Bikepacking typically takes us to distant areas with restricted cell protection. If one thing unlucky occurs to you or a bunch member, figuring out you may talk to get assistance is reassuring. Satellite tv for pc messengers are nothing new, however they’ve gone by means of many refinements over time. In our newest video assessment, Neil digs into the brand new Garmin InReach Messenger and discusses why he likes it over the InReach Mini.
The most recent communication gadget in Garmin’s inReach lineup is the brand new Garmin inReach Messenger, which was launched alongside the brand new Messenger app. Much like the inReach Mini, the inReach Messenger is a satellite tv for pc communication gadget that gives world two-way texting, location sharing, and SOS capabilities. It may be used alone or paired with their new Garmin Messenger companion app for smartphones, permitting you to message with family members or get assist in the case of an emergency. We’ve been testing the unit for a number of months, and extra lately on a bikepacking journey in Utah for this assessment. Watch it beneath after which scroll down for specs and particulars…
The next reiterates a lot of what was outlined within the video above with a number of further particulars, together with an inventory of execs and cons, and a specs sheet the underside.
Garmin InReach Messenger Dimension
The Garmin InReach Messenger bought somewhat bigger than the Inreach Mini, however with extra of a proportional form, coming in at 7.8 x 6.4 x 2.3cm (. Whereas the physique grew, the display shrunk, now coming in at 2.53 x 1.1 cm. The 114g gadget comes with a weatherproof usb-c cost port on one aspect, energy and sos button on the opposite aspect, and three buttons on the underside that assist scroll by means of and choose menu gadgets. The unit additionally comes with a bigger 1800 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Which I’m guessing is why the gadget itself is bigger than the mini, a simple value to pay for prolonged battery life.
Just like the Mini, the Messenger additionally comes with BLUETOOTH & ANT+ so you may simply pair it together with your telephone, or different distant gadgets akin to Garmin watches or the Garmin Edge 1040 photo voltaic I’ve been utilizing. Having the ability to pair the inreach with say the sting 1040 is so good as you don’t must get your telephone out, or the inreach out, however reasonably simply merely press a number of buttons on the top unit to message a buddy or member of the family to inform them you might be doing good. Extra about this once I assessment the Garmin Edge 1040 Photo voltaic in a number of weeks.
The Inreach Messenger makes use of the Iridium satellite tv for pc community to supply 100% world protection, and when utilizing the app, will routinely swap to Wi-Fi or mobile protection when out there. The Iridium satellite tv for pc community consists of a constellation of 66 low-earth satellites. There are a number of different manufacturers and gadgets that use the Iridium community. Nevertheless, one other fashionable satellite tv for pc messenger gadget firm, Spot, makes use of Globalstar, a distinct constellation that makes use of fewer satellites however are greater in orbit. The Iridium community was first operational in 1998, however in 2019, they up to date the community by finishing a alternative of all satellites.
Inreach Messenger Battery Life
For me, one of many largest causes to get this gadget was the battery life. Garmin claims a 44% longer battery over the Mini 2, and I in the end discovered that didn’t must stress concerning the battery life. With the unique Inreach mini, I had a number of experiences the place I merely wouldn’t use the gadget greater than essential as a result of it could run out of juice, akin to throughout races the place monitoring was required. Garmin claims you may rise up to 46 days with a message or location despatched each half-hour in full sky view. That’s against 24 days on the Inreach mini. There are loads of components that may change these run occasions, such because the backlight, whether or not or not the unit is paired together with your telephone, or if there are obstructions blocking the open sky. However, both manner, its bigger battery presents a bit extra consolation, and permits me to maintain my telephone and head unit paired with out enthusiastic about draining the battery over the course of every week lengthy bikepacking journey.
Talking of, early this winter on our Arizona Queen’s Ransom experience, I examined the gadget set to 10-minute monitoring. The Messenger began with a 98% battery cost and completed with 70% over the course of 5 days. On common, I misplaced 7% battery life every day, and that took into consideration a number of messages despatched day-after-day. I had the Inreach Messenger linked to my telephone, however turned off the connection to my Garmin 1040 head unit. I additionally had the gadgets muted, brightness degree at 10%, and set to a 15-second timeout. After that journey, I instructed myself I might now not want the Inreach Mini.
One actually neat characteristic solely discovered on the inreach messenger is the reverse charging. If the gadget has greater than 25% battery life, it has the power to cost one thing else. So in case your telephone or head unit dies, you may put somewhat juice again in it with the messenger. You do want to show this characteristic on nonetheless, however it’s straightforward to do within the app.
Inreach Messenger Interface
Not like the sophisticated Garmin Edge 1040 unit, the Inreach Messenger interface could be very straightforward to make use of with or with out your telephone. With the in-built display you get entry to all of the settings of the gadget, much like the Inreach Mini, however let’s be sincere right here, I by no means actually used the display on the Mini, and don’t use it for the messenger both. Each would take perpetually to put in writing a message, however within the occasion your telephone does dies, otherwise you set off SOS on the gadget, you may nonetheless use the gadget with out your telephone, which is essential.
Regardless of being somewhat annoyed that Gramin launched yet one more app that it’s important to obtain and set up, the Messenger App is tremendous intuitive, and I prefer it greater than the Earthmate app that was used with my older Inreach Mini. The brand new Inreach Mini 2 can use the Messenger app or the Garmin Discover App, however I’ve not used the Mini 2 or the Discover app to check them. The Messenger app can do all of it, nonetheless, and it’s tremendous straightforward to make use of with solely three tabs on the backside and your profile settings within the prime left. The principle “gadget” tab offers you the power to show monitoring on or off, ship verify in messages, and present what number of messages are remaining in your plan. Then you’ve gotten a Climate tab, which is fairly self explanatory, and the message tab, which provides you the power to ship private messages.
Over the past 5 years of utilizing a satellite tv for pc messenger whereas bikepacking, I discover that 99% of the time I find yourself needing to make use of it to ship messages. And go determine, the Inreach Messenger was constructed for simply that. First off, when utilizing the messenger app, each the Inreach Messenger and new Mini 2 use Wi-Fi or mobile networks when out there, solely utilizing satellite tv for pc communications when wanted. They known as the non-sattelite messages “web messages”. Clearly you may simply use your telephone messaging app on this case, but when your cell service is spotty, I discovered that it was good to maintain the dialog in a single place. Plus, messages despatched utilizing knowledge or wifi is not going to depend in the direction of your plan’s included message restrict. These Web messages are a lot quicker despatched and acquired than satellite tv for pc messages, much like your telephone merely receiving a textual content message.
Different messages that don’t depend in opposition to your plan are check-in messages. The gadget comes with three verify in messages and might be accessed simply on the primary display of your gadget or beneath the gadget tab within the Messenger App.
Common satellite tv for pc messages are nonetheless restricted to 160 characters, and all inbound and outbound messages depend in the direction of your plan, together with messages to or from one other Inreach gadget. However this can be a nice method to talk with one other particular person, particularly when you’re planning a meet up out of cell service. The messages ship shortly when the gadget is pointed as much as the sky. And if a reply doesn’t populate, the “message verify” reload button normally does the trick if you’re in an energetic dialog.
One other very useful and helpful characteristic is the monitoring characteristic. I discover that I take advantage of this on nearly each bikepacking journey. You want no less than the Leisure Plan to get constant limitless monitoring, however my household and I like this characteristic, so we pay somewhat further every month. Additionally, should you plan on utilizing this gadget for a race utilizing Trackleaders, that is going to be a requirement So far as the monitoring reliability, I’m very happy with the way it works. I usually use 10-minute monitoring, and looking out again at my Garmin Discover net web page, the situation was despatched precisely each ten minutes, and was situated very shut if not spot onto the place I used to be on the time. That is one other nice choice should you overlook to ship a check-in message, as your important different will see that you’re shifting.
The climate performance can also be a fantastic characteristic. Whether or not you don’t have any thought concerning the climate or sense a change coming, it’s good to get a primary understanding of the day forward. Garmin nonetheless makes use of Darkish Sky for his or her land forecasts, which was lately bought by Apple. It feels like they’re evaluating long-term plans for climate service companions, however I’ve at all times been impressed with the climate characteristic being fairly correct when despatched to my Inreach gadgets. The essential climate has at all times been greater than sufficient info, offering time stamped temperatures, situations, wind speeds, and wind instructions 24 hours out from the time you requested it. A primary climate request prices one message. The place the prolonged or marine requests will likely be a further price.
Whereas you should utilize the Trackback characteristic on the brand new Inreach Messenger, which lets you mainly retrace your steps utilizing a breadcrumb path, the Messenger is void of any actual navigation options. You may’t add a route or waypoints. I personally by no means used these options on the Mini, as it may be executed a lot simpler and higher on different gadgets, like my telephone or head unit. That stated, I can see why it may be vital to some. The opposite very nice characteristic that’s unnoticed of the Messenger app is the map characteristic that Garmin had on the Earthmate app. The Earthmate app has a downloaded map that’s extraordinarily detailed. I discovered I used this a part of the app a bunch and I’d love for them so as to add this characteristic to the Messenger app.
The Inreach Messenger is a bit cheaper, coming in at $299 vs. $399 for the Inreach Mini 2. However should you’re wanting to make use of the Inreach as extra of a navigation gadget—including waypoints and routes, and utilizing it as a compass—then the Messenger won’t be for you. However if you’re in search of simplicity, extraordinarily lengthy battery life, a very simple to make use of app and interface, and need to save $100, the Messenger is a superb alternative. Both manner, you will have to activate both gadget, which is a further $30, which I feel is a bit foolish.
So far as subscription plans, should you use it typically like I do, I simply keep on with an annual plan, which finally ends up saving somewhat cash. However “freedom” plans can be found For those who solely need to apply it to a visit by journey foundation. I’ve been paying for the Leisure plan for the previous few years, and it looks like I get essentially the most worth out of this explicit plan, for journeys, day rides and I additionally use the gadget once I’m driving or tenting as I stay in a really distant space. That stated, Garmin plans aren’t low cost, and hopefully as expertise evolves—akin to the brand new Apple iPhone satellite tv for pc messaging SOS options and the lately introduced Motorola Defy—we’ll see costs go down. Fingers crossed.
Ultimately, I’m not in love with the complicated app compatibility between the three small Inreach gadgets, and the scale of the gadget looks like it might actually be smaller. Nevertheless, I like the less complicated method to the Messenger with choices that the majority everybody will use, and little or no that they received’t.
- Improbable battery life
- Intuitive person expertise in each the app and gadget
- Means to economize by swapping over to “web messages”
- Reverse charging can come in useful
- Cheaper than the Inreach Mini and Mini 2
- Works with distant gadgets akin to watches and choose Edge head items
- USB-C cost port is a pleasant requirements improve
- Relatively cumbersome
- Messenger app is void of map characteristic
- System has no navigation options
- Costly service plans and activation price
- Battery Life: As much as 46 Days
- Dimensions: 3.1” x 2.5”
- Show Dimension: 1″ x 0.43″
- Waterproof Score: IPX7
- Battery: Rechargeable inside lithium-ion
- Weight: 113 grams (4oz)
- Worth: $299.99 at REI
- Product Web page: Garmin.com
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