SPOT X vs Gen3 Review

I now own two SPOT Emergency Satellite Messengers (ESMs) so it’s time to put these two devices head to head in my SPOT X vs Gen3 Review.

SPOT X Bluetooth

SPOT Gen 4

Both of these devices are satellite messenger and offer S.O.S. distress calls and messaging services but that is about where the similarities end. They both have their own strengths and weaknesses so let’s start breaking these two ESMs down.

Note: There are several categories I am not including here as they both offer the same service. I will only compare where they differ.

SPOT X vs Gen3 Overview

  • Size & Weight
  • 1 or 2-Way Messaging
  • Pre-Programmed Messages
  • Custom Messages
  • Contacts
  • Built-In Keyboard
  • Navigation & Waypoints
  • Battery & Battery Life
  • Packability
  • Simplicity
  • Initial Purchase Price & Subscription

SPOT Gen 4

Size & Weight

Let’s get the obvious comparison out of the way first. I don’t mean to be politically incorrect but the SPOT Gen3 wins this battle hands down. The Gen3 is about the size of a small wallet and it connects nicely to my daypack strap, so much so that I often forget it’s even with me.

  • SPOT X Size & Weight
    • 6.54″ High, 2.9″ Wide, 0.94″ Thick
    • 7.0 oz.

SPOT X Specifications

  • SPOT Gen3 Size & Weight
    • 3.43″ High, 2.56″ Wide, 1.0″ Thick
    • 4.0 oz.

SPOT Gen3 Specifications

1 or 2-Way Messaging

The winner of this may of this category may seem obvious to you but if you have people in your life that seem to bother you all the time when you want some peace and quiet on the trail, then you may find the Gen3’s 1-way messenger the winner.

The bottom line for me is I believe most people will see the benefits of being able to communicate 2-way. You might have to tell your bothersome friend that your SPOT X is only a 1-way device so they let you hike in peace.

The SPOT X wins out in this category.

Pre-Programmed Messages

The SPOT Gen3 has only one pre-programmed message. It’s the Check-In message. You can customize the message but it really is only pre-programmed.

The Gen3 has one Custom Message that you can customize at your home before heading to the trail. You cannot change the message once you leave your computer.

The HELP/S.O.V. message is meant to alert emergency roadside services of your need for help but if you elect not to use the service, you can make this a custom message that could go out to family and friends if you needed help quickly but it was not life-threatening.

The SPOT X comes with 14 pre-programmed messages, but once again, you can customize each of these messages at your computer, before you leave home.

SPOT X vs Gen3 Pre-Programmed Messages

Personally, I don’t need a lot of pre-programmed messages, however, I do like having a few more messages over the 3 that are offered with the SPOT Gen3.

The winner is…SPOT X.

Custom Messages

SPOT X Custom Messages

This is another easy winner for the SPOT X. The SPOT Gen3 only offers up to 3 pre-programmed messages, configured at your computer, while the SPOT X offers 14 pre-programmed messages but that’s not the real point here.

The SPOT X allows you to type out custom, unique messages while in the field, on a built-in keyboard, the same way you would with your smart phone.

I like my SPOT Gen3 but it looks to be losing the battle at this point.


SPOT X – # of Contacts = 70

SPOT Gen3 – # of Contacts = 10

I normally don’t need 10 contacts when on an outdoor excursion. If I am careful and only include the contacts that are close to me and can help, then 10 contacts is plenty. However, I will have to give the edge here to the SPOT X.

Built-In Keyboard

Honestly, the built-in keypad may be the number one, greatest advantage the SPOT X has over any other Emergency Satellite Messenger (ESM). I personally love this feature. It makes typing out custom messages as fast as you can do it on your smartphone.

SPOT X Built-In Keyboard

SPOT Gen3…has to rely on its simplicity, lightweight and lower initial purchase price.

Navigation & Waypoints

This is another obvious winner. The SPOT X has a navigation function and way points you can enter at your computer or that you can enter in the field on your device.

The SPOT Gen3 does not offer either of these.

Battery & Battery Life

We need to dig a little deeper into this one as the batteries are different and the extra functions of the SPOT X may run down the battery faster.

  • SPOT X – Rechargeable Battery
    • Built-in rechargeable battery
    • Battery Life: 240 Hours (10 Days) in 10 Minute Tracking Mode.

SPOT X Battery

  • SPOT Gen3 –
    • 4 AAA Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries (Recommend Using NiMH Rechargeable Batteries)
    • Battery Life: Over 17 Days When Using with Clear Skies.

SPOT Gen3 Battery



SPOT Gen3 Packability

The winner is…SPOT Gen3. This is an obvious categorical winner. The SPOT Gen3 seems missing from my pack when I carry it, even though it is there, due to its lightweight and small size.

The SPOT X moves around on me more and I have had to buy an extra strap to help keep it in place.


I had to add this last category to give the SPOT Gen3 at least one more categorical win. If you want simplicity and an easy setup and something you can forget about on the trail, then the SPOT Gen3 is your Emergency Satellite Messenger.

Initial Purchase Price & Subscription

The SPOT Gen3 wins this battle as the initial purchase price is normally around $150.00, while the SPOT X’s initial purchase price is approximately $250.00.

We need to take a closer look at the differences in the subscription plans and pricing.

Both plans offer the same basic plans at the same price but the SPOT X offers additional service plans due to the cost associated with the 2-way messaging.

Winner…SPOT Gen3.

The Winner

It’s hard to say there is an out right winner here because these devices serve different functions even though they are made by the same manufacture.

It’s probably obvious to most of you that my vote goes to the SPOT X, primarily due to it’s 2-way messaging and built-in keyboard. The SPOT X also has more predefined messages, extended contact list and the ability to create unique custom messages.

With that said, if all you want is an S.O.S. distress call and the ability to send 1-way messages to let everyone know you’re okay, then the size and packability of the SPOT Gen3 may be the perfect device for you. The simplicity and size of the Gen3 is a winning combination.

You can learn more about the SPOT Gen 3 at my SPOT Gen3 Review page.

SPOT Gen3 Review

If you think the SPOT X is the winner and the device for you then take a closer look at it on my SPOT X Review page.

SPOT X Review

I would enjoy hearing your opinion of either of these SPOT Satellite Messengers, so please leave a Comment below or Email me.

Spot X with Bluetooth 2-Way Satellite Messenger | SOS Protection | Handheld Portable 2-Way GPS Messenger for Hiking, Camping, Cars| Globalstar Satellite Network Coverage | Subscription Applicable
  • SYNC WITH BLUETOOTH: Connect to SpotX to cellphone so you can communicate with family or even search and rescue; Use as a standalone communication device with it's own dedicated US mobile number to receive messages
  • PEACE OF MIND: Send S.O.S. to 24/7 Search & Rescue service, message back and forth about the nature of your emergency, receive confirmation when help is on the way; Message any cell number or email address virtually anywhere
  • GLOBALSTAR SATELLITE & SPOT products use GPS to determine location and transmit GPS coordinates to others; SPOT users can notify friends, family or emergency rescue their exact GPS coordinates
  • WHAT'S IN THE BOX: SpotX Device, strap and carabiner, micro usb data/power cable, quick start guide, SOS mirrored sticker, warranty card and kickstand
  • PURCHASE, ACTIVATE, EXPLORE: Grab a Spot X 2-way Satellite Messenger; Activate by selecting your service plan; Get out there and explore the world with peace of mind

This product was presentation was made with AAWP plugin.

You can find a short video of the SPOT X vs Gen3 comparison here:

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6 thoughts on “SPOT X vs Gen3 Review”

  1. Thank you for this great comparison and review.

    I have to say, for my needs, I think the X is the solution for me.  I really want the ability to type out my messages.  I do a lot of sailing around the world (not sailing around the world but in multiple locations around the world – i.e. the BVI’s, Grenada, etc.).  I just never know what I might need to say at any given moment.

    The initial price isn’t so different that it matters one way or the other to me.  What does interest me is the subscription plan.

    I think I’ll have to do a bit more digging before I pull the trigger.

    Thanks again,


    • Hi Scott. The initial purchase price is not a major difference for most people but the monthly subscription plan can be. The nice thing is that SPOT offers the FLEX plan that cost a little more each month but you can pick the months you want and not have to pay all year.


  2. Hello,

    I enjoyed the comprehensive comparison between these two safety devices.

    The choice is really a tough one and the difference in price as you mentioned is not enough 

    to distinguish between then since the SPOT X has more functionality.

    If will be interesting to find out from the manufacturer which one is generating the most sales.

    I think I will go for the one with the most features even though slightly more expensive.

    Thank you. 

    • I agree with you. I like them both but I would pick my SPOT X over my SPOT Gen 3 due to the ability to communicate better with others.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these two.


  3. I really like the Emergency Satellite Messengers after seeing your review.
    Spot X vs Gen 3 Quality and Battery Charging Time Better by 240 hours means a lot to me. I really like both of these but the longer battery life seems pretty important. I want to buy it very soon. I live in Bangladesh, how can I buy it?


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