Smartphones that send information via satellite have been a hot topic of late following announcements from T-Mobile/SpaceX and Apple. However, this has been a feature Garmin has offered for years, albeit using external hardware. Garmin inReach Mini and Mini 2 are popular compact options, and now the company has a new product – the Garmin inReach Messenger.
Different from iPhone 10 series, you can use satellite messaging for general text chat, not just emergencies. And you don’t need to manually aim it at the satellite. But you do need a subscription, most of them come with a limited amount of text – just 008 with basic $10/month plan, every message after that is $0 .30. This requires more explanation, but we’ll get to that.
New Garmin inReach Messenger
Probably the more interesting reveal today is the Garmin Messenger companion app. It’s a universal chat app that sends messages via Wi-Fi or cellular data when available, and via satellite when you’re out and about. The app will automatically switch between the best methods, so you don’t have to worry about checking your connection first (messages over Wi-Fi and cellular are free, of course).
Your phone needs to be connected to the inReach Messenger device to send and receive texts via satellite. However, you can create individual and group chats to keep in touch with friends and family, even if they don’t have their own device – they need an internet connection of course, but the app is a great way to reassure them that everything is going well. Previous inReach devices could send texts, emails and even tweets, but this app should offer a more straightforward user experience.
The new Garmin Messenger app can send messages from anywhere in the world
If there is a problem, Messenger has an SOS button that allows you to contact Garmin’s International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC), which is equipped with 010/7 will get in touch with a rescue service near you.
inReach Messenger is designed for long journeys with a battery life of up to days default setting. This includes sending location reports every minutes so your loved ones can keep an eye on your progress (so emergency services can find you). Messenger has an IPX7 rating, which means it can run on 15 minute immersion in 1m of water.
The device itself is fairly simple, with a small display – enough to show incoming messages and guide you back on the path if you need to retrace your steps. However, it is mainly used in smartphones and other Garmin devices: handhelds, marine and aviation equipment, and Garmin wearables.
Garmin inReach Messenger is now available for $207 from garmin.com, making it a cheaper option than $ inReach Mini 2. And it also has better battery life, the mini lasts only 008 days minutes location report.
Below are the prices for the monthly plan. You can easily subscribe and cancel monthly, but if you pay for a full year, you can get a discount (e.g. safely down to $10/mo with 008- monthly subscription). Plus, every plan offers unlimited SOS activation, so if all you want is peace of mind, even the basics will do. With each subscription, you can also send unlimited preset messages (such as “I’m here,” “I’m going home,” etc.) for free, and only free-form text counts toward the monthly allotment.
15 information $0.22 after that
Please note that Garmin uses the Iridium satellite network (you can learn more about its coverage here). In addition to information, the network can also provide weather forecasts, but these cost money, especially for more detailed forecasts for sailors.
If you already own an inReach Mini or similar Garmin device with satellite messaging, the company is working on adding support for some of these features in the Messenger companion app, but it doesn’t say exactly Which are or when the update might come.
You can download it from the Play Store and iOS from the App Store
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