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Apr 12, 2001
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I've been a swimmer for as long as I can remember, so I jumped at a recent opportunity to try out the FINIS Smart Goggle, a pair of swim goggles with a small display inside and sensors to help track your swims and keep on top of your metrics even while your head is underwater.

finis-smart-goggle.jpg

The FINIS Smart Goggle kit, developed in partnership with Ciye, is priced at $235 (on sale for $188 as of this review), so it's not an inexpensive purchase, but if you're a frequent swimmer who enjoys technology, it might be a worthwhile investment.


Unlike some other smart goggle options like the FORM Smart Swim Goggles, the FINIS goggles include separate Smart Goggle and Smart Coach display components. That's a nice touch that will likely come in handy over time, as swim goggles tend to wear out as the gaskets degrade, the lenses get scratched up, or some other misfortune befalls them.

While I'm much more careful with these smart goggles than I am with normal goggles that might cost $5, it's reassuring to know that if the goggle portion ever needs to be replaced, I can purchase a new pair for $35 and slip my existing Smart Coach module into them rather than having to buy an entirely new kit.

You could also purchase an extra Smart Goggle in a different color and swap the Smart Coach module back and forth as needed, such as using blue goggles indoors and smoke goggles outdoors in bright sun.

The digital Smart Coach display sits off to the side of the goggle, allowing good visibility of the water in front of you, although it definitely obscures your peripheral vision to the left. The display is fairly small, so it can only show a limited amount of information, but what it does show is very clear.

Setup, syncing, and workout history are all handled through the companion Ciye app on your iPhone, and there's a very clear step-by-step walkthrough to get you up and running. It includes pairing the goggles to your phone via Bluetooth, instructions on starting workouts and getting a good fit, and adjusting the display to make sure it's aligned properly for your vision. The onscreen text can be shifted left or right and up or down, and you can also customize the brightness.

finis-smart-goggle-setup.jpg

At any time, you can also head into the app to customize what you see while swimming with four options to choose from: standard swim plus three optimized displays for those who focus on swimming laps, for time, or sets. With each option, you'll see different metrics pop up while you're swimming, after each turn, and while you're resting.

For example, with the standard swim setting, you'll see a rolling time counter for your current swim, as well as a count of how many laps you've done. After each turn, it will briefly tell you your split time before switching back to the in-swim display. Once you stop to rest, it will cycle through screens telling you how far your last swim was and how long it took, how long you've been resting, and the current time. The other display options generally emphasize a subset of metrics, such as only displaying a time counter and the current time while swimming if you choose "I swim for time."

finis-smart-goggle-hud-options.jpg

As part of the setup process, you can also specify goals for how many yards per week, number of swims per week, and total swim time per week, and the app will keep you updated with graphs at the top of your swim history page showing how well you've done over the past four weeks.

finis-smart-goggle-desk.jpg

The Smart Goggle is charged with an included USB-A cable that has a proprietary two-pin magnetic charging connection on the other end. It snaps right on to the Smart Coach, and as long as you have the Ciye app open on your phone it will automatically initiate syncing of your workout data back to your phone. Alternatively, you can manually initiate syncing by opening the Ciye app on your phone and holding the button on the smart goggles for three seconds.

FINIS recommends that you fully charge the Smart Goggle after each swim, but I found it unnecessary. A swim of a little over an hour only used about 5–10% of the battery capacity in my experience, so you can easily get multiple swims in before you even need to think about recharging.

finis-smart-goggle-charging.jpg

I found the goggles to be quite good at tracking my swimming and identifying which stroke I was doing at any given time, although there was one time when I was doing 200 yards of butterfly in the middle of a 2000-yard swim and it thought I was doing breaststroke. To be fair, my drowning butterfly may have looked more like breaststroke at that point so I'm not sure I can pin that one entirely on the goggles. You can always go into the app on your phone after your swim and correct any strokes that were misidentified.

finis-smart-goggle-swim-detail.jpg

The app offers several convenient views that make it easy to look back at your swims to see how you did. You can see the time, distance, stroke(s), and average split time for each set, and you can drill down further to see your times for every single lap down to the tenth of a second.

An aspect of the goggles that I found pretty handy was the fact that the display pretty much sits in your blind spot when you're looking straight ahead while swimming. That lets you completely tune out what's going on in the display if you want to focus on other things. But with a quick glance to the side, you can easily check in on your metrics.

For many years, I've used the Swim.com Apple Watch app to track my swim workouts, and it does a very solid job monitoring my yardage and intervals, all easily visible in the Swim.com iPhone app and synced over to Apple's Fitness and Health apps. FINIS recently added the ability for the Smart Goggle to sync with the Swim.com app and it can also sync with Apple's Health and Fitness apps and Strava, so it's easy to always keep on top of your workout history.

finis-smart-goggle-synced.jpg
Smart Goggle-tracked workout in the Ciye app (left) synced to Swim.com (center) and Apple Fitness (right)

It's important to note that while high-level metrics like total swim/rest times and yardage will sync over from the Ciye app, detailed data like stroke identification and splits won't appear in either the Swim.com app or Apple workouts.

Another thing to be careful of is making sure you have your various syncing settings configured properly in order to prevent double counting of workouts. If you use the Ciye app to sync your FINIS-tracked workouts to both Swim.com and Apple Fitness and Health but also have Swim.com syncing to Apple's apps, for example, you'll end up with your workouts appearing twice on your Apple apps as both Ciye and Swim.com will push them to Apple. It's not a big deal to toggle your settings to make sure things are reported correctly to Apple, so it's just a source of potential confusion to be aware of.

The goggles come with an adjustable silicone-type strap that I found quite comfortable, and gaskets around the goggle lenses help them sit comfortably against your face. Six different sizes of nose bridges are also included to ensure you can find one that fits your face. A chemical-resistant anti-fog treatment on the inside of the lenses helps keep your vision clear, and so far it's holding up well for me.

I did discover one specific issue during my testing, and it's that I don't love using these goggles while doing backstroke, particularly while swimming outside without a ceiling as a frame of reference to know where I am in the lane. Typically in such situations, I'm able to glance a little to the side to keep an eye on the lane line to make sure I'm swimming in a straight line.

But with the FINIS Smart Goggle, it blocks my view of the lane line. Not only that, but there's a bit of refractive effect with the goggle lenses themselves that make it feel like I'm somehow about to simultaneously crash into the lane lines on both sides of my lane. I'd hoped I'd get used to this over time, but with half a dozen swim practices under my belt with these goggles, it's still an unnerving feeling that hampers my backstroke speed and comfort.

The Smart Coach display unit also sits fairly close to the eye, and while it allows for very clear visibility, I can actually feel my eyelashes brush against it slightly as I blink. I am pretty much able to ignore it once I get into my workout and am focused on my swimming, but it's something I do notice as I get started each time I use them for a workout.

That's a minor nitpick, and while the backstroke issue is a bit annoying, I don't do a lot of backstroke, so it's something I can live with. I've otherwise found the FINIS Smart Goggle to be an excellent companion that helps keep me on target during my workouts and maintain records of my workouts over time.

The FINIS Smart Goggle kit is priced at $235 (on sale for $188 at the time of writing) and is available with smoke, blue, or blue mirror goggle lenses. The Smart Coach is available separately for $200 while the Smart Goggle alone is priced at $35. The full kits are also available at Amazon.

Note: FINIS provided MacRumors with the Smart Goggle kit for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Article Link: Review: FINIS Smart Goggle Tracks Your Swim Workouts and Integrates With Apple Health
 
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bollman

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2001
535
1,022
Lund, Sweden
If you’re running for the olympics you probably have a complete staff keeping track of everything you need to know.
If you’re swimming to keep fit as an alternative to running, enjoy it that way. What use could these metrics possibly have? Oh right, we live in the 2020s where everything you use your body for must be measured and quantified and added to statistics.
BTW, does the Watch track sex as workout?
 

hmorneau

macrumors regular
Jan 4, 2016
201
132
I wanted something like that for a long time but no more since I have the Apple Watch. With the AOD, I can glance at how many meters I'm at while I do a flip turn. I don't want yet another thing to charge.

I'm also curious how long it will last in chlorinated water. Anyone who has been swimming for a while knows that swimming pool water always manages to destroy everything given enough time. That's why I have AppleCare+ on my AW.
 
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sharpimage

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2018
112
137
If you’re running for the olympics you probably have a complete staff keeping track of everything you need to know.
If you’re swimming to keep fit as an alternative to running, enjoy it that way. What use could these metrics possibly have? Oh right, we live in the 2020s where everything you use your body for must be measured and quantified and added to statistics.
BTW, does the Watch track sex as workout?
There is a HUGE market between "Olympic Swimmers" and "Keep Fit Swimmers" that these do appeal to. In particular the growing middle and long distance triathlon competition. There are 100s of thousands of amateur athletes swimming very long distances and I am starting to see the real world adoption of smart googles such as formswim. Users are seeing real benefits from being able to pace their swimming, see their heart rate and track their progress since you cannot read your watch whilst swimming.
 
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Bandaman

Cancelled
Aug 28, 2019
2,005
4,074
the last thing we need these days is another smart device with another account and password to remember (and get breached) and another metric to crowd up your life and give you more health anxiety
I have 1 password for hundreds of accounts using 1Password. If you remember or are trying to remember all of your passwords, chances are, they are not secure.
 

ikramerica

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2009
1,306
1,546
If you’re running for the olympics you probably have a complete staff keeping track of everything you need to know.
If you’re swimming to keep fit as an alternative to running, enjoy it that way. What use could these metrics possibly have? Oh right, we live in the 2020s where everything you use your body for must be measured and quantified and added to statistics.
BTW, does the Watch track sex as workout?
Why not let swimmers decide?

As a former competitive swimmer I can’t comprehend how “fitness” swimmers climb into a pool and just mindlessly swim lap after lap until done.

I would be so bored. I construct interval sets and try to push myself with time goals and sprint goals. Having the pace clock in my goggles instead of on the wall would rock, especially because you don’t need to look through a fogged up goggle and battle your aging eyes to see it.
 

hortod1

macrumors 6502
Jan 26, 2009
409
991
I swim 3-4 times a week as do several of my triathlon friends. A couple of them have used the Form goggles and they’ve said the novelty wears off pretty quick.

Imagine starring at your garmin watch the entire time you’re on a run… basically the same thing.
 

bf2008

macrumors regular
May 28, 2008
100
74
What's the point of this really over a smart watch (that will be very helpful to do timed sets too while swimming)? And a watch will be useful for any other sport as well.
This is just another gadget, to complicate your life, and you're also limiting yourself in the kind of goggles you can wear (which is something that swimmers are very picky about).
People who get all these gadgets to do a workout are the ones who actually don't really work out. If you're really into working out you don't need any gadget, you just get out there and train, the same way it's been done for centuries before all this existed.
 

e-coli

macrumors 68000
Jul 27, 2002
1,892
924
If you’re running for the olympics you probably have a complete staff keeping track of everything you need to know.
If you’re swimming to keep fit as an alternative to running, enjoy it that way. What use could these metrics possibly have? Oh right, we live in the 2020s where everything you use your body for must be measured and quantified and added to statistics.
BTW, does the Watch track sex as workout?
This is depressing.

As a marathoner, I can tell you that just endlessly running for the sake of doing it is monotonous and shows very little return for your efforts. I want to know my times, my current pace, and my splits so I can tell I’m getting better and the work is paying off. Or if it isn’t, I can figure out why and fix it. I’d assume the same applies to any swimmer setting self-betterment goals.
 
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orthorim

Suspended
Feb 27, 2008
733
349
Metrics are stupid.

If you want to be a robot, and treat your body like a robot, then metrics make sense.

But if you want to unlock the full potential of the human body - which is absolutely unbelievable - then metrics WILL hold you back and keep you down.

Imagine looking at a device so complex you don't know how it works, say a spaceship. It's doing a trillion things. Then you take one measurement, strap a box to the device, display the single measurement up front, and try to optimize that measurement.

That's what you're doing any time you measure anything on your body. So called "blood work" may be the biggest scam ever, you take something with a trillion parameters which are constantly changing - then you take a snapshot in time, of 10 of them - then you try to make sense of them. Chances are < 50% you'll be right on anything you're reading - you would actually be better off reading tea leaves, or throwing bones up in the air - it would be less stupid.

/rant over ;)
 

pasamio

macrumors 6502
Jan 22, 2020
342
285
If you’re running for the olympics you probably have a complete staff keeping track of everything you need to know.
If you’re swimming to keep fit as an alternative to running, enjoy it that way. What use could these metrics possibly have? Oh right, we live in the 2020s where everything you use your body for must be measured and quantified and added to statistics.
BTW, does the Watch track sex as workout?
For me it's nice to be able to track progress over time and measure how well I'm doing. I probably wouldn't bother with a device like this because AW is good enough but it's nice to have a goal to get quicker at my laps and seeing if I can continue to push myself. It's too cold to swim at my community pool lately but I travelled over the holidays and went for some laps tracked by my watch. First few swims were slower than usual but then I hit my rhythm and was able to get to a reasonable time. That I was able to get back to for myself was a challenge target time gave me personal joy, it might mean nothing to you but it meant something to me.

And sure you can track sex as a workout with the watch, great for seeing your heart rate and duration ;)
 

jimsong

macrumors member
Feb 19, 2010
39
45
Metrics are stupid.

If you want to be a robot, and treat your body like a robot, then metrics make sense.

But if you want to unlock the full potential of the human body - which is absolutely unbelievable - then metrics WILL hold you back and keep you down.
Metrics matter to any competitive athlete. Period. Whether it's a using a smart device or a coach on the pool deck with a stopwatch, any high level athlete worth their salt will heavily rely on measurements of their performance.

As a competitive masters swimmer, I'm constantly measuring my times as well to keep track of improvements and how I'm doing. Sure, metrics don't matter if you're mindlessly swimming back and forth or only care about general fitness. But if you care about your times in races, they absolutely do matter. A lot.
 

jimsong

macrumors member
Feb 19, 2010
39
45
If you’re running for the olympics you probably have a complete staff keeping track of everything you need to know.
If you’re swimming to keep fit as an alternative to running, enjoy it that way. What use could these metrics possibly have?
I'm not an Olympic swimmer, but I'm not a fitness swimmer either. I swim competitively, as an adult. I've worked on improving my times through the years. Race times (and hence metrics) matter to me. Something you've completely missed.
 
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