The Lowdown: Though beholden to your smartphone, the Global Hotspot has an easy-to-use, functionable app for messaging and reading weather reports. You can send an SOS and initiate tracking from the actual device.
User Interface: The user interface for Somewear is dead simple, with a clean, phone-like text messaging interface, a weather tab that pulls a simple, summarized forecast from the nearest weather station, and a button to enable tracking.
Satellite System: Iridium. In Arch Canyon, the device proved much faster than the Spot X at sending and receiving messages, and we hardly ever had to wait. There were no dropped messages, either.
Weather Reports: Yes
Battery Life: 264 hours (11 days) in 10-minute tracking mode
Subscription Cost: Starting at $15/month for 20 messages (all custom, no presets). No activation fee.