Satmap Active 20 Review – a Look Into the Top Rated Sports Mapping GPS

Why we like the Satmap Active 20: Accurate navigation, pressure and elevation data; Dual touch screen; WiFi connectivity and Bluetooth technology

Why we don’t like the Satmap Active 20: Limited colour and pattern selection; Heavier and larger

Whether you are planning on hiking, fishing, or camping in the outdoors, a good quality GPS goes a long way. This is why the Satmap Active 20 GPS comes in handy. Investing in this top-rated GPS gives you a whole lot of advantages when you are outdoors.

Using the GPS mapping device, you will enjoy a wide selection of navigation options. You can access anything from tracking your location or position to taking precise time measurements. Nonetheless, the best part about using the Satmap Active 20 is that it offers incredible Ordnance survey mapping with routes, tracks, and indicators of where you are. 

So, if you are an outdoor explorer, this certainly is a gadget worth having with you. Want to know more about what this all-weather, outdoor navigation tool offers? Check out the Satmap Active 20 review below.


Satmap Active 20The Satmap Active 20 GPS is ideally built for core walking, hiking, trekking, and mountaineering navigational use. The mapping GPS is a newly improved version of the older Satmap Active 10 and Satmap Active 12 Mapping GPS.  

The GPS features a smartphone-sized display with a glove-friendly touch screen finish. Combining the comprehensive Ordnance survey mapping, the GPS promotes smooth navigational functions. Plus, its straightforward user interface has a pretty simple learning curve.

Satmap Active 20

Technical Specifications

  • Screen size & type: 3.5-inch high-resolution touch screen
  • Display resolution: 128 x 128 pixels
  • Weight: 312 grams
  • Waterproof: IP68 standard water-resistant rating
  • Colour: Black
  • Recommended activity: Hiking, trekking, core walking, and mountaineering

Construction & Design

The Satmap Active 20’s is a more advanced and improved version of the previous models. Unlike the older version, this newer model features a 2.5mm gorilla glass with button controls. However, this newer Active 20 version also has a touch screen control for you to execute other functions. 

Its water-resistant IP68 rating allows you to comfortably use it without any trouble in wet weather and it boasts an extension of the previous models’ superior glove-friendly design. However, with the increased variations in this newer model and the added features, it falls short in weight and size. 

Satmap Active 20

The Satmap Active 20 GPS has a significantly larger size and more weight. Furthermore, due to the large size and increased feature option, the GPS uses more battery power. The GPS device features a tough and waterproof body – allowing you to use it through the harshest conditions. This makes the device perfect for conditions such as mountain ranges, hiking trails, and even, your fishing boat.  

Weighing about 312 grams, the device is a little heavier and larger version compared to the older 209-gram models. In fact, the GPS device has a rather bulky build. Unlike most GPs units, the Satmap Active 20’s body resembles that of a sat phone or earlier mobile phones. Thus, it is difficult to fit in tight spaces such as your jacket pocket. This is not to say that it’s difficult or uncomfortable to support your hand.

It comes in a non-scratchable black casing to give that rugged and outdoor look. However, for the more stylish folks, this may be a turn-off since you don’t really have a variety of colour options to go for. 

Feature Functions

In addition to the GPS feature functions, the Satmap Active 20 offers a host of other features. In fact, the award-winning devices feature Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity which allows you to smoothly run these functions. 

Amongst the features you can enjoy using the GPS include the heart rate monitor and bike speed/cadence sensor support. Additionally, as you access your navigation using the GPS, you can also access functions such as the barometric altimeter. This function gives you accurate pressure and elevation data when you need it. 


The mapping GPS features a full UK Ordnance Survey mapping technology you can use. Built-in its included micro SD card, the survey map has a scale of 1:10,000, 1:25,000, and 1:50,000. The device depends on satellite navigation to function. Once powered, it allows you to toggle between the different scales with a simple button press.

Satmap Active 20

Similarly, with a simple button press, you can zoom in and out of the map.  Or, use a press pinch mechanism on the touch screen similar to how you use a smartphone. Viewing the map is simple. However, the actual route following navigation can get a little tougher. 

To do so, you first have to create a GPX file using the device’s online route planner or using other compatible planners. After creating the file, you have to convert it into Satmap’s format using the free Satmap software and copy it onto the GPS through the USB cable provided. 

Once done, you can select the route and it will display on your screen.  Other features you can access are the Trip Screen which allows you to view your ongoing stats and save your walks, runs, or rides for later data usage. 

You can even share or upload them to other compatible sites when done. The GPS device is compatible with the Galileo program as well. Using the Galileo program, the device delivers a more accurate satellite reading even in harsh conditions. 

The device’s built-in 3-axis electronic compass and barometric altimeter allow you to maintain bearings when you are outdoors. You don’t have to worry about not being able to find your way back even if you find yourself in the deep woods or remote mountain trails. 

Battery Life

The Satmap Active 20 mapping GPS is fitted with a USB chargeable LiPo cell. This means that you can conveniently charge it even when you are in a remote area –whether you use a power bank or your camping solar power. 

In addition to the supplied LiPo battery, you can invest in an optional AA battery to use as a supplemental backup or simply stick to a spare LiPo battery. It is worth noting that the AA battery tends to be much cheaper than the LiPo battery. 

Whilst the battery offers significant power to run multiple features, you can also choose to cap your usage for optimal power savings. You can adjust the screen brightness settings, automatically turn the screen off or sample GPS frequency. All this can be done under the comprehensive settings menu. 


App & Connectivity 

To enhance its usability, the Satmap Active 20 GPS has Wifi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. With the WiFi connectivity, you can upgrade the software, and even upload and track files to third party platforms. However, this doesn’t erase the manual labour you have to go through when managing files. 

You have to create them on your PC, convert them to Satmap’s friendly GPX file format, and download them onto the GPS. When you want to save them, you have to manually transfer them back to the PC. The Bluetooth connectivity, on the other hand, allows you to save files with other Satmap units or connect the unit to other Bluetooth devices. 

Whilst this minimal functionality enhances the effectiveness of the GPS device, it doesn’t get it anywhere close to big names such as the Garmin brand – which offers advanced software design. When it comes to the Ordnance Survey and mapping scale software, they are pre-loaded in a micro SD card. 

The best part about this is that they come free of charge and pre-installed in the device’s micro SD card. However, the downside is that you are limited when it comes to using the unit. This is because you will not be able to buy or download other software and maps online. Over time, the device’s functionality becomes limited.

  • Built-in mapping scale and Ordnance software – you don’t have to separately pay for them
  • Boasts additional non-GPS features such as heart rate monitor and bike speed/cadence sensor support
  • Integrates navigation satellite technology: Galileo for more accurate navigation
  • Barometric altimeter for accurate pressure and elevation data
  • Pre-loaded with the following mapping: GB 1:250,000 & 1:1 million OS road mapping World Base Mapping 1:5 million & 1:200 million
  • Features a convenient USB rechargeable LiPo battery 
  • Dual touch screen and button functionality for glove-friendly operation
  • Built-in 3-axis electronic compass allows you to maintain bearings when you are outdoors 
  • Integrates WiFi connectivity and Bluetooth technology for file sharing and software updates
  • Features a bright and sunlit 3.5-inch high-resolution screen
  • Limited colour and pattern selection – only available in a black casing with orange buttons
  • Can be a little bulky
  • Rubber bung for the USB protection can get lost easily
  • The GPS is heavier and larger than previous models

Satmap Active 20 Review - Conclusion

The Satmap Active 20 review proves to be a reliable device when it comes to mapping and navigation. Sure, you will not enjoy features such as those from more advanced units such as those from Garmin. Nonetheless, its basic design still comes in handy for those who want to enjoy the basics of navigation. 

The Satmap Active 20 mapping GPS is a more advanced and feature-endowed newer version of the older Active 10 and 12 models. At just the exterior glance, you will notice its dual touch-friendly screen and button interface which allows for better and intuitive operation. In fact, thanks to this design, the GPS unit has a bulky glove-friendly build- allowing you to use it in the harshest conditions with gloved hands.

To complement the functions are the supplemental features such as the heart rate monitor. You can incorporate these functions just as you navigate –whether you are hiking or trekking. Nonetheless, as with any man-made device, the GPS unit comes with its limitations. 

While it has more advanced features compared to its previous versions, this newer model tends to be larger, heavier, and bulkier. This is not to say that handling it is difficult. Additionally, even though the unit offers quite useful and intuitive features. It is still quite limited as mentioned above. Thus, its price range which closely matches that of Garmin devices can sometimes be a stretch.

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