Mio A201 (+ 512MB Memory Card + Anquet 1:25,000 scale National Park mapping)

This is the type of GPS system that walkers have been waiting for. In one unit, you get a GPS receiver coupled with a large colour screen and digital mapping that is identical to the paper maps that we are all used to using. Switch it on, and the GPS receiver places a small circle over your location on the map. This unit came fitted with a 1:25,000 scale OS map of the Lake District but you can also get other UK National Parks and Harvey Mapping. Planning routes can be achieved just by using the stylus pointer to tap out a route on the screen. Save your routes, retrieve your routes and follow routes by setting the unit to Virtual GPS so that a compass and arrow point you in the right direction. You also get OS road mapping for your city travels. The huge screen is far easier to read than any other GPS receiver we looked at. If you already have a pocket PC then you could buy the Anquet software on its own of course too. But this unit is far more delicate than the standard GPS receiver options and you may lose the stylus easily. However the real drawback is that you only get 3 to 4 hours of operation before you need to recharge the battery, so this is best used to check and find a location, rather than all-day use in a blizzard. Anquet is not making software for maps outside of the UK, so this option has limited use if you are a traveller. You cannot zoom in as close as some other units, and when you do get in close the OS mapping is not as clear as others at street level.

Verdict Buy it if you want a UK-based GPS system that allows clear OS digital mapping for short periods of outdoor use.

Receiver 12 channel

Size 70x120x20mm

Weight with batteries 176g

Display 55x70mm; 320x240 pixels colour

Power rechargeable; 3-4 hours

Memory 64MB built in+ 512 MB (2GB memory card at additional cost)

Computer interface yes

No of map datums OSGB only

No of waypoints effectively limitless

No of routes effectively limitless

Stores in UK via website only as full package


Mio A701 Smart Phone

This cross between a mobile phone and PDA from Mio has a built-in GPS antenna to boot. Like the MIO P350, when loaded with digital mapping software it can be used as a walking GPS that also shows full detail OS mapping. If you’re going to take your phone on a walk, why not use it as a GPS too? And it shows your current position on full OS mapping – brilliant! Against it though, it’s small and so awkward to use, you need to use a stylus, and it has limited battery life.

Verdict: Buy it if you usually take a mobile phone on walks and you’d perhaps struggle to justify the expense of a full-blown GPS purely for walking.

Size: 10.7x5.7x1.88cm

Weight: 150g

Contact: 0870 740 9040; www.memory-map.co.uk

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Mio Digiwalker P350

This PDA (pocket PC) from Mio runs typical PC software, but also has a built-in GPS antenna. Teamed with digital mapping software, such as Memory-Map, the P350 can be used as a walking GPS unit that shows full detail Ordnance Survey mapping. There’s no doubting the appeal of a GPS receiver that shows your exact position on 1:25,000 OS mapping and, in practice, it’s as good as you’d hope. However, the cons probably outweigh the pros for serious walking, as battery life is very low – less than four hours at times. Also it’s not really robust enough for British weather and you need to use a stylus, which is fiddly.

Verdict: Buy one if you would use a PDA for other things anyway and if the majority of your walking isn’t too demanding.

Size: 11.5x7.2x1.78cm

Weight: 170g

Contact: 0870 740 9040; www.memory-map.co.uk

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