New SPOT has Better Battery Life, ‘Motion Sensor’ Built-In

A new form factor, extended battery life, and a motion sensor to tell the tracker when you’re on the move are among the new features on a long-anticipated product, the SPOT Gen3.

Made by Globalstar Inc., SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger devices have been around for years. The product offers GPS tracking, messaging, and rescue features for explorers and weekend hikers alike.


We covered the debut of the SPOT Global Phone earlier this year. This week Globalstar makes official the release of the new-generation Gen3.

In addition to the above-mentioned upgrades, one thing caught our eye: When tracking a hike you can now set the SPOT to record a GPS waypoint every 2.5 minutes with a feature called Extreme Tracking. This means a hiker on a trail will get an accurate route with every major turn recorded.

Another neat touch: A new vibration sensor in the device can tell when you are moving. It only plots a GPS point when you’re on the go. This saves power and does not let the device plot points on top of points if you stop for lunch.

To save battery, users can set the SPOT to record at intervals of every 2.5, 5, 10, 30, or 60 minutes. Depending on setting, the device will run for months between battery switches.

For power options, the device takes 4 AAA batteries or it can be plugged into a USB port. You can remove the batteries and plug it into a computer or a solar panel with USB — the device runs with the electricity straight from the source.

4 ounces and 1-inch thick

The Gen3 is 1-inch thick and weighs 4 ounces. It ships this month for $169.95 plus $149 for a one-year plan. More info is here.

We have used SPOT devices on adventures around the world since they debuted a few years back. The SPOT Gen3 will be available for testing soon. We’re looking forward to putting it through the paces to track and message out on the trail.

—Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.