Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone with Prepaid SIM Card
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- Military-grade durability (MIL-STD 810F) Highest Ingress Protection (IP) rating in the industry (IP65)
- Battery Standby time: Up to 30 hours Talk time: Up to 4 hours
- Two-way SMS and short email capability
- Illuminated weather-resistant keypad
- Operating Temperature Range: -10 °C to +55 °C or 14F to 131F
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The Iridium 9575 Extreme is the most advanced satellite phone currently available. Not only does the 9575 Extreme offer access to Iridiums global coverage for voice, data and SMS services but it is the first satellite phone to offer the fully integrated services of customizable GPS, online tracking and emergency SOS with notification services. Other features of the handset include a IP65 rating which means the 9575 Extreme is dust proof, shock resistant and jet water resistant. It is also the first handset to offer military-grade 810F durability. Another first for satellite phones is the introduction of Iridium AxcessPoint. This allows you to set up your Iridium 9575 Extreme as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
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1. You must have a clear view of the sky and have line of sight to the satellite. The phone may work ok in thin cover or out from a window, but performance will be inconsistent.
2. Iridium was designed in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Back then, a 28.8k modem was considered to be screaming fast. I am sure 2.4k data speeds from outer space sounded really cool back then, but today it is not really practical for anything other than short text messaging.
3. The equipment is designed for people who need remote communications. Period. There is no camera, no music player, no appstore, nothing you would expect from a modern smartphone.
That said, the handset is easy to use. Just power up, wait for a signal and make a call. From power on to calling takes about 30 seconds. SMS is a little more complex, but no more than on old style flip phones. Iridium's SMS service is send and receive and the satellite network will queue incoming SMS until you are in range of a satellite. The voice quality is nothing to get excited about, but considering the fact that the signal is flying through space, the clipping/compression is tolerable. The 9575 has the best audio quality of any other previous Iridium equipment. And look at it this way, you can tell all your friends, "hey, I'm calling you from my satellite phone". Sort of a way to relive the early days of cellular from the 80s.
Battery life is excellent. The phone can standby for a couple of days and give hours of active use. Spare batteries are easy to come by. Try to do this with an iPhone.
The one drawback is the requirement to carry around a special end piece to charge the phone or use data. The piece is not as rugged as the phone and prone to getting lost. No end piece, no battery charge, no phone home.
As far as phone build quality, I could hammer nails with mine. I probably won't considering what I paid for it, but if you need something that can just be tossed in a backpack or worn on a toolbelt, this is the product for you.
As far as dust/water protection goes, the phone is excellent. It is "jet water resistant", so if you'd like to take it to the airport and hold it in front of a 747 exhaust during a hurricane, the phone will survive. Good to know. Seriously, the phone is protected against rain/spray ingress. It is not waterproof, so if it goes in the water it's finished, but for virtually any condition imaginable, this phone will be fine.
If you need a phone that can make a call from just about anywhere, this is your answer. Of all the handheld satphones, Iridium Extreme has the best balance of coverage, features, and ergonomics. You really feel like the phone is ready for anything.
Cons. I did not give it a 5 star rating because you now have to connect a cradle to the bottom of the phone to charge it. Additionally, The overall length is determined by the top of the antenna which makes the unit longer than it needs to be. The Antenna is more sturdy though than the 9555. In order to keep the costs down, I buy the basic plan and pay the per minute fee when calling out. My other phone is a no contract cellular phone and both combined cost less than most smart phone plans. This is life insurance in the wilderness. I would also caution that a Satellite phone needs plenty of open sky to connect. Down in canyons, it is iffy. I suppose open water or the desert would be ideal conditions for connectivity.
*** UPDATE 03/23/14
The GPS feature has been extremely useful. I can SMS text my location from the phone as soon as the phones GPS acquires my location. It sends my lat/lon as well as a weblink so you can click on it to see where the position is in a google earth style page.
I managed to make it work for a few days with jury rigged contacts and leaving it in the plug. Eventually this fell apart and I was able to charge it running a generator and an AC outlet.
Safety equipment needs to be high quality. This poorly designed charging cord will let you down should be handled carefully.
The rest of the equipment was faultless. I love the phone. The texting feature is awkward but usable and cheap. You get many text messages per minute. I'm not sure how many I forgot but it's probably at least 12 per minute if not more. So if you don't mind tedious button presses, and awkward shifts in case and special characters, it's a cheap effective means of staying in touch whilest offshore..
However, I'm pleased to report, the company reimbursed me for a replacement charging cord and I used the credit to buy an external antenna.
I'm very pleased with this company and would do business with them again. In fact, I'd give them the highest rating of any sat phone provider.