Garmin inReach Mini 2: Rugged compact satellite communicator provides essential connectivity | ZDNet


People enjoy hiking, skiing, running, camping, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor adventures. These remote locations are often out of range of any cellular service so your smartphone then turns into a camera to capture your adventures. Garmin offers various satellite communication devices for your off-the-grid adventure and the newest addition is the Garmin inReach Mini 2.

The inReach Mini 2 is an ultra-compact satellite communicator, available now for $399.99. One just arrived for testing so stay tuned for a full review after we get a chance to explore the great outdoors and get some miles on this new essential tool.

The original inReach Mini was released in 2018 and at first glance, it doesn’t look like much has changed. However, a significant improvement in battery life is the foundation of the inReach Mini 2. Garmin states that up to 14 days of run time with 10-minute tracking is available in the Mini 2 while 30-minute tracking extends battery life up to 30 days. If you charge it up, pack it away in a car, boat, or RV, and then need to turn it on for an emergency, the device should power up within a year of charging.

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In addition to extended battery life, Garmin updated the design slightly with a move from microUSB to USB-C for charging. It still measures just four inches tall by two inches wide and weighs in at just 3.5 ounces so you can easily pack it along on any outdoor adventure. It is rated for IPX7 too so you won’t have to worry about using it out in any weather condition.

Image: Garmin

The Garmin inReach Mini 2 also now connects to your smartphone through the Garmin Explore app so you can text using the smartphone keyboard with the inReach Mini 2 as your satellite connection. The Garmin Explore app is also used to download maps, plan your trips, and connect to compatible Garmin watches, in-vehicle navigators, aviation systems, and more.

The satellite connectivity requires a subscription with monthly and annual options available for three levels of usage. Services is provided by the global Iridium satellite network. The lowest price plan is an annual plan with an $11.95 monthly fee with month-to-month plans being a bit higher price. SOS is available for unlimited usage with all subscription plans and will send a distress signal to the Garmin International Emergency Response Coordination Center that is staffed 24/7 to assist you in the event of an emergency.

Connecting to emergency services is important, but you can also use the Garmin inReach Mini 2 to connect to family and friends to check in from your adventure or share your experiences as they happen. You can share your location with friends and even receive messages of encouragement while out in the wild. If you become lost on your adventure, the inReach Mini 2 can help you guide you back to your origin with its TracBack feature. Global positioning is provided via GPS, Galileo, QZSS, and Beidou.

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