While other brands focus on including all fitness tracker features, Garmin focuses on creating uniquely specific devices for different tasks. The Garmin Swim 2 is one of those smartwatch mode wearables built for swimming, but it still has other things to track. It was designed for the serious swimmers who live for the sport. The Garmin Swim 2 is the first device from Garmin that can actually keep track of your heart rate underwater. It tracks you while you swim both in a pool and open water, you get most of the swim-specific metrics found in most trackers, but the price is much lower.

Swim 2 by Garmin

4.5 stars

Price when reviewed: $243.95

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A watch designed for serious swimmers

The design has really evolved from its predecessor. It’s much smaller in size, measuring 42mm. It’s also a few grams lighter than its predecessor. The pixel resolution is 208 x 208 and a transflective display measuring 1.4 inches. The sport watch comes with a 5ATM waterproof rating, a band made from silicone, and five physical buttons. The design is very sporty, and you can choose between slate black and whitestone models. The white one is much better if you’re going for a brighter hue.

It has a four-pin charging port at the back, which isn’t different from any other expensive Garmin watch. The wrist-based optical heart rate monitor that measures your heart rate in water is one of the most innovative features of the Garmin watch, and it is also located at the back.

You won’t have to use a sensor or wear a heart rate strap. While doing your pool swim, the watch doesn’t feel uncomfortable at all. It’s not heavy on the wrist for swim efficiency. It doesn’t have a touchscreen feature, you only use the buttons, but the visibility is excellent. Having a bigger data screen would, however, be more efficient.

Like in other multisport watches, you can set up everything before getting in the pool with the swim function to choose the pool’s length. The most appreciated new feature is the auto rest feature. There is no need to press the lap button for an interval set manually.

When using open water to swim, the watch uses a GPS glonass function to track the distance covered while swimming. Additional data provided includes your stroke rate and pace. The battery life is also impressive, the prediction is 72 hours when in pool mode, and in GPS mode, it’s 13 hours.

Features

The following are some of the main features made for the Garmin watch. We’ve reviewed them in detail so you can make a better choice.

Swimming

The swimming features include underwater heart rate monitoring, auto rest, and pace guidance, among others. The main reason you’d want to get this watch is the swim track feature; it’s what it was designed to do best. If you plan to use it in other modes such as cardio and cycling, it won’t work well for you. When on pool swim mode, you get heart rate tracking. After you are done, all the results can be switched in and out of the data screen.

It allows you to insert a custom pool length if you don’t find one in the available options. It enables you to create custom workouts. The Garmin Connect IQ is available to help you personalize things on your watch as much as possible. It’s possible to make alerts from your wrist for pacing, time, or even the distance covered.

You’re notified through a beep and a slight vibration. It can also buzz if you set it. The auto-reset feature is only available if you’re doing a pool swim and not using open water for swimming. It automatically turns on/off your testimony rest intervals.

Design

The design is unisex, can be worn by men or women, and has excellent visibility when underwater. The watch measures 42mm, and the display is 1.04 inches, and the weight is 36g making it very light. To reduce struggling while reading, there’s a reflective MIP (memory in pixel).

So when you’re underwater, it’s effortless to read what’s on the screen. It’s an original swim-tracking device since it’s not a touchscreen device, and you can only navigate with buttons. The straps are made of silicone with two loops to make it extra secure for swim efficiency.

Optical heart rate

Monitoring your heart rate from the wrist is a unique feature Garmin Swim 2 has added. The smartwatch mode offers very accurate results. Using the optical heart rate monitor, you can view your heart rate in real-time. However, it doesn’t track peaks as much as other tracking devices. You can also connect it to heart rate sensors only. This can help you keep track of your heart rate through other devices.

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Health monitoring features
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Swimming Features
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Smartwatch features

The smartwatch mode helps it to support a lot of features. You can get notifications, but the downside is filtering apps isn’t possible. The only options available are no notifications, all notifications, or calls only. Widgets are accessible and sleep tracking, but others are more accurate. All in all, the smart features experience is bare bones. You can also use II Find to track your Garmin watch or even someone else who has it by simply pairing a compatible device with the mobile app.

Battery life

When used in smartwatch mode, it claims to maintain the battery for seven days if you use the Glonass GPS and optical heart rate sensors. When in pool mode, it lasts for 72 hours. If you are always swimming, then you can use it for a week.

Pros

  • The heart rate tracking is wrist based.
  • It has advanced features that help with logging drills and pace.

Cons

  • Compared to Swim 1, the battery isn’t as strong.

Conclusion

The Garmin Swim 2 is made to mainly focus on one task, which is swimming. It is meant to improve your swimming training substantially. In terms of accuracy, it’s excellent, and there’s a number of features as well. The price point is a bit high due to competition.

While it can be used for other types of training, similar to a fitness tracker, if that is what you plan to use this for, it’s better to consider other options in the marketplace. However, if you do a lot of swimming, and that is your main focus, then it’s the best choice you can make.