Magellan Switch Up Review

The Magellan Switch Up is a budget smart watch that doesnt skimp on features. It is a versatile multi-sport watch that Magellan is calling a “cross over watch”. 

For a budget device the switch up has a fair amount of functions: GPS, waterproofing, and ANT+/ Bluetooth dual broadcasting functions are all included. With a price point of about $150, the switch up has one of the best costs to benefit ratio of any smart watch in its class.

Looks

The switch up is bit on the blocky side – measuring in at about 2.5 x 1.7 x 0.5 inches, and weight wise the unit comes in at around 2 and a half ounces – about twice the weight of a 920XT. To make matters worse, the switch up comes with a rather large wristband. Needless to say, this is sports man’s watch. Don’t expect to be able to easily conceal it.

The band is similar to a normal watch wristband, which makes it comfortable to wear. However we had a lot of difficulty removing the watch from the wrist mount. It took a lot of tugging before it would come lose. Not a total deal breaker, just be prepared to get some extra exercise when your ready to remove the unit from its wrist cradle!

Display

The display is rectangular shaped with 3 buttons on the right side and 2 on the left. The on/off switch is located on the bottom right. The right side arrow buttons are for scrolling through the various options, and can be held to bring up more details when hovering over an option. The left side buttons are used to confirm an action or return to the previous screen. Since this is a rather large device, it is pretty easy to navigate through the various options. The buttons are a bit recessed which can be annoying.

Features

The switch up has a lightning quick setup: you can use it right out of the box or if you want a little more customization the unit allows you to set up 9 different activity profiles, such as running, road biking, and swimming. For every activity profile you can customize a collection of configurable settings – such as data fields, settings, alerts etc. The device can also be set to alert you when you reach a set goal, depending on your fitness needs.

Magellan has opted for simplicity where the GPS and activity tracking is concerned. The device will search for a GPS signal as soon as it is switched on. Once a signal is acquired, a simple button press is all that is needed to begin an activity. Pushing the button again will pause the activity, and pushing it a third time will end it.

Extra Mount

Garmin has decided to allow for a bicycle mount which allows you to easily switch between activities. This is great for things like triathlon training, where you likely be switching between 3 different activities in a short amount of time.

Connectivity

In terms of connectivity, the switch up comes stock with ANT+ for pairing with sensors such as heart rate monitors. It would have been nice to see Bluetooth support but at this price point it’s hard to argue for that.

Performance

The Switch Up performed well on our many tests. On our trail jog the routes very accurate and the elevation, latitude, longitude, and speed estimates were pretty spot on, at least when tested against our 920XT.

As far as the GPS accuracy, we did have a few hiccups. We tested it against out 920XT and noticed a discrepancy of about half a mile. For instance, we wore both devices and went for a quick 3 mile cycling trip. The 920XT showed a distance of about 2.7 miles. The Magellan displayed about 2.4. If you need a super accurate GPS it may be advisable to avoid this one. Edit: Magellan has released a few updates (including the open water mode, see above) since we first tested this device. We gave the GPS another whirl and the accuracy was much better – within .1 of a mile.

Water Resistance

Garmin states the device is water proof up to 50 meters. Which makes it ideal for swimming with, however it does not include an open water swimming mode. Edit: when we first received our device it did not include an open water mode, however in the spring update Garmin has recently added this. Our tests showed it to be reasonably accurate but nowhere near perfect. If you are looking for a dedicated swimming watch we advise you to look elsewhere. Hopefully we will see more updates from Gamin in the future.

Battery Life

The Switch Up has about average battery life for a smart watch. We got around 8 hours with the GPS on the whole time. For non-continuous use (such as a 1 hour gym workout) our unit went about 3 days before needing a recharge.

App

The Magellan active app has a simple and clean interface. It is about what you’d expect from a smart watch app. You will get a breakdown of all your activities on a session by session basis. It shows a comprehensive report of all of the data and a GPS map that allows you to pin point certain areas of your workout sessions.

Conclusion

The Switch Up is decent smart watch for the price. There are virtually no other budget smart watches that have as many features as this one does, and the Switch Up is an excellent choice for those who are doing triathlon training. While the base model has a few software issues and is a little on the big side, if you keep up with your updates these should be ironed out in time. All in all, the Switch UP is a feature packed budget smart watch and we have few complaints.

For more reviews and a detailed triathlon guide click here.

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Alex Fischer