The Spot X bridges a gap between the older GPS tracking devices and the newer Hot Spots that provide voice, text and some e-mail capability. We are seeing a fair amount of excitement about the new Globalstar Sat-Fi 2 which does voice, text, e-mail, weather, social media and lite web browsing. Our walleye fishermen, however, are a little concerned about the complexity of that level of communications, and having to have your smart phone to communicate through the hot spot. What happens if your smart phone runs out of power or gets wet?
The Globalstar Spot X provides the usual tracking, check-in and SOS service offered by the Spot 2 and Spot 3, but it also offers two-way free-form texting. Before your trip you can enter a long list of e-mail and text contacts, as well as a few dozen messages that you might want to send (like listing various check points, etc.). This makes everything a lot faster and easier as you send these messages along the way, but you can also compose a new text (maybe you are diverting to a new extraction point, maybe you need a part for your car), send that text, and receive a reply from your contact. If you don't need voice, the Spot X is an easy to use and very reliable bridge to social and emergency communications.
I think it is really a matter of preference. We have many customers who just want to get away from the phone and enjoy an evening around the campfire, or a day on a Caribbean beach. At the same time, there is a need to stay in touch and let loved ones (or the office) know where you are and that you are OK. The new Globalstar Spot X just might be the happy medium, allowing you to check in by pushing one button, and communicate in more detail via two-way texting to cell phones and e-mail addresses when you need to.
Satellite Phone Solutions has been participating in the Beta Tests of the New Globalstar SatFi-2 and based on our evaluation of the unit, we are giving two thumbs up. Voice quality is excellent, and two-way texting is fast and easy. There was a little trick to set up our GMAIL account within the SatFi-2 App, but once this was completed, we were able to send and receive E-Mail (even send an attached picture) with no difficulty. The SatFi-2 provides 72 KBPS data service, for web access, weather reports, and more. The unit has built in GPS capability and can be registered for SOS service. We believe the SatFi-2 is an excellent value and believe you will agree with our review.
Globalstar has the lowest price at $399 and the best voice quality. Its primary coverage area is limited to North America, The Caribbean, Europe and The Mediterranean. The IsatPhone 2 is a good value as a global (except the artic areas) phone at $735 with 100 units (78 minutes) of airtime for $100. The Iridium 9555 ($1095) and Iridium 9575 Extreme ($1375) are the top choices for global coverage and reliability, but also have the most expensive airtime, such as $140 for 75 minutes valid for one month, with a price increase coming this Spring. If you are thinking about buying or renting a satellite phone, give us a call at 561-245-5203 and we'll review your trip plans and your communications needs and try to help you select the best phone for your needs.
2018 Update - Iridium continues to launch their second generation satellites, and their service remains very reliable. Feedback from our Walleye fishermen in Canada is that the Globalstar 1700 has been working very well this season. The arrival of the Globalstar Sat-Fi2 ($499 with monthly service as low as $40) which now allows personal e-mail and lite web browsing, and the Spot X ($249 with Unlimited texting for $299 a year) with all the features of the Spot GPS plus two-way texting capability, adds two interesting options to the mobile satellite mix for 2018 and beyond.
Quotes From Walleye Central
Big thumbs up to Satellite Phone Solutions and Globalstar 1700. Just got back from NW of Ignace and the phone was flawless. Have always used Iridium and with 9 guys had to put some limits on how long they talked. Bill was always over $250.00. This year unlimited usage and less then $100 with shipping. Globalstar from now on. By the way, Best fishing ever in 30+ years of going to Canada. - DKRUSIN
Just got back from an awesome Lac Seul fishing trip. We fish the Chamberlain Narrows area of Lac Seul. I started taking my son last year when he was 9 years old and wanted to give my wife some peace of mind and rented the phone. Both times, we went with Satellite Phone Solutions and Globalstar. Basically went with the most reasonably priced solution and it has worked out really well both years. It seems like the service was better this year than last year. Last year there were times of the day when you might have to wait a minute or two before service was available. This year service was available right as the phone turned on. I went with the Globalstar 1700 phone rental, unlimited calling, and prepaid shipping both ways, and the total for the rental was $92. JKOEBEL
Just switched from my previous rental company to Satellite Phone Solutions - their customer service was incredible when I placed an order last week for an upcoming trip. Thanks for the tip. I also rented their foldable 12w solar panel. - KEEK"