last several years. The latest model is a robust device that outstrips many of the competitors’ products in terms of capability; specifically in the field communications options, social network messaging and position reporting is a big step beyond sending preloaded messages. Like other models, the unit’s SOS function provides communications to first responders (e.g., Search and Rescue) in emergency situations.

DeLorme inReach

The inReach was both evaluated on hikes and road trips by car. The unit was operated in varying weather conditions and elevations. It was powered up for hours at a time to evaluate track information and the ability to send multiple messages. The inReach’s position reporting capability was evaluated at several known locations and then compared with a handheld sport GPS receiver’s (Garmin map62s) position reporting.

Pros

  • Versatile two-way communication device with options to connect via text messaging, email and social networking. The model tested is compatible with the Android or iOS (Apple) devices (e.g., iPhone, iPad)
  • Messaging options include preloaded messages or direct in the field real time communications via a smart phone.  Communications is achieved through the Iridium satellite network; cell phone connectivity is not required
  • inReach offers the ability to provide tracking data to contacts (friends and contacts)
  • The process to setup and activate the inReach through the DeLorme registration site was straight forward and user friendly
  • A locking system prevents inadvertent activation of the SOS, emergency communications feature
  • Learning to use the various inReach functions such as tracking, messaging, and SOS was easy. The owner need not be a “techie” to work this device
  • The Quick Start guide was very helpful
  • The annual subscription options are affordable and cost less than the competitors’
  • Accurate position data (latitude & longitude) compared nicely with that provided by the Garmin GPS map62s. Positions plotted immediately adjacent to each other
  • Complete global coverage
  • Up to date DeLorme maps
  • Customer phone support (9:00AM-8:00PM Eastern time) is excellent and situated in Maine

Cons

  • Relatively large and bulky
  • Though the quick start guide is handy, no owner’s manual is provided
  • The downloaded Owner’s Manual doesn’t provide the detail to navigate the web site. The user is left to set up map options and filter settings without much support.  Several phone calls to technical support were necessary to answer my questions
  • Using Window’s Internet Explorer to manage the user account online was frustrating. Logging on to the user account was achieved quickly but on several occasions map tracking data could not be displayed. Using Google Chrome and Firefox alleviated this problem

The advantage of the inReach is that the owner has many options to send position information and communicate with family and friends via mobile devices such as a compatible smart phone or tablet. Further, the owner can take advantage of DeLorme’s Earthmate® app for two-way messaging and maps. For my money, the most important capability is accurate position reporting and this feature worked satisfactorily every time.

As with the SPOT device, control buttons require firm direct pressure to prevent inadvertent activation. Sending preloaded messages may require duplicate transmissions to ensure reception by the receiving party.

Expansion of the owner’s manual to provide more information on the owner’s account page is recommended.


Manufacturer:   DeLorme

Date available:  Now

Manufacturer’s Website:  DeLorme InReach

MSRP: US$ – 249.95

Listed Weight:  8oz. with batteries

Actual Weight:  Comparable

Dimensions:  Dimensions: 3.4″ H (4.77″ including antenna), 2.85″ W, 1.73″ D; 8.6 cm H (12.1 cm including antenna), 7.2 cm W, 4.4 cm D

Model tested:  inReach (for iPhone, iPad)

Requirements:  2 AA Lithium batteries (provided)

Warranty info:  Limited one year warranty

Colors Available:  Black

 

 

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About the author

Blake is the owner of Outdoor Quest, a business dedicated to backcountry navigation and wilderness survival training. His formal navigation training began when he joined the U.S. Navy in 1975 and continued for twenty years. Blake has taught classes to hikers, wild land firefighters, state agency staffs, Search and Rescue teams and equestrians. He regularly teaches classes through the Community Education programs throughout Oregon. As a volunteer, Blake teaches navigation and survival classes to students in the local school districts and conservation groups. He is a member of a Search and Rescue team. Contact Blake through his website: www.outdoorquest.biz

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