I took delivery of a Satmap active 10 plus last week. To put it mildly, this is not a cheap toy at £399.99 from Ultralight Outdoor Gear. However, it does include a 1:50,000 for the whole of Great Britain. Having tried RoadTour maps on my iPhone, I liked the idea, but the iPhone does not have the battery life to make it work as a navigation tool. Murphy’s law suggests that the battery will be low when I need to use it. A low battery seems to compromise the GPS. My old Garmin Gecko 101 was great in its day, but it takes an age to get a satellite fix. Hence, my renewed interest in Satmap.
I really do like being able to fix my position visually on a map. Most of my navigation is by map and compass and that won’t change, but for bad weather, especially bad visibility, the Satpmap is a great tool. I like the fact that its weather proof and the battery life should be much better than the iPhone in GPS mode. My version has the option of using lithium AA batteries or a rechargeable one. For day walks, the rechargeable option should save money, but for longer trips, lithium batteries are a better option.
I’ve only played about with it so far. It is quite chunky and weighs a not inconsiderable 229g. However, the controls are straightforward and can be used with gloves. The screen resolution is a bit disappointing, but overall I think the package is good. The only design flaw I’ve found is that the small joy stick can be accidentally knocked, toggle the screen between GPS tracking mode and planning mode.
Having been a bit sceptical about Satmap, because of it cost and the competition from smart phones, I’m now much more positive. I think it is a worthwhile backup navigation tool, albeit rather expensive. It’s a bit on the heavy side, but the robustness compensates for that.