The Form Swim Goggles are smart swimming goggles that pack in the tech to track your swims and feature a lens display that lets you view your swim data in real time.
It’s the first wearable of its kind that puts the swim tracking features you’d normally find in a sports watch into a pair of goggles. It also introduces a different way to view the data, helping you to focus fully on perfecting your front crawl and powering through that interval session.
At £199, the googles aren’t cheap, but they do offer a major breakthrough for wearables that play nice in the water.
Form Swim Goggles – Design
The good news is that these smart swimming goggles look and feel like pretty standard swimming goggles. There’s only one model – an all-black style with clear lenses that comes with an adjustable silicone strap to make sure the goggles don’t slip around. They’re waterproof up to 10 metres, which makes them suitable for most swimming pools.
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The only indication that there’s a bit more to these goggles than your average pair is the small black unit on the side of one lens, which houses the tracking sensors and the display tech. This is accompanied by two small buttons that let you turn on and navigate menus, which you can view through the smart display. That extra hardware doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb, as we initially feared it might, and doesn’t feel heavy when you’ve got the goggles on in the water. We’re happy to say the goggles keep their smarts nice and discreet.
To ensure a good fit, you’ll find five different sized nose bridges bundled in, to ensure the goggles sit securely on your face. It’s important to get the right fit and seal to ensure the best viewing experience from the smart display, so it pays to play around and find which nose bridge works best for you.
At £199, these goggles don’t come cheap so you’d hope they’ve been built to go the distance, and there are a few features that aim to ensure durability. Form says it’s used eye seals made from FDA-certified silicone to reduce the risk of leaking, which can often happen with cheaper pairs of swim goggles. Interestingly, it’s used the kind of chemical-resistant anti-fog coating commonly found on diving masks. When you’ve got a display built into your goggles’ lens, reducing the chances of fogging is a big deal.
What we can say from our months of testing is that fogging hasn’t been an issue. You might occasionally need to give them a wipe down, but on the whole they are no different to a normal pair of goggles. They also come with a pretty handy case that’s big enough to fit the goggles, all of the nose bridges and a few extra smaller items you might want to keep nearby during your swim.
Form Swim Goggles – Screen
The AR display is the headline feature here and arguably the most exciting and innovative aspect of these connected goggles.
Form has incorporated a waveguide display into one of the lenses, which is similar to the tech used by Google for its Glass smart eyewear. With that in place, the lens is able to display words, numbers and very basic icons, which can be viewed while still allowing the wearer to see the rest of the world around them. The display can feature on the left or right lens thanks to the ability to flip the goggles and the display orientation.
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In the water, the screen is sharp, clear and easy to view. It’s bright too, with the option to adjust screen brightness directly from the goggles. That’s particularly handy when you’re in an outdoor pool and visibility can be a bit more challenging.
If you’re worried about the goggles fogging up to obscure your view of the screen, that simply hasn’t happened to us. Even after a few months of using the goggles, there’s no sign of the screen visibility dropping off and the experience has been the same as our first swim with them.
Form Swim Goggles – Swim tracking
Form promises to track the metrics you can get from a sports watch and more, and uses the same type of motion sensors that you’ll find in a lot of swim tracking watches. Accelerometers and gyroscopes are used to determine when you’re swimming, with Form’s algorithms crunching the swim data numbers. Right now, that tracking is only suitable for pool swimming. There’s no onboard GPS to enable tracking open-water swims right now, but hopefully that will be added in future models.
In terms of what you can see in the smart display, you can view a maximum of three metrics at once. Options include split time, interval time, rest time, stroke rate, stroke count, distance per stroke, pace per 100 metres, pace per 50 metres, distance, length count and calories burned. Form has also added the ability to monitor and view your real-time heart rate when paired up with Polar’s OH1 heart rate monitor, which can be clipped onto the goggles. You can also customise what you see on the companion smartphone app.
To start tracking, all you need to do is hit the power button on the goggles and choose whether you want to track your swim time or dabble in some interval training. You’ll also be prompted to pick pool size, with the option to select custom pool sizes. If you’re unsure of the pool size, you can still track your swim, although you’ll only be able to record duration and count lengths.
Then it’s a case of getting on with your swim. The goggles are able to reliably detect when you’ve started a new length and taken a rest during sets. They won’t start tracking again until you start moving. On the display you’ll see your chosen metrics and a summary of the previous lap when you’ve hit the other end of the pool. When we put the goggles up against a Garmin watch, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the core data, like distance, laps, and pace, were in line with what the Garmin served up.
Form Swim Goggles – Software and app
When you’ve finished your swim and the data has been saved (and you’ve remembered to switch the goggles off), you can sync your workout over Bluetooth to the Form Swim companion app, which is available for Android and iPhone.
This offers a feed of your workouts as well as the workouts of the fellow Form users you follow. If you’ve used Strava, this part of the app will feel very familiar, letting you like and comment on those swims too.
The data is available as highlights or you can drill deeper into sets and individual lengths, and gain an insight into your pace and stroke rate. Whether you want the baseline insights or information that goes beyond that, you’re well catered for.
If you’re not a fan of the well-designed app, a small number of third party apps are supported and cover what many would probably consider the most important ones. You can push swim data to Garmin Connect, Strava, TrainingPeaks and Apple Health. If you want to boast about your swims, it plays nice with Facebook too and it’s very straightforward to connect between two apps.
Form Swim Goggles – Battery life
With any first-generation wearable that promises so much, there’s always the concern that it’s going to have some flaws and battery performance is usually a weak spot. Fortunately, that’s not the case here.
Form says that you will get 16hrs battery life for swim tracking and powering the display, which means on paper it will cover a considerable amount of time in the pool. During our tests, it definitely lived up to that claim and we didn’t need to use the charger very often, even when regularly swimming for 45 minutes to an hour, three to four times a week. The tracking and display don’t sap the battery and even if you’re swimming for an hour every day of the week, or maybe even more, there’s a lot of battery to play with.
When you switch the goggles on, you’ll see a battery bar indicator in the top right-hand corner of the screen that lets you know how much time you’re playing with. When it’s time to charge, there’s a magnetic proprietary charger that clips to the side of the goggles and powers up from 0-100% in around an hour.
Should you buy the Form Swim Goggles?
If you spend a lot of time swimming in a pool and want to improve your performance or find something that will liven up getting your lengths in, these smart swimming goggles will certainly appeal.
For pool sessions, they do an admirable job of delivering accurate real-time stats in your eye-line, letting you focus on getting the most from your swim session. You also get a comprehensive breakdown of those sessions in the companion app once you’re out of the water, and everything just works.
At £199, they are considerably more expensive than your standard pair of goggles, but we certainly expected these first-generation wearables to be priced even higher. There are sports watches around this price point, such as the Garmin Swim 2, which offers both pool and open-water tracking, but if you like the idea of not breaking stroke to check your stats, then Form’s goggles are definitely for you.
Form’s Swim Goggles mark a major breakthrough for swimming wearables. They’re accurate, comfortable to wear and it simply doesn’t feel as though you’ve put a piece of tech on your face when you’re wearing them in the pool. Form has now set the standard for any other company with designs on smartening up swimming goggles that swimmers will actually want to own.