Recognizing that a hand held satellite telephone is now a viable, potentially life saving accessory for wilderness driving and exploration, Land Rover Owner International magazine decided to subject two of the leading models to some rigorous testing to see which one offered the most worthwhile investment for its adventurous readers. Testing pitted Iridium’s model 9555 against Inmarsat’s recently launched IsatPhone Pro in a variety of independent trials, analyzing ease of use, clarity of transmission, battery life, reliability and value for the money.
The two phones were taken to Wales, as well as to Arizona and Utah in the US, where they were challenged with maintaining contact with a base location while operating over a wide variety of terrain, including mountains, valleys, forests, a high rise city center and, of course, moving vehicles. The IsatPhone Pro outscored the 9555 in every category except ease of use, where both phones were determined to be equal.
Tests found it difficult to have an extended conversation with the 9555 in built up areas or mountainous terrain due to the phones tendency to “drop” calls. The report also notes:
“The IsatPhone Pro wins in battery life and in high-rise urban areas, where we found that the high altitude of the Inmarsat network generally gave better reception once we had found the right place to stand.”
Russ Brown, the magazines technology editor concludes: “For the purchaser the most significant difference is price, with the Iridium 9555 being almost twice as expensive to buy and use.”