Swimmo Review | Swimming smart watch

Swimmo review
Swimmo Smart Watch

Swimmo is a long-awaited crowd-funded training watch for swimmers. Touted as a smartwatch, Swimmo will monitor your swim, including your heart rate, and allow you to set yourself swim training targets.  The watches come in three colourways: All black, all white and black with a white facia (featured).

The manufacturers say each watch weighs 55g but our scales said 60g – either way it is hardly noticeable on your wrist. The strap is made of thin rubber but feels fairly strong and I doubt would wear out quickly.  There’s 12 holes along the strap allowing you to move the buckle into position for a very wide range of wrist widths from 150mm to 210mm across.  You’ll want a pretty tight setting, not just to stop the watch moving around as you swim, but so the heart rate monitor has a chance of working properly.

The screen measures 35mm x 23mm although the display area is only 27mm x 22mm.  For the majority this will be fine, but if eyesight is becoming a problem, you’ll have difficulty reading any of the data screens, especially with goggles on or water in your eyes. The OLED screen is bright, however, and the symbols and figures are sharp.

The main body of the watch is around 14mm thick, meaning the Swimmo sits fairly proud on your wrist.  However, nice curved edges mean it is unlikely to snag on anything.

As an overall feel, we’d say the watch is comfortable to wear and has a distinct ‘sturdy’ feel about it.

The battery will last for around five days of normal use.

Swimmo is now available for general sale from their website for £169

Swimmo functionality

The Swimmo watch will record

  • Heart rate
  • Laps
  • Time

All of this is packaged and marketed as much more, for example

  • Swimming heart rate
  • Resting heart rate
  • Heart rate during “other activities”
  • Distance
  • Pace and speed
  • Lap times
  • Calories

Of course, your heart rate is your heart rate, no matter what you are doing and the other parameters are calculated.

Swimmo and Heart Rate Measurement

Swimmo measures your heart rate through the pulse in your wrist using an optical sensor. There are known limitations to all versions of such devices, and if you are particularly pale skinned or dark skinned, they may not work on you.  This is because the light has to penetrate several layers of skin.  In very pale people the light gets washed out, whereas in dark-skinned people the penetration is not deep enough.  I’m fair skinned (ginger hair), but not very pale and the heart rate at rest and easy activity worked fine.  However, during a heavy workload and hard swim set, the heart rate was definitely reading on the low side.  To make sure, I tested the watch while running directly against a chest-strap Garmin HR monitor.  When the chest-strap showed an HR of 160 the Swimmo reported a HR of just 135bpm.  Given that Swimmo is marketed towards serious swimmers (200m max fly, anyone?) this is a big problem.  Athletes seeking improvement need to know which heart rate zone they’ve been working in, so they can balance their training over a period.

At rest and low intensity, Swimmo measured the same as the chest-strap Garmin.

Controlling your Swimmo

Tap and rotate your swimmo
Tap and Rotate functionality

The watch uses a tap screen and wrist movement for function – there are no buttons.  You tap the screen (quite hard) to wake the watch up or to make a selection and twist your wrist up or down to scroll through the menus – called Rotate&Tap technology apparently.

The Swimmo App

As we said, Swimmo will measure your heart rate and, currently, when you change direction in the pool via an accelerometer. Knowing that pools are 25m or 50m, this lets Swimmo calculate many other parameters.

Your Swimmo watch is controlled almost entirely through the free companion mobile app for both Apple (iOS) and Android devices (iPhone 4S or later, Android phones with Bluetooth Smart/LE).  If you have a Windows or Google Pixel phone, you’ll be limited to the functions on the watch alone.

Syncing with the watch is via Bluetooth connection. This seems fairly reliable, but again, we have a bit of a beef.  You will see a “synching with Swimmo Watch” screen, but you get no indication of whether the connection has been made or how far through a data transfer you might be. Sometimes this can be quite lengthy and you’ll be tempted to stop and try again. However, we’d advise you to persist, and just wait for the green tick on your watch.

The app allows you to set your own targets on top of distance, pulse, calorie and pace tracking. Once synced, you can then view the results for each workout, a summary of your ‘achievements’, compare to people you ‘follow’ and set up connections to social media or control how and when the watch vibrates.


The Swimmo comes with a set of quick setup instructions. Basically, put the watch on and connect to the app.  After that, at the time of writing, you are totally on your own. We searched the Swimmo website to no avail and then resorted to contacting Support who told us “A comprehensive manual will be available soon. We are in a process of creating it. “.  I’d have thought a user manual was a requirement before launching.  Instead, you’ll have customers like me very frustrated with the product.

swimmo error
Doesn’t record the actual session

The reason we need the manual is, quite simply, Swimmo doesn’t seem to work.  I’ve worn the watch for a total of 18 swim sessions now and have not had a complete record of any of them, so I’m giving up.

At the start Swimmo would just switch off in the middle of a set. When you are training hard, you don’t want to have to be looking at the watch every so often just to make sure it is working, you just want to get on with ‘surviving’.  For example, my first swim with the watch was 80 minutes long, but the watch only recorded 39 minutes and 37seconds.  I had noticed the watch was ‘off’ and started it again. So a second file recorded 16 minutes and 10s.  But the problem yo9u are then faced with is that the App doesn’t give a ‘real time’, so which 16 minutes were in the second batch? And what did I do in the missing 35 minutes.

On the second session I tried setting a distance target rather than a time target.  This time Swimmo recorded 22 laps out of 55 swam.

After another five goes, initially thinking it was user-error (but no manual remember), I contacted Swimmo who advised me to contact the developers. They enabled my app to download a beta update which stopped the watch switching off.

swimmo screenshot 3
Strange Achievements

The problem after that was it wouldn’t switch off at all. Swimmo support suggested that I video the problem and send it to them – how well would that go down walking around with a video camera in a public swimming pool?

Flashing back to the original software, the watch works again, but with the same old problems, even with the beta update of stopping mid swim.  My last effort of 90 minutes recorded as one file of 130 laps, another of 65 laps and a final file of three hours and thirty-two minutes <sigh>.

There’s no way of deleting data in the app either. So my Achievements include a longest workout of 3h 32m, a fastest pace of 61 seconds for two laps (that would be a pb at long course or a disastrous TT at short course) and a highest pulse rate of 105bpm.



  1. Thanks for the review and for the experience share by the customers. I guess if there was a good HR solution for water the big guys at Garmin or Polar, … would have implemented it already. I was turned on by the youtube corporate videos but hesitated…

  2. This watch is not waterproof. The screen is permanently fogged up with what looks like condensation. Don’t waste your money on this.

  3. I was an early backer of Swimmo when it was still a Kickstarter – investing in 3 watches, and engraved wrist bands clasps for 2 of them. I was chosen to be a beta tester. The first beta test watch arrived, and it was not water proof. Kinda defeats the purpose of swim watch. After several delayed communications with support, I had to pay out of pocket to ship the the watch back, and was later reimbursed. The second watch arrived. It too was not waterproof. I should have realized at this point there is substantial problem with the engineers of this Kickstarter program. But again, I shipped the watch back.

    After continued delays, the watch was finally released. I understand Kickstarter programs often will have delays and I was willing to wait and not ask for a refund – these companies often rely on our funding to be successful. As much as I wanted them to succeed, I was starting to feel a little suspect that engineers would let a swimming watch to be beta tested when it can’t even withstand 3 feet of water.

    When the final product arrived, I found myself sorely disappointed. The watch turns on, then off as I swim – it doesn’t fully record the entire session. Sometimes the watch HRM LEDs turn on and stay on, and won’t turn off. I can feel the watch get warm. Even when I sync the watch and plug it back into the charger to reset the watch, it feels like it is over heating. I have to let it use up all it’s battery, shut down, and recharge it.

    The lap count is always off – significantly. When I do 10X100s, it would be off by 20%.

    Finally, the heart rate detection is faulty. When I compare it against a chest strap as the gold standard wearing a old fashioned full body tech suit, my max HR reads 170 on my Polar strap, when my Swimmo reads 81.

    When I contact Swimmo’s support, I kept getting the same response – we are working on a software update. This was nearly a year ago.

    And this is not a fluke with one watch. Remember, I purchased 3.

    While I am a big believer in Kickstarter programs, Swimmo unfortunately is a failure.

  4. I ordered my Swimmo in early June and received it 8 weeks later. I have been using it for a week now. First and foremost, I cannot read the watch in outdoor light: I can’t tell how many laps, how much time, or what my heart rate is. The dial is unreadable in bright light. If you want to determine how many laps you have completed, you need to get out of the pool and go to a dimly lit room. I also note that the lap count is inconsistent and accurate to about +/- 10%. Also, it counts the time walking to and from the pool after loading the goal via the iPhone. Hence, you need your iPhone at pool side if you want better accuracy. Otherwise, the watch feels good on the wrist and seems well made. I think the lap accuracy could be improved with software changes, however, I don’t see how they can improve the readability in outdoor light. Thus, I have asked for a refund.

    • I received word from Agata that I am able to return the Swimmo to Poland for a refund minus up to $100 re-stocking fee. Just send it back via UPS with tracking. Now UPS tells me the cost of shipping is $175! Looks like I will be looking for a buyer at a great discount.

      • Ed – Depends how much of a ‘fight’ you have appetite for. Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2014, which replaecd the Distance Selling Regulations, the vendor is not allowed to charge a restocking fee. Also, if Swimmo have accepted your unit to be faulty, they are obliged to pay for the return carriage. You also have the same rights as under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The relevent points being:
        You’re entitled to a full or partial refund instead of a repair or replacement if any of the following are true:
        * the cost of the repair or replacement is disproportionate to the value of the goods or digital content
        * a repair or replacement is impossible
        * a repair or replacement would cause you significant inconvenience
        * the repair would take an unreasonably long amount of time.

  5. Hi

    I emailed the support soon after receiving the Swimmo



    So I then said


    The reply!


    Enough said! Very poor response and I’d really think hard before supporting any new venture like this. I’m sure many users are have a great experience with Swimmo however the few of us that are having issues could be dealt with on a fairer basis.

    • I wholeheartedly agree with all the negative reviews…. the Swimmo is a total sham with no support and worthless app and device. My swimmo was a gift and the person who gave it to me feels awful. A stone tablet and sundial would function better than the swimmo watch. This company needs to refund everyone for their time, resources and money paid for this trash.

      I posted a review on the app and it 1 star with additional problems outlined…..

  6. I’ve got my a few weeks ago after a long waiting period (~3 months). In my point of view this porduct hasn’t been finished yet. The smallest problem is the slow syncing the biggest is the wrong heart rate measurement. It can only measure wright out of the pool :), it totally measures wrong when I’m swimming. I’ll try to use it on my other hand maybe… 🙂

  7. I dropped my SWIMMO on the concrete at poolside, accidentally. Now it won’t latch properly and the first lap of butterfly, it came off. A new watch that won’t take ONE fall??? Also, You CANNOT see the display outside, whether in sun or shade. Impossible to monitor workouts DURING the swim….you can’t even turn it ON to start monitoring when you get in the pool. And it doesn’t count accurately. After one hour of swimming it said I had done FOUR laps! Finally, unless you have perfect eyes, don’t bother. The display numbers are so tiny you need a microscope to see them! What a waste of money and a disappointing product!!!!

  8. I can relate to most of the problems people are having. I have been using mine since March & am not impressed. I’m going to try for a refund.

  9. I’ve ordered Swimmo in February. It was a long time to get it in Russia, but finally Swimmo came in June 2017.
    Unfortunately, watches dies after several days of trying to charge and connect via bluetooth. Swimmo support is really bad and cannot help you a lot. I’m a software developer, so I know how to deal with such issues.
    Now Swimmo cannot be switched on, it switches off right after charger removal (I can share video).
    Unfortunately, this is not a product, just kind of a prototype with very bad support. Now I’m trying to return my money back.

  10. My watch was almost 2months late in arriving.
    I could not pair it with my iPhone, contacted the company with a screenshot of the error message. They said ‘please return the watch so we can analyze it as it has never happened before’. Return the watch to Poland where it is made and spend $35+ on postage? I don’t think it worth the hassle. Oh, the watch got moisture in it after a 3rd attempt in the pool. On top of it all, it did not seem reliable on reading my total swim laps. I did not even bother to look at the heart rate– if it can’t track laps accurately, I’d be fooling myself to believe it was tracking my heart rate with any measure of accuracy.

  11. I ordered the watch and was told it would arrive in 6-8 weeks, it took longer than that which doesn’t really bother me. The watch is a nice piece of kit, BUT its just not accurate. I set the goal to be to complete 40 lengths. I counted 35, and was checking at the end of each length to see how accurate it was, so although its not that accurate, i still like it and will now just do 10% more lengths than the watch tells me to in order to ensure i do the number i want to do. annoying, but not much i can do i guess.

  12. I purchased the watch at the beginning of April 2017. After about week and a half I emailed the order department, asking when I can expect the delivery and considered cancelling the order. Some lady named Agata, who responding quickly, told me it would be 6 weeks before I would receive it. 6 weeks, no watch. Emailed again, she said for sure by the end on the week. 12 days later, emailed again. She doesn’t respond…automated response “3 days before we can contact you…don’t contact again or it may delay the first response. This sounds like a crooked scheme. The company does not seem trustworthy.

    • Hi Mark. It isn’t a scam, you will get your watch eventually. If it helps, we waited ages as well. Ineed after several delivery dates came and went I emailed Swimmo and asked if they would promise delivery on the next date they gave me. I received a rather up-beat email back saying “it isn’t a promise, it is a fact!” Of course, the watch didn’t arrive . So I think scam is the wrong word here; just they aren’t very good at fulfilment and customer services.

  13. I had same fustrations before with the clasp, long update time, and losing workouts. After a few updates as well as the last, my swimmo works fine without any problems. As for the heart rate monitor it appears to work fine for me at the same time I am not going to buy a second device to compare heart rate values.

  14. Hello,
    I have used Swimmo 3 times and am bitterly disappointed. I purchased the item prior to the manuals being available and am disappointed to learn that i cannot change stroke mid way through a lap. The screen is impossible to read in full or part sun. Updating the software helped somewhat, it didn’t turn off and was almost accurate in lap count, but without proper visibility of the screen outside, its no good to me. I have also experienced all your frustrations as mentioned above and am going to request a refund.

  15. I have been searching for a review of this watch for months, and am glad to see someone has finally used the device. The results are disappointing, but at least I will not waste my money on it now.

    Please append the review should a software update become available which fixes some/all the bugs you encountered.

    Keep up the good work.

    • hi leif.

      you’re welcome, we were equally dissapointed! hopefully they can rescue it and we will of course keep everyone updated.

      thanks, Geeknaut

  16. thank you so much!
    I was looking for a real product review for a long time! I have ordereed the watch a year ago and than cancel it.
    Best regards

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