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DeLorme PN-60w & SPOT Messenger


A few days ago we posted a tidbit of information we had received about an upcoming product between DeLorme and SPOT. Details were sketchy at the time, but now things have become much more clear. The new GPS from DeLorme will be called the PN-60w. Externally, the PN-60w looks identical to the PN-40 except the ubiquitous orange color has been replaced with jet black. Under the hood you will still find a 32 channel chipset, 3-axis electronic compass, barometric altimeter, and a dual core processor. One other tidbit we found interesting was “elevation profiles”, something that the DeLorme Topo USA software has, but the PN-series devices have not yet seen. Battery life is said to be improved as well.

delorme-pn-60w-spot-messengerSomething else you will immediately notice from the screenshots…. I was hoping for a single device solution… just somehow cram the necessary guts of the SPOT into a GPS. It seems there is duplication of a CPU, GPS chipset, and a bunch of plastic that is redundant in a two device system. But alas, I guess we are not yet there for a single device solution. So how does this technology combine?

delorme-spot-messageThe PN-60w and the special SPOT messenger communicate with each other wirelessly. The SPOT doesn’t have any input interface, but the PN-60w has an on screen keyboard. So you can use the PN-60w to tap out a custom message, then send that message to the SPOT, and the SPOT will send the message up to the satellites and then on to your contact list. Slick. The SPOT messenger can send three predetermined type of messages… “I’m okay”, “help”, and “911”. That works well for many people, but for those who want to further customize the message, the combination of the PN-60w and the SPOT can do that.


We have received new details on the upcoming device.

There will be a few hardware changes… better battery life, an increase in memory to 3.5GB and an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the screen brightness.

Updated GUI

homemenuWhile a nice looking user interface doesn’t mean the device will perform any better, it is nice to see the user interface look like it was built in the 21st century.

mapI had logged a suggestion awhile back asking for the info fields to be transparent allowing you to see a few more map details on the smaller screen. It looks like they have implemented it.

detailed-profile1When I plan routes in their Topo USA software I frequently pull up the elevation profile and use waypoints to mark certain points in the route… I guess I won’t have to do that anymore as you can view profiles directly on the device.

Hunting Parties

wirelessnetwork_listI know a certain former Vice President who might have a use for this feature… Want to know where your hunting buddies are? Provided they are in about a half mile range and in decent line of sight, you can view their locations on the map.

wirelessnetwork_mapAlthough a one half mile range is pretty darn short and I think people will find this feature of limited usefulness at such short distances. The Garmin Rino says it can go “up to 14 miles” with good line of sight between.

Pricing, Availability

Pricing for the DeLorme PN-60w/SPOT is shown as $550 at Amazon, andt we should start to see it in store shelves this Spring. Update… The PN-60 without wireless will be $399. The PN-60w will be $449. The PN-60w with SPOT Communicator bundle is $549.

32 Responses

  1. One reviewer mentions that the PN60’s will be able to communicate with each other up to a mile apart.

    gatorguy - January 5th, 2010
    • Delormes pn-20-30-40-60 series has a lot missing, Tech Support is a joke, Customer Service just wants to sell you a new one I do have to admit their Topo Maps are so good that is what led me to buying the GPS my mistake

      C Steven Nielson - December 21st, 2010
      • I’ve always found DeLorme’s tech support to be superior to everyone else. Always very interested in helping out, good follow through, and fast response over the phone. I’ve never had to wait more than a couple of minutes (unlike Garmin) and even their “tier 1” techs have been able to answer my questions. Their GPS devices are not perfect, but their support is hard to top.

        Tim - December 21st, 2010
  2. Do you think these user interface improvements will be shared with the PN-30 and PN-40?

    Marty - January 6th, 2010
    • Well, certainly not those things that require a hardware upgrade. 🙂 But I wouldn’t be surprised to see the interface updated on the 30 and 40. I’m not sure though… but I might have more info for you in about 12 hours.

      Tim - January 6th, 2010
    • The new user interface is for the PN-60 only.

      Tim - January 6th, 2010
  3. So what is different about the pn 60 non wireless over the pn-40 except for the new interface and bigger internal storage? is it using the same cpu, screen, gps chip?
    Pretty lame that the pn40 cant be upgraded to the new interface. Maybe some one will hack it.

    Peter - January 6th, 2010
    • Differences to the current PN-40:

      • Longer battery life
      • Ambient light sensor to adjust screen brightness
      • Newer user interface
      • Larger internal memory.

      And to get those additional features the price goes up by $50 over the PN-40. (Comparing current MSRPs.)

      Tim - January 6th, 2010
      • Still does not answer why the pn-40 is not upgradeable to the new interface

        Pete - January 6th, 2010
  4. More details: DeLorme Pn-60w, Digging Deeper

    Tim - January 11th, 2010
  5. I am a Garmin MAP 60CSx user. One feature I like is a waypoint averaging feature. Does the PN-60 have such a feature? I use my GPS in forest and mountainous terrain and this feature minimizes the effect of erroneous readings.

    Stephen - March 21st, 2010
    • Yes, the DeLorme PN series devices support waypoint averaging.

      Tim - March 21st, 2010
      • The Garmin does as well.

        Nancy - December 28th, 2011
  6. Is the new DeLorme PN-60w & SPOT Messenger compatible with a Mac computer?

    Mike - May 17th, 2010
    • The short answer is no. However you can still do quite a few things like load pre-cut maps, transfer waypoints and tracklogs, etc with a combination of USB mode and a few third party utilities like GPSBabel. However the included Topo USA software typically used to perform those tasks (and others) is not Mac compatible. It runs under virtualization packages like Parallels and Boot Camp– but there isn’t a native Mac application.

      Tim - May 18th, 2010
  7. How does the spot / Delorme PN-60 work in tree cover? I am a Garmin user and this unit works well in thick forest. I have a spot first generation unit and I am not impressed but it lack of power in tree cover. It will only send a signal in open areas. Is the new spot unit placed in the Delorme stronger?

    David - May 24th, 2010
    • Neither the PN-60 nor the SPOT Messenger designed to go with the PN-60 have been released yet– so it is impossible for anyone to say. However the SPOT that is paired with the PN-60 is based largely on the second edition of the SPOT, which works much better in terms of transmission and reception than the first edition of the SPOT.

      Tim - May 24th, 2010
      • when and where can I get the PN-60/Spot bundle. Have used Spot since they first came out areas like Alaska and western Canada. Looking forward to using a GPS. Do I have to get a new Spot unit? Looks that way from the ionof. I have.

        Brian - June 1st, 2010
        • DeLorme is going to start taking orders in the next couple of weeks, with the PN-60 shipping shortly and the SPOT (yes, you need their version) shipping shortly after. See this post from their blog FMI.

          Tim - June 1st, 2010
  8. Thanks Tim I understand the PN-60 is just the PN-40 but with the second generation spot unit. How does the PN-40 work in comparison to the Garmin 76CSX ? I to will wait because I feel it it more of a gadget than a tool. I would like to see Global star once the next set of sats are in place to go with a two way texting device similar to Iridium. Right now I have a first generation spot, a globalstar phone and a Garmin 76CSX to carry around.

    David - May 24th, 2010
    • That isn’t really true– the 60 isn’t just a 40 with SPOT. The 60 has many new features and some new hardware. Likewise the SPOT included with the 60w isn’t a duplicate of the second generation SPOT (although similar). So really nothing can be said at this point since both the GPS and SPOT are based on different hardware than what is currently available.

      Tim - May 24th, 2010
  9. how does the PN-60 compare to the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx I am a first time buyer of a GPS and need advice on which one to buy, Thanks for any information you can offer.

    Paul - August 14th, 2010
    • This is something I am wondering myself. I am looking to upgrade from a Vista HCx and am trying to decide between the Oregon 450 and the Delorme PN-60. I use it for hiking and geocaching. I like the idea of paperless geocaching.

      Brian - January 9th, 2011
  10. Hi! Do you happen to know if the SPOT unit that works with the PN-60w can be used on its own for the basic messages. In other words, in an emergency where, say, the PN-60 itself were damaged, could a user still push a HELP or 911 call with the SPOT alone? Thanks for any insight you can offer.

    Julie - August 15th, 2010
    • Yes, you can. There is an SOS button on the SPOT itself (the one that packages with the PN-60w).

      Tim - August 15th, 2010
      • Thanks for this post. I had not considered that question, but am very glad to hear the SPOT unit will work by itself if need be.

        Matt - October 25th, 2010
  11. I have an apple. When will the new model of the PN60W with spot come out, and should I wait for Apple compatibility? I am 65 years old and spend a lot of time in the woods, but dislike user unfriendly things. John, Nov 6, 2010

    John - November 6th, 2010
  12. Can someone tell me more on the hunting parties feature. I have the PN 20 now and was looking to upgrade. Do you need the spot (60w) version to communicate your location to another user or can you do it without spot.

    Thanks Mike

    Mike - November 14th, 2010
    • You would need the 60w, but not the SPOT.

      Tim - November 14th, 2010
  13. Have been using the pn60 with spot for a few days now. Am dissapointed that the spot seldom is able to send a message when under mild New England tree cover. To make matters worse, the pn60 says the message has been sent, even though the message doesn’t get to it’s destination.

    Chris - May 14th, 2011
  14. I have been using Garmin for years & i must say that in spring it works fine but now .. in the summer with more tree cover it gets me lost in the forests of Michigan till i find a big clearing. I am not happy about that….. How does Delorme do at reading in thick hardwood forests. I compete in mushroom hunting tournaments & i spent most of my spring, summer & fall in the woods, thanx.. Alex

    Alex - June 9th, 2011
    • It is impossible to say how it would compare without knowing which Garmin (and thus which GPS chipset) you have. In many cases DeLorme uses the same GPS chipsets as Garmin uses, however if you have an older model that might not be the case. (And a newer Garmin might be just as much of an improvement as a newer DeLorme.) So the bottom line is we would need to know which Garmin you are currently using for a comparison to newer models from either company.

      Tim - June 9th, 2011

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