goTenna Mesh SMS & GPS Device

7.4
7.4 score
[Editors rating (7.4)] = (GearWeAre.com) score (7.4)/10

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Editor rating: 7.4 / 10
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goTenna Mesh SMS & GPS Device Review Facts
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The goTenna Mesh works without satellites, towers, routers, and phone services to allow groups of people to communicate with secure messages and location identification. Perfect for backpacking, hiking, cruises, and camping, it is sold as a set of two devices that work with iOS and Android items.

Travelers can be separated from each other without the fear of being lost since the GPS and the offline maps allow you to see everyone in your party all the time. It is also great for international travel, crowds, outdoor adventures, festivals, and emergency situations. You can have group chats or just one-on-one messaging that have end-to-end encryption for great security. This off-grid device has a four-mile operation range but can be extended by the meshing of users. As you message others in your group, you can widen your range easily.

The free global offline detailed maps are made available with the included goTenna app. You also get the charging cables for powering up with the purchase. These products are such a travel-friendly size that they hook easily on to a backpack, keychain, bag, or jacket to be almost unnoticeable with minimal weight. If you are considering the purchase of this item, then you should read below to find out the issues it has that has caused it to have not so great rating with buyers.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Encryption is end-to-end - no central store of data
  • Travelers can separate without the fear of being lost
  • Works with iOS and Android devices
  • Call for help in emergency situations
  • No costly plans for international travel
  • Share and save pins using the offline maps
  • Link users for a wider mesh area
  • Good for hiking, skiing, backpacking, cruises, and others
  • Hooks onto a backpack, jacket, or keychain easily
Cons
  • Can only share text messages and GPS location
  • Does not communicate with other nodes other than your own
Key Features

Key Features

-Works without satellites, towers, routers, and phone services
-Power your emergency broadcasts, group chats, and single conversations
-Good for international travel and outdoor adventures
-Works well for crowds, festivals, and emergency preparedness
-Dimensions are 4.2 x 1.3 x 0.9 inches
-Weighs just nine ounces
-Pairs with your phone and allows GPS locations and relay texts
-Has a four-mile operation range

-goTenna app for free with global offline detailed maps
-Includes the charging cables; sold as a set of two
-Has two lithium batteries needed for operation
-Battery life is 24 hours; charge time is three hours
Flexibility

Flexibility

The goTenna Mesh works without satellites, towers, routers, and phone services to give you the best flexibility in an SMS and GPS product. Wherever and whenever you need it you can power up your individual network that is securely encrypted to chat with others or share your location. Enjoy encryption that is end-to-end for private chats since there is no central store of data.

The mesh protocol that is super-smart will power your emergency broadcasts, group chats, and one-on-one private conversations privately and easily. Wherever you go, even in remote areas without cellphone signals, you can use this incredible device to stay connected with family and friends that have the goTenna Mesh also.
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

This off-grid mechanism is much smaller than a smartphone and will not even add much weight to a backpack or jacket when clipped on. It is ideal for international travel, outdoor adventures, crowds, festivals, and emergency preparedness. The goTenna Mesh will respond to your needs when other devices will not, especially in locations without cell service. It uses the system of “pair-message-mesh” which means once you download the app, then you can message others with the same type of device within a four-mile range.

Then, download the maps sharing your specific location and extend the range by hopping messages to the other users. The last part is the mesh part where you utilize the other people in your group with their own goTennas to mesh together or extend the operation range. As you move from location to location, the range will change based on where the people are with the devices.
Size

Size

With the dimensions of 4.2 x 1.3 x 0.9 inches and a weight of just nine ounces, this terrific item is perfect for those on the go because it does not take up much space. Put it in a backpack or bag or clip it to the duffel or jacket you are wearing. For its size and weight, it is a wonderful addition to any outdoor trip or adventure.

Even though the capabilities are not extensive, the goTenna does what it says it will do and has pleased many people that have bought it. You just cannot go wrong for the connections and map location that it provides for the small size and transport possibilities of this item.

Even if you are on a vacation cruise and get off the ship to explore different locations, you can easily bring this device along with your smartphone to keep you in sync with the rest of your bunch that may or may not get off the boat. We noticed that several people used this for cruises because of the enormous size of the ships and the various stop off points during the trip. They worked really well.
Stability

Stability

The location sharing is one of the best features of the device because it can make everyone at ease that they will not be lost from the rest of the group. Travelers can separate and go their own way or pace without chancing being lost to each other. It is really great for several people hiking in a set with some that cannot physically keep up with the others.

With this device on each person, the more eager leaders of the pack can go on ahead and not have to hold back for the stragglers to keep up. Crowded outdoor events, such as concerts or theme parks, are another great place that people can become separated quickly and lost to each other. All it takes is a simple message on your phone to see where everyone in your party is to find them again.
Style

Style

Sold as a set of two GPS and SMS mechanisms, the goTenna Mesh works with iOS and Android devices and has a four-mile operation range. The four-mile range does not seem to be that much at first glance, but when you consider that those in your party will not be far away from you when traveling, it is a reasonable and even generous range of operation for such a device.

Don’t forget that you can easily extend that range by meshing with other people in your group. It pairs with your phone and allows GPS locations and relay texts between other devices of goTenna. Working off-grid and matching up with any type of phone, this item is offered in the dual colors of either blue and green or orange and purple.
Use

Use

There are so many great instances when this product can be used effectively to keep track of everyone in the set. It was not mentioned in the product description of suggestions, but several of these would be great for families with kids. They would have to be old enough to know how to text and use a GPS, but it would help tremendously for parents to know exactly where their children were at all times.

You can use the mechanism to call for help in emergency situations, which is amazing in places where there is no cell signal to use the phone for calling. Know where everyone in the group is at all times with the maps and the mesh feature.

The two main negative points of this mechanism that keeps it from having a good online rating from buyers are that it can only share text messages and GPS locations and nothing else, plus it does not communicate with other nodes outside your party. It is a private line for just you and your group so others that are even in your area will not be connected. Other data that GPs and messages are not promoted in the description, so this is not a surprise or misleading issue.
Apps

Apps

With the included goTenna app for free, you get global offline detailed maps. You will be prompted to subscribe to this app after your free thirty-day trial is over. This is needed for the location part of the device and possibly another reason for the bad reviews. It is only stated in one spot that this app is a trial version with the device. Without it, you will not get the maps so you will have to have it for the GPS and SMS part to work.

You can link users for a wider mesh area, plus share and save pins using the offline maps on location. Another perk for having this goTenna Mesh product is that you won’t have the data plans that can be costly for international travel. It may not do all that those plans are capable of, but the goTenna can at least keep you abreast on where your party members are and let you communicate with them anytime.
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

Perfect for environments such as hiking, cruises, camping, and backpacking where service can be unreliable or non-existent, this innovative mechanism is reliable and dependable. You can remain connected in situations of emergency when you do not have cell services such as crowded events, travel, and ski trips. It includes the charging cables with the purchase and can hook onto almost anything you have with you.

Whether that is a backpack, bag, jacket, or keychain, it clips quickly and easily with minimum weight. We saw many testimonials from buyers who used these small devices to reliably keep up with each other on their trips and excursions abroad and in the outdoors. Not many people complained about connecting the item to their phones or interruptions in service in the field.
Power Source

Power Source

One of the usual negative remarks concerning a battery-operated product is the life of the battery. This is so especially as the device gets older and the battery has been charged numerous times. We know that batteries do not last a long time and need to be replaced often, especially with heavy use of the item.

Unbelievably, we did not find hardly any concerns about the battery charging or life of the goTenna Mesh product. It includes the two lithium batteries needed for operation when you buy it, so you do not have to look elsewhere for power. The battery life is at least 24 hours depending on the usage, and the charge time is three hours for a full charge. This is quite long enough for communicating and location identification for you and your group for a full day and night before having to power up again.
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

With the goTenna Mesh off-grid device, we have an ingenious product that should have excellent ratings and buyer feedback but does not. The rating for this modern and innovative device is surprisingly low and considered quite poor. There are not that many customers leaving feedback either. A few issues are causing the rating downfall for this item. The goTenna app that gives you the offline maps and location detection is free for the first thirty days you have the device. After that, it is a subscription that you must purchase for continued use. you can only share text messages and GPs location with this mechanism and nothing else.

There are other available products that have that plus a lot more for travelers both at home and abroad. It does not communicate with other nodes other than with the people in your group. You can make emergency messages, but if there were other people nearby with the goTennas too that are not in your group, you would not know they are there and not be able to communicate with them.

All of these negative points are mentioned in the product description online by the manufacturer, so they are not surprises discovered after purchase (or should not be anyhow). It does what it claims, has not malfunctioned that we can detect, and has all details described online. Even with the bad rating, we feel that the goTenna will make you happy as long as you know its limitations and capabilities.