Garmin Swim 2 “Smart Watch”

Debian ,Health ,InformationFreedom
December 1, 2022

I brought this smart watch because my GP is nagging me to provide ‘fitness data’, and selected this watch specifically because I do a lot of some pool swimming.

I have had this watch for a few days now and here are my fist impressions.

Aesthetics and screen
As a watch (I have analogue hands selected) I can easily read the time with our without the back-light turned on. The display is crisp and clear (although at my age I cant read any text without removing my glasses).
This physical depth of the watch body is deeper than I would like, but this is one of the thinner watches on the market; I recognise what has to go inside and this is probably an area that gives engineers trouble for any watch let alone one with GPS receiver and optical sensors for heart rate etc… overall Garmin are probably pushing the boundaries for the state of the art in this area.

For me the watch strap is too short – I have the larger strap on order, but then I suspected that would be the case before placing my initial order so certainly won’t hold that against them.
What I am disappointed with though is that in order to have the strap tight enough that the watch doesn’t move around on my wrist, then the clip digs in enough that it grazes my skin enough that it is painful. It is perhaps because the silicone strap is so compliment, and the buckle being solid is the bit that will dig in. (when I remove the watch there is a feint outline of the watch body, nothing for the strap and a big indentation, and red marks where the buckle joins the strap.)

The smarts
As previously stated I didn’t especially want a smart watch. I really hate the whole IOT / Cloud / big data trend and actively try to avoid it, but given that my GP wants the data, and that I don’t have the time or patience to reverse engineer the watch to phone comms  (let alone write my own data collection app to bypass the Garmin cloud based system) so this will have to do.

I didn’t realise that I needed a smart watch – I probably don’t. But I do find the analytics applied to the data it collects really interesting. The sleep and stress monitoring is especially interesting.
Now I am skeptical about accuracy, & inferences that are made from the measurements taken, after all this is all derived from a clock, multi-axis accelerator and a the critical LEDs & Photo Diodes to measure sub-dermal optical scatter and reflection changes as blood pressure changes with each heart beat. I certainly wouldn’t want to add Si units of measurement to any of this data, but it is probably enough to get trend analysis.

Over time I will take comparative measurements and see just how good the watch is at collecting firsrt order data, but for now lets just say that what it is reporting to me has a very strong correlation to expectations and totally non-scientific observations :-)