If you like design you’ll love this GPS receiver. Even the box oozes quality, with a clever retractable housing that instantly sets a new standard of packaging. Grab the Active 10, insert the supplied batteries and in minutes the screen illuminates with an impressive colour map with your location clearly marked. I dabbled with the six buttons and toggle before bothering to open the manual. This is an incredibly easy device to use.
The Satmap comes with a standard base map installed, similar to a conventional road map. I added Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 digital maps of the Lake District. The maps are loaded via a small map card that slots into the side of the unit. Having dabbled, the Quick Start User Guide comes in handy to get to grips with the real power of the device.
All the standard GPS functionality is there, but I liked how the buttons provided logical access to all the essential functions. But the real advantage here is the mapping: other units that currently display OS-quality mapping are hand-held computers requiring a stylus for operation, which just isn’t practical in the hills.
To plan a route, a joystick controls movement across screen. You then just click the joystick, or press the Add button, to create a waypoint, press another button to end the planning phase and you have a route saved that you can follow by GPS.
You get a USB port too (although the rubber cover for this is all too easily dislodged and lost), and this allows you to link the Active 10 to a computer so you can share routes with other users and mapping software.
The unit has an electronic magnetic compass to point you in the direction of the next waypoint on your route. This has to be calibrated before use, and the Quick User Guide makes this easy to do.
I was pleased to see that the unit comes set to OSGB and metric units, but more importantly the Quick User Guide tells you how to change these if you need to.
Like all GPS receivers, the Active 10’s screen is nowhere near as big as an A4 folded paper map, so when planning a trip, the tried and trusted method of lying on the floor with maps everywhere will still be the start point for many adventures. However, when you are on your walk, the Satmap Active 10 looks set to become the benchmark navigational device that others will be compared to.
It’s incredibly hard to fault the Satmap Active 10, and certainly this is what most hill-walkers have been looking for from a navigational device. All we want now is a screen that rolls out to A4 or bigger and we’ll never need paper maps again … or will we?
Receiver 12 channel
Display 7x5.2cm colour
Battery life 30 hours
Maps available OS 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 from £30 to £100
Computer interface USB port
Number of stored map routes infinite
Number of stored waypoints infinite
Number of map datums infinite via website
Weight 222g (including batteries)
Made in China
Stockist details – tel. 0845 873 0101; www.satmap.com
Verdict: This GPS has OS-quality mapping; it’s very easy to use; it has a long battery life and it’s waterproof. But the USB port protector may get lost. Overall, it’s the best and the most user-friendly GPS receiver currently available for hill-walkers.