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Whether you're new to cycling or re-discovering it there comes a point were you start to accumulate the miles. Perhaps over time you might want to discover how many miles, what the elevation was, record your routes or accumulate any number of different types of data.The GPS Satcount + from B'Twin is designed to accommodate these requirements but it falls somewhat short of these goals.
This non-mapping GPS computer does the basics well but it is in need of some improvements to hit the benchmark set by other more established brands. In fairness to B'Twin it seems most of these will be dealt with through software upgrades later in the year but in the meantime it lacks much of the expected performance of other GPS units.
Out of the box the first thing you are struck by is the size of the head unit. The facia is 9 x 5 cm although in terms of screen size this reduces to 4.2 x 3.2 cm. With the tool free mounting fitted the depth of the unit becomes quite sizeable at 3.5 cm.
Given the size of the Satcount what do you get? The easy fit handlebar mount is quite useful in that you can use the two-directional mount to fit the Satcount either on the stem or the bars by unscrewing the mount and turning it to the position you need. The rubber strap you use to hook onto the mount is slightly excessive and you are left with a fair amount flapping in the wind.
Now the B'Twin offers all the functionality you'd expect from a unit that costs around £100. It covers your speed, distance, time, altitude, +/- elevation, cadence and heart rate if you have an ANT+ cadence sensor and heart rate belt, neither of which are provided.
Once you have your data recorded you can then download it to your PC or Mac by using MyGeonaute software. I did try loading direct to Strava but the files weren't recognised. That's something that should be rectified in the Autumn with a software update.
Once you turn the Satcount on you are presented with a menu. On most occasions it went straight to the ride menu, but a couple of times it reverted back to the settings option, forcing me to input all my personal details again. Frustrating.
The first time I tried to upload my data to the Geonaute software I just couldn't get the software to recognise the unit. I did some research and it appears that B'Twin have been made aware of the issue as their UK Market Manager had responded to a previous customer to advise a factory reset was required. After this I was able to upload the data.
The Geonaute software is an area that will be improved later this year. This will allow a better interaction and will allow you to load GPX files. The initial look of the software is fairly basic but it does give you the details you'd hope to see having put the effort in on your ride. You can view the map of your route and the detail is pretty accurate. I used the B'Twin Satcount alongside my Garmin to compare and in most aspects the readings were similar. The only reading that varied regularly was the height gained.
There are two other functions that the Satcount offers. The Challenge mode where you can follow a route you have previously ridden to compare times etc, a useful training tool. The second is the Navigation mode; where you can follow a pre-loaded route with the details displayed on screen for you to follow.
Overall, the Satcount provides a level of data that you'd expect to see from a relatively inexpensive non-mapping GPS unit. There are some short-comings that have been identified by B'Twin themselves and will be addressed, namely the software bugs on the head unit and the ability of the Geonaute interface. The size of the unit is on the large side and whilst it is robust it has certain limitations.
The Satcount performs the GPS functions well but there are still a few quirks with the operating software and the interface
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Make and model: B'Twin GPS Satcount +
Size tested: Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Despite the functionality the B'Twin offers it doesn't hit the mark in how it delivers. These issues have been identified and will be addressed later this year but for now you are paying £100 for a GPS unit that may improve.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The navigation is quite clunky with no back light as standard, this is a button on the side of the unit. Occasional problems in turning on the unit as it takes you through the main athlete details are also a nuisance.
The Satcount is robust and solid in construction but this also gives it a bulky appearance and feel.
Until the software issues are improved the B'Twin can't score highly. The navigation through the screens using the buttons below is a little crude.
There are no issues on this score as the solidity of the package should ensure it lasts.
As already mentioned the unit is big and bulky.
There are other comparable products on the market that offer better value. You are paying £100 and would expect slightly more from it out of the box.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It is rather ponderous in its approach and while perseverance will eventually allow you to upload and analyse your data, you get the feeling it lags behind in the GPS stakes. It does the basics with a little assistance but it is laboured.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The interface has a novel approach to it.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The performance of the unit does not merit the size or lack of colour screen. It is slow and at times frustrating. It has promise but for now needs work, some of which will be updated later this year.
Did you enjoy using the product? No - it proved more frustrating than enjoyable.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not in its current guise.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
For the money you would expect more performance and less bulk.
Age: 45 Height: 178cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Currently riding a Pinnacle Evaporite Three My best bike is: As above
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, sportives, mtb, Not yet but looking to dip my toe in the world of TT