Many smart gadgets can track running, but few can track swimming – that is, if you want something that is built specifically for swimming instead of a device that features swim-tracking features as a bonus. New fitness company Form aims to solve this problem with its first product, a $199 swim goggle. Several former employees of Recon Instruments co-founded the company. The Form has combined an AR heads-up display that mimics Google Glass with a fitness tracker, specifically designed for swimming. Even though the tool is geared toward serious swimmers, the result is surprisingly useful.
A smart swimming goggle, the Form Swim Goggles track your swims and give you real-time visibility of your swim data with a lens display. This is the first wearable that combines swim-tracking features that usually go with a sports watch with a pair of goggles. Moreover, it allows you to see the data in a new way, which allows you to focus more on improving your front crawl and completing those interval sessions. They aren’t cheap ($199), but they are one of the few wearables that can be used in the water.
- The goggles fit like a regular pair of goggles
- The Display is useful and not distracting
- Tracking your swims accurately
- Swims in open water is not tracked
- Expensive compared to standard goggles
- A single design is available
The good news is that these smart goggles still feel and look pretty standard. The goggles only come in one style – an all-black design with clear lenses and an adjustable silicone strap to ensure they won’t slip. As they are waterproof up to 10 meters, they can be used in most swimming pools.
The only thing that makes these goggles stand out is the small black unit on the side of one lens, which houses the tracking sensors and the display system. The smart display also has two small buttons that can be used to switch on and navigate menus. This extra hardware doesn’t stand out in the water like a sore thumb, as we initially feared. It also doesn’t feel heavy when you have the goggles on. The goggles keep their smarts hidden, which is a pleasure to see.
Five different nose bridges are included to ensure the goggles sit comfortably on your nose. Getting the perfect fit and seal is essential to getting the most out of your smart display, so experiment with different nose bridges to find out which works well for you.
During our month-long testing, there haven’t been any fogging issues. The goggles might need to be wiped down occasionally, but on the whole, they are the same as normal goggles. Furthermore, they include a handy case that fits the nose bridges, goggles, and any small items you may want to keep with you while swimming.
There is no doubt that the AR display is the most exciting and innovative feature of the connected goggles. Form’s smart eyewear uses a waveguide display similar to Google Glass smart glasses. Thus, the lens can display words, numbers, and very basic icons, while still allowing the user to see the rest of the world around him or her. Thanks to the flippable goggles and the display orientation, the display can be positioned on either lens.
A waveguide display has been incorporated into one of the lenses, which is similar to that used by Google for its Glass smart glasses. Even after using the goggles for a few months, we haven’t noticed any reduction in the visibility of the screen, and the experience hasn’t changed much.
The Form tracker claims to track metrics you can get from a sports watch and more, and it uses the same type of motion sensors that you’ll find in a lot of swim tracking watches. A gyroscope and accelerometer determine when you’re swimming. Form’s algorithms crunch those numbers to determine when you’re swimming. Currently, this tracking only works for pools. Currently, there is no onboard GPS to track open-water swims, but hopefully, that will be added to future models.
Software And App
After you’ve finished your swim and your workout is saved, you can sync your workout routine over Bluetooth to the Form Swim companion application, which is compatible with Android and iPhone. The Form provides you with a feed of your workouts and the workouts of other users you follow. Strava users will recognize this part of the app, which lets you like and comment on your swims as well. You can also choose from a few third-party apps, which cover the most important features that many of us consider important.
Whenever a first-generation wearable that offers so much is released, there is usually a concern about its battery performance.
For swim-direction tracking & powering the display, the form states that you will get 16 hours of battery life. On paper, this means it will last a long time in the pool. In our tests, it performed well, and we did not need to use the charger very often, even when swimming three to four times a week for 45 minutes to an hour. Tracking and displaying doesn’t drain the battery, so even if you swim for an hour every day, or maybe even more, there’s plenty of battery to go around.
The top right corner of the goggles will display the remaining time as soon as they are turned on. Whenever the goggles need to be charged, magnetic proprietary charger clips to the side and charges them from 0-100% in around an hour.
The Form Swim Goggles were very enjoyable to use for someone who loves to play with timing and pace during exercise: access to workout times and stats in real-time. My numbers became increasingly obsessive in this innovative and efficient way. The benefits would be even greater for professional athletes who treasure their lap times. Whether you wish to improve your performance in the pool or find something to enliven your lengths, these smart swimming goggles will certainly appeal to you. A major innovation in swimming wearables is Form’s Swim Goggles. Wearing them in the pool doesn’t feel like you have a piece of technology on your face because they are accurate and comfortable. With smart goggles that swimmers will be willing to own, Form has set the standard for other companies to follow.