I recently had the opportunity of giving the SPOT Global Phone a trial run. It’s powered by 100% satellite technology, which makes it a good companion to bring along on all your outdoor adventures for peace of mind. If you’re a fisherman, mountain biker, skier, climber, kayaker, rafter, hiker, snowboarder, or a general explorer that likes to do anything that involves being in a place with no cellular phone coverage, then this SPOT phone could very well be your next best friend in the event of an emergency.
Peace of mind is even more important to me these days because I am a mother to three kids, and many times those kids are with me on my adventures. As much as my iphone seems to be able to do everything, it does in fact have it’s limits…and cellular signal is one of them. It’s a pleasant relief to be able to grab the lightweight (just 7oz – yet rugged enough for my fishing pack) SPOT phone off the counter and throw it into my pack for the day, knowing if there was an emergency I would be able to call for help no matter where me and my kiddos may be.
First, I tried making a few calls from SPOT on the mountain behind my house here in Colorado. I’ve never been able to get much, if any, cellular signal on my iphone up there. I usually bring my iphone with me just to take photos, because up in the mountains it’s not good for much of anything else. The SPOT Global Phone performed exactly as advertised. As long as I made sure there was an open view of the sky and antenna on the SPOT Global Phone was ALL the way up, the calls quickly connected and the conversation was clear and concise.
Next, I took SPOT with us on our trip to Idaho for the 4th of July. We were able to try it in several spots in the Idaho and Wyoming back-countries with great success. I noted the sound quality seemed the same (or even better) than my iphone and any sort of delay that I’ve heard can happen with satellite phones was not detected by me. With 36 hours of standby or 4 hours of talking time with each charge, I was never in a position where I felt the phone wouldn’t be ready at a moments notice.
Typically this phone holds a call for around 3-5 mins before it drops. So it’s not meant for long catch-up chats to old cronies. Although an occasional quick goodnight call to your loved one to let them know you’re doing well and you miss them might be a good idea.
An important thing to note is that although each SPOT Global Phone includes a standard US phone number, when you are making an outbound call it will come across on Caller ID as ‘Unknown’ – so it might be a good idea to give your loved ones a heads-up in case you could be trying to reach them. Also, you can’t receive any calls if the antenna isn’t fully extended – so unless you’re hanging out expecting a call at a particular time, it’s best to turn the unit off and put it back in your pack for safekeeping and to conserve the battery power for any emergencies.
It’s also a misconception that this phone will work ANYWHERE – be sure to check THE MAP before you assume your area is covered, but most likely it will be – the coverage area is fairly extensive. The phone also needs a CLEAR view of the sky, so it is not reliable indoors, in caves, deep canyons or in dense woods.
The SPOT Global Phone also has text messaging and email capabilities but I was not in a position to try these particular features out this time around. I also did not try calling 9-1-1 and assumed if regular calls were going through that there would be no problem reaching the emergency line.
The price tag? $499 for the device itself and month-to-month service plans starting at $25 or annual service plans starting at $300. For the cost of one fly rod set-up you can have peace of mind out on the river.
As a mother, I can guarantee there is no price I wouldn’t pay if I were faced with a life or death situation while out with my kiddos. It’s a relief that technologies like the SPOT Global Phone are becoming accessible and easily affordable to every-day consumers like me.
More SPOT Global Phone specific SPECS Here
Price-point too high, but still looking for peace of mind, or something that has GPS capabilities? Check out all of the SPOT products to find what exactly suits your outdoor adventure needs! http://www.findmespot.com