SPOT Satellite Messenger | Comparison

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.

SPOT Satellite Messenger

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.

SPOT X and Gen 3 Pre-Programmed Messages

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 spot-x-built-in-keypadextremely 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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Search and Rescue

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.

Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger
Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange
Product Description
Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger
Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange
2-Way Messaging
Recommended
Review Ratings
Price
$240.83
$99.95
Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger
Product Description
Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger
2-Way Messaging
Recommended
Review Ratings
Price
$240.83
Buy Now on Amazon
Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange
Product Description
Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange
2-Way Messaging
Recommended
Review Ratings
Price
$99.95
Buy Now on Amazon

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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4 thoughts on “SPOT Satellite Messenger | Comparison”

  1. Thanks for coming up with this simple review of SPOT X Satellite Messenger. If I am not mistaken, it looks like the SPOT 3 has a “touch screen” feature while the SPOT X is based on a keypad, right? If that’s the case, then I’d choose SPOT 3 for the reason that in extreme weather conditions like a snowstorm or a blizzard, keypads proved to be more efficient than a touchpad or touch screen phone navigations.

    Reply
    • The Spot Gen 3 is not a touch screen. It only has about 4 buttons you can select that have pre-programmed messages, plus the Gen 3 is only a 1-way messenger. The SPOT X has the built-in keypad which makes it easier to type out custom messages, but I’m glad you brought up using a device in a snow storm. I hadn’t given any thought to that even though I am around a lot of snow here in Colorado. Thanks for bringing up an important consideration.

      Rick

      Reply
  2. As a former hiker of the AT in New England, I would have to agree with you about the Spot x two way messenger being the better pick.  

    Though back in the seventies there were not even cell phones, so we would hike in large groups many times.

    When you are on top of a mountain and things get dangerous, the two way feature is amazing. 

    Even though it is more than twice the cost of the lighter type 3 model, safety is first.  So, yea, buy the X Two way model

    Reply
    • Hi Phil, thank you for your experience and advice from your experience. There are so many to choose from but these are two excellent options and were the first two that I bought. I have been pleased with both of them and would not go out to a remote trail without them.

      Rick

      Reply

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