Magellan Switch Up GPS Watch Review

featured image March 22, 2013

Magellan hit the fitness scene with their Switch Series GPS watch.  I will be reviewing the Switch Up with Mounts and Heart Rate Monitor.  Let’s see what Magellan has to offer.


I like the concept of easily removing the GPS unit from a wrist mount to the bike mount.  One of the best features is the “extra” battery option, that is, attach a battery pack to the watch and give it extra time on the trail. It is a great concept to attach an extra battery pack instead of finding another watch to finish your 100 miler.

This is what comes in the box.



The one extra item is the battery pack (accessory item).

Watch on the Wrist and Bike.

Watch on Wrist

Watch on Wrist Extra Battery

bike mount

Switch Up compared to others watchesWatch Comp

Switch Up GPS unit (relative sizing)

relative size



The Switch Up has common data fields that you would see in other GPS watches – distance, pace, heart rate, etc.  The data fields can be customized to your needs.  Please note, anything beyond the three field display, the numbers get really small.  Other features I like is auto pause and auto lap (e.g., automatically taking a measurement at a specified distance).

After initial satellite acquisition, the watch takes approximately 5 to 30 seconds to acquire satellites.

During runs on the trails, the watch would indicate 1 to 2 times of a lost satellite (depending upon terrain).  The one mile lap times varied wildly when compared to my other GPS watch (8% to 52%) – terrain was up and down canyons. In milder terrain, the variance was between 0% to 20% – better, but still varied.  However, when running on the tarmac, the variance was between 1% to 4% (within GPS accuracy).

During my faster paced runs, I noticed the instant pace all over the place (both trail and road).  The variation when holding a 7:30 pace was between mid-6’s to high-8’s.  I’m sure Magellan will need to fix this in the next firmware update, but pace smoothing is a tricky matter that most GPS manufacturers face.  So, for those runners looking for instant pace feedback, the Switch Up may drive you crazy.


Product Features



Weight Breakdown

 weight table


  • Multi-sport Mode (worked great from bike to run transitions)
  • The Switch Up is a solid performer on the bike (no issues with GPS variations, all within specifications)
  • Can swim with the Switch Up (should put the GPS Unit in your swim cap) – NOTE: GPS does not work indoors. The Switch Up becomes a really expensive stopwatch with lap timing.
  • “Active Pacer” (similar to Virtual Partner) – HOWEVER, one really nice feature built into the Active Pacer is the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) in actual clock time down to the second.  This is helpful if you need to get to that teleconference meeting by 8:00AM (in your car) while you try to squeeze in that extra mile.
  • Temperature sensor (Switch Up version ONLY) – which also means a barometric altimeter for a more accurate elevation reading versus a GPS based altimeter.
  • ANT+ supports all of the major ANT+ accessories, that is, you can easily record indoor and outdoor activities.  See list of 100 ANT+ compatible devices.
    • Uses standard .FIT file format so you can use it with most industry standard training software (e.g., Garmin Connect for a better view in Google Earth)


Lots of great features in Magellan’s Switch Up and a great start for Magellan in the competitive fitness market.  I’ve provide a lot of information above.  Here’s a quick highlight of the pros and cons.


  • Versatility (battery pack option, multiple mount option – wrist to bike)
  • Works with a long list of ANT+ accessories
  • Lower price than Garmin


  • Instant pacing is an issue (most likely can be addressed in a firmware update)
  • Cant’ be used as an everyday watch
  • When adding the extra battery pack, the wrist mount is very “bulky” (maybe a flatter battery pack that encapsulate the edges)


Connecting and downloading to the PC using the USB/Charging cable.


Active your personal account on Magellan Active.

Active Magellan

Select the “Upload” Button after Login and have fun looking around Magellan Active online training logs.

Active Magellan2



24 Responses

  1. ManBes says:

    Great review. The size of this model is an issue. Absolutely no way to use it as a regular watch, it’s so crazily big! Thanks for all the info!

    Relojes con GPS

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