We’ve read the reviews across the web for the Garmin InReach Mini and summarize the results below:
Pros & Cons
Reasons to buy:
- Lightweight enough that I always throw it in my pack and don’t think twice.
- Using the cell phone app to type is easy.
- Battery life is good when using device for minimal communications and saving it for an emergency.
- Considerably smaller and lighter than other options.
- This is the best satellite messenger on the market.
- Provides all the essential features of the Garmin Explorer+ but at half the weight and a third the size.
- The only functional differences between the Mini and the Explorer+ are battery life and ease of use.
- Audible chirp confirming that a message has been sent provides piece of mind.
- Much more reliable messaging than Spot devices.
- The battery can last a very long time if you don’t use the tracking feature.
Reasons NOT to buy:
- Using device at night can be tricky since there is no backlighting.
- The subscription plans can be tricky so be careful not to get a surprise bill for using services you’re not paying for.
- Trees and narrow canyons can reduce connectivity with satellites.
- Battery life is poor.
- Custom messages (as opposed to preset text) can fail to deliver.
- Battery life is half or a third of what Garmin advertises.
- Garmin has horrible customer service.
- Updating device is difficult due to poor Garmin software.
- The Earthmate phone app is limited in functionality, especially compared to a good GPS app like Gaiagps.
- Garmin customer service is hard to get a hold of, slow and often poorly trained.
- If you don’t want to also use your cell phone (for typing) you should consider a different device, like the Spot X.
The Garmin InReach Mini is the best satellite communicator for users primarily concerned about size, weight and safety. It provides all the basic communication functions needed when in the wilderness, without a lot of bells and whistles. Users who like to save detailed tracks of their routes with their GPS, and therefore require constant communication with the satellite network, may find the Mini’s battery is drained quickly.