Update: Garmin vs SPOT ( I bought a Garmin)


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Jul 14, 2014
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So about a month ago I was asking if anyone had used the new SPOT X satellite 2-way messenger and tracking device.
Most people on here were using a Garmin of some sort, either the Explorer or the new Mini.
I read every review I could find on the internet about the SPOT X. I looked at Videos and read hiking blogs. Some of the most helpful information I got was from a bunch of motorcycle riders, both offroad riders and long-distance highway riders. Many of these people were using the device for the same thing I want: to be able to keep family updated on where I am when I cannot text them on my cell phone.

Well, I gave up on the SPOT X and bought a Garmin InReach SE+.
Fortunately, I kept looking around for a good deal on one, and lo and behold, Cabelas had them for $100 off the normal price.
Why did I finally get the Garmin? Well, I just found so few good reviews of the SPOT X that were believable. Some people have one of the older SPOT devices, that is only 1-way communication, and those seemed to work. But the details of how the new X does things just did NOT make me all that happy. One of the final straws was reading up on the Iridium network versus the Globalstar network, and how Iridium is improving. Globalstar has not updated their satellite network since 2013, and according to the financial analysts is in a bit of financial trouble.

I really wanted to like the SPOT X. That handy QWERTY keyboard looked so convenient. Finally, I asked a pilot friend what he used. He said he used to have a SPOT device, but had gone to the Garmin because of spotty performance from the SPOT, especially as he went farther north. There were some other things that were funky about how the SPOT worked in some of the reviews, too. I will have to go back and find the exact descriptions, but it had to do with how it was limited in how many messages it sent at one time.

So, I bought a Garmin SE+. I had a bit of trouble getting it set up. I logged on to Garmin's site and created an account, and got a service plan. I had read in the reviews that the unit needed to be updated, but it did NOT say that anywhere during my account creation and login, nor did it say that in the quickstart manual they provided. So, I took the device outside and powered it up. Now, you have to remember that I was going to give this to my husband as a Christmas gift, so I had to do all this without his knowing about it. Well, the SE+ sat out there in the snow, looking and looking for a satellite, and finally gave me a message that this was taking longer than usual, so maybe I should check on things. So several days later, I logged back into my account. Whoa. Yep, there's my account, but it said that I didn't have a plan, and I didn't have a device. Really?
I called customer service. Got a guy who was easy to understand (so glad for that!!!) and even he was surprised at my situation, but he said it had happened before. So, he got my account straightened out, and showed me where to download the program that allows you to do the online updates to the device. There were several InReach sites, and for some reason my login sent me to the wrong one. That kinda baffled the customer service guy, too.

It also turned out that the updater program will not work on a computer running Vista, so I couldn't do it on my home office computer. Had to get onto our family laptop to do it. Cripes it was hard doing all this without my husband seeing it.
I had some troubles getting the update done, but that was probably because we have satellite internet. Finally got it done, though, and got a test message sent both ways!!!!
I'll post more when I actually use it. Can't wait. ;) :whistle:

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