At the end of last week, Garmin unveiled the new inReach Mini. A palm-sized version of the regular inReach, this lighter and more compact satellite communicator offloads advanced functionality/interactivity to the Earthmate app on your phone.
At just under four inches tall by two inches wide and weighing in at 3.5 oz, the inReach Mini can easily fit in your jacket or hipbelt pocket. Just like its bigger predecessor, the Mini lets you send and receive text messages, track and share your journey and, if necessary, trigger an SOS alert to contact the GEOS 24/7 emergency response team.
You can also post your adventures on social media and for basic navigation, there’s a compass that shows bearing and distance along a route or to a waypoint. You no longer get full-fledged GPS on-map guidance with preloaded TOPO mapping and waypoint routings viewable directly on the unit — this functionality is offloaded to your phone.
The inReach Mini will now connect to other compatible Garmin handhelds, watches, and even wearables, as well as your phone. The Earthmate app on your phone gives you access to unlimited maps, aerial imagery and U.S. NOAA charts. The app also allows you to use all of the inReach features on your phone where you have a full color dispaly and it is way easier to type messages.
You can opt for the inReach weather forecast service that provides detailed updates directly to your inReach Mini or paired device; basic and premium weather packages available.
The satellite communicator includes an internal, rechargeable lithium battery that will last up to 50 hours at the default 10-minute tracking mode and up to 20 days in power saving mode. Note this is half the time of the larger inReach as Garmin most likely had to use a smaller battery to fit the smaller form factor.
Some could argue that the regular inReach was easiest to use via the Earthmate app so this mini version makes total sense — offload all the interactivity to your phone that you have with you anyway and give you notifications on other Garmin devices so you can leave the inReach Mini in your pocket.
The Garmin inReach Mini retails for $349 and is available now.