Review – Magellan Switch watch GPS

Last December I purchased a Magellan Switch watch GPS and heart-rate monitor. A local retailer had them for almost half price and there was a dealer offer of a multi-sport mounting kit and Cadence/Speed sensor package if you registered on line. I should say that this is by no means an in-depth technical review, but more of a first impressions/summary.
The kit came with the Switch already on a wrist mount, an AC power adapter and a USB charger/mount. Suprisingly, no heart rate sensor. This I have to purchase separately.
After charging the unit up I turned it on and was pleasantly suprised by what I saw.
Interface – Nice, clear display with large numbers and an easy to navigate system. You can customise the layout of the display screens to suit. Once you navigate around for a while you can see that the unit is designed primarily for the fitness market, not necessarily the hiking market, however you can use it to mark waypoints and navigate to saved waypoints.
Profiles – You can choose from several, customisable profiles such as Road cyle, Road running, Swim, Marathon, Mountain bike, Criterion, Walking, Hiking, Trail running and even Multi-Sport. Stores up to 60 hours of activity history and you can create up to 9 activity profiles for different sports such as those listed above.
GPS – I found the GPS to be really accurate, down to less than 2m. On examination of one of my routes once I’d uploaded it to the web (more on that in a minute), I noticed that it recorded a deviation of three meters in my route to cross a busy road. Not bad. The only negative so far is that it can take more than 5 minutes to aquire a satellite signal (a downside of other Magellan devices I’ve used). Also, if the unit senses that you have stopped moving, it will pause the recording of your activity. Once you get going again, it resumes the recording. I like this feature.
Pairing – The Switch is compatible with any ANT+ device such as heart rate sensors, and cadence and speed sensors. I easily navigated to the device pairing page and in an instant had paired my Switch with the speed/cadence sensor that I was using for testing.
Uploading data – Once you save your activity data, you can upload it to either the Majellan Active site, or to MapMyFitness (you’ll need to create a login for these sites). Both sites give you a run down on your route including time, distance, average speed, elevation and your route is shown on a map. The Magellan site uses CloudMade map data, whilst the MapMyFitness site uses Google Maps. I haven’t fully explored the pro’s and con’s of this yet but I like the Google Maps thing because it allows you to print your route.
Summary – In summary, I’d have to say that the Magellan is a very versitile little unit. I’m not using to it track my fitness, nor do I take my cycling as seriously as some people, and I love all that I can do with it. I can only imagine what a fantastic training tool this could be to a triathlete, a road racer or even anyone who does multisport events.
The only downsides are that it doesn’t easily allow you to show the current time and when it is displayed, the text is quite small and it’s super imposed over your other data so it’s a watch in size and shape only; and there was no heart rate sensor in the kit.
Other than that, I’m giving it two thumbs up!

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