I have compared the SPOT X and the SPOT Gen 3 before, but have focused primarily on the technical differences and listed features.
Today I want to give you my personal feedback on these 2 excellent satellite messengers, after I have been on the trail with each of them at least 10 times in the past 4 months.
SPOT Satellite Messenger | Personal Comparison
First, I would like to say how much I love the compact size of the SPOT Gen 3. It sits high up on my shoulder strap, as the face needs to be skyward, but it is so light and compact that I often forget I have it on my pack. Compared to the SPOT X, which hangs on my left shoulder strap and tends to move around unless I strap it down, it’s a major difference. I’m not annoyed by having the SPOT X with me, because it is so valuable, but compared to the SPOT Gen 3, that I don’t even realize I have on my; it means a lot to me.
The SPOT Gen 3 is lightweight and compact because it is only a 1-way satellite messenger instead of a 2-way satellite messenger like the SPOT X is. I am a big fan of having the 2-way messaging and my fear of my wife bothering me on the trial has not been an issue, maybe because she knows I like to getaway from everything and it’s possible that the cost per message has her holding back on spam messaging me. Having the ability to communicate with friends or family, other hiking team members and search and rescue teams cannot be overstated. It’s a valuable tool I like having as part of my essential gear.
I would like to say the 14 pre-programmed messages that comes with the SPOT X is a big deal for me, compared to the 1 pre-programmed message with the SPOT Gen 3, but this has not turned out to be the case. I have only used the pre-programmed messages about 4 times, and that was to test the system.
The SPOT Gen 3 wins the simplicity comparison as it only has 6 buttons, compared to the 38 buttons on the SPOT X, but simplicity won’t save the day when you find yourself in an emergency situation on the trail.
The SPOT X also comes with the built-in key pad, which is also not that important to me, at least at the moment, but it would become extremely valuable if I was in a life-threatening situation, or wanting to message my hiking buddies on an extended day backpacking trip. This will actually become an issue this coming summer when a group of us are going to tackle the 486 to 567 mile long Colorado Trail (the mileage difference is due to a variety of routes you could choose from). I want to make sure that everyone in our hiking team has a satellite messenger that we have proven can communicate with each other before we hit the trail.
The SPOT Gen 3 does not have navigation but the SPOT X’s navigation is nearly useless unless you have a map or GPS topo map with you, so this is not an advantage for the SPOT X, in my opinion.
If the SPOT Gen 3 had 2-way messaging, then it might be my number one satellite messenger, due to its simplicity, size and lightweight design, but since it doesn’t have 2-way messaging, I have to go with the SPOT X.
It’s important to have more options available on the trail when things go bad. No one needs a satellite messenger on a beautiful day when everything goes as planned, but you will want to have the SPOT X on your pack if things ever go wrong.
The SPOT X and the Gen 3 are both excellent satellite messengers, but I would highly recommend the SPOT X over the SPOT Gen 3, due to the 2-way messaging, plus my personal experience and opinion after testing these on the trail over the past 3 or 4 months.
Take a look at these two messengers in the side by side comparison table below.
You can also see a short video of the SPOT X vs SPOT Gen 3 Comparison.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these two devices. Leave a Comment Below or send me an Email.
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