The New FINIS Swimsense Live: Everything you ever wanted to know


I’m not entirely sure how to start this post. In the now 9 years this month of writing this blog, I’ve never quite been as confounded by a product as this.  Sure, I’ve tested numerous bad products.  Products where they just failed and fumbled from a ‘bad code’ perspective. Bugs and such, releases being too early, or price points far out of whack.  Or even nefarious companies with phantom products.  But this was totally different.

On paper (a PowerPoint to be precise), it had all the potential to be a really solid device.  It was priced* well compared to competitive offerings, and the company was well known in the space.  Realistically, after Speedo, people think FINIS when they think swimming.  Heck, they even bought a technology company years back focused on swimming and released a pretty good swimming watch for that time (6 years ago).

Yet somehow things went sideways here.  This afternoon after using the device for the first time I circled back to FINIS to get a bit more details on why I had such different expectations for the product than what was delivered.  I figured before I published what was looking like a pretty rough piece, I’d at least give them a chance to explain how things went so horribly off the rails.  I don’t usually give companies much insight into my posts ahead of time, unless I have technical issues and am trying to get them fixed – at which point they probably have an idea if something is going well or not.  Other companies might be able to take a guess at things based on the tone of my follow-up questions.

But this time I just called their baby ugly in an e-mail and went with it.  All of that culminated in a call with CEO John Nix to try and dig a bit deeper.  I’ve included those anecdotes (both written and verbal) throughout the post below.  To his credit, John was thorough (and polite) in his explanations.  I may not agree with most of them, but, at least they were willing to entertain my opinions – and do so in a detailed way.

(Note that this wasn’t really slated to be an in-depth review, hence why I’m writing after just one swim.  It was slated to be a simple first-look style post.)

*Update: The price is $179USD, which I had initially mentally read as $129USD, which is obviously far less competitive than $129.  Though, there actually isn’t much in that ballpark for swimmers and a display with Bluetooth Smart connectivity except finding an older Vivoactive.

What’s in the box:


The unit comes in a simple and see-through plastic shell that shows off the watch nicely.


Once we remove the watch from the outer shell, you’ll find the lower box and the watch sitting on a plastic stand:


Inside that box is a small manual, alongside the charging adapter.



Then of course was the watch itself, prominently displayed on the plastic stand:


Here it is all nice and removed:

DSC_9817 DSC_9815

Here’s a closer look at that charging connector dock.  It uses a standard USB port, whereas on the watch side it’ll use a more waterproofed charging connector.  This is common for any waterproofed devices, versus trying to futz with micro-USB covers and such (there are internally waterproofed micro-USB ports, but numerous companies/devices have tried this and find that long-term it just doesn’t work well for swimming units).


And with that, we’ve wrapped up the unboxing portion. Quick and easy.

Sizing it up:


Now, as one friend noted today when he arrived at the DCR Studio and I was mid-photo shoot: Holy @#$# that’s big!

And yes, it is.  To give you a bit of a comparative understanding of the unit, I’ve placed it on my wrist against some common swimming watches.  These watches being the: FINIS Swimsense (now 6 years old), the Garmin Swim (now 4 years old), the original Pebble, and the Vivoactive.

I specifically selected these based on price range primarily.  I saw no reason to compare it against a new FR735XT at $400, or the Apple Watch Series 2 at $369.  Obviously, if you want to pay that much – go forth.  I’ll save you the reading time: Those devices will be better at swim metrics (well, in theory on the Apple Watch 2 anyway).

Here’s another look at that lineup from a few different directions (click to zoom):

DSC_0294 DSC_0289

Bottom line is that it’s really big.  I talked to FINIS about this and it sounds like it just comes down to their volumes (sales) being lower than the other companies, and thus they can’t quite get the same access to parts/components.  While I get that to a degree, their own previous swim watch proves that it can be done. And that was 6 years ago.

Getting Setup:

With everything set, I headed out for a swim this afternoon. This being a first look type post, I was mostly aiming to understand how the device works and give you some initial impressions.  It’s not an in-depth review.

The first thing I needed to do was get it all sync’d up to my phone and configure the settings.  The Bluetooth pairing process started off fairly normal, but took a slightly odd turn at actually having to manually type in the MAC address of the watch.  Not a big deal, but…peculiar nonetheless.  I’ve paired a lot of Bluetooth devices in my years, and this is a first.


2016-09-13 12.09.17 2016-09-13 12.08.52 2016-09-13 12.10.40

Once that’s done you’ll be brought to a page where you’ll be shown all your settings for the watch.  This includes things like your preferred wrist, the pool size, which data metrics you want, and so on.  Perfect; off we go to tweak things.

2016-09-13 12.10.55 2016-09-13 12.11.48

Except, you actually can’t change any of them here.  Nope – that legalese-like text at the bottom goes on to explain that it actually doesn’t allow changing of anything.  That has to be done on the watch instead, manually.  Even basics like time sync require using the VCR-style controls on the display.

I circled back to FINIS about this, and here’s what they had to say:

“This was an option that we explored during the past several months of beta testing but having the ability to change the information on the device and/or the app through Bluetooth created an uncertainty with the user when the devices were being shared.   In a coaching environment where a coach may desire to do test sets and look at data from different swimmers using the same device during a workout –  it was our decision that being able to look at the settings on the unit would be more appropriate than the settings in which might be both private and public to the swimmer and any coach they may be working with.  When the device is plugged into the computer in what is now called FINIS connect the user can adjust the settings on the computer directly to the device.”

I can see some logic there in terms of a coaching environment and settings.  But I think it doesn’t have to be either or, but rather both.  Many devices follow this scheme, allowing changes on either phone or device.  The web capability is handy, but given the singular new/major feature over the older Swimsense unit is the Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phones, that seems like the most logical place to focus on.

One of the things noted above is the coaching aspect.  It’s an area that in talking with John about they want to increase their user base on.  Right now only about 10-20% of their Swimsense customers are coaches/teams.  The rest are individual consumers.  As part of this product, they believe they can more than double that ratio, and increase not only consumer sales, but team/coaching sales.  So there are aspects of the app that are designed to allow a coach to have multiple units paired to a phone and sync them through that.  John elaborated on this a bit in his e-mail:

“…capture all of the data at which time during a workout a coach could stop after any specific test set –  grab the data off the devices and then resume the work out which would in fact be seen as a new workout on the device and in the app downloads. From all of the data of previous users the main desire was to be able to have a display of the key metrics and the workout summary available on the users phone immediately following any work out.”

And I get all of that.  Except, I don’t think it should be at the expense of the regular consumer.  When I see 80-90% of my business is one target market, I don’t ignore that 80% and instead focus on the 10-20% at the expense of the 80%.

As far as the actual sync process (which I’ll briefly mention later), it actually sync’s quite fast.  So that piece works well and is efficient.  I had no problems getting my phone to see the device and to happily pair up with it.

John did note (in numerous cases) that the vast majority of my concerns are solvable via firmware updates, and they stand ready to do that based on user feedback.  And it’s true, I think about 80% of my concerns can be easily addressed.  Obviously, being the size of a lime on my wrist can’t be, but many of the others can be.


Now since the app configuration of the watch wasn’t an option, I manually cracked open the settings page on the watch and worked my way through the settings.

DSC_0102 DSC_0103DSC_0106 DSC_0108

The only one that was of moderate annoyance was the lack of 33 1/3rd meter pool option.  Its sorta common (at least in France), and is a quick-option on Garmin, Suunto, TomTom, and Polar watches when it comes to pool-size selection.  It also happens to be the size of my horribly overcrowded pool that’s about 100 meters away from the DCR offices.  John says that if there’s feedback from folks that’s a common pool size, that they’ll definitely get it added in – noting that it was pretty trivial.

Lacking that, I just selected 33m, which means that I lose 10m per 1000m of swimming.  With everything all configured (manually), I headed down the street to the pool.

In the pool:

2016-09-13 13.12.02

Ahh yes, lunch time at my pool.  I peaked at 18 people in my lane today.  I’d like to say it was of all abilities, but in reality it was mostly people trying to imitate a frog drowning upside-down going up and down the lanes.  The backstroke is the most favored stroke in Paris for reasons that still defy logic.

On the bright side, that’s a great way to test accuracy of swim watches, as all of the swimming around/over/under and stopping/starting can really screw up some watches.

2016-09-13 13.14.58

Now since I can’t easily take photos in this pool, I’m going to re-enact the photos on the bench afterwards.  So just imagine instead of aged wood, it’s wet water.  First, you’ll select swim:


From there it’ll ask you for a quick confirmation that you do intend to swim, before giving you a 3-second count-down to start:


At which point it’ll show one of the five data fields you’ve selected.  Prior to the swim I was under the impression I’d be getting some mix of these data fields at once (i.e. 3 fields at once).  But in reality, you only get one field:


Well actually, you don’t get one field.  You get no fields.  See, the Swimsense Live will turn off the display while you’re swimming, so you can’t actually look at the watch unless you stop and press a button.  Here’s what it looks like most of the time:


In talking to John about this, he noted the following:

“Having the display on while swimming. This was a choice we made because when you’re actually swimming you are not able to see the information but rather when you stop at the wall is your opportunity to look at information. With the press of a button you can see whichever data you have selected to review during your swim workout. Designing the feature as such has an impact on battery life so our decision to extend the battery life and have the swimmer be able to access their information at the wall was done by choice. The information cycles through each 3.5 seconds so if the swimmer intends to be at the wall less than 10 seconds they might choose to only display a few data points. The data points can be set up to cycle through for a period anywhere 1 – 99 seconds so if the intervals are short they might only see a few data points or if they are longer they can see all of their data points which they selected. This is also a feature that we discussed could be a firmware update depending on the customer feedback. Having literally millions of yards of data collected from the prior devices the data points we chose to make available are in fact about 95% of the page views from the prior device.”

Except, I believe many swimmers that go out of their way to buy a watch that tells them how far they’ve swam do look at it while swimming.  It’s trivial for me to use virtually any swim watch on the market and glance at it as I push off the wall.  I simply rotate my wrist and I’m good to go during the push off the wall. Heck, I can even glance at my watch while I’m stuck behind that slow upside-down backstroking lady with one boob randomly hanging out of her swim suit.

In talking with John about this during the call, he opened the door to the idea of leaving the display on with the understanding of a likely battery hit.

Once you do press a button though you’ll be shown the current state of your swim, for that singular data field:


I then figured I’d be able to press the button to change to another data field.  Except, nothing happens.  However, a few seconds later (3.5 to be precise), it’ll change for me.  The data fields are only auto-scroll.


So circling back to John on this one:

“The auto scroll is set at each 3.5 seconds, and you can hold down the right button to pause if you wish to digest the data further before it moves on to the next data point. It is also possible for a future firmware update to allow the data to scroll a faster or slower rate but from our pool observations this seemed to be a reasonable setting. Additionally through our beta testing most users acknowledged they would put 2 or 3  data points to be displayed on the watch during the workout and having the other data available after the workout to view on their phone was the overwhelming response. This information was part of our rationale for choosing to cycle through the data each 3.5 seconds.”

I don’t really have much more to say on this topic.  I see buttons, I want to push them.  I expect something to happen when I push them.  Anything really.  Given I can’t see the data screens otherwise, I just…well…wanna push me some buttons.

Now, ignoring the fact that the watch can’t really tell me much while actively swimming, it worked fine in terms of capturing the data. It accurately captured my swim length/totals.  I thought I had pressed the interval buttons once or twice (well, I know I had), but those don’t seem to show up in the app afterwards.

2016-09-13 17.08.44 2016-09-13 17.09.05

There is a drill mode, but it doesn’t appear to allow you to specify a distance afterwards (which is basically the entire point of drill mode).

DSC_0131 DSC_0132

I ended up swimming only 1,000m (or 990m by the FINIS unit), partially because I was annoyed at the people in my lane, but also partially because I was annoyed with how far from my hopes this watch was.

This watch also ignores the inability to have two or more metrics per page (i.e. show me interval time + interval distance).  A 100% common feature in all swim watches for the last umpteen years.  And then there’s minor annoyances like that it doesn’t show me a summary page after my swim.  Sure, I can crack open the history menu later, but it just seems logical to show me the summary when I save the swim, no?

Here’s what that history page looks like upon completing the swim:


Once I’m done there – I simply open up the FINIS Live app on the phone and the watch sync’s right away.


It only takes a few seconds, and again – that part works right away.

Final Thoughts:


I’ve often said that sometimes the solution is just to “stick a Bluetooth Smart chipset in there and call it done”, when looking at older products like the FINIS Swimsense and Garmin Swim.  These were both solid products that never really got true upgrades.  All people would want on these units is the ability to just sync their swims.  They were more or less great as-is (though, the original Swimsense display wasn’t quite as clear…but still…).

I simply can’t reconcile the user base for this device with how the device ended up versus the ever-growing competitive options today.  But I am glad that aside from size concerns, the vast majority of my concerns should be quite fixable via software updates, and John seems to hint towards that in his e-mail closing paragraph:

“I am disappointed that your user experience was less than desirable but I do remain confident that the customers we work with across 80 countries were surveyed about their desired features and our new device is a result. While there are some very nice new sleek devices on the market which do not have a display, some of them are accurate and some of them are highly inaccurate but having some information while at the pool was an overwhelming necessity as opposed to no display. The information we decided to put on the app that the coach might view during a  a test set or that the user might review after their work out as they walk back to their car is what I believe a great summary that will be useful and should the user decide to dig in deeper they have that opportunity at FINIS Connect.”

Hopefully FINIS will move quickly in that direction, allowing them to right what should have been a relatively easy slam-dunk of a product.

With that – thanks for reading!


Hopefully, you found this post useful. The website is really a labor of love, so please consider becoming a DC RAINMAKER Supporter. This gets you an ad-free experience, and access to our (mostly) bi-monthly behind-the-scenes video series of “Shed Talkin’”.

Support DCRainMaker - Shop on Amazon

Otherwise, perhaps consider using the below link if shopping on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. It could simply be buying toilet paper, or this pizza oven we use and love.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

Click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture



  1. Aasen

    Interesting product. I have been using the Fenix 3 for swimming for some time. I wonder if they have tested that (or any Garmin swim capable product) before they decided to make a dedicated swim product.

    I could not find the recommended sales price in the article, but anything over 99usd would not justify the size or below average user interface.

    • Just added it in. Somehow I mentally misread $179 as $129 in my line of thinking. So obviously, $179 is a heck of a lot more than $129.

    • Andy C S

      I too own and use a Fenix 3 for swimming (and everything else) and seeing as the now old Garmin Swim is basically the same but specifically for swimming I don’t get how they (obviously) know about it and go out of their way to make something unnecessarily different and very much sub-par.
      They just had to offer the same in a different package (more hydrodynamic maybe) for anything below $150 MSRP and they’d probably have a winner on their hands. As it stands, if Garmin ever decides to update their Swim, they’ll own the field again (unlikely, with all their other offerings I guess).

      BTW, I would think of Arena before I thought of FINIS regarding swimming brands, but hey :)

    • Mike

      It seems that the Vivoactive offers a lot more for ~$150 (Amazon price).

  2. Thomas DJ

    On the bright side, you did get to see some boob at the pool!

  3. Rob

    Looks like a half baked home-3D-printed prototype with a display like a 1980s bedside alarm clock. “customers we work with across 80 countries were surveyed about their desired features” – makes you wander what type of survey and what type of customer.

    • Joe E

      No truly good product has ever resulted from surveying customers or market research generally (New Coke, BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, …).

  4. Karn

    I have trained myself to get all the information from my watch on the turn if I want to.
    So a blank screen is not convincing and could count as a bad move.

  5. yvgn

    Sorry -ugly design( in my opinion)

  6. Andrew

    From my point of view It is useless just because of text orientation on the screen. Have no idea how flexible your arm and neck should be to read this.
    And yes, Paris swimming pools are annoying at lunch time. I guess you swim in Blomet. Keller where I swim and which is not too far is not much better :(
    Thanks for review!

    • nathan simpson

      That’s what I thought every time i saw an image of the device. The orientation of the screen is just plain ridiculous.

  7. peroni

    I thought you re-posted some old article from a decade ago, had to check the date twice.
    How can they possible to sell more than a handful with such a dated design?

  8. Chris

    Thanks for the review! Did you notice any additional drag on the watch when you were swimming? It really looks huge. I think I’ll stay away.

    Do you think Garmin will update their Swim watch anytime soon, perhaps to add in Bluetooth and ANT+ to the HRMSwim, matching some of the Fenix features? I’m tempted by the Swim but after four years I worry that they’ll announce a new version a week after I decide to finally buy one.

    • In this pool with the speeds I was going there given the congestion it wasn’t noticeable. I may get some time this week in a cleaner pool and be able to decide there.

  9. James

    Hi Ray,

    This might sound like a basic question, but do you have experience of a swim tracker that is vaguely accurate in the pool i.e. ignores push off when reporting av. stroke frequency (I’m using Finis metronome to validate), distance per stroke and captures broadly accurate lap times (+/- 1 or 2 seconds say)?

    My Swimsense was a bit better than my Polar V800 (but not perfect) and the previous incarnation of the Finis website provided much better insight than Polar (which is pretty close to a random number generator – see picture).

    As I fatigue during a set I want to know a) vaguely accurate lap times and b) whether it’s stroke rate, DPS or both for example. Seems like a reasonable expectation to me :-). I mainly do open turns but it didn’t make a significant difference doing flip turns in terms of accuracy on my V800 for sure. But either way my arms are relatively still for a couple of seconds glide at the start of every lap and moving vigorously the rest of it – the engineer in me says this should clearly be possible to identify with accelerometer(s)+software.

    Perhaps the Swimovate or Garmin products report these stats much more accurately? Is this detail something you have experience of?

    I’ve pretty much reverted to using basic stopwatch lap functionality (to time the interval NOT laps) which seems a bit sad in this day and age.

    Love the site – keep it up!



    • Aaron

      I’ve used Garmin, Suunto and TomTom products for swimming.

      I’m not a serious swimmer by any means, do open turns with a weak push off, and haven’t had any serious problems. They all lose a turn now and again, but it’s fairly rare. I’m currently using the TomTom Spark 2 as my “go-to” watch for running, and use it for swimming too. I’ve heard others complain but for me at least it’s perfectly fine for swimming.

      All of these integrate with SportTracks, so you get stroke efficiency metrics. Garmin and TomTom are the strongest for 3rd party integration. Polar is unfortunately the worst. Garmin Connect is a surprisingly ok post-analysis platform for pool swims. Strava and Training Peaks are useless for swim tracking. (My 0.02).

      You may also want to look into watches that have heart rate data, if that’s your thing, for the reasons I outline in my reply to this reddit thread: link to reddit.com

    • I’d agree with Aaron, I’ve largely used Garmin, Suunto and TomTom as well with pretty solid luck – even in the crappy pool situation I have to swim in with people making a mess out of smooth swimming.

      Because of that mess, I’m constantly switching between open turns, flip turns, and whatever the heck you call it when you turn mid-late 2-meters before the wall because people are eating a baguette avec fromage there.

    • James

      Thanks for the comments guys.

    • David Stankard

      I REALLY wish Garmin would allow us to edit swim data, to at least minimally fix a missed lap turn. Garmin responded to a FaceBook question about this with some nonsense about “we are really protecting the validity of your data”. I can already fix these lap errors in SportTracks (on my PC) but having having it stay wrong on Garmin connect means I can’t just see it on my phone correctly, later.

      Oh, and the older you get, the less you can see your watch while swimming, so that is a young person’s problem! LoL

    • CMV

      Hi David,
      Try http://www.swimmingwatchtools.com as suggested by Ray in an older post. It will edit your .fit file, that you can then import back into Garmin Connect.
      I use it all the time, works perfectly.

    • Tm Jordan

      I really did laugh out loud at that. See my other comment about French Swimming Pool etiquette or lack of it. At Canet they have a sunbathing area and a cafe where you can get your baguette and fromage and french fries no problem. At least when they’re eating they aren’t talking or shouting to be more precise. I have always enjoyed the peacefullness of lane swimming in the UK. Fat chance here in France. Making as much noise as possible is de rigeur it seems.

  10. AT

    wow, so ugly, i am in market of a good swim watch but not this one.

  11. ChrisG

    Hmm…. Not being able to see how far or fast you’ve been on the move is a complete no no. Main reason I use a watch when swimming is so I don’t have to try and remember lengths (tricky for any swim over about 500m for my small brain) or stop to look at the wall clock. Why could anyone think stopping to look at their watch is a good thing?

    This sounds like an exercise in group think – or no one was prepared to tell the boss the truth. Other finis stuff is great. Shame.


  12. coolhandsloot

    “Heck, I can even glance at my watch while I’m stuck behind that slow upside-down backstroking lady with one boob randomly hanging out of her swim suit.”

    Go home mom, you’re drunk.

  13. Ray,

    In regards to the CEO’s last statement. What are your thoughts on this device vs others with no display? It seems like there are other devices that do swimming, as well as sleep/daily tracking, running (estimate), etc. for way less money. Specifically, I have been interested in the MOOV Now ($60). I know you had posted about that device a long time ago (when it was being crowd funded), but it is now in its second generation. I was wondering if you were ever going to circle back and do a piece on it?

    Also, as a side note, if MOOV NOW people are are listening, add an optical hrm, and make hr and cadence rebroadcast, and take my money!

    • Yeah, I tend to be a ‘must have a display’ kinda guy when it comes to activity trackers and swim devices.

      And that’s what disappointed me here – it has a display, but doesn’t really use it. In which case, you might as well go towards the Misfit/Move crowd.

  14. Ray,

    Heads up. I just noticed your site’s homepage isn’t displaying the newest blog posts in the feed. Something seems off.

  15. Hey Ray,

    Thanks for the heads up – I would have seriously considered this thing (I love their goggles) as I’m swimming basically every day and would like to get myself a decent watch. However, after reading your great review, I’ll definitely skip the Swimsense. If you talk to their people again, please let them know they’ve lost at least one sale because of how cr@ppy it is.

  16. carl

    That’s just odd. You have to wonder if they had any actual swimmers working on it.

  17. Patrick Myers

    “Except, I believe many swimmers that go out of their way to buy a watch that tells them how far they’ve swam do look at it while swimming. …

    In talking with John about this during the call, he opened the door to the idea of leaving the display on with the understanding of a likely battery hit.”

    This is the primary use case of a watch to me. Am I at 300 or 350 of my 400? Oh, watch says 300.

    They could solve the battery concern by keeping it off most of the time and by lighting up it for 3 seconds upon detecting a wall push off.

  18. Tosin

    I’m just amazed at how small the screen and the text is. I do flip turns and open turns, and in either case, I like to look at my watch as i’m in the glide of my initial push off from the wall. I couldn’t deal with an “off” screen because it’s that inherent fear of lack of data capture. I need to know it’s picking everything up.

  19. Dan H.

    “Ahh yes, lunch time at my pool. I peaked at 18 people in my lane today. I’d like to say it was of all abilities, but in reality it was mostly people trying to imitate a frog drowning upside-down going up and down the lanes. The backstroke is the most favored stroke in Paris for reasons that still defy logic.”

    Thank you for this, Ray. This made my day.

    • Melanie Ware

      This made me chuckle, but also cringe. I’m blessed that I use a small pool, in a small town, in a flyover state, and never have to share lanes. Otherwise, this would probably be me. At least my boobs stay securely inside my suit while I’m imitating a drowning frog.

  20. Jimbo

    As a lifelong swimmer for the last 40+ years; I’ve very rarely worn a watch while pool swimming and wouldn’t rely on one to count my distance. I know how to count my laps and keep track with a pace clock.

    What intrigues wearing a watch for swimming is HR tracking as I’ve never known my HR while swimming. I do for cycling and running, but not swimming.

    A display that shows three fields at 3.5 seconds means 10.5 seconds once you push the button. Not every swim interval involves 10.5 seconds at the wall. Something settable or closer to 1 second or less would probably be much better.

    What is the battery life as is? If the display was on all the time would they get 2-3 hours? Very few people will need to track a pool swim workout over that during their lifetime.

    No HR and all the other problems mean I would never buy this.

  21. Howard Waller

    Damming! That display looks so, so, clunky.

    I’ve been pool swimming with my Garmin Swim for many a year and well, it just works. Yes, bluetooth connectivity would be nice, but heck.

    • Dave Cochrane

      Amen to that. I killed my Swim a few years back and wish they’d re-release it with BT. I’d buy one in a second. My Spartan Ultra is catching up in most areas quite well now, but the swimming feature set really sucks.

  22. SeanU

    D.O.A is all I say.

    • david cochrane

      Amen to that. This whole product actually makes me feel emotionally bereft. The original, with the addition of a bit of Polish to the interface and BT, would have been great. It is still, AFAIK, the only swim tracker with auto interval detection. I liked it a lot and have actually regretted selling it a few times.

  23. Looks like they are desperately trying to play catch up and failing miserably. Oh, and no apostrophe in “syncs”…

  24. Mark Child

    Love all you writing, avid reader and many, many thanks for all you do. But, sorry, eg does not equal ie. Not semantics: “this thing can sync in many ways, eg Bluetooth” vs “this thing syncs in just one way, IE Ant+” mean very different things

  25. Uli

    Oh boy – I was so excited when I saw the new swim watch on the Finis website, just to be utterly disappointed when I saw pictures of it and read this hands-on review. Even for a company like Finis, who do not have the purchasing market power for piece parts or access to state-of-the-art design or assembly companies as others may have it, it should be feasible to make a more attractive item whith a better usability. Sure, they can improve a lot of things with firmware updates, but not the ugly and bulky appearance or the misoriented display.
    I used to use the original swimsense for about 6 months until it broke – actually it simply stopped working. I was always quite pleased with its performance, especially with the automatic go/stop function, without the need to push a button upon push off or at the end. A feature that, to my knowledge, no other swim tracker on the market has and that should not be underestimated. I was then talked into waiting for the new swimsense by my dealer (which ended up in waiting for 10 months), only to realize that the original swimsense would still be the best thing to suit my needs. Unfortunately, it is now sold out or available only for huge money.
    So it appears that the strapless paddles (which are great) will remain my only Finis tool in use for the time being (since the strapless finger paddles are not that great).

  26. I’m done with Finis. Used too many of their electronics only for them to break right after warranty expires. I can’t even understand what they were thinking or whom they polled to come up with this “watch.”

    Their paean to Nyad recently also helped inform my decision to swim Finis-free in the future.

  27. Looks like the watch was designed in the former Soviet Union. What an abomination!

  28. Andrea

    Hi Ray. Big fan of pool watches. Any new release is welcome but… this seems just a step back.

    However how long this battery last after all? Longer than a Garmin Swim? I doubt considering the recharging clip.


  29. Juan

    I am sorry for Finis Engineers, but the old one was much better. I owned one for more than 4 years and it was great. No issues at all, never missed a lap, a good screen and a great battery life.

  30. M

    You seem to be holding back. Tell us how you really feel about crowded natatoriums. :D

  31. Tyler

    You took it far too easy on them.

    This looks like something that should have been included with a Happy Meal at McDonald’s (and discarded soon after).

    • I generally balance being cordial with criticism. I think I made my point here without getting really ugly.

      Had a company been rude/etc, that’s when I take off the gloves (as has been seen previously with others).

  32. Captain Chris

    3.5 seconds? Does anyone really think that slow?

  33. Tm Jordan

    Many thanks for the very informative review. I only just found your site when looking for info on a Garmin product 910XT with altitude reading problems. I certainly laughed at the description of your pool in Paris. It looks quite orderly in the photo. I am in the Pyrenees Orientales in France and decided to try out the 50m outdoor Bassin Olympique in Canet en Roussillon. Thats right the place where Laura and Florent Manadou started out. Not being the best of swimmers I was nervous about going to such a prestigous venue. I needn’t have been. What I found what a shock. Plenty of upside down drowning frogs usually women who decide for reasons best known to themselves to be swimming topless. Petting? Full on embracing more like. Absolutely no lane segregation for speed. So you get half way down the length and get stuck behind someone barely moving. Lanes for people using fins who only fin up and down endlessly. All at different speeds of course. Breast strokers and crawl swimmers in the same lane so watch out for flailing legs. Oh and the liberal sprinkling of backstrokers who cannt see where they going. Not allowed to use hand paddles. They are hard and can hurt people I guess. But its OK to have false nails which could potentially blind you. The French seem to swim like they drive. Complete chaos. I’m now looking for a different pool.
    I will definintely chack you reviews before buying further equipment. I use a lot of Finis pool toys but I wont be buying their watch just yet.

  34. Colin

    It looks like a bad/cheap mock-up of something you’d see at a Product Design degree show!

  35. Xander

    Good try Finis… only product worth using is the Tritonwear Swim Platform. No other product has as indepth analytics, is as comfortable to wear nor has produced more successful swimmers. If you take swimming seriously, Tritonwear is the only product you should consider.

  36. Melanie

    I’ve just bought one of these and feel it was a bad move. No idea what I’m doing wrong but it told me I had done an extra 300m in the pool (I keep a tally in my head and work in blocks of 10 so easy to keep count and truthfully would be near dead if I had really done 1900m rather than the 1600m which is what I did) . And it also said I had done more freestyle than breaststroke which wasn’t accurate either. Gah!

    Should I just end it back? Give it another go? What do you suggest instead?

    • I’d strongly recommend doing anything other than keeping it. Perhaps things have changed in the last year – but my review post above is pretty clear on how bad of a miss this product is.

  37. Be Soh

    Thanks for the writeup. I did not have a good experience with the original SwimSense and my best experience is still with the Garmin Swim (not the rest of the Garmins though, even the latest like the Garmin Vivoactive3 that I own now). Could be a problem with the user (I am a breaststroker, but even when I pushed off the wall with a long glide, the G-Swim was accurately measuring while the G-VA3 was off in lap counting by 30%).

    I guess this won’t be my next swim watch.

  38. Michael G

    Just got my Swimsense Live watch and trying to set it up. I’m asked for the “Mac Address” that I’m supposed to see on the screen of the watch. The watch will not turn on.

    It DOES show the “charging” icon on the watch face and I let it charge overnight.

    Am I missing something?