SPOT X Reviews | Navigation Field Test

I took my SPOT X out again for another field test and I primarily focused on navigation for this field test.

I will be focusing my attention in November on the SPOT X reviews with a goal to completely understand the SPOT X and all its capabilities. So, let’s take a look at how the SPOT X navigation performed.

SPOT X Navigation Overview

  • Waypoint Setup
  • SPOT X Menu Navigation
  • Waypoint Selection
  • Compass Calibration & Accuracy
  • Navigation Menu Customization
  • Navigating to My First Waypoint
  • SPOT X Navigation Results

Waypoint Setup

Once your SPOT X is activated and you have set everything up then you need to set up your waypoints if you want to have them to navigate on your adventure.

NOTE: Make sure you set your waypoints on your computer before heading out.

You can add waypoints on your SPOT X in the field but it is better to do it at home.

  1. Go to Your Devices on your SPOT account page.
  2. Select your device
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select Waypoints.
  4. You can type in an address in the search bar or you can select your waypoint on the map.
    1. Zoom in on the map to the location you want for your waypoint
      1. I am going to hike Chief Mountain so I am going to use that for this example
    2. Select the location you want next to the Chief Mountain Pin
      1. Select a data point on the screen (at the exact location you want) and the coordinate box will open and you can give your waypoint a name. Don’t select the pin because the waypoint box will not appear.
    3. Select Save
  5. This is the time you need to SYNC your SPOT X with your computer so the waypoint(s) will show up on your device.

SPOT Website | Waypoint Map

SPOT Website | Waypoint Map with Pop Up Box


SPOT Website | Saved Waypoints

SPOT X Menu Navigation

Let’s take a quick look at the SPOT X on-screen menu.

SPOT X On-Screen Menu

It’s really easy to navigate around the menu. Use the arrow keys (the box around the Select button) and you can move quickly around the screen.

I have also labeled the S.O.S. button, Arrow keys, Select button, Back1 Screen button and the Caps key.

It’s about time to take your new SPOT X on an outdoor adventure but it will be worth your time to test it around your house before heading to the mountains.

Waypoint Selection

You have arrived at the trailhead and are ready to head up the trail. After turning on your SPOT X, make sure you turn on the tracking function and then select navigation to start tracking towards your first waypoint. You will have several options to choose from so let me walk you through how I start tracking to a waypoint.

  • First – Select Navigation from the on-screen menu

SPOT X Navigation

  • Second – Select Waypoints

SPOT X Waypoints

  • Third – Select Your Waypoint

SPOT X | Select Your Waypoint

  • Fourth – Your waypoint and information will be displayed

SPOT X Chief Mountain Waypoint Information

  • Fifth – Select the Arrow in the bottom right of the screen to begin navigating to the waypoint

SPOT X | Start Navigating

  • Sixth – Your waypoint information will be displayed and an arrow will point in the direction of the waypoint

SPOT X | Navigate by Bearing

  • Seventh – You can choose to navigate by Compass (see the bottom right of the screen)

SPOT X | Navigate by Compass

  • Eighth – You can choose to Stop Navigation at any time. See the middle bottom of the screen

SPOT X | Stop Navigating

It’s really that simple. There are things you may want to do differently and you can customize your display settings within the navigation menu but it’s just a matter of creating a waypoint and then go and try it out.

Compass Calibration & Accuracy

I would strongly recommend you calibrate your compass before testing it or heading to the trail and also know what kind of accuracy you have. I noticed a variation of between 5 and 30 degrees on my field test. The accuracy was worse when I held the SPOT X vertically. It performed the best during navigating when I kept the device horizontal.

SPOT X Built-In Compass

SPOT X Compass Calibration

Navigation Menu Customization

You can customize the navigation menu to fit how you want to see information.

SPOT X Navigation Menu Customization

SPOT X Navigation Menu Customization

You can change any of the six areas to anyone of the following:

  • Location (Lat/Lon)
  • Destination (Lat/Lon)
  • Distance to Destination
  • Heading
  • Bearing
  • Course
  • Elevation
  • Speed

Navigating to My First WaypointSPOT X Backlight

I decided to navigate to my mailbox and a restaurant down the street. Being that both of these are known to me and I am familiar with my neighborhood, I was sure I wouldn’t get lost or have to call for help. Just kidding, but these are the two waypoints I set and tested.

Navigating was to the two waypoints was easy and it was made easier when I was able to turn on the back light to the screen and keyboard as I was testing the navigation out at night.

To activate the back light function, hold down the power button briefly. It will stay lit for about 30 seconds. You can depress the power button again to turn the back light off.

Navigating was easy as I knew where I was going but the SPOT X was pretty accurate. I did get some variation in the bearing but the distance to the waypoint seemed to be right on. I strongly recommend testing the navigation out in an area you are familiar with before taking off on your trip.

SPOT X Navigation Results

The bottom line – I was guided to my waypoint with an accuracy that I was comfortable with, even though the bearing varied between 5 degrees and 30 degrees from my waypoint. The accuracy was worse if I held the SPOT X vertically.

It is important to test the SPOT X out before you trip and make sure you calibrate the compass.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the direction to your waypoint is the direct route, and rarely can you take the direct route as you will need to navigate around terrain, especially in the mountains.

Final Thoughts

I am very happy with the SPOT X, especially with the 2-way messaging and the built-in keyboard, but the navigation could be improved if SPOT added topo maps. Every time I have been hiking or backpacking, I had to follow a trail or traverse around a cliff, drop off or river.

I am thankful that I have the SPOT X on my backpack and I am looking forward to using several of these with a group to see how well we can keep in touch with each other when out of cell phone service.

SPOT X Reviews | Field Test 2

I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences with the SPOT X or other location devices. Please leave a Comment Below or Email me.

Learn more about the SPOT X at my SPOT X Review page.

Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger
42 Reviews
Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger
  • Message- exchange messages with any cell phone number or email address from virtually anywhere in the world
  • S. O. S. - send an S. O. S. To the 24/7 search & rescue center, message back and forth about the nature of your emergency, and receive confirmation when help is on the way
  • Tracking- Select from 21/2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 minute tracking intervals, and let family, friends and other Adventurers follow your progress with SPOT easy-to-use google maps interface
  • Check in - quickly and easily let everyone know you're ok
  • Post to social- Link your social accounts to keep your friends and family in the know wherever you go
  • Service agreement required.

This product was presentation was made with AAWP plugin.

Here is a video of my SPOT X navigation field test:

Back to Home Page



World Wide Coverage


2-Way Messaging




Tracking & Sharing


Initial Cost & Subscription Plan



  • 2-Way Messaging
  • Built-In Keypad
  • Unique U.S. Cell Phone Number
  • Navigation
  • Built-In Compass


  • Size & Weigth
  • No Smartphone Interface
  • No Topo Maps

18 thoughts on “SPOT X Reviews | Navigation Field Test”

  1. I had fun reading your review, and I have spent many hours running and hiking in the Colorado mountains and high country.  I totally agree with you, that they need to add topo maps …. do you know if you can enter trails into it?  So many of the mountains I’m familiar with have mountain biking sites that map out coordinates, along with trail maps that sometimes provide the latitude and longitude.  Have you tried to leverage these online resources with the Spot X?

    I really like the two way feature for snowboarding or skiing with my grown up children.  They usually head off with there friends and often there is no cell coverage high up on the mountains.  That would be a good way to keep in communication.  Good review!

    • I know you can’t incorporate any maps but you can take the Lat/Lon information and create waypoints to navigate to or use and create meet up points. I really like the SPOT X but I am excited to try the Garmins to see how important the maps are to me.

      I’ll let you know my thoughts in follow up reviews after I try the Garmins out.


  2. Hi Rick. I remember reading your reviews on Satellite Messengers for hiking the other time. My favourite then was Spot X.

    So, you finally made a review of the Spot X just as you told me in the previous post I read that you would do review on it; I’m glad you did.

    This is a thorough review. So I’m waiting for you to get both of the Garmins as you said.


    • You’re making me smile now because I’m not sure if you’re waiting for the review or for me to go broke buying all of the emergency locator devices. 
      I’m planning on having both the Garmin inReach Mini followed by the Garmin inReach Explorer+ by Christmas so do check back.


  3. Hey Rick, good to know that you have gotten your Spot X you ordered the other time. I can see that you are getting along with it and you are very familiar with all the functions + this review looks like a comprehensive guide on how to operate the Spot X.

    It’s good to know that you are very happy with your Spot X because of the two way messaging and the keyboard too. Cool stuffs

    • I really like it and we’ll see how it stacks up against the competitors over the next several months. I feel like I should come up with a weighted review factor as some things are more important then others, such as the 2-way messaging and the built-in keyboard. It is a great satellite messenger to have though.


  4. Oh, this is a very good review of this very awesome navigator. I like the fact that one can actually make use of this to navigate around. It doesn’t look like the other products that we are more used to though. It looks like a mini phone especially since it has a built-in keyboard. Works well though looking at your test here. Nice work!

    • It types out messages just like my iPhone and that is one of my favorite things about it. I’m about to order a 2nd SPOT X so I can test it out in the mountains and see how it communicates between 2 devices. The SPOT X is great to have though.



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