Spot Global Phone

The Good The Spot Global Phone lets you make calls where you can't get a cellular connection. The interface is easy to use and the simple keypad and controls are well-designed.

The Bad The Spot Global's service plans are expensive and its call quality varies wildly. The handset can't receive texts, and its large battery charger is cumbersome.

The Bottom Line The satellite-powered Spot Global Phone lets you go far off the grid, just as long as you keep your cost and performance expectations in check.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 7.0
6.7 Overall

Compare

Spot Global Phone
Spot Global Phone
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Price $500 MSRP $1,288 Amazon.com $500 MSRP $699 Apple $699 Apple
Design
6
9
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8
8
Features
6
9
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8
8
Performance
7
10
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10

Review

Works almost everywhere, and most of the time

The Spot Global Phone, which debuted earlier this year at CTIA, may be just the gadget for those times when you can't, or don't what to be, away from at all. It doesn't snap photos, it won't run apps, and it doesn't play music, but it will let you stay in touch when you're outside cellular range by connecting to satellites spinning around Earth. Style isn't its strong point, but I suspect that anyone looking for a satellite phone won't be concerned with its big, bulky frame.

What's more, that person also can't be fazed by the Spot Global's high cost. Though it's far cheaper than the $1,600 Terrestar Genus that I reviewed two years ago, it will run you a healthy $499. Sure, that's less than an unlocked iPhone 5 (and you really can't put a price on all-time accessibility if you're lost in the woods), but you'll have to afford the hefty service plans, as well. And even though it's designed to work in the wild, call quality and reception are all over the map (pun intended).

Design and features
The Spot Global brick shape will take you back to 2002 and the era of Nokia's big candy bar phones. Measuring 5.3 inches long by 2.2 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep and weighing 7.1 ounces, it won't fit in your average pocket, but it isn't uncomfortable to use or carry in a backpack. Indeed, it had a welcome solid in my hand, even if it's not waterproof or exceptionally rugged. The plastic casing is far from flimsy, but I doubt that it would survive a tumble when you're rock climbing. On the other hand, it will withstand temperatures as low as -4 Fahrenheit (-20 Celsius) and as high as 131 Fahrenheit (55 Celsius).

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Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $500
  • Brand SPOT Inc.
  • Weight 7.1 oz
See full specs

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Latest News

  • 5years ago

    Spot expands lineup with satellite-powered Global Phone

    The Spot Global Phone delivers voice and basic data to remote locations for $499.