These are the satellite communicators you can buy right now

You don't need to wait around for Apple to release a phone with satellite calling to get service in the wilderness.

The Spot X Satellite phone. Sat phones. Dongles. Hiking. Outdoors. iPhone 13.
Saved By Spot

According to a recent rumor from Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 13 might come satellite ready — just not in the way that most people might want. While initial speculation suggested iPhone users might be able to make calls sans cell service via satellite networks, subsequent reports indicate the feature might be for emergencies only.


If you were among the iPhone users who were psyched about the prospect of utilizing satellite calling whenever you want, here’s the bright side: There are quite a few satellite phones and hotspots you can buy right now for those treks out into the cellular void, and as an added bonus you don’t have to wait around for Apple to buy them.

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Garmin InReach Mini

Garmin’s InReach Mini is about as adorable as satellite phones come, and we wrote about it here. With this 4-inch baby sat, you’ll be able to send and receive SMS messages via the Iridium satellite constellation and free up space in your pack that some of the InReach’s thiccer counterparts might require.


Garmin's InReach is affordable as far as sat phones go.


Iridium Go!

If you already plan on bringing a smartphone into the sticks, you may want to consider going with a hotspot instead of an actual, dedicated phone. The Iridium Go! can be coupled with your phone to send texts, pictures, and enable voice calling and you can even send your GPS location automatically with the push of a button. You absolutely do not need an iPhone 13 to use this hotspot!


It is, however, quite costly.


BlueCosmo Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1

If you’re looking for something that’s a Phone with a capital “P,” the Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 is among the best options. This sat phone comes with a SIM card and can track your position with GPS as well as send and receive SMS and calls. It’s also fairly rugged and features IP65 rated dustproofing and waterproofing. If you do manage to rough this phone up there’s also an 18-month warranty. Thankfully, you cannot use any social media on this device.


Still cheaper than a new iPhone.


Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger

Spot’s 2-way sat messenger looks like a Blackberry and can be used either as a standalone SMS device or connect to your phone via Bluetooth to communicate with your contacts. There’s a built-in SOS button, but sadly there are no emojis.


And it's pretty affordable!

Garmin GPSMAP 66i

The Garmin GPSMap 66i uses the same Iridium network as the InReach devices but comes in a more full-size package that includes a 3-inch display for accessing topographic GPS maps and even renders weather information when paired to your smartphone. A Wikiloc integration also lets you access information about hiking and cycling trails and you won’t have to use Apple’s tyrannical App Store to download it — though you’ll probably want to download Wikiloc premium.


Google Maps didn't replace Garmin in at least one department.


Thuraya X5-Touch

If you truly can’t live without a satellite smartphone, the Thuraya X5-Touch has got you covered. Very much unlike an iPhone, the Thuraya runs Android and comes with a 5.2-inch touchscreen and an 8MP rear camera, which isn’t exactly HD, but it’s better than dropping your DSLR down a ravine or into a mud puddle. Unfortunately, the iPhone 13 may even end up beating this thicc sat phone in the price department...


That's a lot of money to get work emails in the woods.


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