Over the last year we've seen the arrival of the first cycling-specific mapping devices
The largest of our four test units, the Satmap Active 10 comes with a pre-installed UK map with additional OS maps on SD cards. The detail that the unit gives is excellent as would be expected from 1:25,000 OS maps.
Standard functions such as route logging and navigation are included with software available on the Satmap website which lets routes be planned and shared.
Operation of the Satmap Active 10 isn’t as intuitive as the others tested but a handy quick start guide helps. On the bike operation is made easier by the bar mount, although the buttons don’t have a very positive feel and are tough to operate wearing gloves.
On the road it is a simple affair with the device plotting your route as you go, leaving a ‘breadcrumb’ trail. The fact that it uses original OS maps may appeal to some but we found that it made the screen rather busy, unlike both the Nokia and Garmin that strip out the non-essential information.
Another rather annoying thing was that the maps are copies of OS maps and are an image stored in the device rather than the dynamic maps used in other devices. The map kept pointing north regardless of the direction of travel which made reading the screen even harder.
Heart rate data NO
Stopwatch and speedometer data YES (speed plus time of day)
Point-to-point directions YES
Computer mapping post/pre-ride YES
The fact that the Satmap Active 10 isn’t a true cycling-specific device becomes obvious the more it is used, but for off-road use or activities such as orienteering or walking it would still be a godsend. That it displays the route covered is very handy, and means that a PC isn’t necessary to review your routes, unlike with some other units.