Sunday, March 18, 2012

DeLorme PN-60w / SPOT deal and testing update

DeLorme PN-60w SPOT

UPDATE: I have reason to believe that this deal may be gone by tomorrow. I suspect that DeLorme may have saddled dealers with a minimum resale price, though that is purely conjecture on my part.

UPDATE 2: Hmm, the deal is still there as of 9/22. Maybe I got bad info. The page now says the rebate is in effect through 9/25.

UPDATE 3: Looks like its now priced at $449.00.

UPDATE 4: I’ve posted reviews of the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w and the PN-60w / SPOT Communicator combo

J&R Computer/Music World has the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60W Handheld GPS with SPOT Satellite Communicator on sale for $399.95 with free shipping, $90 less than Amazon’s price this morning. This is an amazing deal for a just released product that allows you to text friends, send an SOS, or post to Twitter or Facebook where there is no cell reception.

I’ve been testing one of these and plan to have a full review up in a few weeks; you can see my tracking page here. Just to interpret, on my last mountain bike ride with the device (Sept. 16), it did a great job of tracking my progress on the uphill portion, but not so well on the fast downhill where it transmitted an errant trackpoint (#14 on the map). Still, I was pretty impressed given the terrain, canopy and the fact that I was on the go. The SPOT unit was placed on top of my CamelBak, as shown in the pic at the end of this post.


EDIT: I have to take it back about the errant trackpoint. I’m looking at .gpx files of the message history and the point I referenced above is accurately placed. Unfortunately, the downhills are so fast that I’m not collecting enough points for a good sample. Must ride more!

To be clear, a SPOT subscription is required. Here are the options, from the DeLorme website:

  • $99.99/year for Basic services (minimum service level), including SOS, Check-In/OK, Send Pre-Canned Messages
  • $49.95/year for 500 Type & Send text messages ($0.10 per msg)
  • $29.95/year for 100 Type & Send text messages ($0.30 per msg)
  • $0.50/msg for A la Carte Type & Send text messages (individually priced)
  • $49.95/year for Track Progress

Signing up for the full package breaks down to just $17 a month!

Activation Note:

Currently, satellite service on the DeLorme PN-60w with SPOT Communicator can only be activated in the United States or Canada. You must activate your SPOT service with a credit card having a United States or Canadian billing address.

Visit the SPOT website to sign up and manage your account and learn more about the SPOT Satellite Communicator.

SPOT on CamelBak

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. Richard Howard says:

    Rich,
    Besides fitness/adventure enthusiasts, I would think this would appeal to folks like off-shore fisherman who venture 20-100 miles off shore in small boats. How many times have we heard about small boats disappearing resulting in the Coast Guard having to search large swaths of ocean to find these folks. I know for me, it would be a nice piece of mind, in addition to an EPIRB of course. Also, do you think the Delorme hardware is getting a little dated? Seems like same case as the original PN40, just a different color. Maybe time for an update? Thanks
    Rick

    • Yeah, I think a larger screen is probably their next move, which would call for a new case design. I’m thinking they’ll avoid going the touch screen route, but who knows?

      • I concur that a larger screen is probably the next notable change they’ll implement (there was a rumor on the DeLorme users forum of a DeLorme rep commenting that a touchscreen was in the future, but no confirmation). However, while the form factor is unchanged from the PN-20 (save for color), they did re-design the innards this time around. One of the goals was to boost battery life, at which they succeeded pretty well.

        I’m very much looking forward to your take on these devices, Rich.

        • Shows what I know! Regardless, it would be interesting to see how they would balance resolution and visibility on a larger screen.

          • Well, I wouldn’t discount your hunches. I *do* know that they’ve steered clear of touchscreens in the past explicitly because the quality of the display is their first concern. And that rumor may be nothing more than a rumor. Now that they’ve got a better handle on power consumption/battery life, I think they can start to entertain the notion of a larger screen. I’m just not familiar enough with the state of the art in touchscreen technologies today to know if it will fly or not on the DeLorme design boards.

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