DeLorme AG-009871-201 inReach SE
Style: Base ModelProduct Packaging: Standard PackagingChange
Price:$298.99+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on June 29, 2015
I want to say that 'I love it!" It is the best unit out there but unfortunately my joystick "down" button does not work straight out of the box. I would replace this item but leaving on a trip for a month tomorrow. So disappointing....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2015
Update:
So I today I got my first chance to use the Explorer on a real hike in Castle Rock State Park. Overall, we did a 14mi hike in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Plenty of light tree cover, but no slot canyons or anything like that. As you can see from the photos, one from GaiaGPS running on my phone (which was using the Explorer as it's GPS via Bluetooth) and the other from the Delorme website which received the datapoints directly via satellite using the default track settings (using the Freedom Recreation Plan).

As you can see the two tracks are *very different*. The GaiaGPS is far more accurate & complete. The missing portion of the track in the upper right corner was actually due to my mistake because I forgot to turn on Bluetooth on my cell phone. Other then that GaiaGPS looks pretty much spot on and we regularly checked our location my phone and never had a problem.

What is going on with the InReach tracking feature though can only be described as "very poor". The website claims the track covers 4.7mi (again, this was a 14mi hike) and basically cut out the entire first half of the hike and most of the end. If I were actually sharing this data with someone at home wondering where I was they'd be very confused and wouldn't have any idea where I was most of the time.

Again, both of these of these tracks were generated using the GPS on the Delorme Explorer, so both should of been very similar. I honestly expected the Delorme to be more accurate since I remembered to turn on the tracking feature just as we set out and turned it off once I got back to our starting point.

On the good news: I sent two messages while out. One a short text message to a buddy and another a pre-set message to my wife's email account. Both appeared to go through without any problems.

Original review:
[This is my initial review after setting up and walking around the block. I'll do an update once I get a chance to do a real hike. It covers hardware version 2.2 and firmware version 2.7.]

So far I've been able to create an account on the explore.delorme.com website and activate my Explorer. If you've done your research then you know this is an expensive paperweight without a service plan. If you accurately follow the activation directions then things should go without a hitch. I jumped ahead a little and it wouldn't activate. That was solved by power cycling the Explorer and everything worked just like they describe in the manual.

I was able to send/receive the test messages and they went through in a few minutes (the InReach sends/receives messages every 20min) so some delay is normal. GPS signal seems to work well enough even indoors.

So far I've been able to pair the Explorer with my iPhone 5S and have GaiaGPS utilize the InReach Explorer as it's GPS signal instead of the built in GPS on the iPhone. That should save a lot of battery power on the phone while hiking. The DeLorme website is where you do almost all of the configuration of the InReach and then you have to install an app on your computer to sync those settings to the InReach over USB. A little hackish, but it seems to work. Would be nicer if you could sync the settings via Bluetooth using the Earthmate app. The inreach.delorme.com website where you manage all your settings (contacts, quick messages, etc) is just slow enough to be annoying, but not so bad that it's frustrating. Hopefully it doesn't get any worse. Honestly though, I'm pretty impressed with all the features- including the ability to setup sub accounts for your friends/family so you can lend them the InReach. That's a cool feature.

The Earthmate app for iOS is merely OK. I definitely would recommend a dedicated GPS or GPS app like GaiaGPS for navigation. As many people have mentioned, the Explorer has no base map and there is no means of uploading maps to it- instead you use the Earthmate app for maps. A little weird having no maps but a digital compass. The Earthmate app also is supposed to sync up settings with the DeLorme website and this seems to work 50% of the time or so. Definitely seems like they could spend a bit more time making Earthmate better. I definitely wouldn't spend the $30 for a standalone Earthmate subscription, but that seems to be included for free with the InReach subscription. I suspect I'll mostly use Earthmate for messaging via the InReach and leave the maps/navigation to GaiaGPS.

Hardware wise, the screen is small, but isn't to hard to view in bright sunlight compared to other screens. The screen is recessed so hopefully it won't get too many scratches. The belt clip seems a bit cheap/flimsy and I'm not sure how long it will survive in the field. I'll probably need to come up with a simple chest strap mount solution for it. Also the dust cover for the USB port seems really flimsy. The plastic case is adequate, but not impressive. Would of been nicer if it had a rubberized case/exterior. Definitely wouldn't want to drop it onto concrete/etc. I'd kinda expect more for over $350. Other then that, the buttons seem decent and it should be easy to use while wearing gloves in cold weather which is a plus. The overall size isn't tiny, but it's not too big either- pretty amazing how small it is considering all the technology inside. Wish the batteries were replaceable in the field, but I'll probably carry a small Li-Ion battery pack to recharge it & my iPhone.

There is a sticker on the back of the case with your IMEI number and instructions for turning on/off SOS mode. The ink on this sticker literally rubs off with your fingers. I've never seen a professionally printed sticker have this problem before. There is a simple quick-start guide included in the box- not a lot of information, but there is a 30+ page manual on the DeLorme website which has more information. Sadly, the manual still doesn't cover all the settings/features on the device (like what is "extended tracking"?) They could really use a good tech writer to do a better job.

Included in the box is a generic 1Amp USB charger, a USB cable (from Monoprice no less!), a strap, quick start guide and the InReach.
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on June 20, 2015
Does everything I need, and some stuff I haven't figured out yet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2015
If you venture into the wilderness and if you want to keep the people back home off your back, this device can preserve their sanity. Delivers reliable tracking to DeLorme's MapShare website, as well as text and email messages. Your loved ones can observe your progress and communicate with you, even if you're out of cell range.

This is not a device with a touch screen, however, and the on-screen is awful to use, especially if you're in the throes of an emergency and adrenaline has seized control of your brain. InReach has workarounds that fill the bill. You can pair it with your smart phone and, using the EarthMate app, use your phone's keyboard to compose messages that the InReach will transmit. You can also rely on a set of canned messages ("I'm OK" for example) so you don't have to type at all.

Haven't had occasion to activate the SOS feature (and I hope I never will), but since the device delivers messages quickly and reliably, I'm confident that SOS messaging will work just fine. (I'm a refugee from the SPOT Communicator, which absolutely didn't work in the terrain I frequent--the Gila National Forest and associated wilderness areas. The SPOT now serves as a paperweight.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2015
I purchased the unit in April, 2015, mainly for the unlimited SMS plan. It worked well as an SMS unit in Honduras, and for that month. In June, 2015, I was offshore Qatar, and I had no reliable access to communications, although I did have occasional access to cell coverage. I had purchased a Qatari SIM, which I had in my spare phone carried for just such purposes. I sent about 10 SMS messages, and ONE of them was received. I sent a test message to the Qatari phone/sim when I had about 30 minutes of cell coverage, and it was NOT received. When I contacted DeLorme to complain, I got "There was a slowdown during that time" and SQUAT else. The SMS messaging is why I purchased the unit, and I'm certain it was not working.

The mapping function is pretty much nonexistent for anywhere I've been (Central America and much of the middle east, so far). The waypoints apparently show you that you started at this white screen place, then went to this other white screen place, with no chance of using any third-party maps. I've downloaded their worthless world map no less than 4 times, thinking something went wrong with that 151 MB file. No, it's just useless from what I can tell. It lets you see a country, but won't let you map inside it.

They get one star for battery life (flashlights with burned out bulbs have long battery life, too), and one star for the first month of service. So far, I've spent about $10 per sent SMS that actually went through.

What good is a unit that doesn't work when you need it? NO CUSTOMER SERVICE from this brand. Buy it at your own risk.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2015
This device has never worked right, it is complicated and it is almost impossible to switch the power on
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2015
Pros: feature rich
Cons: Non removable battery means that you HAVE to have a source of power where you are going to recharge it once every three days minimum. I did not have a good experience with reception, three days in Iceland with partly cloudy skies and the check in signal got through maybe 50% of the time. Initial cost is very high and the monthly costs are also extremely high. If you plan on being in the wilderness for more than three days at a time, look elsewhere.

I closed my account and am returning this item within 30 days of buying/using it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2015
wprks well
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2015
Well, I can' really give an accurate review yet, so I'll update it later....assuming the thing actually works.
So, I am giving it a three star for now, and I will either improve that or degrade it later.

The online setup process was easy. (Bam! The part about getting your money works REAL well).

However the unit itself seems to have trouble setting up because it couldn't find a satellite. Followed the instructions to a tee
out in the parking lot, almost no clouds. After an hour I gave up. I'll try again later, but if the unit can't even find a basic
signal, not only will it not be of any use and I'll return it, but what confidence will I have that it will work if I really need it?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2015
The InReach Explorer provides two-way satellite comm as advertised. Although the product description refers to its mapping feature, there is no map, just a blank white page that will show your position in relation to marked waypoints. Make sure you understand that there is no map feature!!!! I see a lot of complaints about that. The GPS does work just fine and will give you your coordinates, bearings, headings, speed, etc, and the electronic compass works very well. I use it with paper USGS quads and a Deloreme PN-60. For me, the GPS capability is a backup to the more fully featured PN-60. The InReach is primarily a satellite communication device and I have used it to send multiple messages without a problem.
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