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4.0 out of 5 stars210
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on 19 April 2011
I've been swimming with the Poolmate for about a month now and on the whole I'm very happy with it. My swimming has improved significantly, partly because I've been able to accurately track my times, speeds and stroke efficiency but probably more because I'm not having to count my laps which leaves me free to concentrate on maintaining good form.

The Poolmate isn't without its quirks, as many reviewers have mentioned, but I've been able to minimise or work around all of them quite easily. I shouldn't need to say that you need to have the Poolmate tight on your wrist. Not so tight that it's uncomfortable, but the watch shouldn't move around on your wrist during your stroke. The most significant issue I've encountered is the Poolmate's tendency to 'drop' laps. Basically this happens when the watch fails to detect that you've finished one length and started another. It's a good idea to periodically check that the watch has an even or odd lap count at the right end of the pool. If it's wrong, then that means it's dropped a lap so just carry on and add an extra lap to what the watch says. All your figures will be slightly out, but your time will be correct which for me is the most important.

Chances are you can easily minimise the likelihood of the Poolmate dropping laps by changing the arm you wear it on, though. The watch seems to detect the end of one lap and the start of another by registering a stop in motion, followed by a pause as you kick off and glide to start the next lap. When I started with the Poolmate, I wore it on my left wrist, like I would a normal watch, but soon realised that because I take my first stroke with the left arm, I was shortening the amount of time the Poolmate had to register that 'glide' phase. By wearing it on the right wrist, it gets an extra half-second or so and now it almost never misses a lap.

A few minor technical hiccups shouldn't put you off this device though, as it's a great training aid and probably the next best thing to having a swimming coach. It's an innovative device and there's nothing out there yet that can do what it does, so a few minor limitations are to be expected.

That said, there are a couple of things that prevent me from giving the Poolmate five stars. Firstly, it just seems to cost a bit too much for what it is. It's essentially a waterproof digital watch with a motion sensor and some simple software and I think Swimovate are being a bit cheeky charging £70 for it. Secondly, the Poolmate Pro option costs twice as much for the same watch with a microUSB port and a bit more basic software. Thirdly, the battery is only expected to last for one year, at which point you're supposed to send it back to Swimovate to "ensure it remains watertight", the cost of which, judging by the rest of their pricing, will likely be a gross inflation of what you'd be charged at your local watch repairer (who would almost certainly do just as good a job).

Bottom line, if you're a keen swimmer and want to improve then the Poolmate is very effective and worth what it costs. If you're more casual about your swimming though, you should have a think about how much you want to spend on the Poolmate and its replacement batteries, and be sure you're going to get enough use out of it to justify the price.
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on 10 February 2010
If you are like me and daydream when doing endless laps then losing count is annoying. I often swim 2 to 2.5 miles of our pool without a break so keeping count whilst trying to focus on technique is difficult. The poolmate really does what it says on the tin and so far I've found it to be very accurate. Even when doing long strokes it never misses. For these sessions it's brilliant and if that's all you need it for it's a four star bit of kit. I've only given it 3 stars however as it's also a bit of an annoying little device. For instance, on those long swims it would be nice if you could set it so that it beeped after say every 10 lengths because as you can imagine, with not having to count you have no idea how far you've gone or for how long you've been swimming without stopping to look. The reason I've only given it 3 stars though is the other functions for when you are doing intervals and the like. The stop button doesn't stop the time unless you press it twice and then the whole thing resets. Pressing it once puts it into pause mode. Ok I suppose if you want so many seconds between intervals but I prefer to work off a set time. For these type of sessions my Timex IronMan watch is much better. Personally I also don't think scrolling through the options and settings is very intuitive and takes some fiddling with. Looks wise I wouldn't wear it for normal daywear. It looks cheap compared to other digital watches. In summary, if you want a watch to just count laps then get it. If you want one for varied workouts wait for the mark 2 to come out.
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on 9 September 2013
When I bought this watch was a little worried about if it really works or not. Good (amazing) surprise: it really works. The watch is very easy to use, once you set the details. You just need to press start and it starts to count the laps, time, strokes, etc. There is no need to press anything to count every lap, the watch really does it by itself, so far I didnt had any problems with the counting. If you want a pause, just press the start button again and it pauses, to continue just press start once more. It records the all the trainnings in differents logs, but once you press start is records the in series, so dont think it cancel the recording, you can see all the information pressing the mode button.

The price is good, the design is like those sport watches and good quality. Easy to use and really helps. Would buy it again and recommend to a friend.
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on 15 July 2010
I have had this for a few months now. At first I though it was great was reasonable consistent although it nearly always ended up with an odd number of laps. I usually swim for about 1hr in a 25m pool and have never managed to count past 10 so this product was a god send. It usually counts to about 80 but one day I managed to count for a whole hour and got to 100. Since then I have been checking my length times on th epool clock and I am consistently below 40s which is consistent with swiming 90+ lengths. So the counter is out by quite a bit when it only reaches 80.
I wear it on my right wrist so I changed the settings for left wrist and tried it on my left wrist. This time the count was only 50. So for me it is not at all reliable as a lap counter. And the time drifts out as well so not great as a watch.
I haven't tried to return the watch because the guarentee specifically excludes the accuracy of the lap counter.
The instructions also tell you that you should not press any of the buttons under water!

On the plus side I have just spoken to Swimovate who make the watch and they are going to send me a "recording watch" when one comes free which will look at why my lengths are not properly recorded. So maybe things will get better!
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on 18 January 2012
I'm a regular slow swimmer, doing 1Km before work 3-4 times a week in a 25m pool, taking about 30 mins to do so. My eyesight is poor but I wear prescription goggles and in the past I have been able to read non-automatic lap counters under water. This device is not the easiest thing to get to know, the buttons are not intuitive, the screen contrast is low and it uses letters for text, e.g. an upside down "6" (or possibly a "9") for a "g".

The first time I used it I quickly learnt that if you crawl and tend to breathe to the right, you don't see much of your left wrist. Swopping it to the right it accurately counted my laps on the first occasion. Next time it was 2 laps short (certain I counted correctly), today it was three short and as I ended up at the same end of the pool as when I started it most certainly is wrong.

The biggest issue however is that by the time you deal with the clock face mainly showing the time with the number of laps in relatively small "type", the low contrast of the screen, the distance of your wrist from your face whilst crawling, the 90 degree offset of the clockface (with your right arm outstretched the numbers are at 90 degrees to where you want them, which is why you normally flex your elbow to read the time), any deficits in your eyesight, the relatively poor optical quality of goggles and the fact that underwater the watch "glass" becomes relefective - you have absolutely no chance of checking the number of laps whilst still cralwing. If you have perfect sight and swim breaststroke with your face out of the water you could probably check it without stopping.

Looking at the other reviews people seem to have bought this to enable them to check how far they have gone as they seem to lose count. I would be prepared to perservere with my style and try and get the counting sorted but as a tool to preventing stopping too soon because you've lost count, it's hopeless.

If the manufacturers read this - it needs to be simpler, we don't need all the airy-fairy add-on calculations; people want a lap counter and timer. Once running it needs to have a large backlit or illuminated screen in very clear type showing alternate time and number of lengths completed and a watch face which swivels so that you can read it on an outstreched arm.
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on 28 April 2012
Was initially concerned after reading all the bad reviews but took the plunge anyway deciding that the watch looked good anyway. When it arrived I was pleasantly surprised how it fitted my wrist. I have very small wrists and was expecting it to be geared up more for men not us ladies. Tested the watch in my 25m pool which is never quiet and even in the fast lane have to contend with a lot of others swimmers and different paces but again the watch did not dissappoint and counted my 64 lengths. ( I counted as well to double check) . A few more swims and I trusted it completely now I don't bother to count. An excellent watch and well worth the money.I wear the watch on the tightest notch when I swim and loosen it at other times. Also love the calorie counter which always makes my swim feel worthwhile after a hard days work
The only negative I have is that it seemed to scratch quite easily and I wish I had left the clear cover on it but the positive far outweigh that small negative.
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on 31 August 2015
I swim to keep fit, and distance is my prime objective, together with good technique. Counting length after length is tedious, losing count means going back to the last number you can recall with certainty, it also detracts from thinking about what you are doing. It is reasonable with time, of course, to know you can swim "x" lengths/km in "y" minutes, but there's something nice about comparing data and tracking any improvements. The Swimovate is a reasonable bit of kit and I don't think I am getting the most out of it yet, but it has limitations and could do better: Firstly, to suggest a pause is required to record the end of a length is an understatement, it requires a definite break in proceedings, I now stop my stroke approximately 2 from the end with my "counting arm", allowing it to remain in the "drag" position, touch, turn and lead with the same arm before digging in to the water again, anything else and the subtle change of direction will be lost....
There are three other issues; firstly the strap and clasp are not the easiest of partners (particularly feeding the free end under the strap retainer), secondly the chronograph looses time at an appalling rate (this is measurable in minutes, not seconds like a normal watch) and lastly (tho perhaps not in importance), the setup/programming (including time correction - which is a frequent requirement) is not in any way intuitive, you'll be entering all kinds of areas/ setups/ existing data, to increasing frustration..
It works as a lap/length counter, but don't bother if you want a watch (mine is worn only to the pool). If only Casio made a watch with a pool counter!!!
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on 15 May 2010
My Pool Mate arrived yesterday and I couldn't wait to try it out. I practised with it in house first, using swim like arm movements, so that I was familiar with the controls. I don't usually swim on Saturday mornings, but I don't usually have a new toy to motivate me! The Pool Mate worked perfectly. I was able to pause it when I was having short breaks - this is very easy to do. At the end, there was a log for the overall swim and also logs for each set of the laps I did. These are automatically stored, but can be deleted if you don't want to keep them. I'm a recreational swimmer who is trying to improve fitness, so it's going to be very useful to chart my progress as my strokes, speed and stamina improve. My efficiency is way below average at moment (no surprise to me) so the only way is up. I use a heart rate monitor when exercising and always know how many calories I'm burning during other exercise and now I know what I'm burning during swimming - excellent. It was great not to be counting lengths all the time. I'm very pleased with this product.
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on 7 March 2011
I really like the watch and what it does for keeping track of my swimming sessions.
At first I hoped that I could just start it and do my swimming sets and get the total number of laps/meters I had done but I got some surprising results.
This was due to that I did drills or switched stroke during a lap. When I found this out it works great.
It would be great if the watch could handle this but maybe thats impossible.
I would also like it to be able to present separate laptimes for longer sets instead of just the average time per lap.
For instance if I swim 500m it would be great to have separate times for each 50m during that set.

Overall I recommmend the watch.
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on 14 November 2013
Is a wonderful assistant for swimming. Just not to have to count the laps by myself or by clicking is great.
It counts laps automatically and you can see them while you're trainning, on the screen together with the time you have been swimming for that session. It also counts distance, strokes per lap, calories. Whatsmore, it worked perfectly with freestyle and backstroke.

Is a little complicate to understand at first, bur the manual is really clear. So, if you purchase one, make sure to read the manual before use it.

The best partner for swimmers.

**** Update 08th June 2015 ****

I swam with this watch for a year and it worked brilliantly. Although every now and then, could miss 1 or 2 laps. Stopped for a few months due to an injure and when I started again it was working badly.

I changed the battery and it went from level 7 to 5 within a month (2-3 2km swims per week), it completely lost the accuracy, missing as much as 10 laps per session.

A battery replacement with swimovate costs about £15 + shipping (£4 more). So pretty expensive! No one tells you that on their adverts. Another option is to change it with any shop you trust in.

I am giving a try to the Garming Swim now. Hopefully, it will last longer.
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