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Ultralight inReach: Garmin Releases ‘Mini’ Sat-Comm

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Off-grid messaging, backcountry navigation, and 24/7 SOS capability: Garmin packs all of inReach’s features down to half the size.

Garmin’s inReach provides one of the industry’s best-selling satellite communication devices to mountaineers, explorers, and anyone else navigating remote adventures. Connected to the Iridium network, inReach gives users maps and offline communication “anywhere in the world,” according to Garmin.

And now the inReach goes ultralight. Announced last week, the inReach Mini has all the features of its walkie-talkie-size predecessor in a 3.5-ounce package. Measuring 2 inches wide and under 4 inches tall, the Mini comes in less than half the size with all the same functionality.

Garmin inReach Mini

Garmin inReach Mini

The list of Mini’s features very closely parallels the standard inReach. It offers two-way messaging and pairs with smartphones/watches, so you have access to all your contacts and control the Mini through your device. And when synced with a free “Earthmate” app, users’ smartphones can display “unlimited” maps and aerial photography using the Mini’s satellite connection.

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It tracks location anywhere, lets you share your location and maps, and offers an emergency SOS button that notifies authorities of your location. And like the larger inReach, it boasts an IPX7 waterproof rating.

One notable drawback to the palm-size Mini is battery life. At half the size, the Mini offers half the charge. Whereas the larger inReach lasts up to 100 hours in active mode, the Mini only holds enough juice for 50 hours of active operation. But when preparing for an off-grid adventure, that’s still a good peace of mind.

In addition to its light weight and small size, the inReach Mini also wins on price. At $350, it’s $50–100 cheaper than Garmin’s other sat-comm offerings. Note, however, that the price does not include a satellite service subscription, which starts at $12 a month.

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