Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer Review

​Dive computers are used by many or nearly all scuba divers today. They replaced the complicated dive tables through the years and gained capabilities with every new model coming out.

The Cressi Leonardo is no exception to this. It's a powerful personal scuba accessory in a wrist mounted watch casing that is targeted mostly at the beginner market. It is designed and produced by Cressi, an Italian dive gear company that's been around since the 1930's.


Review Summary

Experience Level

Targets the beginner level diver.

STYLE

A stylish dive computer designed like a wrist watch but it's too large to be worn every day.

Ease of Use

Simple to use, one-button navigation.

Price Level

On the lower end of the price spectrum as expected for a entry-level product.

We Like

  • Great display
  • Ease of use
  • All dive modes required for a beginner.
  • Reasonably sized log book

We Don't Like

  • Too large to wear as a watch
  • Backlight could be stronger

Summary:

The Cressi Leonardo is a fantastic entry-level diving computer. It offers many features that are sufficient to beginner and medium experienced divers. It is missing, as to be expected, features that can be found in dive watches that are targeting the experienced divers.

Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer - Black/Orange

The Leonardo is the first scuba computer that is completely designed by Cressi. Evaluating the device shows that Cressi designed a great entry-level diving computer.


It comes in a variety of color combinations: black/grey, black/orange, black, black/blue, black/pink, blue, black/green, black/yellow, white/black, white/pink and white/lilac. It is however too large to be worn as a casual watch. You might be able to us it as a wrist watch if you have a large wrist.




Capabilities

The Leonardo comes in the style of an oversized wrist watch. Due to its size it can display a lot of data at one time on the screen. It is capable to work with three different dive modes:

  • Air
  • Nitrox
  • Gauge
Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer - White/Pink

​The display on this scuba computer is oversized and this allows to see all necessary information like time, mode, etc. The only downside is that the backlight is unfortunately is not that great which makes it hard to read the information when it gets murky and dark.

It will supply any wanted information on depth, dive times, decompression status, ascent rate and surface interval times between dives. In addition it displays the battery status to ensure that you can switch out the battery before you run out of it.

The one-button menu navigation is simple — press to toggle or advance; hold to enter menus or select. Since it moves in only one direction, you sometimes have to do a fair bit of pressing, but even the newest diver won’t get lost in the menu.

There are audible and screen warnings for deep and safety stops (although no safety-stop timer) and for approaching deco. An ascent-rate indicator uses an ascending stack of arrows to get the point across, and there’s an oxygen-toxicity bar graph and alarm. The audible alarms are designed to be loud enough to ensure that you can hear them.

Technical Capabilities

The nitrox levels can be set for oxygen levels between 21% and 50%. The PO2 limits can be set between 1.2 bars and 1.6 bars.

The operational maximum is 120 meters/393 feet. It is capable to be adjusted to altitudes up to 3,700 m / 12,139 ft.

The algorithm is Cressi's own RGBM (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model) and is based on the Haldane model. Cressi modified the Haldne and Wienke algorithm as a basis of their own.

This algorithm allows for safe decompression calculations for multiple dives spread out over multiple days. Nitrogen absorption and release is continuously processed by its sophisticated software, taking into account the quantity of inert gases in the different mixtures which can be used. It additionally allows to set safety factors to make the algorithm even more safe dive experience.

The Cressi Leonardo can be completely reset after each dive. This makes it a great choice for dive shops that rent it out and need to completely reset the data after the computer comes back.

Dive Log and Connectivity

​The built-in dive log is capable of recording data for 60 dives (75 hours). The data during a dive is sampled every 20 seconds to provide a solid record of your historic dives.

The dive log can then be easily transferred to your computer with the help of a connection device. This device has to be purchased separately and allows to download all dive data to your computer. You can then alter that information to run dive simulations to plan for future dives.

Missing Functionality

As to be expected from an entry model like the Cressi Leonardo does not have all the functionalities like a higher end scuba computer has. One item that is missing is for example that there is no compass.

In addition the Leonardo does not have an ability for air integration. This will not be a big issue if you are a recreational diver or just beginning to dive. However, it will not allow to have the computer grow with your experience and increased functionality needs.​

It also would be nice to have a safety stop timer. Even though it features a safety stop alarm, it doesn't come with a timer to guide you in how long the safety-stop should last. Overall, not the biggest of issues but a nice-to-have.​

The last downside (not really a missing functionality) is that the back light of the display is not bright enough. While diving in clear waters this is not really an issue but if it gets murky and dark you will need to have a strong backlight to see the data on the display.

Features/Specifications

  • Super-easy single button navigation
  • Audible and visual alarms
  • Segmented Dot Matrix display that is easy to read
  • Three dive mode settings for Air, Nitrox and gauge
  • Adjustable  settings of FO2 (Nitrox) between 21% and 50% and PO2 limits between 1.2 and 1.6 bars
  • Cressi RGBM algorithm based on a modified Haldne and Wienke model
  • Maximum depth display to 120 meters/393 feet
  • Four adjustable altitude settings up to 3,700 m (12,139 ft)
  • Imperial and metric display options
  • Dive log up to 75 hours/60 dives
  • Lithium battery (CR2430)
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • 2 year limited warranty

Pros and Cons

The Cressi Leonardo is a good entry-level personal diving computer. To be honest, it's one of the best. It's well-built and it is reliable. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles you'll get when you buy a higher end model but if you are a beginner or you want a backup for your more expensive wrist computer then this is a great choice.

Pros

  • Super-simple one button navigation and selection
  • Cressi's own RGBM algorithm
  • Safety factor settings which add to overall safety when diving
  • Multiple modes (Air, Nitrox and Gauge)
  • Easily connects to your computer (PC or Mac)
  • Solid product that is reliable and adjustable
  • Can be completely reset after each dive - making it perfect for dive shops

Cons

  • No compass
  • Backlight is not very strong
  • No air integration
  • No safety-stop timer

There's not much bad to say about this scuba computer. The only thing that could be better in this price range is that it could have a better backlight. The other two listed missing features are in all honestly nothing you could expect from a dive computer that is aiming the entry-level diving market. You'll have to raise your sight to the higher end models which are several times over the price of this gear.

Where to Buy?

One of the best places to purchase the Leonardo is at Amazon.com. The most  variety of colors can be found there. It's the leading online retailer in the world and you can trust that you get the real product at the best price.

It's also easy to return items to Amazon if they don't match or work for you. Smaller retailers and outlets often will also charge more than you'll pay at the largest online retailer.

Customer Feedback

Most customers that purchase the CRESSI Leonardo do not regret it at all. It's one of the highest rated and most sold dive computers available today.

There are rarely any complaints to be found. The few you can see are related to the backlight not being strong enough and that you have to get used to the single button navigation.

In low-light conditions the backlight is simply not what it could be. Typically, a diver that is new to the sport will not dive in dark and low-light conditions as you're probably better off doing that when you have gained some experience. However, it would be nice if this could be improved.

Using a single button to navigate through all the display settings might take some getting used to. When you get the hang of it, then it becomes super-easy to use. But initially you might have to take a few minutes to figure out how it all works in order to get satisfied with the usage patterns.

Image of the Black/Blue variant of this scuba computer

Comparison

The comparison chart below shows the differences between the Cressi Leonardo, the Mares Puck Pro and the Suunto Zoop Novo.

Suunto Zoop Novo

Cressi Leonardo

Mares Puck Pro

Suunto Zoop Novo
Cressi Leonardo Black Yellow
Mares Puck Pro - Black

Max. Depth

80 m / 262 ft

120 m / 394 ft

150 m / 492 ft

Nitrox Capable

Free Dive Mode

Gas Mixes

1 gas

(Oxygen 21 - 50%)

1 gas

(Oxygen 21 - 50%)

  2 gases

(Oxygen 21 - 50%)

Connectivity

USB

Special Adapter

USB

Compass

Bezel

Composite

Stainless steel

Composite

Case

Composite

Composite

Composite

Log Size

~ 140 hrs

~ 75 hrs

~ 35 hrs

Visual Alarms

Audible Alarms

Battery Life (Avg)

1.5 years avg

2 years avg

1 year avg

Conclusion

The Cressi Leonardo is a great choice for an entry-level dive computer. You might want to look at other models if you are an experienced diver as it covers the basics but doesn't come with all the bells and whistles.

Besides the missing functionalities it does what it's supposed to do. It helps you dive safer and within the limits. It is compact enough to be packed in your travel back but it's not small enough so it could be worn as a wrist watch.

The Leonardo might be too basic for some divers, and we wish it had a safety-stop timer and a stronger backlight. But it delivers what it promises at a modest price for new divers or those who want simplicity. The Cressi Leonardo is our best buy in this category.

Who is it not for?

​As an experienced diver you might want and need more capabilities than the ones offered. You want to look at models like the Suunto D4i Novo instead which offer those features and are capable to grow with your needs.

Besides that there's not much to complain about with this scuba wrist computer. You'll be hard pressed to find a better entry level computer. If you prefer a watch sized device then you want to consider the Mares Puck Pro as an alternative.

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