Satmap are a UK-based company that was founded 12 years ago. Since then they’ve provided us with a number of useful GPS devices, the most notable being the Active 12 which we liked so much we not only featured it in our Winter 2016 Outdoor 100, but in our Summer 2017 edition as well.
We loved its easy-to-use interface, superb Ordnance Survey mapping reproduction and glove-friendly push-button control. But we knew its flaws: the lack of outright weather protection, the easily-scratched polycarbonate screen protector and the fact it lacked the sophisticated wireless connectivity of some of its rivals.
The good news is that it looks like Satmap realised its flaws as well, because this brand new version, the Active 20, seems to have tackled all of those problems and upped the ante in other aspects as well.
“It now has a typical positioning accuracy of 1-2 metres and will even work indoors or under thick tree cover"
One of the most notable changes is the addition of the DualControl option, meaning you can either use the touchscreen interface or the big glove-friendly buttons depending on the conditions or your preferences.
It also now has a waterproof rating of IP68 (1.5m depth for 1.5 hours of submersion), meaning it should be very safe in the rain, and also dependable enough to use for water sports like kayaking.
The screen hasn’t changed in size, but they’ve added an all new super-bright (600cd) transmissive, full colour display. Satmap say it’s optimised for all-round readability and even has a high-contrast sunlight mode for snow and glacier conditions.
One of the biggest technical changes is to its GPS chip which supports all of the primary satellite systems. It now has a typical positioning accuracy of 1-2 metres and will even work indoors or under thick tree cover.
It comes with over 450 basic topo maps, but it’s also possible to integrate it with OS mapping so long as you purchase the relevant microSD card – you can actually get the whole of the UK in 1:25,000 on just one card.
There’s both Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity built in and users will finally be able to download updates to the software wirelessly and import GPX data from the route planner on Satmap’s website.
Its Lithium USB rechargeable battery gives it a solid battery life, but if you’re going to be using it in the cold day in and day out, it’s inevitably going to run out sooner or later, which is why there’s space for additional AA batteries. It’s a useful feature that allows you to have that extra peace of mind when you’re venturing out in uncertain conditions.
SatMap Active 20 GPS