After the euphoria of a new tracker being launched it is good to say, “ Are Gen 3’s new features useful or useless to me?” . So even though it isn’t available yet, let’s look at the specifications and decide if they are useful or useless.
Case – USEFUL – It has the water resistance of the Messenger 2 and it has moulded loops to help with easy attachment to the exterior or interior of the payload.
Power – USEFUL– the Gen 3 supports rechargeable batteries so you can save money on powering your tracker but it has yet to be seen if there is equivalent reliability of power after use at altitude.
Weight – USEFUL-the lighter it is, the less helium or hydrogen you need. That’s a no brainer!
Variable tracking rate – USELESS – there is no realistic need to have 30 minute plus position reporting on a high altitude balloon unless you want to have a floater. Lower rates would be nice but if they come at a $150 premium then I will stick with 10 minutes. Uncertainty though is the cost of location reports every 5 minutes.
Motion activated tracking – USELESS- There is no way to stop the high altitude balloon ascent once you let go. The question is, will it report minor position changes once a payload has landed? If this is a power saving function then it could be beneficial if the tracker lands in a remote location.
USB interface – USEFUL – if it offers the ability to download position reports but we need more information about this.
All in all the new features are USEFUL but there doesn’t seem to be a killer feature, like smart phone link, that makes me want to rush out and get one now. Sure, when I replace my SPOT M2’s I’ll be getting one but, at first sight, there is no ‘deal maker’ there.
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