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I tested smart goggles and they have a game-changing feature for swimmers

The new Form Smart Swim 2 augmented reality goggles provide hands-free performance metrics in the water.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Matthew Miller/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Form Smart Swim 2 augmented reality swimming goggles are available for $249.
  • The goggles include a heart rate sensor and digital compass, are comfortable to wear, and enhance your swimming experience with personal insights.
  • They're on the expensive side and require a subscription for enhanced functions.

Swimming was a part of my childhood, and I spent countless hours perfecting my freestyle in the lakes and rivers near my hometown, even in cold weather. I was always proud of my swimming ability, so when I heard there was an opportunity to test out a new wearable designed for swimmers, I dove at the chance. The new Form Smart Swim 2 goggles arrived last week and despite the crisp early spring weather, I took a trip out to a local lake to give them a quick test.

Also: My favorite bone conduction headphones for swimming just got a major audio upgrade

Upon first wear, I can say that I was impressed with the Smart Swim 2 goggles. They integrate well with other wearables, provide a ton of valuable data, and come with a powerful smartphone application. The Smart Swim 2 goggles also improve upon the original model with an integrated heart rate sensor positioned near your right temple and a digital compass that provides an in-goggle directional heading for open water swimming.

View at Form

In addition to the new technology in the goggles, the Smart Swim 2 is also 15% smaller with new proprietary eye seals that were developed after analyzing an extensive number of swimmers. I tried both the default medium nose bridge and large size when I went swimming, ultimately choosing the large-sized fitting. It fit well and was comfortable, and after loosening up the strap a bit for the perfect fit, the goggles remained securely in place.

The Form smartphone application is used to help you set up and configure the goggles for your needs, including pairing with Garmin and Apple Watch devices, as well as selected swim spas. You can also sync the data captured by the goggles to Strava, TrainingPeaks, TriDot, and FinalSurge.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Additionally, the app comes with a large collection of pre-formulated workouts, but you can also create your own custom ones. Workouts from other services, such as TrainingPeaks, can also be synced to the Smart Swim 2.

Also: The best Garmin watches you can buy

Collections of workouts are also available in various subscription-accessed plans to help you improve your swimming skills. Many of these enhanced features and functions, such as HeadCoach digital coaching and guided workouts are part of the Form Premium service. Two months of this service are provided with your $249 Smart Swim 2 purchase with the subscription service priced at $15/month or $99 per year after the two month free trial.


Dashboards that appear in the goggles can be customized in the Form app for pool swimming, open water swimming, and swim spa workouts. Open water metrics available to view include heart rate, timer, distance, stroke rate, and directional heading. With set distances in pools you can also enable turn metrics, rest, and pace.

When it comes to the actual design of the goggles, there are two physical buttons on the bottom of the right side and they are spaced well and large enough to make menu navigation and selection very easy to carry out. Additionally, the vibrant yellow letters and numbers were clearly visible in the goggles both in and out of the water. You can also switch the display from the right eye to your left eye if that is your preference.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

I was able to capture a bit of data during my short swim in the ice cold water, including my heart rate, stroke rate, and estimated calories burned. I connected a Garmin watch to track my GPS track, but look forward to testing out the SwimStraight function that is designed to keep you on a straight heading. 

Form claims that users' variance -- as compared to using just your eyes and a target -- can be improved by 10-15%. The SwimStraight function also reduces anxiety that can be associated with open water swimming, giving you the guidance you need to stay on track.

Screenshot by Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The Form Smart Swim 2 goggles have up to a 12-hour battery life and come with advanced anti-fog coating to keep your visuals clear at all times. The goggles include a two-year warranty and also come with a very nice carrying case, nose pieces, and charging cable.

While amateurs like me can enjoy training with the Smart Swim 2 goggles, professionals can race with them since they have been approved by World Triathlon, USA Triathlon, and more. 

ZDNET's buying advice

The goal of GPS sports wearables is to motivate you to do better, and although I've taken a casual approach to swimming as an adult, I plan to use the Form Smart Swim 2 to improve my form and integrate planned workouts into my exercise routine. Having the ability to see my workout stats in front of me without having to pause and check a watch is awesome. The ease of accessing these figures will also help push me to complete laps and achieve planned distance goals, and ultimately, make me a better swimmer.

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