Satmap Active 10 Handheld GPS Map System - Satmap Active 10

By Jonathan Bray



Our Score:


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.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 6
  • Usability 9
  • Features 9

Roger Gibbons

May 2, 2009, 12:28 am

I'm still holding off buying another OS capable GPS simply because of the hopelessly restrictive licensing requirements of the OS. The GPS market is a rapidly developing one, but the OS maps are not transferable between devices, so if you want to upgrade your device, you will probably also have to purchase another set of OS maps, at enormous expense. In my view, the OS is severely limiting the use of GPS devices, and their licensing conditions must be changed to allow free transfer of the owners maps to a GPS upgrade.

Patrick John Gregory

July 10, 2009, 3:34 am

The OS map system is the bug-bear of all off-road systems in Great Britain and there is no way around it as the data is proprietary and OS has excellent lawyers! however in the long run buying the full range of 25,000 - 1 maps is the only answer and makes this (and other similar products) VERY expensive.


June 1, 2011, 12:17 am

Is there a more recent review - it is worth re-visiting - some piece on all the mapping formats would be good too - currently (May 2011) Amazon sell this device as the "plus" with Li-Ion battery etc and 1:50K for GB loaded as well as basemaps mentioned for £309.99

Also why are digital versions of maps so expensive? - production is very cheap onto an SD card (which is encrypted) - do a review get into it!!

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