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Iridium Go satellite hotspot review: More like ‘Iridium No’

Séamus Bellamy | March 28, 2016
The Iridium Go is a US$799 portable satellite hotspot designed to provide voice, SMS, weather reports, Internet, email and social media connectivity for up to five iOS and Android devices simultaneously.

The Iridium Go app also promises to deliver GPS-specific weather reports. But after five attempts to get the service to work for me, I surrendered.

I found the Go’s handling of social media just as frustrating. Facebook posts can be made through a rudimentary portal in the Iridium Go app, but they’re capped at 255 characters. Twitter posts are 140 characters in length, but I found that the Iridium Go app’s interface sent my messages into the ether more often than not. Posting them à la 2008 via SMS was a lot more dependable. And while you can send and receive email through the Go, it’s only by using an Iridium-specific email address. Should you ever cancel your service with the company, you’ll lose access to your account.

Oh, and speaking of service, using an Iridium Go ain’t cheap. 400 pre-paid data airtime minutes, which expire after 180 days will set you back close to $500. For individuals looking for a reliable communications lifeline to the outside world, that might be OK, were the Iridium Go actually reliable.

Bottom line

While the idea of being able to use your smartphone or tablet off the grid might be appealing, the Iridium Go, in practice, isn’t as convenient or as reliable as using a dedicated satellite handset.

 

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