New SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger

Today SPOT LLC announced an upgrade to its popular satellite messenger. The new SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger is touted to have usability upgrades and a new smaller size. It’s about 30% more compact at 3.7 × 2.6 × 1 inches.

It’s lighter weight, too, at 5.2 ounces. And the GPS chipset has seen an upgrade, making for faster unit-to-satellite connection times. The antenna has been upgraded for better performance in foliage and canopied environments, according to the company.

New SPOT Satellite Messenger .jpg

SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger

Other new features include a message-sent LED notification; a new separate tracking button; an extra message button; and universal communications symbols on buttons for times when a language barrier might be present in an emergency.

And one thing I really like: There are now safety covers over the SOS and Help buttons, giving users peace of mind that they will not accidently hit “911” and send in the search-and-rescue troops when they thoughtlessly sit on their SPOT stowed in a backpack. (A pretty nonexistent issue with the original SPOT, but a situation always in the back of my mind.)

The new SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger will come in orange and gloss silver. The company ( is including an armband case with the unit, which will be available in mid September. Price is forthcoming.

—Stephen Regenold

Posted by Hache - 07/21/2009 09:55 AM

I think the accidental activations were pretty “existent” for those rescuers who put themselves in harm’s way to head up Denali and into the backcountry in response to poor product design.

Linky and Linky2

I’m glad they fixed it. With a more powerful antenna and a button cover this is starting to look like a decent product.

Posted by Robert Hicks - 07/21/2009 08:47 PM

Yup… this is exactly what I was waiting for…. upgrades. Hopefully the price and plans will be similar to the original model.

Posted by bill blevins - 07/22/2009 10:03 AM

i wish they would have included contact points for nmea connection for linking with other devises (plb or mapping).

Posted by comi - 07/22/2009 07:03 PM

I hope they’ll have some kind of upgrade plan for existing users, or at least allow you to move your plan to a new unit.

Posted by Bri - 07/27/2009 10:50 AM

I’m a member of Mountain Rescue in the Pacific Northwest. I responded to two Spot calls, both of which ended up being from accidental button pushing. We found that the coordinates given to us by Spot were “spot on”; even under the canopy, the plotted coordinates weren’t more than 50 feet from the subject. If someone needed help, a Spot would save hours or perhaps days in alerting and assisting rescue members. That said, I’m glad they’ve added button covers! :)

Posted by Tory - 07/28/2009 12:23 PM

I am so glad for the covers. That is something that has always worried me. I love the spot. I am a nature photographer and go out by myself which isnt always the smartest thing. But my wife feels mcuh better now that I have the spot. It would really be nice if there would be a discount to upgrade.

Posted by Derek - 09/02/2009 05:24 PM

Greetings from SPOT! We are excited to bring the new SPOT to market next month. Thanks to our loyal customers providing us valuable feedback we have made some enhancements which I think you’ll enjoy. As part of our customer loyalty program, you’ll be able to keep your existing service and upgrade to the new model at a discounted rate. More details to follow.

Posted by JamesS - 09/08/2009 07:49 PM

Thanks SPOT. I’ve been using mine since its inception all the while clamoring for the upgrades that now appear to be imminent. For the life of me I can’t imagine sending an accidental message but having been a pilot for nearly 40 years I’ve been a proponent of “guarded” switches. What I’m really hoping is that the upgraded chips will provide better signal acquisition/transmission than the old unit. Thanks SPOT!

Posted by Scott Macrorie - 09/10/2009 01:12 PM

Is this at retail stores yet? I can’t find it.

Posted by tbrucia - 09/19/2009 07:31 AM

The SPOT website lists retailers… but I’d call and check to see if their stock has ‘arrived’. A minor quibble: it’s easy to think one’s reading about the new GPS Messenger and discover one’s reading about the old unit. Careful!

Posted by jeff - 03/25/2010 02:36 PM

I wish your display showed GPS coordinates for navigational purposes. I’m a back country hiker and like GPS units for mapping. I would buy your unit if you offered this feature.

Posted by MJM - 01/21/2011 12:02 PM

Does anyone know how well this unit performs in forested areas of NW California or any forested areas for that matter? Can the unit hit a satellite under canopy?

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