Here is a breakdown of why I have decided to buy a second Spot-X, even though my first-generation Spot-X died while I was doing a firmware upgrade.
I was lucky that when it died I had two friends with satellite communication devices (inReach Mini & Zoleo). This allowed us to continue our adventure with the safety of being able to communicate with family and friends during the trip. It also gave me a chance to play with both models and test them in a real-world scenario 😉
Overall they are both great devices, they feel well built and each come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some specifics to help in the decision making process:
Although these numbers could entice you to save a few bucks, it’s important to identify the differences between each of these solutions and to decide which of them are must-have or nice-to-have. Sometimes a little creative thinking can help you get a few more nice-to-haves. For example, Spot-X offering weather reports would have been a nice-to-have. Luckily, I don’t mind doing these few extra steps as a workaround: using an FM radio, Environment Canada weather enabled 2-way radio or by simply sending a free predefined satellite SMS to my father, friend, or wife requesting a weather update.
For me, being able to use the device stand-alone was a must-have. I can’t recall for sure, 😉 but it might have happened in the past that a phone charging cable was left behind… This narrows down my choices as both the Zoleo and inReach devices rely on a smartphone to be able to access all of their features.
The biggest must-have for me is Spot-X’s SOV service (Save Our Vehicle). This is a roadside assistance service contracted through Nation Safe Drivers for only 30$/year. We have a campervan and a Jeep Wrangler, and if we were to buy roadside assistance services from CAA for RV vehicles (because our Transit van is considered RV), the yearly cost would be 256$. I would have paid for this service regardless. The Spot-X Basic with the roadside SOV costs 245$/y so that’s a savings of 11$ before tax.
Even if I’m missing out on some features like better satellite coverage, weather reports, or reduced upfront unit costs, the Spot-X is still cheapest for my budget. This is because it gives me the peace of mind of having roadside assistance service + satellite communication for 11$/year less than CAA roadside service (CAA Plus Plan + RV).
As previously mentioned all these devices have unique design and features. Although the Spot-X is on the Globalstar network which has fewer satellites than the Iridium network I find it’s a good compromise in services and features. Unfortunately there is not yet a perfect device which offers all the features, best reception at a cheap price.
* Find me Spot has not sponsored this post and there are no affiliate links to any of the products or services listed above. But if you would like to help and receive 30$ credit on Spot services once you parched your device send me a message and we can apply for their referral program.