Magellan Switch Up GPS computer/watch

Compact ANT+ GPS unit

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

The Magellan Switch Up is an ANT+ GPS cycle computer that can do double duty as a running watch. Heavily customizable display options, quick signal parings and easy downloads make this a good option for cyclists who also like to run, but the clunky bike and wrist mounts could be improved.

  • Pros: Compact; crisp white font on black background; loads of customization options; quick to pair with ANT+ power meters, heart rate monitors and GPS signals; audio/vibrate alerts for detected movement, lost pairings
  • Cons: Compared to the size of the unit itself, bike and wrist mounts are huge while screen is small; difficult to extract from mount; button action vague; no time of day option on main screens
  • Bottom line: A very good first effort that’s highly functional and customizable. For riders who also occasionally run, the Switch Up is definitely worth considering. A larger screen (with the same size body) and better mounting system would improve usability

Because it doubles as a watch, the Switch Up is a relatively small cycle computer. Some testers appreciated the size, but all wished the (0.82inx0.96in) screen was larger.

Functionally, the Switch Up is quick to pair up with signals, grabbing ANT+ in 3 or 4 seconds, and GPS in about 20 seconds when unobstructed. Many GPS cycle computers can take minutes to find a signal.

There are three types of screens on the Switch Up. ‘Activity’ shows live information from your data screens of choice, which you can customize extensively. ‘Navigation’ shows a breadcrumb trail of where you’ve been – but without any map. And ‘History’ provides sums and averages of multiple data fields for each activity.

The menus are dense but well laid out and fairly easy to navigate

Magellan has struck a nice balance of simplicity and complexity with the Switch Up. Getting started with a bike ride or run requires just a few clicks of a button, and multiple lines of relevant live data will be displayed. 

Yet should you want to add a power meter or heart rate data, customize what lines of data you see and where, or even create a new type of activity, it’s easy and doesn’t require reading instructions. We created a ‘rollers’ activity that showed power, heart rate, lap time, total time, and more, but not distance or speed.

The amount of options within options is impressive. If you want power shown, for example, you can choose current, percentage of FTP, kJ/hour, power zone, plus averages of each of these. And, again, there’s a default setting, so if you just select power you don’t have to wade through additional choices just to get running.

Annoyingly, time of day isn’t an option for any of the data screens. Instead, you have to press and hold a button to bring up a systems check menu that shows things like battery life, memory capacity and time of day – in a small font. For many riders, the time of day is often the key data point.

The snap-in mount uses gummy straps for stem or bar placement

Another issue is the breadcrumb navigation. While not intended for use as a turn-by-turn guide – there are no maps, just a line of where you’ve been – it only really serves as a last-ditch hope for finding your way back to a start point. There is no search, nor any turn-by-turn directions. 

This isn’t a navigational guide – it simply records where you’ve been and how fast you’ve moved. There are 100ft, 800ft, 1mi, 5mi and 40mi settings, but we found the gap between 5 and 40mi too large. The breadcrumb trail can be somewhat helpful when doing things such as finding your way back to a hotel in a strange town, but is only marginally better than just looking around.

Our first test sample was buggy, and after multiple calls with technical support to eliminate issues, we were sent another model, which worked fine.

Magellan has fairly basic online software that allows you to upload your activites and look at maps of your GPS-recorded ride and the corresponding data. But it’s a far cry from TrainingPeaks, Strava or Garmin Connect. That said, the Switch Up records in .fit, which means you can easily upload to these popular sites. Plus, the .fit files are often a tenth of the size of .tcx files, which are Garmin’s standard.

Magellan’s site functions as a training diary in the broad view

The 71g Switch up is US$250 for the unit, plus bike and wrist mounts. A US$200 Switch has all the same features except barometric altitude, temperature and vibrate alerts. A heart rate strap is available for US$50.

We found the memory capacity to be 74 hours, which was 43 activities and 1,015mi. At this point, showing 96 percent memory, it would not record a new ride. Functional battery life was seven hours, at which point the unit shut itself off. A USB cradle charges and downloads from the Switch Up. 

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