Top critical review
78 people found this helpful
READ BEFORE PURCHASE!! Impressed with product - 6 months on, disappointed with manufacturer support
on 3 January 2014
I was starting to get fed up with losing track of my swimming laps so did some research into devices for counting the laps for me. I was initially torn between the Swimovate Poolmate and this one. I was erring on the side of the Garmin, mainly due to the brand and reputation, additionally this watch has more features than the Swimovate version, including the ability to wirelessly upload all the swimming data to the Garmin Connect website and also to spreadsheet format. My only concern was the size of the watch and whether it would fit me - I have very small wrists at 16cm circumference. I need not have worried, the watch is light and very comfortable and has a large number of adjustments, it will even fit wrists smaller than mine.
The other advantage the Garmin has over its competitors is that the battery is user replaceable (CR2032), which negates the need to have the watch returned and resealed.
The device is very simple to use and clear to see when swimming. There is also an audible signal when you start and pause the device so you know that it is working. It totals your metres, laps, strokes, time swimming, time resting and calories burned. It will store about 30 sessions before it begins overwriting them.
The accuracy of the device is very impressive - I've had it miscount only once during the 2nd use - however, this was only due to the inconsistency of my stroke - not the watch itself. It clearly detects which stroke you are doing, providing you don't change strokes mid-lap. I'm not quite sure about the problems other reviewers have had with the website - I've experienced no issues whatsoever, you plug in the ANT USB stick, put the watch within 9 feet of your computer and the data is automatically transferred within seconds. If you do open swimming, I don't think this device will assist you however, as it's really only designed for pool use - it does need to know what size your pool is before you start.
All in all, I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants to analyse and compare their swimming achievements.
*****UPDATE: 15 June 14 ***** I originally gave the watch 5 star rating as I was so impressed with it's performance. The watch itself has not let me down, but I feel that Garmin has. I have had to replace the battery on my watch after 6 months use, not a problem in itself, although I would have expected a longer life as I only use the watch for swimming 3 times a week. The battery was simple enough to replace but I would like to warn potential purchasers that you have to be very careful not to damage the seal when replacing the battery. I have contacted Garmin to ask for spare replacement seals - so that I can change the seal whenever I change the battery and they have just advised me that the seals are NOT AVAILABLE to purchase!!! I'm now awaiting a further confirmation from them as to what happens in the event of a damaged seal - the implication being that either the watch will need to be returned to Garmin for repair or you would need to throw it away and buy a new one...... unfortunately, waiting until the seal has failed and water has destroyed the watch before knowing it needs replacing is rather pointless. It might work out more cost effective in the long run to purchase a watch that needs returning for battery replacement and resealing. I will do a further update when I receive any more feedback from Garmin.
******UPDATE: 15 June 14 ****** After waiting on hold for 53 minutes with Garmin Support (apparently "Monday is their busiest day"), I was told that the battery cover O-Ring is not available for consumers to purchase as the watch is supplied with one and shouldn't need replacing. However, the battery replacement instructions warn that the O-Ring is easily damaged and can become dislodged. I was told that there are "some in the office" and that they would send one out to me if I wished - not a terribly professional approach. I have suggested to Garmin.com/ideas that they include this part as an available spare so until they decided it might be a good idea, I suggest you look for an alternative device.