9 Best Satellite Phones for 2022

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Daniel Wabuge

Updated: August 02,2022

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Almost everyone needs a cell phone to stay in touch. But what if you find yourself in an area without network coverage? 

Well, you’ll need a satellite handset to avoid going offline. The device helps to provide communication virtually from any part of the planet.

If you’re looking for one, count yourself lucky - we found and evaluated the top ten on the market based on: 

  • Features
  • Functionality 
  • Design
  • Price

 So, let’s find you the best satellite phone.

Read More

Best for: Travelers

Carrier

Unlocked

Water-resistant

Yes, IP65

SOS Button

Yes

Short Description

The Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 is a simple yet effective waterproof satellite phone. It supports calls, texting, and email access. Moreover, its built-in GPS and compass make navigation simple and smooth. Bluetooth is available out of the box to connect a hands-free device of choice. It boasts a best in the industry eight-hour talk time.  

Pros and Cons
Full Review
Best for: Satellite multimedia phone

Carrier

Unlocked

Water-resistant

Yes, IP67

SOS Button

Yes

Short Description

Thuraya X5 touch is an Android satellite phone built like a tank. Its whopping 5.2-inch full high-definition (HD) touchscreen is best for multimedia use. Moreover, the handset offers an eight-megapixel rear camera for capturing memorable moments. Other features include a 16GB internal memory, 3800mAh battery, and GSM/LTE compatibility. 

Pros and Cons
Full Review
Best for: Voice calls

Carrier

Iridium

Water-resistant

No

SOS Button

No

Short Description

Iridium 9555 is a sizable sat phone that offers easy access to calls, two-way messaging, and fast data services. The handset also features an all-weather casing for withstanding punishing conditions. An average 2200mAh battery gives you a full day of charge under moderate use. 

Pros and Cons
Full Review
Best for: Location sharing

Carrier

Iridium

Water-resistant

Yes, IPX7

SOS Button

Yes

Short Description

The Garmin InReach Mini 2 is a small-sized two-way messenger with excellent tracking capabilities. These comprise a GPS for location sharing, an SOS button, and global connectivity. Apart from that, the construction is IPX7 certified for waterproofing. The battery lasts 90 hours under regular use and up to 24 days in power-saving mode.    

Pros and Cons
Full Review
Best for: Backpacking

Carrier

Iridium

Water-resistant

Yes, IP65

SOS Button

Yes

Short Description

The Extreme 9575 is another military-grade standard satellite phone from Iridium. It shares the same form factor with its younger sibling, the 9555. But the studded sides for a firmer grip make it stand apart. Other than the usual, it has in-built GPS for location tracking and Google mapping.

Pros and Cons
Full Review
Best for: Ruggedness

Carrier

inReach/Iridium

Water-resistant

Yes, IPX7

SOS Button

Yes

Short Description

The Montana 750i is another Garmin satellite phone that lacks a call dialer. But make no mistake, it offers plenty of intuitive features for self-guided navigation. Its large 5.0-inch touchscreen is bright, glove-sensitive, and comfortable for reading maps. Besides the GPS, it provides a full QWERTY keyboard for text messaging

Pros and Cons
Full Review
Best for: Hiking

Carrier

Unlocked

Water-resistant

Yes, IPX8

SOS Button

No

Short Description

The XT-LITE by Thuraya is an affordable full-size satellite phone. Unlike its bulky rivals, it's lightweight and easy to carry in your pocket. It has an omnidirectional antenna for consistent communications while on the road. The included GPS for navigation and GSM compatibility is a plus.  

Pros and Cons
Full Review
Best for: Hunting and fishing

Carrier

inReach/Iridium

Water-resistant

Yes, IPX7

SOS Button

Yes

Short Description

The inReach Explorer+ is a GPS navigator and a reliable satellite messenger. It's feature-loaded with a compass, pre-installed maps, and text-to-text communications. Also, it supports cloud storage and trip planning to organize your routes in advance. A dedicated SOS button is available to seek help instantly. 

Pros and Cons
Full Review
Best for: Campers

Carrier

Globalstar

Water-resistant

Yes

SOS Button

Yes

Short Description

The SPOT X is another two-way messenger fully packed with GPS capabilities. It boasts a large screen, QWERTY keyboard, and a smartphone user interface. The weatherized body is excellent for using it as an alternative to a waterproof satellite phone. Most importantly, it works comfortably under severe temperatures.

Pros and Cons
Full Review

How To Choose the Right Satellite Phone

Are you still stuck in identifying the right satellite phone to buy? You need to start with the:

Price

Satellite phones cost an arm and a leg. That's because the technology behind it is expensive to design, build, and deploy. Network capacity constraints also cause bandwidth for such services to be pricey. 

Consider determining your needs first before buying. For casual adventures, the $350 Globalstar GSP-1700 should work fine. But business activities need robust and more expensive options like the IsatPhone 2.

A satellite phone can also cost high due to the features it offers. For example, the $1,300 Thuraya X5 Touch is a full Android multimedia smartphone. The phone is additionally compatible with GSM/LTE networks.

Network/Coverage

Check the network coverage of satellite mobile phones when window shopping. Currently, only Iridium-powered devices offer true global connectivity. Others like Globalstar and Inmarsat cover around 80% of the world's land, air, and seas. 

Thuraya of all providers lacks availability in North and South America. But the company builds units that are GSM/LTE compatible. So, you should be able to use them in areas with adequate cell coverage. 

Build Quality 

The build quality of a satellite phone should be a top priority. Remember, you're buying the device for use in tough and remote areas. But it can depend on other factors such as the purpose and frequency of use.

Consider going for a handset that has a weatherized and waterproof casing. It will go a long way in protecting your device come rain or shine. If money is not an issue, get one that can withstand a beating like the Thuraya X5 touch.

Battery Capacity

Satellite phone tracking features usually cause the battery to drain fast. You can get the hang of it by activating GPS and navigation on your smartphone. As such, you need a device that can last at least a day between charging. 

Garmin gadgets stand out on this front with their in-built energy-saving options. You can use time-based location monitoring to reduce your battery's usage. Other options include disabling tools that are not in use. 

Unfortunately, Garmin's gadgets only support text-to-text communications. If you prefer calling, pick a device that offers at least 8 hours of talk time. Examples include the 

Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 and Thuraya X5 Touch.

Wrap Up

Satellite phones are a necessary piece of tech for use in regions without cell phone coverage. You can connect to loved ones and even seek help during emergencies. They also have great features for navigation and organizing trips. 

Some like the Thuraya X5 touch double up as powerful entertainment handsets. That comes in handy when relaxing before embarking on your journey. The IsatPhone 2 with an еight-hour talk time is suitable if it's for business. 

Enough said! 

It's now your turn to get the best satellite phone. Remember to use the buyer's guide to influence your choice.

FAQ.


What is a sat phone?

A satellite phone is a unique handset that connects to orbiting satellites for communication. You can use it to call, text, and access data in regions that lack mobile networks. 

Do satellite phones need a plan?

Yes, they do. Satellite phone vendors offer customers subscriptions that are a must-have to use the devices.

How much does a satellite phone cost?

The average sat phone cost is about $450. That can go upwards of $1600 depending on the handset's features. 

How much does it cost to use a satellite phone?

It costs $55.99/month for data, text, and calls on Iridium's network in the US. Garmin's subscriptions are cheaper starting from $15.95/month if you only prefer texting. 

Can you use your phone as a satellite phone?

No, you can't. Ordinary phones lack the hardware for connecting to orbiting satellites to aid communications. 

What is the best satellite phone in the world?

The Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 is currently the best satellite phone. It offers GPS tracking, eight-hour talk time, and global network coverage.

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Daniel Wabuge

Daniel Wabuge

Daniel is a curious thinker that loves everything about tech. If he spots something interesting, rest assured that he’ll reverse-engineer it. Apart from being an internet addict, he loves building web servers from scratch. Well, it’s not his profession per se. But it’s a passion he picked up after a series of unfortunate events involving terrible hosts. He’s the “hosting guy”.

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