Outdoor GPS specialist Satmap has announced the launch of the brand spanking new Satmap Active 20 unit complete with both touchscreen and push button control, Gorilla Glass screen protection, improved waterproofing and significantly upgraded functionality.
We rate the current Satmap Active 12 as the best dedicated outdoors GPS unit on the market thanks to a combination of easy-to-use interface, superb Ordnance Survey mapping reproduction and glove-friendly push-button control, but it was lacking in outright weather protection, the polycarbonate screen protector scratched easily and it lacked the sophisticated wireless connectivity of some of its rivals.
Buttons Or Touchscreen
It looks like Satmap has tackled all those points and more with the new unit. For starters, it now has DualControl allowing you to use either a touchscreen interface or glove-friendly buttons depending on conditions ad preferences.
Unlike the old unit which needed a case to be fully waterproof, it's now rated to IP68 (1.5m depth for 1.5 hours of submersion), so should be happy with kayaking, the odd deluge or involuntary puddle or stream diving moments.
Impact protection is also rated to IK7 and the large (3.5"), super-bright (600cd) transmissive, full colour HVGA TFT display - same size as the excellent Active 12 screen - is protected by a 2.5mm layer of super tough Gorilla Glass.
Satmap Active 20 GPS Unit | The Tech
Lots of changes on the technical side of things too. For starters, the GPS chip is uprated and supports all the primary satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BeiDou, WAAS, EGNOS, etc.) giving 'best in class' performance says Satmap working even indoors and under heavy tree cover and typically giving accuracy of 1-2 metres.
The screen may be the same size as before, but it's an all new super-bright (600cd) transmissive, full colour HVGA TFT display with capacitive, touchscreen functionality. Satmap says it's optimised for all-round readability and even has a high-contrast sunlight mode for snow and glacier conditions.
Maps And Wireless
Mapping has always been a Satmap strong-point and that continues with more than 450 topo maps available covering much of the world and including high res Ordnance Survey maps. You can now also buy the whole of the UK in 1:25,000 format on a single Micro SD card. Speaking of which, new maps are backwards compatible with older units using microSD cards within SD adaptors, though obviously not the other way round.
There's both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity built in and Satmap users will finally be able to download software updates wirelessly and import GPX data from the brand's online route planner. BT Smart 4 connectivity will allow you to connect HRMs, cadence sensors and more.
And if you want to connect via USB, the Active 20 will, at last, appear on your monitor as a Mass Storage device with no need for special software to access the unit.
Power And Accessories
The unit can be powered either from a USB-rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery pack or, if necessary, an optional AA battery pack which supports Lithium, NiMH, and Alkaline primary cells.
You can also buy additional Lithium Polymer batteries for expedition or multi-day use and the unit has extensive power saving control to help eke out battery life.
Last but not least, the unit, with a special back-plate will be compatible with a wide range of Quad Lock bike and vehicle mounts, which look like a proper upgrade from the slightly clunky, high-sitting original bike mount in particular.
The Active 20 looks great on paper - screen? - and we're looking forward to getting our mitts on one in the near future for an early review. It looks like Satmap has taken on feedback from users along with some new ideas of their own to create what's potentially another class-leading product.
What's more, the Active 20 is wholly UK manufactured, with hardware from Lancaster and Torquay, and software and mapping from Leatherhead, Cambridge and other national providers.
There are full details of the new Active 20 at the Satmap website - www.satmap.com - and the unit is excessively available to pre-order from Cotswold Outdoor with delivery due in late May/early June.
There are three bundle configurations ranging in price from £395 right up to a whopping £680 which includes pretty much all the UK mapping you can imagine. For full details on all three bundles pop over to www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/equipment/gps/gps-units