Most helpful critical review
115 of 121 people found the following review helpful
Great device with lots of potential (some limitations)
on August 11, 2013
Great device with a few bugs, but lots of potential.
I frequently go with Boy Scouts to areas where cell phone communication is not available. My main purpose for purchasing this device was for emergency communications. During our last camp (week long in Wyoming), was used several times to order supplies from people coming later in week and to pass general messages. Luckily was not needed for emergency, but was nice to have. I did not have problems activating device like other reviewers. While it mentions that it may take some time to send and receive, when using device, I discovered it had capability to manually check for messages, so when you send a message, you can check more frequently, often getting turn around in just a few minutes. When left alone, however, sometimes would go many hours without getting signal and there was no warning or notice of this, making it unreliable for incoming emergency messages (trouble at home).
* Two way communication - This amazed everyone at camp and I was soon the go to person to send messages home.
* Ability to link to a smart phone (easier to message)
* Ability to send and receive messages without phone (while this is harder to compose, it is nice if phone not close by or battery ran out).
* No warning when no signal. While I generally had a good connection, when device left alone, sometimes after many hours, would notice it had not connected since l looked at last, but no warning or notification that device was not connected. Status light only flashes red when it can't send a message.
* Phone app does not have capacity to manually check for messages, look at time since last satellite connection, need to do that from device
* Not great features as stand alone GPS. Cell phone app can show location maps and where message were sent from, but no good map view on device (that I could find).
* Message sent has lot of unnecessary verbiage, often confusing recipients: "See XXX's location: [...] [actual message here] Delorme-Always inReach" . Would be nice if option to send without location (not always necessary) and Delorme signature.
Overall this is a great device, with a lot of potential. I love the ability for 2 way communication. There are some limitations, some of which are likely overcome with firmware updates in the future.
Update June 2014
After a year with this product, I am lowering my review to 2 stars. Above review is still accurate, great to have two way communication when out of cell phone range, BUT, now to get basic features as a GPS device, you must buy the new Explorer module. Come on folks, can't your current users get a device that functions as it should. This should be available through a firmware update (mine is up to date), so if this changes I will update my review. I am not spending $400 to get basic GPS functions this device should have come with (and available on any cheap GPS). I will stick with my Garmin Oregon and if needed buy a newer Garmin before another Delorme.