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Garmin Swim 2
I don’t plan on doing a review on the Garmin Swim 2 but it’s definitely worth adding in some thoughts here on today’s announcement as well as adding in the specifications.
Garmin Swim – History
Real swimmers tend to be the people that club triathlete’s see in the other, ‘faster’ lanes on pool night. Real swimmers go really fast in the water and, incredibly, seem to be able to do that without the need for any gadgets whatsoever. Strange. It seems that a swim cap (optional), goggles and some super-sleek and tight gear are all you need.
My regular reader knows that I speculate about the ‘next sports watch’ quite a lot and I REALLY have speculated a LOT about the Garmin Swim 2. Unfortunately, that was 3 or so years ago and the product never came…so I gave up on that one! Either I was “ahead of the curve“, “wrong” or “failed to realise that the only swimtech gadgets bought were those by triathletes and the 920XT/935 covered that market quite nicely thank you very much“.
Current State of Play
Garmin has encompassed swimming functionality across a surprisingly wide range of their products from the Forerunner 245 through to the Fenix 6X Pro Solar. To differentiate the offering, the cheaper models usually have a few things disabled, be that OWS/Pool, oHR/chest strap compatibility or something else. So that leaves the more serious gadget-focussed swimmer being steered towards the more expensive tri watches.
That seems a broadly sensible strategy and so you and I might wonder why we now see a Swim 2 watch. Hence one of my contentions that this could simply be “a sports watch too far” with no real market existing for the product.
The positive-thinking, gadget-loving, wannabe-swimmer in me may think that this is a stepping stone forwards to support new innovations in the swim-gadgets market. Let’s hope so.
We’ve already seen the HUD in Form Swim Goggles (a nice product BTW) and, already, FORM has morphed to include support for Polar OH1+, uniquely giving LIVE HR feedback as you swim, which IS super-cool and should be live around about now-ish. (Also see: Instabeat HUD)
Then we’ve seen Incus from Loughborough Uni getting very detailed about high-quality swim position (and other) metrics. We’ve also seen Trainesense providing swim-form metrics AND power to swimmers and I understand they might soon start focussing more on triathletes.
So, as you can see, there IS now quite a bit of innovation starting to surface (see what I did there?) that’s actually looking to be quite useful and which might even work. Broadly speaking you could see swimming in general and professional swimming in particular as being a relatively untapped market for consumer-grade gadgets that MIGHT be about to experience a wave of innovation (again, see what I did there?)
Maybe the Swim 2 is designed to state Garmin’s interest in the market and lay down a definitive 2019 product. A product which has all the ‘standard’ metrics and sensors ‘sorted’. Then, as the tech evolves over the next two years, Garmin is well-placed for a Swim 3 to, perhaps, leverage that emerging, 3rd party tech.
You may have come here for the comparative specs so here they are.
Garmin Swim 2 Specs & Comparison
Source: Garmin.com – they don’t look fully correct
Swim 2 has a suggested retail price of $249.99.
There are some nice, but peripheral features here like auto-rest for intervals, CSS and real-time pacing alerts. It’s inevitable that these will make their way to the Fenix 6 and Forerunner 945. DCR also talks about new improvements slated for structured swim workouts.
|Swim 2||FR 945||Fenix 6 Pro|
|Lens Material||chemically strengthened glass||Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX||Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX or Sapphire Crystal|
|Bezel Material||fibre-reinforced polymer||stainless steel, titanium or Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coated steel|
|Case material||Fibre-reinforced polymer with a metal rear cover|
|QuickFit™ watch band compatible||yes (22 mm)||included (22 mm)|
|Strap material||silicone||silicone||silicone, leather, titanium or nylon|
|Physical size||42 x 42 x 11.4 mm||47 x 47 x 13.7 mm||47 x 47 x 14.7 mm|
|Fits wrists with a circumference of 129-197 mm||Fits wrists with a circumference of 130-220 mm||Fits wrists with the following circumference:|
|Silicone band: 125-208 mm|
|Larger replacement bands are available as an optional accessory. Large bands fit wrists with a circumference of 151 – 219 mm||Leather band: 132-210 mm|
|Fabric band: 132-210 mm|
|Metal band: 132-215 mm|
|Display size||1.04″ (26.3 mm) diameter||1.2″ (30.4 mm) diameter||1.3” (33.02 mm) diameter|
|Display resolution||208 x 208 pixels||240 x 240 pixels||260 x 260 pixels|
|Weight||36 g||50 g||Steel: 83 g (case only: 60 g)|
|Titanium: 72 g (case only: 49 g)|
|Battery life||Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 days||Smartwatch Mode: Up to 2 weeks||Smartwatch: Up to 14 days|
|GPS mode: Up to 13 hours||GPS mode with music: Up to 10 hours|
|Pool and OHR mode: up to 72 hours||GPS mode without music: Up to 36 hours||GPS: Up to 36 hours|
|GPS and Music: Up to 10 hours|
|Max Battery GPS Mode: 72 hours|
|Expedition GPS Activity: 28 days|
|Battery Saver Watch Mode: 48 days|
|Water rating||Swim, 5 ATM||5 ATM||10 ATM|
|Memory/History||50 hours of activity data||200 hours of activity data||32 GB|
|Available swim profiles||Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming||Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming||Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Swimming/Running|
|“Repeat on” rest timer||Yes||Yes|
|Auto Rest (Pool Swim Only)||Yes|
|Time and distance alerts||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pacing alerts (pool swim only)||Yes|
|Critical swim speed||Yes|
|Underwater wrist-based heart rate||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Heart rate from external HRM (real-time during rests, interval and session stats during rests, and automatic heart rate download post-swim)||Yes||yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™)||yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™)|
It’s too expensive but it probably needs that price-premium to compensate for what I would expect to be a relatively low level of sales. In any case, the price is easy enough to change should Garmin decide to do that.
I can see very few people who already own a Fenix or high-spec forerunner buying one of these. Perhaps someone might own a very large Fenix 6X and, as well, would like a relatively small watch for swimming. Hmmm.