Garmin Swim vs Vivoactive

This comparison will only look into swimming features of the watches as we focus our series on the swimmers’ needs. Some of the watches have many more features (for other sports or typical for smartwatches) but we will compare only the features needed in the pool or during open water workouts. At the same time, recent news of the discontinuation of Garmin Swim model may cause its price to surge and make it harder to purchase.

This comparison looks at the capabilities of Garmin Swim and Vivoactive watches.

Swimming Features

Garmin Swim as a base model from Garmin is not as feature packed as other, more advanced devices tracking your swimming workout metrics and progress.

Garmin can track and show you laps/distance, pace, time and lets you create a set on the watch (which is not a very comfortable way of doing that). In addition, you can switch to drills mode.

Vivoactive does all that but also gives you more flexibility when it comes to the presentation of data on the screen and has an HR optical sensor on its back. The sensor is checking your pulse only sporadically in the water but it’s better than nothing.


Garmin Swim has a group of critics on forums and in comment sections of various swimming site expressing their dissatisfaction with lap count accuracy of the watch. Those who are praising it say it works faster than many other lap counting algorithms and that it is very precise.

Vivoactive gives great results when the pool is not packed with other people as it is sensitive to any irregularities during the swim like stopping in the middle of the lane.


Here we have to give both watches similar note as they are both using Garmin Connect product. The one difference I’d point out is that Vivoactive is both USB and Smart Bluetooth Compatible while Garmin Swim requires ANT+ dongle for syncing.


I need to say now that Vivoactive is a multisport watch so if you need that running and cycling features Vivoactive HR should be your choice. On the other hand, simple Garmin Swim (simple even for a swimming only device) is robust and really inexpensive so it can be a good choice for someone at the beginning of their swimming journey.

Try Swimmo to achieve your swimming goals

If you love swimming and want to see your progress, achieve your goals and make your workouts more effective you can also try Swimmo Training Watch and App with all the features you need and unique real-time feedback to guide you while you’re in the pool!


Latest swimming technology available for You


Boost your workout with these advanced features

  • Lap and Distance Counting

    Fully automatic and accurate with and without professional turns.

  • PaceKeeper™ Mode

    Set your goal and swim at a predefined pace. Smart vibrations will tell you when you need to speed up or slow down.

  • Heart Rate Monitoring

    Stay in your chosen heart rate zone and burn calories more effectively. Smart vibrations will let you know when you need to push yourself harder or slow your pace down.

  • Real-Time Haptic Feedback

    Swimmo communicates specific actions via unique vibration frequencies.

  • Custom Workout Goals

    Using Swimmo App you can quickly create your own training goals that are best suited for you and your needs. Sync them wirelessly to Swimmo watch from your smartphone.

  • Training History
    (Swim Logbook)

    Simple charts and detailed views of the training sessions are always with you in a dedicated mobile app for Android and iOS.

  • High-Precision Calorie Counter

    Advanced algorithms based on pulse deliver more accurate data about calories you’ve burned.

  • Rotate&Tap™ Technology

    Designed to be easy to use in the water. You don’t need to press any buttons to use your Swimming Training Watch. Simply rotate your wrist and tap the screen to gain full control over your watch.

  • Swimming Community

    Share your swim data with your friends via Facebook and other fitness apps. Compete, compare, and cheer each other on.

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