There are, of course, some problems with the Active 10: the screen is a mite too reflective for my liking, requiring the use of cupped hands and hunched shoulders in bright conditions, and the GPS receiver can take an age to lock onto enough satellites to provide usable co-ordinates. I measured it at six minutes once(!) but more often than not it varied between one and three. Those buttons are quite stiff and require a fair bit of getting used to, while panning and zooming around the map is sluggish at some zoom levels. The device is quite bulky, too, at 130 x 75 x 30mm.
However these are minor niggles next to the Active 10’s biggest problem: and that’s cost. The device itself has a not-inconsiderable £300 price tag, but this is without any of the 50,000:1 or 25:000:1 maps preinstalled on it. There is a base map included as standard – essentially a road atlas-style map, but this provides none of the detail that makes it such a wonderful off-road navigational tool. The OS maps are, in fact, sold separately on SD card and plug directly into the Active 10, and they work out very expensive. Counties at 1:50,000 cost £30 each, at 1:25,000 they’re £50 each. National parks are available at £100 each and include both 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 mapping.
This is fine if you plan on using the device in one location, but the outdoors types who are serious enough to consider paying this much for a GPS will be walking in a variety of different locations, from the Peak District to the Grampians, the wilds of north Wales and everything in between. In fact the mapping only starts to look reasonable when you buy in bulk. The 1:50,000 maps of the whole of Great Britain can be had, for instance, for £199.99, which is quite a saving on buying every 1:50,000 map in paper format (there are 118 of these).
Despite this, the Satmap Active 10 is, to my mind, the ultimate in recreational GPS devices. Its detailed mapping, thoughtful physical design and raft of features all come together in one supremely useable and useful device, albeit one with a few small niggles. But this does come with a major caveat. To get the ultimate in outdoors navigation, you also have to have very deep pockets.
Score in detail