Iridium has the biggest coverage area—reaching the whole planet, including the poles. And its Extreme is the most outdoor-friendly unit available. Weighing 8.7 ounces, the Extreme can withstand assaults of pressurized water, shock, and dust, and its grippy surface is easier to hang onto. Battery life is good at 30 hours standby, four hours talk. Although a huge telescoping antenna flips out of this thing, the Extreme’s size in compact mode makes it similar to an ordinary cell phone.
PRICE: around $1,500. AIRTIME: around $1.50 per minute (incoming calls free). RENTAL FEE: around $99 per week (various vendors). Because this phone is new, the rental fees are about $12 per week more than with Iridium’s older phone, the 9555.