Garmin announced the updated version of the inReach mini 2 for satellite communication and emergency SOS response.
The price of the updated mini 2 is now USD 399.99 while the previous version was USD 349.99.
Other differences with the previous inReach mini are:
- Improved display 176×176 pixels vs 128 x 128 pixels
- Vastly improved battery life up to 14 days at 10-minute interval tracking; up to 4 days with moderate tree cover
- USB-C connection port
- Waypoints: 1000 vs 500
- Courses: 100
- Activities: 200
- Satellite networks support: Galileo, QZSS
- electronic compass
- Garmin Explore & Pilot app compatible
- Trackback navigation
Apart from those new features and functions, you still have the same features as in the current inReach mini such as weather, point-to-point navigation, interactive SOS with GEOS, sending text & email messages and mapshare sharing.
Battery Life and the Different modes
The biggest draw with the inReach mini is the now power options which will keep it up with their main competitor ZOLEO. By adjusting the interval tracking interval you can extend tracking between 14 and 30 days based on your view of the sky. This certainly will fit some who like me, have their satellite communicator in their vehicle or pack for extended periods. When I remember to plug in the USB port for charging, it still keeps a charge for multiple days. This is a benefit for those who get diverted off their path or unable to proceed knowing that help either via messaging or SOS can take a while by the remote location. IN all this is a plus.
This feature to me looks like when the original inReach Explorer came out where it added an electronic compass and second track log; the detailed log. This track log acted more like your traditional GPS track recording while the interval tracking was mainly to send your location to mapshare. The main feature here is the tracBack where it will give you the return path back to start. This was a useful feature and glad to see it crammed into the mini. Keep in mind though that you don’t get maps on the device. You’ll be operating the track like GPS from 2005.
The End of Earthmate
Not surprising is seeing that the device only supports Garmin Explore and not the legacy Erathmate. Will we see in 2022 the first back update for the Garmin Explore portal since the Delorme acquisition? I hope so. With support for Basecamp ending, we will see the push to get comfortable working with Garmin Explore. But first, they need to greatly improve the user experience. Garmin Explore is still very limited beyond the storage of your device data either inReach or compatible GPS devices.
However as seen on the Tread app, there are many new features on the smartphone app to allow you to do a lot of route planning and map viewing.
GEOS aka IERCC
You may have missed this news at the end of 2020 but Garmin acquired the satellite monitoring service GEOS. Now inReach SOS messages will go to the Garmin International Emergency Response Coordination Center. There should not be any difference, the main question is what about all the other satellite devices that used GEOS?
I’ll be updating my Service Plan pricing table from my main ZOLEO article, this will give a good comparison with the devices.