Satmap Active 10 Plus 2010

The Satmap Active 10 was introduced in late 2007. It was the first GPS receiver that provided exactly what the hill-walker needed in an easy-to-use device. What set it apart was the large colour screen, which coupled clear OS mapping with a very intuitive user interface. It has just been upgraded to the Satmap Active 10 Plus, which boasts additional features.

Design
The Satmap Active 10 Plus retains the basic design of the original. So you get a larger-than-average housing that is waterproof and robust enough to take the knocks of a day on the hill. It is button-operated, rather than touch-screen, with six main buttons and a joystick. It’s powered by three AA batteries, or a rechargeable battery pack can be fitted. The ‘Plus’ version has improved software and postcode search capability, and comes with a voucher for 60km2 OS mapping and is preloaded with a world map plus UK road mapping. But the essential features are the same. Load your OS mapping via an SD card slot in the side. Switch on, your OS mapping appears on-screen and you can zoom into your location via the zoom buttons. The joystick allows you to move the on-screen mapping in all directions.

On the hill
The Satmap Active 10 has been used by Trail staff for a couple of years and it is has proven its worth in numerous locations including the Alps and Cairngorms and for general walking. The screen is bigger than others so you can see more of the map at a larger scale in one view, which makes navigation easier – particularly if the screen is smudged with mud, water and snow.  Zooming in and out or scrolling across the map with the joystick is fast and accurate. This ease of use is essential when fumbling around in the cold and wet or just wanting to get off the hill. Route creation is a breeze too, again thanks to that large screen and easy-to-use button operating system. At home, you can use the USB port, which allows you to plan and share routes on a PC via the Satmap online route planner. There are no more frills than that really. This is a purely functional device. It lacks a camera, MP3 player and touch-screen, and it is relatively big and heavy. But when choosing a device to help me navigate across the hills in any weather  the Satmap is the clear and only choice for me. This device actually does make you wonder if you really need to carry that map and compass for navigation after all.

Price £380 for GPS receiver, which includes voucher for 60km2 OS mapping; additional OS mapping includes 1:50k GB £200; Northern, Central or Southern GB  £120; Counties £25; plus international mapping and many more
Sizes 12.9x7.5x3.1cm
Display 7x5.2cm colour
Power 3xAA or rechargeable battery
Memory MicroSD cards
Computer interface USB port
Weight 222g (including batteries)
Made in China
Stockist details – tel. 0845 873 0101; www.satmap.com

Verdict
The Satmap Active 10 Plus has a large screen; very easy to use; waterproof; easy button operation. But it’s not touch-screen; bigger and heavier than others. We reckon it’s the most user-friendly GPS receiver currently available for walkers, which is why it won the ‘Best in Test’ accolade.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2010