Smart Watch

Garmin Swim 2 Smart Watch – Review UPDATE

Garmin keeps hedging its bets across a steadily expanding range of wearables while Apple, Fitbit, and others strive to create the ultimate all-in-one fitness tracker.

The Garmin Swim 2 is, obviously, a Garmin watch for swimming, and while that’s not the only thing it can tracks, it’s certainly the reason you’d buy this over, say, the Forerunner 945 or the Vivoactive 4.

Since the first Garmin Swim watch was introduced back in 2014, swimming has always felt like something of an afterthought in Garmin’s watches. As a result, we were beginning to believe the firm had given up on the category entirely.

Price and release details for the Garmin Swim 2

The price of the Garmin Swim 2 is now $249.99/£219.99. Although it isn’t outrageously pricey, we believe the price is too high for a watch designed exclusively for swimming.

It goes without saying that it is significantly less expensive than many sports watches found in Garmin’s higher-end lineup, such as the Forerunner 945/935 or Fenix 6 watches.

Given that the Swim 2 was introduced in October 2019, it is unlikely to undergo a permanent price cut anytime soon, but keep an eye out for any transient price cuts that Garmin may occasionally implement.


Design and display

Although it initially appears to be a regular Garmin product, the Swim 2 has been specially created for swimming pools. It has a 1.04-inch display, a 42mm width, and five buttons on the casing.

For two reasons, the smaller size is preferable. First of all, it results in a more gender-neutral design—something Garmin isn’t always adept at. Second, it also results in a watch that is lighter. The 36g weight of the Swim 2 makes it less noticeable while you’re swimming.

Since the screen is transflective MIP (memory in pixel), it reflects light to make it easier to read, which is especially useful when you’re underwater and uses less power. We have checked the clarity on multiple swims and can attest to it.

The Garmin display was actually simpler to read at a glance when in the water or through somewhat fogged goggles, despite the fact that Apple’s wristwatch had a much richer display with more data points.

About the construction and strap quality, this object is resistant to removal. The second loop was added to the silicone strap to further secure the watch when submerged. Be sure everything is holding put when your arms are repeatedly breaking the water’s surface. It does in the case of the Swim 2.

Swimming capabilities

You’re here for this, and the Garmin Swim 2 should only be purchased for this purpose. Although there are other running, cycling, and cardio modes on this watch, they are less feature- and data-rich than a) swimming and b) the corresponding modes on other Garmin watches. In conclusion, if you intend to use any of those settings frequently, we wouldn’t suggest this watch.

There are two swimming workout options: pool and open water. The Garmin Swim 2 unlocks features for pool swimming that aren’t available on other Garmin devices, the most notable of which is heart rate monitoring (more on that shortly).

This device records a variety of metrics, including pace, SWOLF, stroke rate, training effect, and more. Although you don’t necessarily need to be concerned with all of them, you can toggle between them as needed on the watch’s data panels and review them in the Garmin Connect app after your swim.

Moreover, you may set up wrist-based alarms for time, distance, or pace. In a 25-meter pool, we configured pace alerts. After choosing our desired pace and time, the watch estimated how long each length should take and provided information on how frequently we’d receive alerts.

A bleep and a slight vibration are used as these notifications to let you know when it’s time to go to the following length. Also, you may program it to buzz when you cross a predetermined threshold or a specific time.

One of the coolest new features offered here is Auto Rest, which is restricted to swimming in swimming pools and not in open water. By turning this on, the watch will simply begin and end rest periods automatically without requiring you to push the Lap button (bottom right). It will automatically generate an interval if it notices you stopping to rest for more than 15 seconds, starting a new one when you resume swimming.

The good thing is that if you want to define intervals, you can still tap the Lap button. Oh, and you can also activate the Countdown Start feature, which, in a nutshell, provides you with a three-second countdown before your activity begins.

However in terms of dependability, we did discover that when in the pool, the general distance tracking was a little erroneous. However, over longer distances, we discovered that it would overcount the distance, giving us credit for an additional lap or two. Granted, this is a really tricky one to nail when you’re tracking without GPS and using movement alone, and even the Apple Watch Series 5 that we pitted it against didn’t get it spot-on.

Further smartwatch and wellness functions

Although the Swim 2 supports a few of the more fundamental smartwatch functionalities found on other Garmin watches, the overall selection is somewhat limited. This also applies to smartphone alerts, but regrettably, you can’t filter out apps or contacts; instead, you must decide whether you want all notifications, calls only, or none at all.

You may access a few widgets, such as your calendar and a weather forecast, and rearrange or remove them as you see fit. Nevertheless, several of the more significant functions, such as onboard music and Garmin Pay, are absent from this. The lack of music may be a drawback if you intend to use this for jogging as well, which is one of the supported workout modes, but if all you intend to do is swim, it probably won’t bother you as much.


Only those that view the pool or open water as their primary workout environment ought to give the Swim 2 some thought.

We can easily understand the attractiveness of the HR sensor for swimmers who detest wearing a chest strap in the water, while the large variety of swim metrics should satisfy the majority of triathletes.

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