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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spot Connect a winner!
I felt inclined to write a review since there is very little real info on the spot connect right now. It works!! after receiving it, downloading the app on my htc evo. I fired it up synced it to the phone, briefed the owners manual, and the thing is ready to rock. As it advertises sends 41 charter text and email messages to a easy to set up group of people. From the time...
Published on May 4, 2011 by Cramper

versus
57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars decent, but don't expect wonders
The device basically works as advertised: you can send short messages to friends, social networks, and a tracking web page. You can probably also get help in an emergency, although I couldn't test that. The biggest limitation of the device is that it is strictly one way, so there is no way of getting responses (combining it with a satellite pager might be a good...
Published on August 6, 2011 by Tom


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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spot Connect a winner!, May 4, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SPOT SPOT CONNECT SMARTPHONE SATELLITE COMMUNICATOR - COM-SPH-01 (Wireless Phone Accessory)
I felt inclined to write a review since there is very little real info on the spot connect right now. It works!! after receiving it, downloading the app on my htc evo. I fired it up synced it to the phone, briefed the owners manual, and the thing is ready to rock. As it advertises sends 41 charter text and email messages to a easy to set up group of people. From the time you hit send on your device to the time your text and email messages are received is under 5 minutes. The facebook updating also worked without a hitch. I had no problem syncing it and it appears to work within the standard range of all bluetooth devices. This is a must have for anyone going out of cell phone range. I was out of cell service for an extra two days in San Felipe Mexico due to vehicle trouble in the mountains, that I was suppose to be back in the US. While we were drinking Tecates soakin up the sun my family was planning my funeral in San Diego, wish I had it then. I cant wait to use the live tracking on my next adventure.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worked as advertised for climbing Kilimanjaro, October 10, 2012
I just returned from a 2-week trip to Tanzania where I used the Spot Connect as a global tracker for our group who was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Overall, the unit functioned as advertised.

Pros:
1) the unit paired easily with my iPhone 4s. I never had any issues linking via Bluetooth. I would simply turn SPOT on, turn on BT on the iPhone, connect to the device on the iPhone, and the blue light on the SPOT would show the pairing.
2) once placed in tracking mode, the unit remained in tracking mode and transmitted movement with no issues.
3) battery life, using lithium batteries, was adequate above the freezing line at 15,800'. I changed batteries daily once we started hitting colder climates.
4) friends and family were able to follow progress with relatively no issues, although all messages were not transmitted

Cons:
1) if you mistakenly log out of the iPhone application AND you do not have cell coverage, you are screwed to use the application until you get a cell signal. It was only after I was able to link to VodaCom in Tanzania that I was able to get back into the application. This is absolutely crazy.
2) position of the device on the backpack, with the flat, logo-side upward, is absolutely critical. If the device is tilted it is virtually impossible to reliably transmit tracking information. Forget placing the device in the top pouch of your backpack -- it needs to be on the very top of your pack, with as much sky visible as possible. I secured it with lanyards and was able to keep it fairly stable for the two weeks.
3) The 45 character limitation on texting is a pain in the rear. You can be creative in your messages, but 45 is simply too short.
4) I was never able to pair the device with Facebook nor with Twitter. Several attempts to make this work prior to my departure, using tech support, did not result in success. I still do not know what the issue is here (different machines, browsers, clearing cookies, etc did not solve the issue).
5) The fact that the SPOT tracking application only shows points (by default) for the last 7 days (adjustable to 30 but not by date range) is poor planning on their part. Luckily, data can be exported for other programs (e.g. KML files for Google Earth), but why should I have to do this? I have paid for the service, so all of my tracks should be available in my SPOT account during the period my subscription is active. If you don't export your data within 30 days you'll lose information.
6) to save iphone battery life, if you log in via BT, send a Check-In/OK text message, and immediately log out, there is no confirmation on the iPhone that the message was sent when you log back in. Put another way, if the BT is not connected at the end of the first transmit sequence, then the message is not recorded on the iPhone as being sent. This creates confusion, and a line-line comparison with the iPhone logs and the actual what-was-sent logs after my return shows that some messages were doubly sent (because I did not know the first one actually was transmitted) or that some messages were NOT sent although they exist in the iPhone log (not sure how this latter situation arose). Either way, there needs to be improvement on the ability for the device to show that a message has been sent and thus update the iPhone log when the unit pairs.
7) requiring the SPOT device to be ON before the iPhone application will launch is a poor design. I wanted to get into the application to review messages sent, but each time had to turn the SPOT device on and pair it, bleeding valuable battery life from both devices.
8) There are undocumented icons that appear in the status bar of the iPhone application when paired via BT with the SPOT device. I was able to figure out some of these icons, but other ones are still a mystery. The documentation for the icons needs to be in the iPhone application, AND, I should be able to access the information IN THE APPLICATION WITHOUT HAVING TO PAIR to the device, again, to save valuable battery life on both devices.
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars decent, but don't expect wonders, August 6, 2011
By 
Tom (Palo Alto, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: SPOT SPOT CONNECT SMARTPHONE SATELLITE COMMUNICATOR - COM-SPH-01 (Wireless Phone Accessory)
The device basically works as advertised: you can send short messages to friends, social networks, and a tracking web page. You can probably also get help in an emergency, although I couldn't test that. The biggest limitation of the device is that it is strictly one way, so there is no way of getting responses (combining it with a satellite pager might be a good idea).

It's far from perfect, though. The device needs to be paired, via Bluetooth, and that's a process that doesn't work well with every phone (likely due to software problems on the phones, though). And instead of a straightforward messaging application, you have to go through several steps on a web page and the application. In part, that's probably to accommodate the "dumb" versions of this device.

If you're traveling away from cell phone connectivity, but don't want to spend too much money, this may be a good option. It still isn't cheap: in addition to the device itself, you're going to spend $100-$200/year on service charges.

[8/24/2011] After completing a cross-country trip, I have a couple more observations. The tracking function worked very well, and friends could follow my progress on a web page. The batteries lasted more than a week of continuous daytime operation (but only Lithium batteries). The phone I ended up using with the device worked fairly reliably; about once a day, I had to pair the phone and the device again, but usually, they'd just connect.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works great, with a trick, August 6, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SPOT SPOT CONNECT SMARTPHONE SATELLITE COMMUNICATOR - COM-SPH-01 (Wireless Phone Accessory)
Got this just in case have extreme emergency situation (i.e., can't hike out) during our extensive back country driving in southern Utah. Not hard to set-up but think their website could be clearer that requires an I-phone or phone with Android (says this on the box but didn't see it on the website). I'm using it with an AT&T Samsung Captivate Glide.

The trick that I discovered is that while Spot paired easily with the phone via blue tooth, it wouldn't actually connect most of the time--sometimes yes, but most times just kept trying but didn't happen. However, discovered that if I turn the blue tooth off on the phone, turn on Spot, open up Spot app on the phone, it starts to connect, asks if it can turn on blue tooth, and when clicked, it does that and they connect.

Hope we only use it when we need to tell our contact people we are OK and staying out a day longer than expected, but also good to know we have the SOS capability if needed.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Device, July 29, 2011
By 
Kirk Bartholomew (Middletown, CT USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SPOT SPOT CONNECT SMARTPHONE SATELLITE COMMUNICATOR - COM-SPH-01 (Wireless Phone Accessory)
After reading the less than positive reviews posted here and elsewhere, I was a bit concerned when placing my order for this item. After an initial testing phase, I am very satisfied with my purchase. My reasons for purchasing were largely to have a backup emergency system while sailing offshore, or traveling in areas of shall we say less than complete satellite phone coverage. For a quite modest cost (device plus subscription = $230) you have the ability to send brief messages over a satellite phone network with excellent coverage (at least in the areas where I plan to travel in the near future and the coverage should improve soon). With that said, I did run into a couple of glitches while setting up and testing the device--(I am using the original Motorola Droid as a smartphone): 1)I could not get the bluetooth wireless to turn on after initially powering up the spot--holding the power button down until the bluetooth led flashed when turning on the device seemed to work, and I quickly selected and paired the device using the phones system settings. 2)I shut off the bluetooth radio on my phone to conserve battery and when activating the Spot App on my Droid, it requested that I turn on Bluetooth--allowed this action, but then the app was not able to see and connect to the Spot even though the bluetooth radio was on--killing the app, and turning the bluetooth radio on my phone off and on before restarting eliminated any problems. Lesson, turn on phone bluetooth before starting the Spot App. Sending messages has been flawless and actually quite quick considering. If you are interested in this device, I suggest reading this excellent review on the GPS Tracklog by Rich Owings before purchasing. I would also recommend the article in last month's Outside Magazine on the dramatic increase in emergency response team activations since this and other personal location/emergency notification devices have come on the market--a toe cramp is not an emergency.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Seems to be more trouble than its worth, July 11, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SPOT SPOT CONNECT SMARTPHONE SATELLITE COMMUNICATOR - COM-SPH-01 (Wireless Phone Accessory)
I spent the entire afternoon and evening trying to get this unit to work as advertised. I'll be sending it back tomorrow.
Pros:
1. It's small and lightweight

Cons:
1. It won't reliably pair with my iPhone 4. It did a couple of times, but then lost the pairing; taking more time than I wanted to spend trying to get it to pair again. Had to turn the iPhone OFF/ON several times before getting it to repair. Then it lost pairing again. I give up.

2. I was able to get it to send one "I'm OK" message, but that was it before the pairing was lost. Was never able to send another.

3. I expected the unit to send location information every 10 minutes to the google map, but it only sent the one I'm OK message and never any more. Without iPHone connection, it won't really do anything. It only had an ON/OFF button and an SOS button that I never want to accidentally touch.

4. There is no forum on on-line help except for their FAQs, which are mainly geared towards selling units, not helping with problems. I searched for forums or blogs, none found. If I can't get them with phone support tomorrow morning, I'll be sending the unit back and getting one of the other self-contained units. All I really want is for people to be able to track my while I'm traveling on my motorcycle or hiking in the mountains.

5. The little rubber door for the two buttons won't stay closed. It opens, exposing the SOS button to inadvertent pushing (which could be extremely costly)

Summary: This unit is complicated overkill that requires everything to operate and link perfectly. I've only had mine for 12 hours, but frustration has set in. (can you tell by my review?).
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Defective From Start, December 12, 2011
The device never worked for me from the beginning. Called technical support to troubleshoot 5 times and they were not able to get it to work. If a device with an SOS functionality can not be made to work with that much efforts and trying, I don't think this is a reliable device (together with its support).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 🌲A must have for adventures in the great outdoors 🌎, August 9, 2012
I've been using this for two years now, it's a good insurance policy when out of cell phone coverage areas, and for capturing GPS waypoints. I bought this because I often find myself outside of cell coverage during camping, hiking, shooting (plinking), etc.... Now I bring it with me all the time as even on trips to other local towns there are cell phone dead spots all around.

I upgraded the service to the max (tracking, GEOS Search & Rescue, Roadside Assistance, unlimited messages, etc...). It's only $200 per year for everything, which in my opinion is not a lot of money as some airlift services costs that much or more per year alone. You figure that's about $16 per month for everything.

It's important to note that this device requires a smartphone to operate, unlike the other SPOT devices that are stand-alone units. The benefit of using this with your smartphone is being able to send messages, and see tracking in real-time, etc...

Since getting it I've realized the potential benefits of having it. I live in an earthquake/tsunami zone and if the worst happens I'm sure cell phones will be out (cell phones use land lines between towers, and towers may be down). I can always hit the SOS button if I manage to survive and need help in addition to the outdoor security it affords me.

✅ PROS ✅

📍 TRACKING FEATURE: Useful for recording your adventures, if you are like me you often go off the beaten path and may want to look on the map and see exactly where you were for reference/future ref. For instance, if you find a good shooting spot and want to go back, you will have a record of where you were. The SPOT website shows the tracking on the topo map (I believe it uses Google maps). On their website you can set up a page where others can follow your progress via a username and password, so people you want to monitor your progress can log in and see where you are.

🚘 ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE: Useful if your vehicle breaks down in the outdoors, or in cell phone dead spots on the road. The service covers five assistance services per year.

🆘 GEOS SEARCH & RESCUE: Up to $100,000 is covered for search & rescue and airlift service to the nearest hospital in case of an emergency. You can upgrade the plan to include airlift transfer to your local hospital, but it's expensive. I'm good with them getting me to the nearest hospital if needed.

😄 TEXT MESSAGING: Useful to send short messages to let people know you are OK, also connects to Facebook and Twitter for posts. You can either type and send short messages, or set up longer pre-defined messages to send to your contact groups (all set up via the website). This is really nice if you need to let people know you are either OK or need help, and it sends GPS coordinates of where you are.

👍 SAFETY: Press the SOS button, or activate it from the smartphone app in the event of an emergency. Roadside assistance is a click away on the smartphone app.

❎ CONS ❎

🚫 BULK: It's pretty big, but not huge, I can live with it.

🔋 BATTERY USE: This thing eats the batteries, and you have to buy the Lithium AA batteries which can be expensive. It uses two AA Lithium batteries (the camera type found at local retailers). It is however a good idea to use easy to replace AA batteries, as there are no charging stations in the outdoors. It would be wise to carry extra batteries when on longer trips.

🔌 CONNECTIVITY: This device connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and there are apps for Android phones and iPhones. The Android app is the one I use, since I have that type of phone right now. I've had some connectivity issues with the App connecting to the unit and I hope this doesn't happen when I really need to use the device. It's only been a few times, and happened more when I first got it, my guess is most issues have been resolved through App updates at this point as I haven't had issues lately. Either way, if you need to send an SOS and the phone app isn't working, just press the SOS button on the unit itself, that is a great fail-safe.

MIXED:

📶 SERVICES: Ok, if you only get the basic service this device seems to be pretty limited. The basic service could save your life, but the cost of a helocopter rescue could be very expensive, and I'm guessing you would have to pay that out of pocket. With the basic service ($99/year) you don't get very many features, like the roadside assistance, tracking, or GEOS rescue services, which in my opinion are pretty much required if you really plan on using this device. But it still could save your life if you are just going to put it in your backpack for emergencies. I would recommend at least getting the GEOS service, you might not ever need it, but if you do it's going to cost a lot for a rescue.

📞 CUSTOMER SERVICE: Not so stellar, I've contacted them a couple of times with mixed success. I suspect that SPOT is a smaller company with somewhat limited funds. Don't expect Apple quality customer service, but they resolved my more important $$$ issue, didn't resolve my other issue, but none of my issues involved the operation of the unit -- so no biggie IMHO.

📡 TECH: This is pretty much new technology, and as such aquiring satellites is not always a guarantee. Most of the time I stop in a clear area to transmit waypoints. I suspect that in the event of an emergency I might have to get to a clearing to transmit the SOS signal as well. There is no perfect solution I guess, but having this is better than not having this.

This unit is best for using at walking speeds, or when stopped. I haven't successfully aquired a satellite long enough to send a message or waypoint while traveling at driving speeds. Also it transmits few waypoints when traveling at bicycling speeds (at least where I have used it, which may involve other factors such as tree cover).

☞ OVERALL

This is a great device, and gives me peace of mind in the outdoors and anywhere there is no cell phone coverage. It's by no means a perfect device, but compared to the other options on the market it is cost effective and works well when a satellite is available.

☆☆☆☆☆
Highly Recommended!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spot Connect, July 19, 2012
This review is from: SPOT SPOT CONNECT SMARTPHONE SATELLITE COMMUNICATOR - COM-SPH-01 (Wireless Phone Accessory)
I purchased the Spot Connect this week in anticipation of a flight this weekend to EAA Airventure in my KITFOX IV. I will be flying from CRG to OSH with 4 hour plus legs over unpopulated terrain. My pairing cell phone is an HTC Andrid phone. Highlights of my experience follow:
1. Customer Service - this I would rate a 4+. Marie answered the phone promptly and helped me step through some difficulties I had with getting the pre-defined messages to work. She was great and this was counter to previous reviews I read regarding SPOT Customer Service. The only complaint is they have no way of logging into your account without your password. You have to divulge your password so customer service can step you through the process. My advice is to logon to the website prior to the call and change to a temporary password before calling then restore your password afterward.

2. I encountered some difficulty with pairing the device. The app appeared to go into an endless loop and never seemed to complete the pairing process. i eventually got it to work by pairing manually, and then starting the app to connect, and hitting the BACK icon during the endless loop. Walla - it worked. Don't know why - just another one of those mysteries of life :)

3. Pricing in my opinion was misleading. I expected to pay $150 for the device (less $50 pending rebate) and $99 for the basic/tracking service. I had to pay another $49 for tracking - total was $300+. Getting close to Delorem costs ($250 + $250 annual vs Connect $150). As you may know Delorem InReach provides two way vs Connect one-way. I may have miss read the pricing chart.

4. Tracking and messaging worked well from the car. I expect it will do the same from the air.

5. Just a short note about the messaging. Initially I could not send pre-defined messages. They always came through as default Check/In OK. We re-synced the android with the website and all worked well after that.

Summary: I initially rated this a 3 star but changed it to 4 after re-reading my review. The buyer needs to beware of the limitations but it operates as advertised so far. The app works fine but I don't get the sense that it has fully matured. I would recommend it with theunderstandings.

regards
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Common denominator..., March 8, 2012
I too reluctantly bought one of these after reading the negative reviews but was pleasantly surprised when it work flawlessly for a ten day excursion. With that said my friend bought one upon returning from the trip and absolutely hated it. After tooling around with it and researching many other negative comments I found on the web I discovered one common denominator... 99% of the bad reviews were from people with iPhones. (including my friend...)
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