Saturday, April 27, 2013

Delorme InReach SE

Wow, I am a gadget lover and this one really caught my attention.  Imagine being able text message from anywhere in the world and provide your location data to your buddies back home. Let them share in your hiking, kayaking or sailing adventures by tracking your GPS path through a web portal.

Delorme has created a newer version of their popular satellite communicator. I wrote in a earlier post last September about the Earthmate app and the Delorme Satellite communicator. The older version linked via Bluetooth to an iOS or Android phone through Delorme's Earthmate app.  This unit has the option of being operated stand alone or also linked to your smart phone through the Earthmate app.

How it Works:

The Delorme inReach SE allows your to send and receive text messages from just about anywhere on earth. For you long distance sailors it is a fairly economical way to keep in touch with loved one back home. This new version has a handy color screen and virtual keyboard. It also works with Delorme's Earthmate app on you iPhone, iPad or Android device.  When out of cell phone range, the inReach SE will let you share your travels with family and friends. It has a ping and message feature that lets your loved one keep tabs on you.  It works with the extensive Iridium satellite network which has the best global coverage.  It also has an SOS feature that you can trigger and send preset messages in the event of an emergency.  The inReach SE allows you to have a two-way text conversation with the search and rescue monitoring center until help arrives.  This could prove useful to give search and rescue details about your position or possible injuries.  Every message has confirmation so you will know if you are getting through.  Being able to communicate with the device will give you and your loved ones back home peace of mind. 

The device has a color screen which allows you to access all of its features. Monitor your data use, set up your tracking, check in, set up preset messages, manage contacts, social media and manage the SOS feature.  It can all be done now on the device. The screen allows you to text on the device but you may find it easier to use your smart phone for the texting feature.

The InReach SE has a few more bells and whistles that make it more functional and user friendly. It is also ruggedly constructed to take on the elements. 

  • Color screen with predictive, virtual keyboard for standalone two-way messaging.
  • GPS accuracy to +/- 5 meters.
  • Waterproof/dust proof (IP67; standard submersion to 1 meter for 30 minutes).
  • Impact-resistant (Mil-STD-810F for vibration/shock).
  • 100 hours of battery life in 10-minute tracking mode with a clear view to the sky.
  • Send and receive free-form, 160-character text messages outside of cell phone range.
  • Trigger an SOS and interact back and forth with GEOS the 24/7 search and rescue center.
  • Turn on tracking to share and view GPS coordinates.
  • Intuitive LED indicator for satellite availability.
  • Audible message notifications.
  • Waterproof, dust proof, and impact-resistant.
  • Post to social media.

  •  Cost of Service:

    To activate your device there is a one-time fee of $19.95.  You will also need to select a subscription plan.  There are several different plans to suite your needs.  They allow you to move to different plans based on your usage.  There is no charge for moving to a higher-priced plan, but there is a $24.95 charge for moving down to a cheaper one.

    The two higher plans provide cheaper messaging and allow unlimited tracking of your position.
    Safety PlanRecreation PlanExpedition Plan
    Annual (12 Months)$9.95 Monthly$24.95 Monthly$49.95 Monthly
    Seasonal (4-month minimum)>N/A$39.95 Monthly$64.95 Monthly
    Predefined Messages from inReach10 per month shared with MessagesUnlimitedUnlimited
    Messages10 per month shared with Predefined Messages40 per month120 per month
    TrackingNot IncludedUnlimitedUnlimited
    Overage$1.50 per message$0.50 per message$0.25 per message
    $0.25 track

    Web Portal:

    Delorme has set up an Explore web portal which allows you to share your journeys with family and friends.  Set up an account and login.  Use the MapShare feature to include tracking of your GPS position.  All your previous trips, messages and tracks are saved for later viewing.  The Ping feature allows others to see your current position and exchange messages with you. The inReach allows you to set up preset messages that can be quickly sent in case of an emergency.  It allows you to link to many of the social media sites and post your tracking and position data. Firmware updates for your inReach device can also be done through the portal.

    Device Cost:

    The inReach SE is not cheap. It will set you back $299.00. But it is a much more cost effective way to communicate that a full blown satellite phone costing thousands of dollars. It will be available for sale starting in May, 2013.  The original inReach for smart phones runs about $249.

    If your disconnected from the world and traveling in remote places I think this device is a great option to keep in touch.  It provides your family and friends some peace of mind in knowing where you are at and if you are OK.  At any time you can text or check in with them or they can pull up the web and find your exact location and progress of your trip.  On my next ocean passage I plan to give one a try.

    ~~~Sail On~~~ /)


    1. We purchased an InReach device when they were first reviewed here last year and used it when sailing single handed from Bali to Cape Verde around South Africa, about 12K nm.

      We use the recreation plan because it includes tracking. It was great that my wife was able to track my progress and text back-and-forth. The device proved to be very reliable... when we were having trouble with our sat phone & SSB-SailMail, the InReach kept working.

      One recommendation is to get the power adaptor. I found that I would have to swap out (rechargeable) batteries 1-2 times per day.

    2. SEAiq,

      Hey, thanks for the feedback. Great to hear from someone who has real world experience with the InReach device. It is good to know you found it so reliable on your trip. I am surprised to hear it was more reliable than your Sat Phone and SailMail.

      Thanks for the tip on the DC power adapter. I will pick one of these up for sure. Sounds like it is pretty battery hungry otherwise.