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Thread: Talkback: Satmap's New Active 12 GPS Unit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    United Kingdom
    Are the battery connections more robust and easier to change ?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    United Kingdom

    I can't say that I'm overly impressed with an HVGA screen; 480x320 isn't exactly high resolution. Hell, my old PocketLOOX is VGA, and that's a good few years old, and it might be nice to have a higher resolution screen than that.

  3. #3
    Initiate Mini Mal's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    United Kingdom

    Through sheer bad luck, my trusty Active 10 finally kicked the bucket whilst in particularly foul weather in The Lakes a few weeks ago (I dropped it onto a rock, and the display stopped working). Now I know I could have paid for a full service and had the screen replaced, but I was curious about the new Active 12, so decided to order one....
    It arrived yesterday. I've unpacked it and set it up this morning, and here are a few initial observations:

    -SHOCK! HORROR! The screen area is actually SMALLER than the Active 10's- it's the same height, but it's narrower, so the overall effect is less square (and I liked the fact that the A10's screen was squarer than it's rivals - it looked more like a paper map that way)

    - At the same brightness setting (I use 90%), the A12 is MUCH brighter than the A10 (which is good)

    - With the 1:25K High-Res map card, the detail on screen IS finer, but it's not as big a difference as I had expected; certainly not as "high-res" as Anquet on an iPad mini retina, for example (a set-up that one of my walking buddies uses instead of his Active 10 these days)

    - The processor inside the A12 is certainly faster than the A10, but again, some things still aren't instant: registering a full-UK HR map card still takes a while, and building map tiles on screen after it's loaded still isn't instant. However, overall, navigating menus and settings feels much snappier than the A10

    - The barometer settings seem simple enough to set-up, with either auto-calibration at a selected time interval from map or GPS elevation data, or by manually entering your current elevation.

    - As I don't use a heart rate monitor or cadence sensor, I was hoping that I might be able to use bluetooth for file transfer between the A12 and my iMac (especially since SatSync for Mac doesn't work with OS X Mavericks). I can't. Neither piece of kit sees the other over bluetooth. I realise this is very early days, and this functionality may come later.

    - There is a noticeable delay before the screen comes on after pressing a key in screen-off mode. I know it's not a big deal, but it is a minor niggle. I'm sure I'll get used to it.

    - I don't know whether the GPS/Antenna components have changed in the A12, but this one finds more satellites and locks onto them inside a building much faster than my A10 ever did (and I didn't ever consider the A10's performance to be poor)

    -There is currently a software glitch with the compass calibration. Satmap are aware and are apparently working on a fix. In the meantime, the workaround is to perform a factory default reset before calibrating the compass.

    To summarise, the Active 12 appears to be a more capable device than the Active 10: it's faster, brighter, higher res-screen (albeit slightly smaller than the A10) with a few new bells and whistles (bluetooth, barometer).
    BUT... I'm not convinced that it's sufficiently better than the A10 to justify the expense of upgrading unit and maps to HR versions if you already have a functioning A10 and map library!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Jon Doran's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    United Kingdom

    We've got an Active 12 in for review at the moment - been using it in the Highlands this week - and I'd broadly agree with the above, more to follow next week.

    The bluetooth capability is handy if you're a cyclist/runner and want to add sensors, but so far, wireless file swapping capabilities are limited. I've also half got the Satsync software to work with Mavericks in that it installs and transfers files, but the file conversion process - MAP to GPX and vice versa seems to crash it, I'll mess around further once I'm home. Satmap advised me to de-install then re-install Satsync then restart, which got Satsync almost working after an initial full stop...

    Map repro is significantly better than the Active 10, clearer screen etc. Battery life has been excellent so far as well.

    Watch this space...

  5. #5
    Initiate Mini Mal's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    United Kingdom

    Jon - watch out for that compass glitch if you're taking it to the Highlands this week!

    MikeIOW - the battery connector is identical to the Active 10

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