One of items I was sent for review in China that excited me most was the SPOT messenger – a unique device that receives a GPS signal to identify your position and then allows that to be re-broadcast via the SPOT satellite service with an ‘OK’, ‘non-emergency help’ or ’emergency help’ message. It’s intended for use by people slightly more adventurous than me who venture away from mobile network coverage and want to send status messages or emergency requests for help. Seems like a great idea and at £130, quite an affordable option.
Without access to the online control panel I set off to China and ran around Beijing and the Great Wall recording messages… back in the UK I finally gained access to the control panel. Nothing.
Following the supplied instructions I gave it a clear line of sight into the sky again today for several hours and tried again to record a message. Again nothing.
It might be me, it might be the unit, it might be the location(s)… I’ve no idea. However, without any way to confirm from the device if a GPS lock has been achieved or whether any messages have been successfully sent it’s a ‘press and hope’ affair – all the right lights flashed at all the right times for me without a single message ever being recorded. I certainly wouldn’t rely on it as a potential ‘life saving’ device as advertised. Very disappointing.
To be fair to the manufacturers others have used it with some sucess, but in my testing it’s been too unreliable for me to recommend. I’d suggest taking Adventure Trading Post up on their ‘try before you buy‘ offer if you’re interested in this kind of device.