Garmin inReach Mini 2 assessment: Life-saving, ultra-compact satellite tv for pc tech to your subsequent journey

Folks get pleasure from mountain climbing, snowboarding, working, tenting, fishing, looking, boating, and different out of doors adventures. These distant places are sometimes out of vary of any mobile service, so your smartphone then turns right into a digital camera that’s solely helpful to seize your adventures. For those who get into bother and need to contact somebody or share your location, you then want one thing higher and perhaps even one thing that extends the aptitude of your smartphone.

Garmin gives varied satellite tv for pc communication gadgets to your off-the-grid journey, and the latest addition is the Garmin inReach Mini 2.

The inReach Mini 2 is an ultra-compact satellite tv for pc communicator, obtainable now for $399.99. We used it over the previous couple of months to share our location and textual content relations whereas out of vary of mobile towers throughout mountain hikes and river fishing. Fortunately, we didn’t must make contact for an emergency scenario, but it surely was nice to know we had a succesful gadget in hand in case of an unlucky incident.


  • Small, rugged design
  • In depth satellite tv for pc protection
  • Broad number of subscription choices
  • Messaging and plotting assist through smartphone
  • Lengthy battery life

Don’t Like

  • Setup and familiarization take time
  • Smartphone wanted for textual content enter


Show 23×23 mm, 176 x 176 pixel decision, sunlight-visible, monochrome, transflective memory-in-pixel
Water resistance IPX7
Connectivity Iridium satellite tv for pc providers, Bluetooth, ANT+, GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO/QZSS
Battery Rated for 14 days at 10-minute monitoring and full-sky view down to 2 days with reasonable tree cowl and excessive element exercise monitoring
Dimensions 99.0 x 51.7 x 26.1 mm and 100 grams

The unique inReach Mini was launched in 2018, and at first look, it doesn’t appear like a lot has modified. Nevertheless, a major enchancment in battery life is the muse of the inReach Mini 2. Garmin states that as much as 14 days of run time with 10-minute monitoring is out there within the Mini 2, whereas 30-minute monitoring extends battery life as much as 30 days. For those who cost it up, pack it away in a automobile, boat, or RV after which want to show it on for an emergency, the gadget ought to energy up whereas nonetheless inside one yr of charging.

Additionally: Finest sports activities watch: Garmin, Coros, Polar, and extra


Along with prolonged battery life, Garmin up to date the design with a transfer from microUSB to USB-C for charging, which is a superb alternative as most cellular know-how is transferring to USB-C for charging. It nonetheless measures simply 4 inches tall by two inches extensive and weighs in at simply 3.5 oz (100 g), so you possibly can simply pack it alongside on any out of doors journey. It’s rated for IPX7 too so that you received’t have to fret about utilizing it out in any climate situation.

The Garmin inReach Mini 2 seems to be like a small walkie-talkie with an prolonged antenna that protrudes prominently from the highest left nook. The antenna, prime, each side, and among the backside are lined in darkish grey matte end silicone that makes it very straightforward to carry onto whereas additionally providing some safety from drops. 

The Flame Pink shade can also be present in a silicone backside panel. I used to be despatched a Flame Pink (extra of an orange) shade, however you may as well buy it in Black. The Flame Pink makes plenty of sense for a security gadget the place you need to have the ability to simply see the inReach Mini 2 whereas out wandering the wilderness. It additionally is useful to have this vibrant shade if you happen to drop it and wish to search out it. The Flame Pink shade is a sturdy laborious plastic materials.


Matthew Miller/ZDNet

The 23 x 23 mm monochrome show is discovered on the entrance of the inReach Mini 2 with a big bezel beneath it. It’s not a touchscreen show, so all capabilities are managed with buttons.

Up and down motion buttons are discovered on the left facet with a tightly sealed cowl defending the USB-C connection port. The ability button is on the highest with a lanyard opening to the correct of the facility button. OK/choose and again buttons are discovered on the higher proper facet.

There’s a outstanding SOS button on the decrease proper facet, and it’s designed so that you just can not by chance press it and provoke an SOS response. It’s clearly labeled with a inflexible Flame Pink cowl topped by the silicone materials. You need to place a fingernail beneath the quilt and open it as much as reveal the SOS button. After you have it open, you merely maintain it all the way down to provoke an SOS sign till an alert sounds.

Centered on the higher again is a cloth loop that’s secured to a gap with an Allen wrench. A carabiner is included within the package deal, so you possibly can connect it to this loop after which to your backpack, jacket, or different gear for fast entry and protected mounting. Different mounts, a dive case, and lanyards can be found for buy from Garmin.

Communicator software program

After unboxing the inReach Mini 2, press the facility button to show it on. A default house display seems, displaying the battery standing, time, and date. A 3-line menu icon seems within the higher proper nook that signifies it is best to press in on the higher proper OK/choose button to navigate the communicator. 

After organising a satellite tv for pc subscription (see the choices beneath), the menu will present choices to ship a message, write preset messages, begin monitoring, navigate, mark waypoint, present contacts, view your satellite tv for pc service plan, or entry the settings.

Settings embrace:

  • Specifying choices for monitoring (time interval)
  • sounds
  • map (waypoint choices)
  • telephone (pair and setup)
  • inReach distant
  • system. 

System settings embrace:

  • Backlight degree
  • compass calibration
  • time
  • items
  • GPS
  • language
  • proprietor information
  • screenshots
  • and extra.

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Beginning again from the primary show, you possibly can press the up or down navigation button to scroll by means of widgets loaded on the inReach Mini 2. This performance is much like scrolling by means of the glances on Garmin GPS sports activities watches. 

These widgets/glances embrace messages, monitoring standing, navigation widget, climate widget, and message examine. When certainly one of these is highlighted, the OK/choose button opens up one other show with extra data.

Two-way messaging is supported proper from the inReach Mini 2, however there isn’t a keyboard or voice-to-text possibility on the gadget itself. Thus, outgoing messages are restricted to preset messages that you just arrange prematurely of your journey. Full textual content messaging is supported by means of a linked smartphone, mentioned within the following part.

Whereas the show is small, it is vitally readable in varied lighting situations and the compass, navigation monitoring, messaging, and climate information are all helpful when offered on the show.

Additionally: Epix (2nd Gen) assessment: Garmin’s finest fashionable GPS sports activities watch

Smartphone software program

The Garmin inReach Mini 2 connects to your smartphone by means of the Garmin Discover app, so you possibly can textual content utilizing the smartphone keyboard with the inReach Mini 2 as your satellite tv for pc connection. The Garmin Discover app can also be used to obtain maps, plan your journeys, and connect with appropriate Garmin watches, in-vehicle navigators, aviation programs, and extra. It acts similarly to the Garmin Join app that’s used to attach your watches and different Garmin gear. The inReach Mini 2 doesn’t connect with the Garmin Join app.

After putting in the Garmin Discover app, the very first thing to do is to register or arrange an account. You then join the inReach Mini 2 so that you could examine for software program updates and handle sync settings. There have been a few software program updates since I began testing out the inReach Mini 2, so to verify every thing continues to operate as meant, it is best to examine for updates earlier than heading outdoors.

Show choices in Garmin Discover embrace map, library, messages, gadgets, and account. TopoActive maps can be found, and you’ll even obtain them to your telephone previous to starting your exercise. Map management choices are seen within the map settings too so take the time to arrange the map how it’s worthwhile to see it within the area.

The library comprises your actions, waypoints, routes, programs, and tracks. Routes, programs, and extra are established.

The message show reveals our incoming and outgoing messages. When you’re out on an journey and need to ship a extra difficult textual content than the default messages, you’ll use this show to ship textual content messages entered in your smartphone through a satellite tv for pc connection.

Different appropriate Garmin handhelds and wearables can remotely management the inReach Mini 2 to ship and obtain messages, begin and cease monitoring, and set off an interactive SOS. Airplane pilots may also use the Garmin Pilot app to ship and obtain textual content messages through the inReach Mini 2 satellite tv for pc connection.

Web site

The Garmin Discover web site can also be a key element of the inReach Mini 2 expertise. My one con with the inReach Mini 2 is the reasonably intensive setup course of to get all the items collectively earlier than beginning your journey. You can’t simply cost it up and go to have a really full expertise, so it’s worthwhile to use the gadget, telephone, and web site to get issues lined up earlier than hitting the path.

After logging into your account, the Garmin Discover web site is the place you’ll view your inReach Mini 2 stats, view maps, handle your satellite tv for pc subscription plan, and extra. One key operate of the web site is to plan out your journey by creating routes and waypoints within the map view after which having them sync to the Garmin Discover app after which sync to your inReach Mini 2.

There may be an inbox web page the place you possibly can view all the textual content messages that you just despatched and obtained from the inReach Mini 2. Your default preset and fast textual content messages are additionally created and managed right here. You may have as much as three messages set as preset messages for the inReach Mini 2. I’ve messages that state I’m beginning my journey, I’m delayed and OK, and decide me up right here. As much as 20 fast textual content messages might be arrange on the Garmin Discover web site. There are not any costs for sending a preset message, however replies are charged. Outgoing and incoming fast textual content messages are billed.

To ensure that household, associates, and even social media followers to trace your progress on a visit, you possibly can arrange a MapShare web site. E mail, Fb, and Twitter accounts might be linked to share your MapShare web site with folks. I’ve mine set as much as share with all of my instant household after which alter it for associates which may be round when I’m headed out for an off-the-grid journey. 

I tracked one hike with a Garmin Epix and the inReach Mini 2, and whereas each tracked the very same location on the set inReach Mini 2 interval, the 10-minute interval plot confirmed the apparent limitation of a 10-minute interval in comparison with a continuing observe. Nevertheless, within the occasion of an emergency, you’ll probably be in the identical place for a protracted time frame, so the progress of your journey isn’t as vital.

You can too handle your account on the web site, and these settings embrace your detailed contact information and emergency contacts, billing information, subscription standing, SOS insurance coverage protection stats, and SMS message configuration settings (what particulars to incorporate if you ship out a message).

Additionally: Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE assessment: Related options for security and dwell monitoring

Satellite tv for pc subscription plans

Security Recreation Expedition
SOS Limitless Limitless Limitless
Textual content Messages (*160 characters) 10 40 Limitless
Preset messages Limitless Limitless Limitless
Monitoring intervals 10min+ 10min+ 2min+
Ship/Observe factors $0.10 ea Limitless Limitless
Location requests $0.10 ea Limitless Limitless
Primary climate 1 textual content message ea 1 textual content message ea Limitless
Premium climate $1.00 ea $1.00 ea $1.00 ea
Premium marine climate $1.00 ea $1.00 ea $1.00 ea
Annual plans $11.95/mo $24.95/mo $49.95/mo
Freedom plans $14.95/mo $34.95/mo $64.95/mo
Message overage costs $0.50 $0.50 N/A

The satellite tv for pc connectivity requires a subscription with month-to-month and annual choices obtainable for 3 ranges of utilization. The worldwide Iridium satellite tv for pc community supplies providers. The bottom worth plan is an annual plan with an $11.95 month-to-month charge and a month-to-month possibility (referred to as Freedom plans) for $14.95 per thirty days, whereas the costliest month-to-month charge for an annual plan is $49.95 or $64.95 for the Freedom possibility. There may be additionally a $34.95 annual charge for a Freedom Plan, even if you happen to solely activate one month of service, so make certain to have a look at the complete yr to see which plan is finest for you.

The annual plan has a $29.95 activation charge with barely decrease month-to-month charges and the requirement for one yr of service. The plans differ by the variety of textual content messages included, monitoring interval interval, location requests, and climate. Limitless preset messages and limitless SOS messages are included in all the plans. Premium climate and premium marine climate are $1 every with each plan too. Overage costs for the 2 plans with restricted textual content messages are 50 cents a message.

SOS is out there for limitless utilization with all subscription plans and can ship a misery sign to the Garmin Worldwide Emergency Response Coordination Heart, which is staffed 24/7 to help you within the occasion of an emergency. You should buy as much as $100,000 protection for added search and rescue bills for simply $29.95 per yr by means of the Garmin Discover web site.

Connecting to emergency providers is vital, however you may as well use the Garmin inReach Mini 2 to connect with household and associates to examine in out of your journey or share your experiences as they occur. You may share your location with associates and even obtain messages of encouragement whereas out within the wild. For those who change into misplaced in your journey, the inReach Mini 2 may also help you information you again to your origin with its TracBack characteristic.

Each day utilization experiences and conclusions

Whereas I don’t get out for path working as a lot as I would really like, my cellular phone doesn’t connect with any towers when I’m on the market within the Cascade mountain vary. I spend fairly a little bit of time fly fishing on varied rivers, and my spouse worries that I’ll sometime fall within the river and be misplaced down the rapids. 

The Garmin inReach Mini 2 is an ideal companion for these sorts of situations once I need to assist a member of the family know that I’m OK and even give them the chance to trace my progress by means of the wilderness. Whereas Garmin has an assortment of gadgets obtainable, the inReach Mini 2 is the correct measurement and worth for me. 

I’m additionally happy with the obtainable subscription choices the place the fundamental important possibility is in regards to the worth of 1 lunch but supplies that security web in case of an emergency. Even in case you are not in an emergency however working later than anticipated, you should utilize the inReach Mini 2 to ease the fear of household and associates.

The battery life is stable for a tool that’s so small, and the GPS has confirmed to be correct. The show could be very readable, and the connectivity assist to a smartphone is extraordinarily helpful. For longer adventures, it is best to in all probability contemplate a big moveable battery pack or a photo voltaic battery pack to maintain your telephone charged up for the prolonged expertise.

The USCG motto is Semper Paratus, all the time prepared, and with the Garmin inReach Mini 2, I can dwell as much as that motto and put folks comfy realizing I’m out exploring this stunning nation with a small gadget watching my again. It’s truly a reasonably releasing expertise realizing that I can go on an journey, and if one thing dangerous does occur, I can make certain folks know and at the very least are on the best way to assist me out. 

I should have to make use of a few of my survival expertise, but it surely helps to know that individuals at the very least know you might be in bother and wish help.

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