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7 Best Satellite Phone Choices for 2023

guy trying to find a signal using his cellular phone

As an outdoor enthusiast, choosing the best satellite phone is crucial for staying connected during your adventures. With so many models to choose from, making the right selection can be a daunting task. In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of having a reliable satellite phone and explore some of the top contenders vying for the title of “best satellite phones” in 2023.

We’ll discuss key features that you should look out for when selecting a device, such as extreme temperature resistance and built-in GPS systems. Additionally, we’ll examine potential limitations and future developments within satellite phone technology that may impact your decision-making process.

Having knowledge of these points can aid in deciding which satellite phone is the most suitable for your outdoor ventures.

Get a sneak peek of what’s inside! But keep reading to discover all the exciting details in the article😉.

Our Top Picks:
  • Iridium 9575 Extreme: Best overall option – water jet & dust protection certification (IP65), near-global coverage
  • Garmin InReach Explorer+: Comprehensive navigation solution – Delorme topo maps, built-in GPS systems integration, SOS button
  • Thuraya XT-LITE: Budget-friendly choice – long battery life, durable design, voice calls & text messaging focus
  • SPOT X Satellite Messenger: Messaging-focused device – send texts, emails & social media updates via satellite connection, SOS feature
  • Garmin Montana 700i: Designed for cold climates – glove mode functionality, weather forecasting features
  • X5-Touch by Thuraya: Advanced smartphone-like features – touchscreen functionality, Android operating system integration.
  • Iridium Go!Most portable – fast data transfer, flexible subscription plans, dependable voice & data coverage. 

The Importance of Satellite Phones for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Finding the best satellite phones is essential for those who enjoy taking trips to remote places, offering an unrivaled connection with satellites in the sky that allow them to make calls, text messages, and basic emails – even when exposed to extreme weather conditions. These devices connect directly with satellites orbiting the Earth, providing reliable communication options like voice calls, text messaging, and basic emails while ensuring durability against harsh conditions.

Staying Connected During Remote Adventures

Outdoor enthusiasts often venture into remote locations that lack cellular coverage due to their love for adventure and exploration. In such scenarios, satellite phones become indispensable as they offer a lifeline to stay connected with friends, family members, or emergency services if needed. Whether you’re hiking through dense forests, scaling mountainsides, or sailing across open waters, having access to a reliable form of communication is essential when venturing into the great outdoors.

Beyond personal safety reasons, having the best satellite phones can also play an important role in coordinating group activities during expeditions and sharing real-time updates on weather conditions or other potential hazards. This level of connectivity ensures that everyone stays informed and prepared throughout their journey.

Features to Look for

  • Durability: Look for rugged designs built to withstand extreme temperatures (both hot and cold), water exposure (IP65 rating minimum), dust ingress protection (IP6X rating), as well as shock resistance from accidental drops.
  • Battery Life: Choose models with long-lasting batteries capable of supporting extended periods without recharging – especially critical during multi-day trips far away from power sources.
  • Coverage Area: Ensure you select operates on a network that covers your intended travel destinations. Some networks, like Iridium, offer global coverage, while others may have more limited regional availability.
  • GPS Functionality: Integrated GPS systems allow users to track their location and navigate unfamiliar terrain with ease. This feature is particularly useful for outdoor enthusiasts who often venture into remote areas without access to traditional maps or navigation tools.
  • Data Capabilities: While most satellite phones primarily focus on voice calls and text messaging, some models also support basic email services or even low-bandwidth internet browsing – providing additional means of communication when off-the-grid.

Taking these factors into account will help ensure that you invest in a reliable and functional satellite phone suited to your specific needs as an outdoor enthusiast.

Best Satellite Phones in 2023

Several models stand out as top choices for outdoor enthusiasts due to their exceptional battery life, built-in GPS systems, and military-grade ruggedness. Among these are the Iridium 9575 Extreme, Garmin’s InReach Explorer+, Thuraya XT-LITE, SPOT X Satellite Messenger, Garmin Montana 700i, and X5-Touch by Thuraya.

Iridium 9575 Extreme: Best Overall Option

iridium 9575 satellite phone

The Iridium 9575 Extreme is the go-to companion for adventurers seeking durability and global communication. Notably rugged, it boasts an IP65 water jet and dust protection certification as well as military-grade endurance. The phone’s exceptional battery life and Iridium satellite network, seamless across the globe, deliver reliable connections in even the harshest conditions. Whether off-the-grid or deep in the wild, the Iridium 9575 Extreme guarantees endurance and connectivity.

Garmin InReach Explorer+: Comprehensive Navigation Solution

InReach plus satellite phone

Garmin’s InReach Explorer+ is the ultimate navigation solution for outdoor enthusiasts. This all-in-one device provides advanced GPS tracking, planning, and messaging capabilities, perfect for adventurers and explorers. With integrated Delorme topo maps and GPS tracking features, users can easily plan their routes, track their progress, and stay connected with others thanks to the Iridium satellite network. In case of emergencies, the InReach Explorer+ comes equipped with an SOS button that connects you directly with emergency responders. Stay connected, informed, and safe on all your outdoor journeys with the InReach Explorer+!

Thuraya XT-LITE: Budget-Friendly Choice

Thuraya xt lite satellite phone

The Thuraya XT-LITE presents an affordable option for robust communication capabilities during outdoor activities, offering near-global coverage at lower costs than its counterparts. Its compact design, powerful battery life, and rugged structure contribute to an unrivaled user experience. While mainly focused on voice calls and text messaging, the XT-LITE is an ideal selection for those looking for quality performance without sophisticated data capacities. Consider the Thuraya XT-LITE as your go-to device, where cost-effectiveness meets extraordinary features.

SPOT X Satellite Messenger: Messaging-Focused Device


The SPOT X Satellite Messenger is perfect for staying connected through text messaging. This compact device boasts two-way messaging and GPS tracking, providing the user with messaging capabilities and real-time location updates. The SPOT X is made for those who prefer texting over voice calling and offers users the flexibility to send texts, emails, and even post updates to social media, all via satellite connection. With an extended battery life, it’s great for long trips into areas without cell phone service. The device also includes an SOS feature, connecting users with emergency services when needed. Stay connected from anywhere with the SPOT X Satellite Messenger.

Garmin Montana 700i: Designed for Cold Climates

garmin montana 700i satellite phone

The Montana 700i is a device built tough for rugged outdoors people. It’s ideal for harsh weather, receiving data directly from satellites to keep you informed of any environmental changes. If you’re exploring frigid regions like the Arctic, it’s crucial to have this part of your Arctic essentials. Pair your Montana 700i with a compatible smartphone and gain access to features such as text messaging and weather data to stay connected at all times. With built-in weather forecasting features and glove mode functionality, this satellite phone ensures you are always one step ahead, no matter the adventure. Don’t get caught unprepared. Stay informed and stay connected with InReach!

X5-Touch by Thuraya: Advanced Smartphone-Like Features

The world’s smartest satellite phone

The X5-Touch by Thuraya is the ultimate satellite phone with smartphone-like functionality. Its touchscreen capabilities and Wi-Fi connectivity make it a stellar option for those needing more advanced communication. Offering reliable communication through the Thuraya satellite network, it even supports popular social media apps. 

It integrates the Android operating system, allowing access to apps like WhatsApp or Google Maps alongside traditional satellite communication features, including voice calling and texting. The phone’s rugged design guarantees durability for outdoor adventurers. 

If you’re looking for an advanced satellite phone option with smartphone-like capabilities, the X5-Touch by Thuraya is an excellent choice.

Iridium Go! Best Portable Satellite Phone

iridium go! satellite phone

Iridium Go! stands out from other satellite phones due to its portability and exceptional durability features. This compact gadget fits easily into your pocket or backpack and has been constructed with military-grade ruggedness, using an impressive IP rating of 65. These features support its capability to withstand harsh environmental conditions with ease.

The built-in GPS system on Iridium Go! enables users to track their location accurately while navigating through even the most isolated places with ease. The flip-up antenna enhances navigational capabilities by improving signal strength from satellites — making communication easier regardless of where you are in the world. It’s also equipped with WiFi readiness that allows users to connect multiple devices, such as smartphones or laptops, simultaneously—providing very handy web connectivity when off-grid.

The device provides global satellite phone coverage via the Iridium satellite network, ensuring seamless communication across all continents without any disruptions. Additionally, if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation, Iridium offers GEOS emergency response team services that provide immediate assistance worldwide.

The battery life on this device is impressive, lasting up to 7 hours of talk time and up to 16 hours of standby time. It also has flexible subscription plans that cater to different needs. Users can choose from prepaid or postpaid plans depending on their usage requirements.

Overall, Iridium Go! guarantees unmatched convenience and reliability when it comes to navigating remote areas. Its multifunctional features make it an ideal choice for outdoor enthusiasts who need a reliable communication tool while exploring the great outdoors.

Key Considerations When Choosing a Satellite Phone

To ensure you select the best satellite phone model suited to your needs as an outdoor enthusiast, consider factors such as extreme temperature resistance, memory storage capacity (at least 32 GB), built-in GPS systems integration, along with IP ratings of IP65 or higher, guaranteeing durability in harsh conditions. Before making a purchase, check to see if the use of satellite phones is allowed in your country. Consider factors like extreme temperature resistance, memory storage capacity, built-in GPS systems, and IP ratings of IP65 or higher for durability in harsh conditions. Be aware that certain countries may limit or forbid satellite phone use.

Extreme Temperature Resistance

Satellite phones should be able to withstand both high and low temperatures commonly encountered during outdoor activities like mountaineering or desert exploration. Look for models specifically designed for these environments to ensure optimal performance under extreme conditions. Not all satellite phone models can withstand extreme temperatures. For optimal performance in extreme conditions, opt for a satellite phone model with an operating temperature range of -20°C to 55°C.

Memory Storage Capacity

A minimum of 32 GB internal memory is recommended for storing essential data such as maps, contacts, and messages on your satellite phone. Some models offer expandable storage options via microSD cards if additional space is needed. Choose a device with at least 32 GB internal memory capacity to store contacts, messages, and other data without running out of space on extended trips.

Built-in GPS Systems and IP Ratings

An integrated GPS system allows users to track their location accurately during remote adventures without relying on separate devices. Additionally, choose a device with at least an IP65 rating which guarantees protection against water jets and dust ingress – ensuring its durability in harsh outdoor environments. Integrated GPS systems provide accurate location information during emergencies and help navigate unfamiliar terrain. Look for devices with reliable tracking features and an IP rating of IP65 or higher for durability in harsh conditions.

Legal Restrictions in Some Countries

Prioritize researching the legal restrictions surrounding satellite phone usage in your intended travel destinations. Prior to traveling, it is critical to familiarize yourself with the legal regulations regarding satellite phone usage in your intended destinations. Be aware of legal restrictions on satellite phone use in some countries. Research local laws and regulations before traveling internationally with your device.

Satellite Network Coverage

Consider which satellite networks provide optimal coverage for regions you plan to explore most frequently. Popular options include Iridium, Inmarsat, Thuraya, and Globalstar.

Battery Life and Charging Options

For optimal communication, opt for a device offering up to 24 hours of standby time and 8 hours of talk time. Look for models with solar panels or portable power bank charging options for reliable communication in remote areas.

Additional Features Worth Considering

Other useful features include an SOS button for emergency services, data capabilities for basic internet browsing and email, and Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free operation.

Consider these key factors when choosing a satellite phone for your outdoor adventures to ensure reliable communication in various conditions and compliance with legal requirements.

Selecting the best satellite phone for your outdoor adventures ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors such as durability in harsh conditions (look for IP ratings of IP65 or higher), extreme temperature resistance (especially if you plan to venture into colder environments), memory storage capacity (at least 32 GB is recommended), and built-in GPS systems integration when making your decision. Remember that some countries may restrict or prohibit the use of satellite phones – so it’s essential to research any legal restrictions before purchasing a device.

Limitations and Future Developments in Satellite Phone Technology

As an outdoor enthusiast, you know that satellite phones are essential tools for staying connected in remote areas. However, these devices still have some shortcomings in comparison to cell phones. Let’s explore the drawbacks of current satellite phone technology and potential future advancements that could make them even more indispensable.

Drawbacks of Current Satellite Phone Technology

  • Bulkiness: Satellite phones are bigger and heavier than smartphones, which can be inconvenient for some users who prefer lightweight gear.
  • Limited Data Rates: While you can send text messages and basic emails with ease, browsing the internet or streaming media on a satphone can be frustratingly slow due to limited bandwidth.
  • Cost: Satellite phones are expensive to own and use, with high device and usage fees.
  • Coverage Gaps: Signal strength may be weak or nonexistent in remote regions, despite improvements in coverage over the years.

Despite these limitations, technological advancements suggest that we might see significant improvements in satellite communication systems soon. Companies like Apple are already working on integrating features such as Emergency SOS via Satellite into their products, which could potentially bridge the gap between satellite phones and smartphones.

Potential Future Advancements with Smartphone Integration

As technology continues to advance, we may see even more integration between satellite phone capabilities and smartphones. Here are some potential developments that could make these devices an essential part of every outdoor enthusiast’s gear checklist:

  • Improved Form Factor: Future smartphone models may incorporate satellite communication features without sacrificing portability or aesthetics.
  • Faster Data Speeds: Advancements in satellite technology and network infrastructure could increase data speeds for satphones significantly over time.

Other industry players are also working on new solutions aimed at improving overall user experience with satellite communications systems:

  • OneWeb is building a next-generation LEO (Low Earth Orbit) constellation of satellites to provide affordable broadband connectivity worldwide.
  • Iridium Communications Inc. enhances machine-to-machine communication via low-latency networks optimized for small data packets.
  • Elon Musk’s Starlink seeks to create a global, rapid-response system for internet access with minimal latency.

As these innovations continue to unfold, satellite phones will become even more versatile and indispensable tools for outdoor enthusiasts. Advancements in technology are likely to bridge the gaps between satellite phones and smartphones, ensuring that adventurers have reliable communication options no matter where their journeys take them.

Key Takeaway: 

Satellite phones are essential for staying connected in remote areas, but they have some limitations compared to smartphones, such as bulkiness, limited data rates, and high costs. However, technological advancements suggest that we may see significant improvements soon with potential developments, including improved form factor and faster data speeds. Other industry players like OneWeb and Iridium Communications Inc. are also working on new solutions to improve overall user experience with satellite communication systems.

FAQs in Relation to the Best Satellite Phone

What’s the best satellite phone in the world?

The Iridium 9575 Extreme is the top choice for its global coverage, durability, and advanced features like GPS tracking and SOS emergency alerts.

Is there a satellite phone that works everywhere?

No single satellite phone works everywhere, but Iridium devices come close with their extensive Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation providing near-global coverage.

What are the downsides to a satellite phone?

Satellite phones can be bulky, expensive with ongoing subscription costs, have limited data rates for internet access, and require line-of-sight with satellites for optimal signal strength, which may not work well indoors or under dense tree cover. Additionally, satellite communication can be subject to legal restrictions in certain countries.

Which is better: Iridium or Globalstar?

Iridium is generally considered better than Globalstar due to its near-global coverage, as it uses a constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.


After evaluating the top satellite phones available in the market, it is clear that the Iridium 9575 Extreme stands out as the best satellite phone for outdoor enthusiasts. With its voice calls, text messaging, basic email capabilities, and built-in GPS systems for navigation assistance, this phone is perfect for those who love to explore remote areas.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive navigation solution with two-way communication via satellite network, preloaded topographic maps, and a built-in digital compass, then Garmin inReach Explorer+ might be your best bet. And if budget is a concern but you still want reliable performance features like tracking functionality or key features like real-time weather updates via satellite connection, then Thuraya XT-LITE & SPOT X Satellite Messenger are great options to consider.

When choosing the best satellite phone to fit your needs, evaluate battery life performance based on travel plans and analyze additional features like SOS capabilities. These factors considered, along with our outlined recommendations above, will ensure you have selected the right device so that staying connected even in remote locations becomes easier than ever before!

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