Satmap Active 10 – final thoughts

Satmap Active 10 final impressions

Satmap active10 GPS unitSo, it’s a bit late, but I thought I’d better finish off the review.

Positives first:

  • Ease of plotting a route. For mountain bikers a big selling point is the ability to go out & explore, then plot a route back home from wherever you happen to be. This is great for MTBers as you can cover more ground on a bike & exploring will get you ‘lost’ more quickly than on foot.
  • Many people like to use a GPS to log their progress which the Satmap seems to do accurately. If you want a GPS for this purpose you might find the other features unnecessary,  but you might become convinced by the value of the map display
  • A major plus for bikers is the replaceable screen cover. There’s a fair bit of peace of mind knowing that if it gets scratched a replacement is cheap & available. I only used the unit in the dry, but someone who owns a unit told me that in the wet, moisture gets behind the cover making the display harder to read, so maybe some better sealing might be needed?
  • The unit has a tough feel to it which is big plus for MTBers.

Negatives:

  • The main negative I found is the battery level display. It shows as maximum for ages, but when the batteries run out there’s very little warning. A rechargeable is available and comes as standard if you buy the MTB kit.
  • As far as I know the screen on the unit is good in comparison to others, but I still found the display hard to read in sunlight. This is the case with most GPS units but one of Satmap’s selling points was that it was easy to read in sunlight.
  • Once or twice the map didn’t orientate correctly. On one route it caused a wrong turn.
  • I didn’t find the menu system that intuitive – although I got used to it. I guess that’s just me admitting I don’t like to read instruction manuals!
  • A minor was the bulk of the unit. It would be nice if any future versions were smaller or thinner. Crashes are inevitable at some point when mountain biking, and it’s not always possible to mount the unit in a way that would avoid damage in a fall. For some bikes maybe putting it on the top tube would work.

Personally I could see the attraction, but I actually quite enjoy map reading & I like to keep the skills up to scratch so I’ll stick mainly with paper maps. However a GPS unit is great for new routes where time is tight & you can’t afford to retrace your steps. They give you a definite position with no workings out.

If you’re after a GPS with OS Maps I’d say this is a good one to go for, some of the other similar models from other brands have some major disadvantages like no option to change batteries so if the rechargeable one runs out you’re stuck. Many just have to many dissatisfied owner reviews on the net.

1 thought on “Satmap Active 10 – final thoughts

  1. Matthew

    Yea the disorientation of the map was a right bugger on that ride! I mentioned it to Phil at the shop and he could only assume it was a fault. Still not sure about that one.
    I agree when you say the Satmap has a durable feel to it and in some ways buttons as opposed to touch screen are more appropriate for a MTBer.

    Other options for on-screen OS mapping include the Memory Map Adventurer 2800 and the Garmin Oregon. These are both touch screen, which probably has it’s benefits and drawbacks in about equal measure.

    As Steve mentioned, the Memory Map has a built in Lithium Ion battery, which will last OK, but is not replaceable, so is not ideal for multi-dayers. The Oregon and the Satmap both use AA batteries and so can be replaced on the trail if necessary (just don’t forget the spares!).

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