Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


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

Garmin's latest update to its satellite communication devices brings enhanced battery life, improved smartphone application, and a lightweight device to help you stay connected and located.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

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.

In addition to extended battery life, Garmin updated the design slightly with a move from micro USB 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.

Also: Best sports watch: Garmin, Coros, Polar, and more

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. The global Iridium satellite network provides services. 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.

Editorial standards