Reviews for Satmap Active 12 GPS with 1:50k full GB mappingAdd a review
- “ACTIVE 12”
I bought the A12 for cycle touring , mainly with predetermined routes, mapped in detail through a well known cycle tour provider.
It was a treat - a luxury item, so I did expect it to be a very polished item of kit, with "all the bugs" rigorously removed before being marketed. I also use GPS of other types frequently.
I like gadgets so it was fun to get to know it. It took a while though, but the A12 Handbook was useful. The Handbook needs a "simple first time user" definitions page, which could be avoided by a savvy user if necessary. E.g. For me, the definition between a "track" and a "trail" was confusing until I re-read the Handbook several times. Writers of Handbooks have a difficult task, but they must take into account that the learning curve on a complex gadget such as the A12 can be ferocious for a "newbie". I commend the use of the videos on YouTube - they are useful.
I'm going to jump straight into the ease of usage.
I've done quite a lot of OS map walking in the Forces and know how to use an OS map, compass, bearings etc. I also know your kit *must* be easy to use and reliable in difficult conditions which can apply at very short notice.
Use of the A12 depends on being able to manage battery life and swopping of cylindrical battery cartridges with the main battery is difficult, to put it mildly!! The only way to get the battery pack actually out of the A12 requires you to pry the pack out using a pointed item such as a nail file, screwdriver or a knife point. This also applies to the screen cover also.
Now - doing this in hilltop conditions, with rain and in deteriorating visibility with cold numb fingers especially when you are probably now relying on the replacement pack to get you off the hill is *very* difficult. As for getting the very fragile male connector on the cylindrical cartridge to bed into the socket connection in the main body of the A12 - well!! In perfect conditions (my lounge), it took me 25 minutes to get the male connector to bed into the socket. Am I clumsy and unaccustomed to gadgets? No - I manage items like this a *lot* and I do have to say that the battery connectors on all my other gadgets are *far* better arranged. Of course, the main battery pack also has a tiny fiddly connector - and to me, that now limits my usage of this otherwise excellent gadget to the time I can get out of a main battery, that was charged and connected off the hill and usage on the bike. In other words, a "get me home device". I will carry the cylindrical battery pack as a last ditch option but religiously hope *never* to have to rely on it.
Use of the A12 on the bike handlebar mount in bright sunshine is difficult. I found myself parking up in the shade of trees, etc. just to be able to see the screen at all. Better in cloudy days and in shade.
I also agree about the ON/OFF button being temperamental.
- “An excellent piece of kit”
This is a great piece of kit and the package of 'extras' that came with it made it good value. It is light, comfortable in the hand and has great battery life. The only criticism I have, is that it is difficult to see the screen clearly in direct sunlight, but I had seen this mentioned in previous reviews and was prepared to deal with it.
- “Useless unless you are a "Techie"”
I bought this as I wanted a robust GPS to use outdoors in adverse conditions and because it had the OS 50,000 map installed and the choice of either a battery or rechargeable power sourse. I have spent many sessions trying to work out how to use it and have failed! Non of it's functions are intuitive and it is just to complex. I have used GPS nav systems as a professional helicopter pilot, on my yacht, in my car as well as a hand held one before and have always manged to use them satisfactorily. I note that the online instruction manual is 97 pages. Alas I can not carry a PC with me when I have a problem in the half light out on the hills. To expect a user to be able to digest 97 pages of information is unreasonable. The whole methodology of the it's operation needs to be made to be intuitive. A GPS is needed most in conditions of poor light, rain, snow, misted up glasses or goggles etc but the fonts used are to small for this. The most likely method of carry it is in it's pouch, for this a short lanyard is needed but the attachment point is to small to attach anything except a ridiculous thin thread. I find it very difficult to stow in the pouch with cold hands an next to impossible wearing gloves. I regret having bought this GPS. I want a navigation aid not an IT challenge! If I could get a refund on this I would.