on August 23, 2012
I previously have been using the Garmin 205 for a number of years. The 205 is a great unit once up and running but at times I spent as much time waiting for it to find the satellites as I did running. I was very excited to get to try a newer gps watch out.
Like I had hoped, the pick-up of satellites is nearly instantaneous. So no more 5 minute strolls around my driveway waiting for the 205 to pick up satellites. That is the biggest difference for me and more about the advance of tech since the 205 came out than anything new in the switch, but it does make a big difference. They seem to stay locked in as well, with speed and distance being calculated accurately. Sizewise it is larger then a regular watch but a bit smaller then the 205 I had. Weight and thickness is similar to the 205. Build quality seems good and it appears to be very well sealed against water. Once dailed in on the wrist it is very comfortable.
By being a bit smaller the screen size is lessened. the screen is easy to see in various lighting conditions. The switch does a nice job with data and I liked how right out of the box it treated 1 mile increments as a "lap" and recorded my pace per mile. When on the magellan data website once downloaded it is nice to have everythingin mile breakdowns. You can also choose kilometers if you like.
Battery life is outstanding and it charges quickly. Longest I have used it is 1.5 hours and when going to recharge it said 87% life still left. It recharged from that 87% to 100% in less than 20 minutes via computer usb. Will charge via usb and comes with a wall plug in as well. My version came with the heart sensor. I haven't used one before but it set up automatically and other then I am still getting adjusted to the feel, but it will be something I begin using now that I have it. I am a "numbers" runner vs. just being able to go out and free run, so having one more set of data to look at is for me great. You can deactivate the ant+ sensor though if you don't want to use it. I really like having a gps watch as a pacing/training tool and the switch works great. I have used it running and biking. You can choose in setting which event you are doing and it gives you different data screens.
Only minor complaint I had was I wish there had been a bit more documentation included in the box. It took me a few trial and error runs to get things dailed in. You can download a much more detailed manual from the website. Ditto for logging your runs, in that you must register with the website to get up and running. I would say set up is maybe a 3/5 and took me a while to get dailed in and I had to jump around the site a little. Once dailed in though it is awesome and a lot of info is tracked and recorded. It gets your speed (max and average) graphed out, distance, mapping feature that is accurate. It does elevation as well. Again a lot of choices and a good data site/package overall.
Update: Over a month and a half with the device so far and it is working well. In addition to training I have worn it in several races. Timing and distance is spot on. Now that I have the downloading dailed in, I have been logging everything and using some common routes to try and beat my times on, which has helped my motivation.
Update 2: Began using it again this spring. Charged up with no issues and it worked fine for some training runs and 2 5K's. Battery life is still good, accuracy seems ok although the real time pacing seems to be 10-15 seconds off which I noticed they have a firmware update for that I downloaded after experiencing my issue described below, so I don;t know if the pacing will be improved or not. My big problem though is after the last 5K yesterday I went into the menu and made it as far as activity history and the unit locked up on that screen. No way to get off it, hard reset as described in online manual didn't work, won't even power off or recognize being hooked to a computer. Since my unit was a demo I did try and remove the battery hoping to pull the juice and get it to reset rather than waiting overnight for it to die on its own, but after getting to it, it is wired in and more complicated to pull so I left it. I ended up waiting for it to power off on its own when the battery died and this did allow it to "reset". Great unit up until now and I was very happy with it and the online tracking and software. I have navigated the menu before without issue. Disappointing to see it fail but it did recover once the juice died which because of its good battery life took a day. Under a year of use at this point. I pulled a star and have it down to 4/5 at this point from 5/5. Most of my computer based stuff will do this every so often and need some sort of reset so it is what it is, just would be disapointing if it did it prior to a race and you were without it all day. I am also hopeful the realtime pacing will improve a bit. I have it running about 10 seconds or so on the generous side (meaning I am running 7:05 and the unit is telling me 6:55 or so). I should run more by feel than by what the unti is tellign me, but at the same time early in a race I like to know I am not overdoing it or underdoing it. Yesterday I felt good and was trying to hold that 6:55 pace and was dissapointed to be about 30 seconds off the time I wanted at races end as I was really going about 7:05. The January 2013 update says it address this issue so that would be great. Still a good unit and I love the tracking and plan on using it all summer long.
Update 3: After reseting and doing a firmware update (very easy)I had it back out for a 5K today. Unit ran flawlessly so that was good to see. Distance was spot on and pacing did seem to improve. Baring any future lock-ups which a powerdown seems to reset, an already good unit has improved after the firmware update.
Update 4: used it all summer. No issues since the spring firmware update.
on September 10, 2012
Yes, this Switch has all the great menu selections and features listed and they do work as described by Magellan and by other reviewers... I gave it a star rating of "It's OK", but do want to mention a few problems I ran into and talk about some other details to help you make up your mind.
If you like the idea of being able to mount the Switch on your bike in addition to having it on your wrist, know this up front;
The basic Switch IS compatable with multisport mounting as in the feature comparison chart BUT you must purchase the mounting kit in order to do it. The Switch does NOT pop out of the wrist strap like the Switch "UP" does until you unscrew it and install the optional back mount.
After the cost of adding the Multisport mounting kit (that is included with the "UP" version) you are getting very close to the price of the top of the line "UP" model with full features (feature additon of Vibrate, altimeter, temperature) seen on the chart.Magellan Switch Multisport Mounting Kit Magellan Switch Up Crossover GPS Watch with Mounts and Heart Rate Monitor
FYI, Replacement wrist strap when needed; Magellan Switch Replacement Wrist Strap
You can also get it to run for 24 hours (internal battery good for 8 hrs)with the optional external battery pack; Magellan Switch Battery Extender Pack
The Switch is a large unit to have on your wrist and you can really perspire under it when working out, band is not that comfortable either.
Weight is 2.5 oz on a digital scale.
Display is a higher resolution, but is actually only 15/16 x 13/16 inch in size, given the overall dimensions of the case, it seems like they could have used a larger, easier seen, LCD screen. Although I will say this... where most LCD screens of this type are harder to read in the sunlight, this one seems to be easier to read when the sun hits the silverish numbers and letters. Any movement or vibration of the Switch makes it impossible to read for me, has to be held very still with this small screen and font.
Mine takes about 5 long minutes to connect with satellites standing outdoors with watch held out in the open facing up... Then it will drop connection over and over as you walk around or exercise.
Heart rate works well when it stays "connected" but that also gets dropped by the unit pretty often it seems.
Heart rate sending unit that goes around your chest is pretty tight and needs to be to keep it in contact with your torso, but can be a bit uncomfortable after some time wearing it.
Also note that when not using it to monitor a workout, it does not just display the current time on the face. You have to drill down in the menu a bit and then the time display is shown small in size, grouped with lots other readings on the screen. I understand this is not a "wristwatch" but wanted others to know about the fact. When indoors, (or anytime connection is lost) it does not seem to hold the time setting without a satellite link when set to "automatic" time. "Manual" time setting will not let me reset time... worked out of the box but not after initial setup.
One big thing to remember, if you need the daily collected information saved for later review, don't forget to press the buttons to save it as it will not do that on it's own automatically.
You can read and save the PDF owners manual at the Magellan web site.
Price? You either think it's too high or you don't, so that doesn't mean too much for me to give my own thought on the subject.
Update reply from Magellan customer service ~ Re: lock ups, dropped connections, no manual time set avail;
Cause unknown, remedy unknown, they will pass my Switch problems on to the tech department for testing and review for future firmware update and will get back to me.
This is a very nice GPS watch...only a few minor (but noticeable) details keep it from being perfect. Here's some of what I considered:
1) Set-up: (5/5) Easy. Easier than most fitness products I've done - use the manual and power it on. It will immediately take you through it and it's easy to do - takes in your biographic data and lets you change some display options.
2) Charging/Battery Life: (2/5). When actually in use, the battery life is fine - lasts over 4 hours when on from full. Also, charges very quickly. Less than half an hour. Easy to tell when it's done - display tells you. That said, there are two issues: one is battery leakage. Something must be drawing it down even when off because after a month of being stored even if it was fully charged, the battery will be completely dead when you go to turn it on. The other MAJOR issue I have is with the charger itself. There is an insert that goes into the adapter that has the prongs on it. Included in the box is the one for US - presumably you could get others or they could sell this product in other countries by only swapping out that piece. But, I have a serious problem keeping the adapter from falling off the prongs. When it does so, not only does the watch not charge (it's no longer plugged in) but I have the prongs in my outlet with exposed metal - MAJOR safety hazard as it'd be easy to arc across those - even with your finger. Scares me quite a bit. It snaps in, but just does not stay securely. I suspect that this may not be true of all of them, but mine at least is too loose.
3) Size/adjustability: (5/5) - the watch face is quite large about 2.5" x 1.75" (of which about 1" x 0.75" is the actual display). In some ways a smaller one would be nicer, but I'm sure there's plenty of electronics to package and the display is a nice size to be very easy to read with lots of information. The strap is very ajustable. Each hole is about 0.25" so it's adjustable in increments of about that. Total circumference goes from about 9" to 5" (though given the size of the display, the later really doesn't let you slip a wrist through. Still, I'm a small wristed female and I can adjust it very comfortably for me.
4) Comfort - other than promoting sweating (anything rubberized will...) it's very comfortable. Doesn't do anything I can complain about and not bothersome at all even when highly active.
5) Heart rate monitor strap: (2/5) It hooks up with the watch fine and, once you get it working, works okay. The issue I had with it is that it's EXTREMELY touchy to how you wear it, and as a female (with breasts) it's almost impossible to get it in a place where it works and keep it there when moving. Have to make it very uncomfortably tight and even then...but the good news is that it's the standard type, so if you have a heart rate chest strap from another system (I do) you can use it instead. I've got an Omron one...hooks up with this just fine.
6) GPS link up - Very impressed by this! It hooks up quickly when outside and seems to maintain signal very well. Watch will tell you whether it gets the signal or not soon after you initialize it.
7) Useability (5/5)- in general, it's all very intuitive. Some of the less obvious features (like some of the mapping and whatnot) is a little harder to find, but the basics are there and for the rest of it, you can discover as you go, look it up or whatever.
8) Accuracy (5/5)- other users have said it's off by a bit. I'm not sure, honestly, but it seems to at least be close. I did actually take it in my car and test it against the trip meter - stayed very close to the car on that...maybe lagged by a few percent, but obviously that's kind of an abnormal circumstance. When running or walking I can at least tell if I'm beating or lagging my previous performance and it is repeatable (same distance measures the same on different trials).
9) Navigation/maps: (3/5) Online is better, but on the watch itself, it's easy to find your co-ordinates but very difficult to do any useful navigation with this. There is a feature that traces out a line of how you've traveled, but other than telling if you're going in circles, I couldn't find where this delivered much useful information...it's just a white line on a black background for the most part. Like that you can tell where you've been and capture specific points. I actually intend to use this during hunting season to log locations of shots and sitings.
10) Time keeping/laps/speed: (5/5) Displays these very well and easy to understand. Very easy to glance at while you're moving. This is really the main feature of the watch in my mind and where it shines.
Honestly, if you want a GPS watch that will keep track of your distance and speed, this does VERY well at that and is repeatable so you can track your progress/improvement (although do read the other comments on accuracy in case that is an issue for you...it's oft repeated so might be true). Granted, you can use your smart phone or whatever for much of this and no doubt technology is continually improving, but this is good for what it is and designed well for specific purposes. If it weren't for the charger and the heart rate monitor (the later is best resolve by using an alternate chest band) this would be near perfect for what it is.
on March 30, 2016
This GPS watch is absolutely worthless! I purchased the Switch Up because Magellan had (and still has) such a good deal on refurbished units. On every run I have been on, it is terribly inaccurate in measuring distance. When looking at the map of the course after uploading the data to my computer, it shows me zig-zagging all over the neighborhood! The battery dies very quickly. The advertise an 8 hour battery life. After a one-hour run it says, "Low battery"! Magellan's customer service is an absolute joke! They never responded to my 3 emails. When I used the online chat service, the only thing they could do was give me a phone number to call. When I called I was put on hold for 30 minutes. All of this only to be told that they will offer a replacement but not a refund. So, I got a replacement (I had to pay the shipping). And guess what?! The exact same problems with the second unit! Unbelievable! Stay away from this product and anything with the Magellan name on it! I've never experienced such terrible customer service from any company in any industry!
on August 21, 2012
The Switch seems well-designed, and easy to use. I've only recently modified the display choices, and set up a custom profile for a H.I.I.T class I do 3 times per week. So far, with two HIIT classes logged, and 3 runs, the unit seems very accurate. Pairing with the heart rate monitor is almost instantaneous, and the gps connection is pretty quick. Uploads to active.magellangps.com are very easy, and the data is very useful, organized, and easy to read. I have not tried sharing with any of the social networking yet, though. I also have not tried with a footpod or bike attachment. Though large, the unit is very light. I appreciate the improved waterproof aspect of this unit, as compared to the Motorola, or Nike product. For the extra $$ over those two, you have additional flexibility and usefulness. The only aspect of the unit that is a little odd is that there is no auto-save. When you are finished with your activity, you press a button to stop recording, then press it again to save the activity. It is only one extra button push, and a couple of seconds, but it is just a little odd. I would actually rate this unit as a 4.5, if possible. It's not perfect, but very good, and has helped me to improve my running and track calories burned in my HIIT class (similar to crossfit). I use this data with myfitnesspal.com to track my calories each day. I can't compare to the Garmin units, since I haven't used them, but I can say that I have had no regrets so far with the Magellan.
on August 3, 2014
Not recommended - I bought this as a replacement for my Garmin Forerunner 305, which was slowly dying, and planned to take it out to and Ironman event for use on my bike. After using it for a month of biking and running I can't recommend this device. Smart shoppers may want to look somewhere else...
- After the software upgrade the GPS locks onto satellites quickly
- Cheap for a GPS watch. Also easily connected to my ANT+ heartrate monitor.
- Stopped recording after 6 hours, not the 8 hours advertised.
- The software application to download your workouts is terrible - it often fails to upload workouts to my computer and doesn't recognize the connected device.
- The software on the watch is horrible. Tiny buttons with even smaller lettering means that it's often impossible to figure out how to set up the watch (just try changing the settings from a "run" to a "bike" - you need a PhD to use this watch!) The button response is also slow, so it's often a guessing game to figure out what to do next.
Bottom-line: this GPS needs some more work before it's ready. My recommendation is to look for alternatives. I found a refurbished Garmin 910XT which was more $$$ but had triple the recording time, the instructions made sense, and it connected to everything so I could analyze my workouts......
I've used the Garmin Forerunner for about 5 years when it finally died on me and I loved it. I'd been looking for another GPS watch to use for all my outdoor activity and came across this. When I first got it out of the box I noticed it isn't quite as clunky as my old Garmin, although still a little on the big side. Compared to the Switch Up it is a little bit smaller, but not much.
Acquiring a signal in San Jose was no problem at all, acquiring it almost immediately. Once I was running I didn't lose the signal at all. I was even able to obtain a signal inside my apartment, although that would drop off occasionally when I moved it around. But outside the signal was strong. As you are running you have several settings you can choose from, with the default display and unit being the time ran, distance ran, and pace, using kilometers. Half way through my run I was able to easily switch the unit to miles and continue my run. As you reach each lap, default being 1 mile, it beeps and vibrates, letting me know in an unobtrusive way. A nice feature is the auto pause, where it will notice if you are stopped and pause the watch. Conversely, and I haven't experimented with this much, but if you pause the watch yourself and then start running it will notify you that the watch is still stopped. I like this feature because there have been countless times where I stop my watch and then resume biking or running, only to realize far down the road that I had forgot to re-start it.
Finally I had trouble creating an account. It kept giving me an Account Failure, using two different browsers and two different devices. I eventually had to request Magellan customer support to create the account for me, which they did right away. The website is decent, although I do miss the maps that Garmin provided, or the ability to import to Google Earth. Additionally, there isn't a stand alone software, and instead you must go to their website to upload all your activity. Wish I could have something locally on my computer, so this is a bit of a drawback.
As a comparison to the Switch Up I would definitely stay with the Switch. There is absolutely no reason to spend the extra money for the Up when this one, in my opinion is better. The benefits of the Up are so minimal that they don't matter. A mount for your bike? Really, what's wrong with your wrist? Maybe some hardcore bikers want to be able to bike fast and glance down at the mount, but really your wrist is only inches away and just as easy to look at. Finally connecting your Switch to the USB plug is a whole lot easier than the Up. With the Up you have to struggle to unlatch it so that you can, quite easily, attach it to the USB to charge and upload your data. With regular old plain vanilla Switch all you have to do is attach the connector to the back of the watch. Done. When all is said and done the regular Switch is actually BETTER than the Switch Up.
All in all I am impressed with Magellan Switch and will have many miles of activity to use it with. A would recommend.
on February 24, 2013
i bought this because it had a greater set of features than a garmin 305 that i bought several years ago. thing is, i ran with someone with another garmin watch, and when we compared our results, the magellan said we'd run easily 5 percent longer distance than the garmin did (6.4m vs 6m).
i then did a head-to-head 'Smackdown' test where i wore both my old 305 and the magellan during the same run. well, the results mirrored the previous experience - a more than 5 percent gap. i thought "well, maybe they're both wrong" and figured on doing another Smackdown on a measured course. (by the way, i made sure i was using magellan's current firmware as of late january 2013 during the above-mentioned runs.)
then i found a youtube video that saved me from doing the work. if you want to see it, just look for 'magellan switch up measured accuracy test'. even though that test was done a while ago with earlier firmware, it's quite apparent that magellan hadn't solved the problem with the firmware version my watch used.
i emailed magellan customer support with this story and got a cheery non-answer, so i'm returning the watch.
on October 3, 2012
I bought this watch after using a Garmin 305 and 405 for some time. I wanted something easy to use and one that I would not accidently turn off or stop in the middle of a workout. I primarily wanted something for track pace and mileage while I train for half and full marathons. I primarily used it on a pretty straight, walking/jogging trail in the middle of a very wide valley. Some overhanging trees (definitely not a forest) that had great, clear views to the sky. Here's my pros/cons:
-Easy to use
-Great, clear display
-Lots of activity screens
-Good size for what it is
-Not accurate for long runs
-Poor reception in light tree cover
-Widely fluctuating pace
-Poor user manual
Overall, I really liked this GPS watch, as indicated by all my pros. I found it far easier to use than the Garmins I've had and absolutely love the display. For me, though, it came down to accuracy. Short, 3-mile runs that I've mapped on mapmyrun would turn out to be 3.05 - 3.17 miles. That's not a big thing for short runs (and if that's all I ran, I would still have the watch) but "extra" mileage adds up on long runs. For example, I ran 19.37 miles (per mapmyrun) but the Magellan came in at 21.27 miles. Since the mileage was way off, so was the pace it "said" I was running.
Regardless of mileage, I also found the pace feature pretty poor. If reception was perfect AND I had held my arm steady for 5 - 10 seconds with my wrist turned so the watch was parallel to the sky, it seemed pretty accurate. If the watch was at a right angle to the sky, like when you're running, it showed 1 - 2 minutes per miles slower than what my pace really was. The watch also seemed to be really affected by light tree cover, far more so than the Garmins I used.
For these reasons, the watch did not work for me and I returned it. Like I implied above, if I just ran 3 - 5 miles a shot and 15 - 20 miles a week, I would have kept the GPS and been perfectly happy. But for my training, the little inaccuracies really added up. I'm back to my regular, non-GPS Casio Ironman watch for now until I decide on a replacement.
on February 14, 2015
I was initially nervous about buying due to complaints around GPS accuracy. However since all the firmware updates it appears to have been sorted. I also purchased it at a time where they did a deal with the speed/cadence kit and multisport kit for free.
Great value (especially with the freebies)
Massive customisation options (screens/activities/metrics)
Ability to mount on bike unlike triathlon watches
Seems to be pretty rugged
Like the ability to measure pace as 'seconds behind' a set pace
Not as aesthetically pleasing as more expensive garmin watches
Screen isn't as good/big as a dedicated bike comp.