- Starlink has removed the option to purchase the Gen 2 Standard Actuated Dish new in the USA, making the more recent Gen 3 Standard dish the default option for residential & roam use cases.
- Currently the Starlink Gen 3 Standard dish is only available to US-based customers, but we expect other markets will follow in discontinuing the Gen 2 once the Gen 3 becomes locally available.
- Warranty replacements for the Gen 2 Standard Actuated will continue to be supported at this time.
SpaceX debuted its new Gen 3 Starlink Standard system in November (see our news story for details), offering it up as an option for new customers alongside the original Gen 2 Starlink Standard - which was renamed the "Standard Actuated" to reflect it's pole-mount auto-aiming mechanism.
These two options have existed side-by-side since then - but no longer.
As of today - SpaceX has removed the Starlink Actuated option for new customers, seemingly discontinuing the older model in the USA.
This is not an unexpected development, considering that the new Starlink Standard is believed to be much cheaper for SpaceX to manufacture.
But the old Starlink Actuated had some benefits - including being physically smaller and less power hungry, in addition to having a simpler setup process thanks to being able to auto-aim.
Will the Starlink Actuated be missed? We've got some hands-on analysis comparing the tradeoffs between Gen2 and Gen3 to share.
TIP: MIA members - be sure to read logged in for even more details, including some power consumption analysis.
Table of Contents
Starlink Gen 3 Hardware Overview Video
Starlink Gen 3 Hardware Rollout
The Starlink Gen 3 dish was first made available by email invite exclusively to users still on the original Gen 1 round dishes, but it quickly became available to any mobile users via the Starlink website in December 2023.
The Gen 3 dish has no motors, comes with a flip out kickstand that is removable, and requires manual alignment when setting up using guidance from the Starlink app.
Originally it wasn't clear if the new Standard Gen 3 would co-exist with the Gen 2 Standard Actuated, or if it would fully replace the Standard Actuated.
That question seems to have been answered now that SpaceX has seemingly discontinued the Standard Actuated dish in the USA, and now only offers the new Standard or the much more expensive Flat High Performance with new orders.
The Standard Actuated remains available for current customers who need replacement hardware, but it has vanished completely for new customers on Starlink website in the USA.
We expect it will be phased out in the rest of the world as soon as the Gen 3 hardware becomes locally approved.
Starlink Standard Improvements
The Gen 3 Starlink Standard has been available for a little over 2 months in the USA, and overall reports have been mostly very positive from those who have been testing the new 3rd generation Starlink.
Here are some of the improvements we have experienced.
Return of RJ45 Cables
One of the most positive comments about the Gen 3 dish is the return of more typical RJ45 cables between the dish and the router.
We are thrilled to see SpaceX moving away from the very problematic proprietary cables and ends that plagued the Gen 2 Starlink.
The cables on the Gen 2 Standard Actuated have proven to be very fragile, and are a common failure point.
The old proprietary cables have caused a lot of grief for both users and Starlink support, so hopefully this move to more proven and standards-compliant connections proves to be a positive change for all.
Newer Gen 3 Router
The Gen 3 router that accompanies the Gen 3 Starlink dish has also received positive reports for being substantially improved.
The Gen 3 router now supports the Wi-Fi 6 standard, a major jump from Wi-Fi 5. Also - the router now has two hard wired RJ45 LAN ports, and no longer depends on an awkward dongle to add an Ethernet port to enable hard-wired connections.
The router also no longer contains an integrated power supply, making it slimmer and lighter.
While the new Gen 3 Starlink Standard dish is noticeably larger in both height and width, the fact it has no motors or need for a support pole makes it much thinner and much easier to both store and deploy in some mobile environments.
The kickstand makes it quick and easy to setup almost anywhere on a flat surface.
Many mobile users will find the Gen 3 much easier to transport and setup quickly.
Starlink has also released several different mounts that replace the removable kickstand.
Depending on your needs, they have various mounts that snap into the back. The most common is a pole mount that has become a popular option for mobile users.
Newer Hardware Comes With Tradeoffs
While we wish everything could be better on the Gen 3, there certainly are some tradeoffs.
Higher Power Usage
The higher official power consumption of the new Standard dish was one of the most concerning negative aspects of the Gen 3 - especially for off-grid users.
Starlink's specifications report that the average power consumption for the Gen 3 will be between 75 - 100 Watts, compared to Gen 2 coming in at 50 - 75 Watts average.
The Gen 2 was already known for consuming 1 kWh/day, a draw equivalent to some residential fridge, so the Gen 3 going even higher than that is a definite turnoff for potential users.
We are please to report that the Gen 3 is proving to be not quite so thirsty in our testing - we have some more detailed hand-on testing notes in the member's area below.
You Must Manually Aim the Dish
The other negative aspect most people are focussing on is the loss of the auto-aiming motors, and the requirement to manually aim the Gen 3 Standard dish when you first set it up.
This has especially been a point of contention for stationary users who are worried they'll have to constantly re-aim the dish, and are displeased about the extra setup burden.
The Starlink app now contains an alignment screen that quickly guides you on how to point the dish in the most optimal direction, and in the app you see your adjustments updated in real time.
The good thing is aiming doesn't have to be exact.
Even if you are slightly off, but still inside the box, the Starlink app still says "Starlink is aligned".
Most likely once you aim the dish properly, you should not have to change it.
And though performance may suffer - many users are reporting that Starlink Gen 3 will still keep connected even when installed flat or aimed incorrectly.
No 12-Volt Power Option
A lot of users have 12v power high on their wish list for Starlink.
While Starlink currently does not have anything available for 12 volt power directly, there are 3rd party solutions that are already coming to market that can power the Gen 3 Starlink Standard, and there are certainly more options to come.
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The latest Gen 3 dish may not be what everyone was hoping for, but Starlink seems to be pretty confident this is the way they want consumers to go.
Actuated is out, and the Gen 3 Standard is the new default.
As more of the Gen 3 models make their way into consumers hands, we'll have to see if customers with older Gen 2 models end up tempted to upgrade - or if they hold on to their older models for as long as they can.
There is also the upcoming Starlink Mini to consider as well. This model has been hinted at for a while - and it will likely trade off performance for portability.
We'll be keeping a close eye out for news about the Mini, but for now - the Gen 3 is our Top Pick Starlink option, and we are so far very happy with it.
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