Garmin InReach Mini 2 - Review
We were excited to get our hands on the new Garmin inReach Mini 2 and look at the new features that have been added since the original inReach Mini that we were a big fan of.
The inReach Mini 2 carries on with the fundamentals of the original inReach Mini, giving you peace of mind when you adventure of the grid with no mobile signal.
Stay in touch with the two-way satellite communicator , the SOS button to summons help with your location , ability to send messages to friends and family when you have no mobile signal and also let friends and family track your location on a map (active satellite subscription required for these functions).
As per the predecessor the inReach Mini 2 is available in two colours the Flame Red and Black, the new unit is identical in size and weight to the original inReach Mini, but we are pleased to see that the new inReach Mini 2 now using a USB-C charging port, this makes things more universal as we move forward as a lot of products out there now use USB-C and hopefully we will see this change in future products.
As mentioned above the inReach Mini 2 sizing and weight are the same, so still a very compact light & rugged unit to carry, with a size of 4” x 2” and weighing only 100g you hardly know you are carrying the inReach Mini 2, the unit is tough and durable with an impact test rating of MIL-STD-810 and water-rated to IPX7.
The new inReach Mini 2 has the same monochrome screen as the original but does have a larger pixel resolution of 176 x 176 compared to 123 x 123 on the original, this does seems to make the pixels a bit sharper and still a sunlight readable screen.
Battery Life of the Garmin inReach Mini 2 - The first big change with the new inReach Mini 2 is the improved battery life, the processor of the inReach Mini 2 has been optimised to get the best out of the battery, we are impressed that you can now achieve up to 14 days at 10minute tracking, this compares to 90 hours at 10minute tracking from the original inReach Mini (full view of sky).
With 30 minute tracking intervals and 10 minute activity recording intervals an impressive 30 days battery life can be achieved (full view of sky).
Trackbacks on the Garmin inReach Mini 2 - The first new feature that we have found on the new inReach Mini 2 relating to navigation is a new trackbacks Routing function, when you turn the unit on even if you do not start any tracking / activity recording there is a safety feature that automatically records your location every 10 minutes so that at anytime your need to trackback to the start you can navigate along this breadcrumb trail line displayed on the screen, this automated 10 minute interval recording is saved for 24 hrs.
This is a great safety feature and Garmin have advised that the battery figures quoted do allow for this automated tracking.
Digital Compass on the Garmin inReach Mini 2 - The new inReach 2 mini comes with a digital compass, unlike the compass on the original inReach Mini with this new digital compass you’re heading plus the course navigation page will orientate the way you are heading even when stationary, with the original unit you had to be moving for the compass to orientate the heading correctly.
Multi-GNSS on the Garmin inReach Mini 2 – The new inReach Mini 2 can now lock onto multiple Satellites using not just GPS that the original inReach used can now also lock onto Galileo, QZSS and Baidoo systems, giving us and improved accuracy and a quicker location fix.
Garmin Explore App on the Garmin inReach Mini 2 - The new inReach Mini 2 is compatible with the Garmin Explore App, the Explore App is available as a download for both Android and Apple IOS mobiles.
When you pair your inReach Mini 2 with this app you can plan courses on Garmin’s Topo Active Maps, the course you plan on the map on your mobile device can then be send to the inReach Mini 2 using Bluetooth and used as a backup to navigate with.
The experience of navigation will be very like the Garmin eTrex 10 units with a simple line to follow on a mono-chrome screen and also a directional arrow pointer, but we do now have the electronic compass to orientate the course page and compass even when stationary.
Still a great backup to also have a course on the inReach 2 mini as well as other devices or watches that you may be using.
Also from the Explore app once setup with your contacts, you can type text messages to friends and family using your phone as the keypad to then send them via the iridium satellite system when you have no mobile signal. You can also receive messages back to your inReach Mini 2.
Menu / Button interface on the Garmin inReach Mini 2 - Our initial look around the menus on the new inReach Mini 2 we have found easier than on the original inReach, it feels very like the Fenix watches layout that we are already familiar with where you can easily scroll up and down the list of menus viewing previous and next options clearly and then when you go into a menu such as navigation a simple up or down on the arrow buttons scrolls between the different navigation screens.
As per the original inReach Mini the buttons on the new inReach Mini 2 are clearly marked with an OK, Back Arrow to take you back, and up and down arrows to scroll through the various options and of course the SOS button is protected with an easy to open cap to stop accidental SOS activation.
Compatibility with other Devices – The new inReach Mini 2 is compatible with a comprehensive list of 60 + Garmin devices as listed in our FAQ’s section for the inReach Min 2 on our website.
When paired with one of these compatible devices you can remotely control in the inReach Mini 2 to send and receive messages, start and stop tracking and also trigger an interactive SOS.
A good example would be if you have you inReach Mini 2 attached to your backpack and were to slip and fall and need to summon help using the SOS but your backpack cannot be reached after your fall but you are wearing something like the new Fenix 7 watch paired with the inReach you could initiate the SOS from the Fenix 7 watch on your wrist.
Accessories – The new inReach Mini 2 comes with a Carabiner clip and there is a webbing attachment on the back of the unit to slot the carabiner through.
There is also a lanyard slot on the top right of the unit (Lanyard not included)
You can use many of the standard Garmin Spine mount accessories such as the very popular Backpack Tether, swivel belt clip etc , but to use the Spine mount accessories with the inReach Mini 2 you will need to purchase the Spine Mount Adapter kit that also comes with a spare carabiner as per this link – Spine mount adapter with carabiner.
Conclusion – The original inReach Mini is still a great device to carry for safety and peace of mind when you are going to be away from a Mobile Phone signal, but we really like all of the new features that have been added to the new inReach Mini 2 which make this new device so adaptable giving us some extra safety / navigation features as a backup and with the improved battery life, we are looking forward to testing the unit in the field.