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Friends and family worry about us and maybe they should just a little. If something goes wrong during a trip, how will we get help? Even if nothing goes wrong, our husbands, wives, and friends like to know that we are ok and doing well. SPOT aims to help with this and they make devices to do just that. They added two-way satellite communication to their lineup with the SPOT X. Now we can get away from it all but stay in touch if we need to.
I‘ve been testing the SPOT X for a while now, and so far, I‘m really impressed. For me, any new electronic equipment requires some study and testing. SPOT has made set up relatively easy. You‘ll need to download the SPOT updater and create an account where you‘ll enter some basic information. Hopefully, emergency crews will never need it, but if they do, you‘ll be glad they have it. Also in your account setup, you‘ll set pre-defined messages, enter contacts, and pretty much manage anything to do with your SPOT X.
SPOT X Subscription Plans and Features
The SPOT X does require a service plan, but there are plenty of options for a wide range of budgets. Annual plans that range from $11.95 to $29.95 monthly offer from 20 custom messages to unlimited messages and the more expensive plans let you set shorter tracking intervals. Annual plans have a $20 activation fee. If you only want service for a month or two, check out the Flex plans. There is a $24.95 annual flex charge, but you can pay for only 1 month for as little as $14.95.
The SPOT X has its own cellular number so anyone with this number can text you like any cell phone. A full QWERTY keyboard makes it easy to send custom texts of your own. The SPOT X connects to social media and allows you to post directly there. You can also share your position with contacts, so they can see where you are and what sort of progress you are making. This could be especially useful if you need someone to pick you up at the end of a trip.
The SPOT X does have some navigation capabilities. There is a compass and you can use the SPOT X to set waypoints and navigate to them.
SPOT X Specs
The SPOT X measures 6.54 X 2.9 X .94 inches and it weighs just 7 ounces. There‘s a 2.7 inch backlit display. The display is easy to read even in bright sunlight. The test unit came with two screen protectors installed which is pretty nice, so you can just peel them off when the screen gets un-readable. SPOT includes a carabiner on a velcro strap so you can attach it to your pack or belt. A charger and cable are also in the box for the rechargeable internal lithium battery.
So far, I‘ve found the SPOT X to be relatively easy to learn and use. Once installed, the SPOT updater does a good job of keeping firmware up to date. The online user account is not hard to use, and the SPOT X is simple to operate. The display is okay to read although I need my reading glasses to see some of the small type. Of course, I haven‘t tried the SOS function since I don‘t want the helicopter pilots to be upset when they find I‘m in good shape when they arrive. It is pretty much illegal to send a false SOS call too.
The SPOT X sells for $249.99 on the SPOT website. If you don‘t need the two-way communication features of the SPOT X, SPOT has a great sale going until December 31st on the Gen 3 and Trace units. Most of my backpacking happens in the colder months of the year and I‘ll be carrying the SPOT X for testing. Watch for a more detailed review in late winter or early spring. Click HERE to browse over to the SPOT website and check them out.
Thanks to SPOT for providing the SPOT X for testing and review. We at Industry Outsider live on budgets too and being able to pass along information hopefully benefits everyone.