First things first, a dive computer is a computing device used by scuba divers that are worn on the wrist or as part of a console. It resembles a smartphone screen and does some life-saving calculations for you.
It measures your depth (built-in depth gauge), time of the dive (timer) and then it calculates and informs you about the amount of nitrogen you have absorbed in your body. The higher your nitrogen saturation, the longer time you’ll need for your ascent. It shows this time on a large and often colorful screen that is easily visible underwater.
Does that simplify things a little? Now it’s time to venture into more complicated turf.
How do you pick the best scuba diving computer for yourself? The following sections outline what you should consider before buying a dive computer.
Scuba diving organizations like PADI, SDI/TDI, and others do nowadays recommend that you use a dive computer when diving.
Beginners should stick to the basics. Look for something that has a clear and visible screen and does what it’s supposed to do without you having to fiddle with it. There are a lot of good scuba diving computers which do just that.
Some standard features you’d want in one are depth, time, no stop limits, ascent rate, no-decompression limit (NDL) or no stop time, emergency decompression and information about the previous dives. More advanced or recreational divers may want additional features like open-circuit air/nitrox/trimix compatibility.
Your dive computer tracks potentially life-impacting environmental information. Don’t go just for the lowest price on a device that in a certain situation your health could depend on.
You want to get a computer that is reliable and durable. Diving is not kind to your gear. No matter whether you dive in the ocean, in caves, or just in a lake, you will expose your gear to harsh environments. Constantly changing temperatures, scratches, bumps, saltwater, many travels, to just name a fewâ€¦
They build these computers tough to withstand all of these challenges. Just strapping on a waterproof sports watch or slightly improved fitness tracker will not do it.
Grab a specialized dive computer that is built to work reliably under those conditions. Flexible straps, scratch, and shatterproof screens will make sure that your device won’t let you down when you most need it.
You want to see the data large and clear. So look for a big (colorful) screen with a backlit display. A dot matrix display works equally well too as long as it is visible.
Some newer models offer the latest technology to display data. Top of the line displays today are OLED based, similar to high-end TV’s. They offer brilliant colors and clarity that is hard to beat and makes reading the data underwater a lot easier.
With our trend to make everything smaller, you might think having a smaller screen underwater is better. That somewhat depends on yourself. Many divers prefer a smaller screen as they can use the dive watch also on land.
However, the purpose of a dive computer is, first of all, to be able to see important information underwater. Light conditions can vary and it’s hard to read the data on a small screen. Soon this will improve as they will introduce more and more devices that use high-contrast and colorful displays that use OLED technology. Data displayed can in that case easily be read even on a small screen.
Specifically, if you are vision-impaired or you dive with prescription lenses, then pick a display size that is rather large. It will display the data on a bigger screen making it easier for you to read even if you can’t rely on the corrective lenses in a dangerous situation.
Nearly all available models today offer a backlit screen. Even LED or OLED variants use some sort of backlight to produce the vibrant displays on the device.
Not having backlight results in less battery consumption. A strong backlight potentially drains the battery nearly as much as the rest of the computer itself. Use it sparingly to conserve battery during diving.
If your dive computer does not have a backlight, then shining a flashlight against it to read the display sounds easy. It’s not that easy when you have to fumble for the torch first to be able to read the data on the screen.
You should definitely go for a backlit screen as it’s easy to read in darkness and even in sunlight. You’ll avoid having to search for your torch to be able to read the data. One quick thought though. If you’re looking at some of the latest dive computers with OLED based displays, then please know that they have minor issues when you try to look at the display in bright sunlight.
Considerations on screen sizes we pointed out above have a direct impact on the weight and overall size of the device. Underwater, the weight aspect is of lesser importance than on land as you don’t have to lift the weight. Usually, these devices are also too light to make a difference in your weight calculations for buoyancy.
However, the physical size of the device can very well have an impact. You most likely would not want a huge piece of equipment on your wrist during a dive. It can be a nuisance and you can’t easily get to see the important information.
Similarly, a device that’s too small can be hard to grab and read when you’re immersed. Most devices you can get today are reasonably sized and allow for ergonomic handling underwater with or without gloves. Some technical dive computers end up on the larger side. They have a lot of features that need to be packed into a device so you potentially have to get used to such a larger device on your wrist if you get into sophisticated technical diving.
Lastly, having a small device works well in warm environments where you’re probably only wearing a rash guard. If you dive in colder waters and you need a wet suit or even a drysuit, then most of these small computers offer the problem of not having a long strap. You will have trouble mounting them on your wrist on top of your suite as the straps are not long enough.
As we said before, you don’t want to be fiddling too much with your dive computer underwater. Look for something that’s as hands-free as it can be. For the tasks that demand your fingers, look for models with large buttons. Remember that you potentially will wear thick gloves.
Another aspect of being user-friendly is how you prefer to navigate through the different options. Some entry-level models offer a single button. While this is simplifying things, on one hand, it makes it harder on another.
If there are a few menu options then using one button can make life a lot easier. Multiple buttons are necessary when you have a device with many features. In that case, it’s easy to navigate to the specific option/display you’re looking for without having to step through the whole set of menu choices.
One thing many don’t think about is that your dive computer should be comfortable to wear. It’ll be with you at every dive and one thing it should not be is that it irritates you.
If you intend to use a small system you wear on land and in water then check that the straps are comfortable to wear all the time. If you use them on top of your wetsuit, then a slightly rougher material might not be an issue. If you wear it on your skin all the time, then you want something that can be worn comfortably.
The average price for a personal scuba computer with standard features is around $250-$500. Advanced ones will make you poorer by $800-$1,200. Beginners should pick an entry-level device that is not only more affordable, but that reduces the complexity of the computer.
More features usually result in a higher price. If you want a technical dive computer where you can change algorithms, have air integration, an integrated compass, etc. then you not only have to expect to pay more but you will also need to get a much better understanding of how to use the system.
You have two different styles to choose from. One is a wristwatch styled dive computer which once again has two different varieties, one that looks like a hockey puck and the other which resembles a normal wrist watch and can be worn on land too.
The second style is a console or boot mount styled computer that has all the features packed into a compact device. You can often find the same device to be available in either a wrist- or a console-mount. It is somewhat of personal preference and not necessarily a safety or capability question on which type to choose.
In our opinion, it can be easier to use a wrist-mounted system as you always know where it is. A console, if not set up correctly, can have a life of its own and you potentially could end up trying to look for it. It can be a problem if you end up in a dangerous situation and you’re not instantly able to see the data you’re looking for as you have to search for the console first.
Pretty much any modern dive computer will offer you several modes. Most common in all models are gauge mode and air.
Nowadays pretty much any device will also be able to deal with at least one nitrox/gas mix. If you’re thinking of venturing into technical diving, then having a computer that provides different models to deal with gas blends is of the essence. The modes to consider are multiple gas mixes including Tri-mix you can switch during a dive.
If you also enjoy freediving, then you want that mode to be part of the offered features. Technical divers that use a rebreather require a computer that can calculate limits for rebreathers.
All dive computers use an underlying algorithm that is tracking your absorption of nitrogen under pressure while you dive. These algorithms are based on a variety of different models and the goal is to keep you safe while you dive.
Every manufacturer has its own little tweaks on this and these algorithms are not all the same. Some are more conservative (less time underwater) while others are possibly even based on different models and are more liberal (more time underwater).
Nearly all available computers will allow you to influence and adjust the calculations. Usually, it means you can change them to be more conservative. This can be a good idea specifically if you are a beginner or just diving again after a while.
You’ll often experience these differences when you dive with a buddy or group where everybody has a different brand of a dive computer. Some will alarm for decompression limits earlier while others will do that later. If you don’t cheat your dive computer, you should be safe no matter how conservative or liberal the calculations are.
Oceanic tries to overcome this dilemma by having dual algorithms in their computers. You can pick which algorithm to use when you dive with a group or buddy that uses a different brand. That way you get your calculations close to each other.
Last but not least, air integration is one of the most sought after technologies in the top dive computers. It allows you to connect it to the oxygen tank using a transmitter and it will display the amount of air time remaining and the PSI reading of the tank.
This sounds straightforward but there are a few things you need to consider. First, how do you want your air integration to work? If you use a console-mounted dive computer, then it might have a pressure gauge integrated that connects to your tank via a hose.
Otherwise, the most common air integration is done through wireless transmitters on your tank. These typically work well.
If you are a dive guide or teacher, then you might need a more advanced setup where you can wirelessly track the air levels of all the members of your group. You can find dive computers that can connect to multiple wireless transmitters allowing you to track the pressure in each tank so you can safely get everyone to the surface.
One often overseen aspect of your dive computer is to be able to log your data and to download it to your PC. Log capabilities are different in nearly all devices and some can store data for many dives while others have a limited log capability.
The latest generations of dive computers often offer Bluetooth connectivity with your smartphone or computer. You can download your dive data wirelessly. Other options are that you can connect through a USB cable which most times are optional and will cost you extra.
Being able to analyze your dive log can be helpful. Not only does it give you bragging rights, but you actually can compare the data collected on different dives, so you can work on your air consumption, etc. That might not be your priority but once you gained enough experience, it can be an interesting aspect of using a dive computer.
All dive computers run off batteries. Some even come with rechargeable ones. That sounds at first glance like a great thing but is it?
Having a rechargeable battery has advantages. First, you won’t have to change the batteries when they are empty. However, it can be quite negative when you’re on a dive trip and you forgot the charger. Once the battery is drained you’re stuck with no computer.
Another obstacle found with some models is that you can’t change the battery yourself. It’s required that you send your device to a service center where the battery gets changed. That many times is not an issue as you can plan around your dive trips but it can be if you miss having them changed early enough and during a dive vacation you find out that the battery won’t last long enough. If you are in an area that offers lots of diving then you might be able to find such a service center and have the battery switched in a short period of time
The potentially best solution is that you get a dive computer where you can change the batteries yourself. In that case, you have a spare battery with you or at least you can purchase one of these standard batteries pretty much anywhere worldwide. The downside is that you will have to open the case to change batteries. Make sure that the system is protected from the water after you change and most battery replacement kits from the different manufacturers include O-rings that should be changed, etc.
If you are just starting out with scuba diving then you might wonder what the best dive computer for beginners might be. Luckily, there is quite a selection of different dive computers for the entry-level market that are affordable while providing you with the most required features and functions.
You might be compelled to go for a mid-range or high-end unit, to begin with, but that’s typically not necessary. Pick one of the best entry-level dive computers available and you’ll be set for the first couple of years at least.
Buying a dive computer is not a life-or-death decision. If you stick with the most trusted brands like Oceanic, Suunto, Cressi, Aqualung, Shearwater, to name a few, then your search starts at a place where you know the unit is keeping you safe.
Consider what you really need. Just because a specific dive computer model looks great or has all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean it’s a good choice for your diving style.
Don’t forget, if you start with an entry-level model then you can always trade-up when you get more experienced. You can either sell the used dive computer or keep it as your backup.
In any case, stay safe when diving and enjoy the world underwater!
Aqua Lung has been manufacturing scuba equipment since 1952. While it is particularly well known for its regulators, it has recently become popular for its dive watches. The Aqua Lung i200 combines affordability with a range of features, including a comfortable, lightweight design that’s suitable for everyday diving. We’ll explore the different aspects of the i200 to see if it has everything you’re looking for.
If you’re comparing the Aqua Lung i300C and i200C, it’s important to remember that both are pretty similar, with the major difference being the actual size of the watch. The i200 is better since it’s a smaller design with a watch mode that makes it ideal for daily use, both in and out of the water.
The core specifications of the Aqua Lung i200C are as follows:
The reasonably priced Aqua Lung i200 has all the basic features of a dive computer, making it ideal for beginners. It’s also a solid choice as a backup dive computer for advanced divers. Keep in mind that it can’t be the primary option for pros since it doesn’t have the advanced features that they’re looking for.
We’re going to look at all the features that are needed for a beginner/intermediate level dive computer to find out which ones are included in the Aqua Lung i200 and which ones are not.
We’re going to cover the core features that are essential for even the most basic dive computer, as well as some extras:
The Aqua Lung i200 has 4 different operating modes:
The computer is compatible with Nitrox gas mixes, and switching from the free to air diving mode is quick and easy. The i200 does not support Trimix.
Although the i200C doesn’t allow you to choose the algorithm of your preference, it runs on the Pelagic PZ+ algorithm, which is neither too conservative like the RGBM model (can greatly reduce dive time) nor too liberal like the DSAT model. This basically means that you can get more bottom time without compromising on safety.
The PZ+ algorithm runs on the infamous Buhlmann Model and is designed to help increase dive time, even if you’re completing multiple dives every day. Its non-decompression limit lies somewhere between the RGBM and DSAT set limits.
The only thing to look out for is that dive computer algorithms don’t really take your physical fitness into account. If you feel like you’re not too fit, make sure to leave enough time between two consecutive dives to avoid getting decompression sickness.
Some features of the i200 activate automatically, while others need to be adjusted manually:
The Aqua Lung i200 has a side LED alarm light so that you can see the screen even in dark, low visibility areas underwater. A single button displays the time and depth of your most recent dive.
The screen size is 33mm, which is on the smaller side, but this can also be seen as a plus point since the watch is lighter and more comfortable to wear underwater.
You can navigate around the watch through the 4 side buttons that are very easy to use, even if you are wearing gloves while diving.
The watch has an audible, visible alarm when the battery is running low so that you have sufficient time to replace it. In addition, you can also set your own alarms for depth, time-elapsed, etc.
The i200C has a built-in History Mode that allows you to store data from your last 24 dives, after which you’ll need to transfer the data onto your PC before it is automatically erased.
You can connect your watch to your desktop through an external cable to access the Diver Log program where you can adjust your dive computer settings, build a dive profile, check your dive history (and add notes if you want), and also share videos and pictures.
Some extras in the Aqua Lung i200C include:
This dive computer comes in different color options, including the basics like black and gray, as well as some interesting options like yellow so that you can choose your favorite one.
The lithium battery in the dive computer can be replaced by the diver, but the plus point is that the watch has data retention, so your settings and dive calculations will remain unchanged.
The Aqua Lung i200 has a Deep Stop function paired with a countdown timer, and its software can easily be updated by connecting it to your PC through an external download cable.
Some points where the i200 misses out are:
While many people think of Suunto or even Oceanic when they’re looking for a solid dive computer, the Aqua Lung i200 has proved itself to be a top performer.
While it isn’t meant for advanced divers, it’s a well-priced option for beginners and intermediate divers. The calculation model it runs on isn’t too conservative or liberal, so you don’t need to worry about your dive time being too restricted or more than you can stand.
Some other plus points are that it is a very lightweight dive computer that even comes with the option of being worn as an everyday watch, so you never have to take it off.
Switching between modes is quick and easy, and reading the screen display is pretty convenient, even if you’re in a cave or diving at night (thanks to the built-in LED light).
An important factor to note is that the i200 is not Bluetooth compatible, and data cannot be transmitted wirelessly between the dive computer and your PC or smart device. Data transfer is possible through a cable. If this is something that affects you as someone who closely keeps tabs on their dive times, maximum depth, number of dives, etc. then you can opt for a slight upgrade, the i200C, which offers Bluetooth connectivity.
With an aim to make the underwater world more accessible, Aqua Lung has manufactured some of the best and top-of-the-line products over the years to help you explore the aquatic world like never before.
Previously known as U.S Divers Company, Aqua Lung was founded 75 years ago, and since then, it has been creating a plethora of diving products for underwater enthusiasts. From dive masks and snorkels to gear bags and water shoes, you can find a variety of innovative gadgets and equipment to help meet your underwater needs.
One of its most popular innovations is its line of dive instrumentation that was released in 2016. This includes a plethora of different dive computers and wrist gauges, among which, one of its bestsellers is the Aqua Lung i300C Dive Computer.
The i300c is an easy-to-use dive computer with a simple and uncomplicated design to help you focus and concentrate on your dive. Aqua Lung describes this gadget as ‘rugged’ and ‘intuitive,’ which makes it ideal not just for beginners, but also for those who are looking for something more than an entry-level dive computer.
It is a highly versatile piece of diving equipment with a wide range of useful features, such as Bluetooth connectivity, multiple operating modes, various auto-adjustment functions, LCD display screen, and increased readability, to name a few.
That being said, this dive computer is also quite affordable and has a great price point, so if you’re new to diving and wish to invest in a reasonable, but all-in-one dive computer, the i300C might just be the one for you.
Take a look at some of its key features in detail below to help you decide if this is a good option for you.
According to the company Aqua Lung itself, the i300C is excellent for new and beginner divers, given its versatile yet easy-to-use interface. It’s a fairly decent option for experienced divers as well, particularly those that are looking for a dive computer that also performs beyond the entry-level.
What makes the i300C dive computer ideal for beginners is that it comes with four different modes, through which you can choose to dive with either normal air or enriched air. The different operating modes allow you to choose the settings as per your requirements. This also lets you do scuba diving and free-diving both on the same day.
The interface of this dive computer features only two buttons that are accessible and easy to manipulate. This prevents you from fumbling with the settings while you’re underwater.
If you’re a beginner diver, you will especially love the i300C for its ‘automatic altitude adjustment’ feature that adjusts the algorithms for you and determines your exact height above sea level. It is one of the very few entry-level dive computers that offer this unique function, which is what gives it an edge over others. Another noteworthy feature here its ‘user downloadable software,’ which can easily be updated from your computer independently. All you need to do is download it with the help of an interface cable and then place it into the DiverLog application.
Additionally, it has a Bluetooth connection that provides you with long-term access to all the latest upgrades and features. The Bluetooth connectivity allows you to transfer all your dive-related data through the DiverLog application, which is available for Android and iOS devices alike. This greatly prevents you from the struggle of having to navigate through a number of menus on the dive computer. Instead, you can simply use the application to change your computer settings.
Take a look at the most important technical aspects of the i300C Dive Computer that determine its efficiency and high-functionality.
The i300C is majorly known for its ‘four operating modes’ that also allow gas-switching during a dive. One of its modes is called the Nitrox Mode that lets you switch between three different gases in total during a dive underwater, which also includes 100-percent oxygen.
This device is water-activated, and it turns on the second its metal contacts touch the water and become wet. It also has a manual function through which you can switch it on with a simple two-button navigation menu that is easy to access, even if you have gloves on. When hitting the water, you are required to press and release either of the two buttons.
On the other hand, it doesn’t have any ‘off’ button or command, so in case of no activity, the device enters sleep mode and shuts off automatically after two hours of operation.
The underwater display of the i300C is big and readable even if you’re somewhere at 85 feet underwater. It also provides a backlight, which is extremely useful for night dives. The buttons located below the display are also easily accessible even if you’re wearing gloves. The display lighting further eases the whole process while you are diving. However, when compared to some other dive computers, the display of the i300C is a tad smaller, and it also isn’t dot matrix, which can often make it slightly hard for divers to read the display when they are underwater.
In terms of appearance, the i300C is also believed to look like a sports watch, given its small and compact size and the way it has been designed. If you compare it to the SuuntoZoop Novo, for instance, the latter does look like a computer with its huge display and super bright colors.
The i300C offers four operation modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge dive, and Free dive.
One of the key features of the i300C dive computer is its user-changeable battery that divers can easily change at home. The best part is that even after changing the battery, the device retains all the information about your previous dives. The batteries of this computer are also the standard ones that are easily available everywhere.
This dive computer has a ‘Bluetooth Connectivity’ function through which you can sync all your dives into your phone. You need to download the DiverLog application on your phone, connect the computer to your phone through Bluetooth, and then transfer all the information with great ease and convenience. It further allows you to update your gas usage, gear bag, and all other dive-related details. You can also use the application to ensure several different settings for fresh water or salty water, gas settings, safety stops, and diving time, among other things. Lastly, the app saves your last diving location and the relevant statistics, where you can add your diving photos and videos along with all the other digitally stored information.
With many other dive computers, you are required to choose between a limited number of altitude ranges. However, the i300C easily determines the exact height above sea level and then makes changes in the setting accordingly. This feature ensures an accurate profile and is also super useful for all those people who dive on altitude on a frequent basis.
Some other handy, but optional features of the i300C include a deep stop function that lets you set a countdown timer for an optional deep stop. Furthermore, it has a wrist or console option that depends on the diver’s preference.
To sum it all up, the i300C is clearly a great option for beginners and newbie underwater-enthusiasts. Some of its advanced features, such as the automatic altitude adjustment, different dive modes, and multi-gas use, make it ideal for recreational, experienced divers as well. The Bluetooth connectivity function of this device is one that gives it an edge over its competitors because it ensures an easy and smooth connection and helps you transfer all your diving information to your phone.
To add to that, the computer keeps and saves a record of your dives even when you replace the old battery with the new one, which is also a very useful feature for divers.
For all the enthusiastic divers out there, you can also perform a scuba dive as well as a free dive both on the same day with the help of this dive computer!
If you don’t mind a small display and a few unclear abbreviations in the menus, the i300C dive computer is as good as it can get!
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Oceanic has been manufacturing quality scuba gear since 1972, and the Geo 4.0 is among the company’s latest dive computers. The Geo 4.0 connects directly to your phone and other smart devices through Bluetooth, and you can choose your own custom color so that you can dive in style.
The Geo 4.0 is an upgrade from some of Oceanic’s older models and has a larger text display, making it easy for you to check it underwater.
You can easily connect the watch to your smart device through the DiverLog+ App to plan your dive properly for a safe journey that’s free from the bends, and to keep track of your dive data after you’re done. Bluetooth compatibility saves you the expense and time of getting a transfer cable and manually moving your data from your dive watch to your desktop.
The Geo 4.0 is designed for recreational divers and has pretty much all the functions and modes used by them. Its compact design makes it comfortable for daily use, making it ideal for frequent and advanced level divers who are out in the ocean practically all the time.
It does lack certain features like air integration and trimix compatibility, which means that it’s unsuitable for technical diving.
The Oceanic Geo 4.0 combines the essentials that all divers, even entry-level ones need, as well as some extras to make you feel more comfortable underwater:
The watch has 4 operating modes:
The watch allows for multi-gas usage of up to 3 gases at a time. Gas switching can take place underwater during the first 10 minutes of the dive.
Divers can choose the algorithm they are more comfortable with and still stay safe during their dive by choosing between 2 different algorithms:
The algorithm being used can be adjusted through the Diverlog+ App (discussed in the next section). Both algorithms are designed to set decompression stops conservatively to ensure maximum underwater safety.
Different features in the Geo 4 are either automatic or manually controlled:
The Geo 4.0 has a large, backlit display with a 33% larger text size than the Geo 2.0. The interface can be navigated with the help of 4 buttons around the sides of the watch, and you can scroll through the menu to change gases, plan your next dive, and so on.
While different modes display different data on-screen, all modes display depth and time. With a single button, divers can see their Last Dive data, including the maximum depth and time spent at the bottom.
The watch will display a warning when the battery is reduced to 2.75 volts and will sound an alarm at 2.50 volts so that you’re not stuck underwater with a watch that dies suddenly. When the low battery alarm sounds, the backlight will also switch off, so make sure you keep an eye on the remaining charge.
One of the best features of the Geo 4.0 is that it has Bluetooth connectivity and can be synced to any of your smart devices. You can download the DiverLog+ App, which not only helps you maintain your dive history but also enables you to switch gases, change your algorithm, set display dive alarms, etc. You can even add pictures and videos to your recent dive log.
This is a blessing since the dive computer has limited storage (up to 24 dives), and once it is full, data from past dives will be erased and may only be accessed through the Diverlog+ App. The computer only displays a summary of the dives, so you’ll need to open the app for proper insights about your dive time, decompression stops, etc.
Apart from the basic requirements every diver has, the Oceanic Geo 4 has some additional features, such as:
You can choose between 5 different color options – black, Sea Blue, blue, yellow, and white. This way, you can customize your look, even when you’re underwater.
This feature maintains any calculations, such as decompression stops for different dives. It does this indefinitely, so you can access them whenever needed.
The battery life is around 300 dive hours, after which you can replace it yourself with another 3-volt battery.
There are certain features missing in the Oceanic Geo 4.0. While they may not affect most divers, for some, they can be deal-breakers:
Despite the lack of some technical features, the Oceanic Geo 4.0 combines smart, sleek design with improved readability due to the larger font size on display.
While it isn’t the best choice for professional divers, it caters to recreational divers of all types due to its long battery life, dual algorithm option, and the option to work with up to 3 different gases at a time.
Bluetooth connectivity helps you connect to the DiverLog+ App, which is a major bonus because you can access your dive information no matter where you are in the world, even if you rent a dive watch instead of using your own.
The dive computer combines this host of features in a watch that is comfortable to wear, and you’ll feel like you’re not wearing anything at all.
Although it is somewhat more expensive than some of Oceanic’s older models like Geo 2.0, it’s definitely a step-up and worth the extra money.
Just a disclaimer; even with a dive watch that calculates your decompression stops properly, the bends are still a possibility and are not due to incorrect calculations by the computer.
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We are comparing some of the most exciting new wrist-mounted dive computers that you can get right now. We’re looking at the Shearwater Teric and comparing it to the Suunto D5 and the Garmin Descent Mk1.
The Teric was the first of the bunch to come out with a set of incredible features and a display that is simply awesome. It was clear that Suunto won’t be left behind so they introduced the D5 not too long ago to match the Shearwater contender in capabilities as well as looks.
The Garmin Descent Mk1 matches the other two devices in functionality. It might fall a little short when it comes to the display though.
All three units are wearable dive computers that you can use as a watch. Well, you can if you have a wrist that is on the larger side. If you’re 5 feet tall and weigh 90 pounds then you probably do not want either of these units as your day-to-day watch!
Hands down, the best screen of the three comes with the Shearwater Teric. The display is easy to read, the numbers and letters are bold and super clear. Shearwater did a fantastic job to use the real estate of the display perfectly with everything cleanly being in its place.
The D5’s display is clear and bright. You can customize the screen and what you’ll see so it’s easy to make this device your own. In the end, it feels just a little less clear and clean compared to the Teric.
The Descent Mk1 shows that it’s not a dive computer that doubles as a daily watch but instead a fitness watch that doubles as a dive computer. The numbers seem on the small side and the screen is just not as bright as the other two contenders.
The last thing you want is to have to study for a long time to figure out navigation on your dive computer. All of these contenders offer easy navigation and the options available between all three units is pretty much the same.
The Suunto D5 comes with a three-button user interface. It is kept very intuitive with the central button being used to cycle through the whole menu items and screens. Inside a specific menu, you can cycle through the different options with the same button. If you hold it down you’ll go back to the next higher menu.
The Shearwater Teric, on the other hand, comes with a four-button interface. It’s as intuitive as the D5’s, yet quite different. Each button offers specific functionality and navigation options based on the menu you’re in. It overall is probably a little easier to use and faster to go through the settings compared to the three buttons on the Suunto.
The Garmin Descent Mk1 has a whopping five buttons to navigate and control the watch. The navigation is a little overwhelming. That is due to the fact that this unit is not just a dive computer and a watch. It’s also a fitness tracker that does add quite a few menu choices and makes the overall navigation more complicated. That’s not to say that you won’t end up getting familiar with all choices and being able to get to where you want within the menus. But, it will most likely take you longer compared to the Suunto D5 or Shearwater.
The D5 has the best software setup of the three. It’s easy to navigate through the menu choices and then end up with the information you were looking for. The software is optimized well to work with the navigation buttons and make it easy to find the data you want. The air integration features are easily accessible and clearly show the remaining gas, etc.
The Teric takes second place for the software and menu navigation. It makes it easy to find what you’re looking for without having to press the buttons excessively. When diving with air integration you also can clearly get the picture of remaining gasses, etc.
The Garmin Descent Mk1 is also easy to use and the menu and navigation are straightforward. We rate it a little lower as you have many more menu choices due to it being a fitness tracker with many more activities being tracked than just diving.
Both the Garmin Descent Mk1 and the Shearwater use a Bühlmann ZHL-16C algorithm with gradient factors. Suunto uses its own RGBM Fused 2 algorithm.
It’s well-known that Suunto’s algorithm is rather conservative. However, you can adjust the calculations and pick the aggressive mode. That will get you close to the Bühlmann calculations.
No matter what though, either of these algorithms keeps you safe. Even at the most aggressive settings you’ll end up on the safe side and should, under normal circumstances, never get into any place where your health is at risk.
The Suunto and Shearwater are air integrated. They can connect to multiple transmitters to keep an eye on the pressure in the tank and let you know how much more air you have.
The Descent Mk1 does not have air integration. You will need a console with a pressure gauge to keep track of the fill-level in your tank(s).
All three of these units are more than just a dive computer. You can and most likely will wear them every day. All three devices have rechargeable batteries.
If it’s just a dive computer you can live with a battery life that requires recharging every few days. However, when you use it as your everyday watch then you certainly do not want to have to recharge or even change the batteries every couple of days!
The Shearwater Teric and the D5 double-up as your everyday watch and your scuba computer. Both provide quite a lot of battery life and you can expect the Shearwater to last you longer on a charge. With a lot of diving, you can still expect not to have to recharge more than once a week. The Suunto unit needs recharging a little more often and will not last that long.
The Garmin, on the other hand, is additionally a fitness tracker and smartwatch. You will use that watch more than the other two simply to count your steps or track other fitness activities every day. It’ll also notify you of emails and text messages that you received. The Mk1 is always on and it’s no surprise that it uses more battery than the other two This will result and more demands on the battery and the Descent Mk1 does handle it well. It does need recharging more often than the Teric, but not quite as often as the D 5.
All three units can be used as your daily watch. Their size makes them a great watch for many, if not most, wrists.
They come with the standard functions you’d expect from a modern wristwatch. You can get the current time, date as well as alarms with either one of them.
The fact that these dive watches can be worn daily is also visible when you look at the straps. While old models have a long piece of silicone to wrap around your wrist, these have high-end, colorful watchbands that you expect on any high-end watch.
The Garmin Mk1 does have a lot of different strap options ranging from leather straps to various colored Silicone variants, metal versions including even a titanium one. When you choose one of the metal straps then you want to use a silicone strap when you’re diving. The metal ones are designed so the strap won’t accidentally open. Yet, they won’t easily go over a wetsuit or gloves and a stretchable silicone strap is the better choice for a scuba trip. Garmin considered that in the design and made the straps super easy to switch out.
The D 5 has a number of different colored straps for diving as well as textile and leather versions. Suunto does not offer a metal strap but otherwise, you get a variety for different occasions, whether you go diving or to a theater show. The straps are easily changed but not quite as simple as with the Garmin Descent Mk1.
The Shearwater device goes a slightly different route. It comes with a few choices but as it is a standard watch band size, you can pick pretty much any strap you like and it will fit. The downside is that you do need to use tools yet to change the strap.
You can pretend that a solid dive log on a dive computer is not that important. Yet, nobody would want to miss being able to look through the data of previous dives.
You could stay stuck in the 19 hundreds and use a pen and paper log to report your dives. Or you could have a dive computer offer a reasonably sized dive log that you can review at your leisure.
All three of these dive computers offer an internal dive log that you can load onto your computer for further storage or easier review of the dive data.
The Suunto D5 in our opinion has the best logging solution. It provides around 200 hours of dive time to be logged on the device itself. That’s enough space for around 400 dives. You can then offload the data into the Suunto Movescount cloud system to display and enrich the data you gathered from your dives. The D 5 connects with Bluetooth to your app on your phone and you can offload the data that way. There’s no hassle with cables, etc.
The Shearwater Teric is not far behind the D5. It offers a larger capacity for the dive log on the device. You can store dive data at a 10-second sampling rate for dives covering 500 hours! Similar to the D5 you can then also offload the data from your unit to your computer for further analysis and review. This can simply be done through Bluetooth connectivity and does not require any cables to connect.
The Garmin can store and exchange dive log data but is a little more confusing compared to the Teric and D5. The reason being that the Garmin Descent Mk1 is a smartwatch and fitness tracker. The log is designed to keep information for all different kinds of activities including scuba diving. Therefore, it’s also impossible to say how many hours of dive time you can log. Too much other data is logged and the available memory is not just for scuba diving logging. Data can be exchanged through a Bluetooth connection.
Here’s where the Garmin shines. As it’s not just a dive computer and wristwatch, you get all the bells and whistles you’d expect from an activity or fitness tracker. It records and displays different activities like running which makes it truly an outstanding compromise between a dive computer and an activity tracker. You can even get your location through the GPS connection. After connecting it to your phone you also get text messages, call information, etc. right onto your display.
However, we are specifically looking at these devices being used as dive computers. While it’s nice to have a complete fitness tracker in the form of the Garmin Descent Mk1, it’s not one of the basic requirements for a dive computer. In the end, all we want is to have it keep us safe while we dive.
All three devices are good dive computers that keep you safe during a dive. The Teric definitely is designed to just be a dive computer. An excellent one to be clear. It beats the Suunto in this category due to the fact that you can change the watch screen to have different faces. It also offers wireless charging and during a charge, the display turns so you can use it as a clock on your nightstand.
The D5 doesn’t offer many or any bells and whistles. It’s a dive computer and nothing else. There’s no additional bells and whistles and for the purpose of diving, you also don’t need any specific information.
All three of these devices are great dive computers. If you’re a recreational diver then you can’t go wrong with either one of them.
Each one of them allows for more than one gas mix during a dive. Both the Teric and the Descent Mk1 can handle dives with closed-circuit rebreathers. They also have the option to use them when diving with trimix.
The Garmin is the most versatile as it’s a complete activity and fitness tracker. However, it does lack the air integration and it can be just a little too much to have everything available and you need to step through the navigation.
The Teric, as mentioned above, offers the most dive related technology. Yet, for recreational diving, there’s no need to get all these bells and whistles. In addition, it does have the best and most cleaned up display of all of them.
Overall, as mentioned before, you can’t really go wrong with either one of these dive computers if you’re using them for recreational dives. They keep you safe and if that’s all you need then you might want to pass on the Garmin Descent Mk1.
The Suunto D5 is a really great dive computer. It does fall a little short in regards to features and functions compared to the Teric. If you’re trying to find the best wristwatch that can be a dive computer on occasion then the D5 is your best bet.
However, if you’re trying to find the best dive computer which you also can use as a wristwatch, then the Teric is your best choice.
Similarly, if you want a fitness tracker that you also can use as a dive computer, then the Garmin Descent Mk1 is your best choice!
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Air integration for a dive computer has become the standard for mid-level to high-end units. Find the information you need to get the best air integrated dive computer for your dives below.
Air integrated dive computers increase the function of the standard dive computer, allowing you to monitor air pressure and time remaining. They also come with a lot of basic features to compare.
As with a standard dive computer, an air integrated computer should include a depth gauge. This allows you to accurately track and record depths for calculating decompression stops.
The computer should log the information and track how much time you spend at each depth. With less time spent calculating your dive and ascent, you have the freedom to focus on your surroundings.
While all dive computers track depth, other features may not appear on every model. For example, some computers are designed for different diving levels or equipment such as rebreathers.
Some computers may include settings for both technical and recreational dives while others are designed strictly for recreational dives.
If you do not plan on going on technical dives or using a rebreather, it does not make sense to spend the money on a dive computer with those features.
Another detail to consider is the setup. Air integrated computers either connect to the tank via a hose or wireless transmission. The wireless options are wrist-mounted, typically designed to resemble a large watch.
Air integrated dive computers tend to have circular displays and come in a variety of sizes. A larger display is easier to read underwater and provides more screen space for displaying readings.
Higher-priced computers may include backlit displays. Backlighting eliminates the need to use your flashlight every time that you want to check your depth or remaining time.
You also need to ensure that the computer is compatible with your air supply. For example, if you plan to use a Nitrox mix, you need a computer that allows you to input the percentage of oxygen in the mix.
Some of the main functions of an air integrated dive computer include gas switching, navigation, dive logs, and PC transfers.
Gas switching is mostly used for technical dives. It provides the ability to switch the gas mix that you breathe in the middle of your dive.
When diving on air, you typically have longer decompression times due to lower oxygen levels. With gas switching, you could switch to the oxygen-rich Nitrox mix to shorten the wait during the ascent.
Another useful function is navigation. Several air integrated dive computers have built-in compasses. An integrated compass eliminates the need for a bulky analog compass. You can quickly check the dive computer to get your bearings.
All dive computers include a log function to keep track of your past dives. Older models logged just your most recent dive. The latest models can log up to 10 dives. If you perform many dives without the chance to upload the data to your computer, look for a computer with more memory.
Transferring dive logs to the computer is another beneficial function. Some air integrated dive computers come with software and a micro USB connection for connecting to a computer. You can then keep a permanent log of all your dives.
The software also typically includes extra features such as dive graphs, giving you more data for analyzing your past dives. When choosing a dive computer, ensure that the software is compatible with your PC.
While most dive computers with PC connections include software for Windows, Mac, and Linux, some options may only include Windows software.
Most computers include the ability to monitor more than one type of gas mix. With a typical dive computer, you can use air or a Nitrox mix. If you require multiple mixes, look for a computer with multiple transmitters. Each gas mix needs a wireless transmitter for sending data to the computer.
The following air integrated dive computers provide a range of options to fit any budget and diving experience level.
The Shearwater Teric wrist computer is one of the more versatile air integrated dive computers with multiple diving modes and gas options.
Main Features and Performance
The Teric computer includes settings for technical, recreational, and free dives. It also works with Nitrox and Trimix mixes and comes with two wireless transmitters. The watch-sized dive computer only needs to pair with the transmitter once.
Instead of an LED display, the Teric dive computer features a full-color LCD display. The high-resolution 1.39-inch screen is easy to read in low light settings, thanks to the deep black background and bright colors. The screen is also customizable, allowing you to adjust the layout to suit your preferences.
Instead of plugging the device into your computer after your dives, you can wirelessly sync dive logs using Bluetooth technology. It also comes with a docking station for wirelessly charging the rechargeable watch battery.
The stylish Aqua Lung i450t air integrated dive computer is a watch-sized computer intended for recreational dives. It is also one of the more affordable dive computers recommended for novice divers.
Main Features and Performance
The watch-mount i450t fits comfortably on your wrist, eliminating the need for bulky gear. It has a round LCD display with a backlight, allowing you to read data in low visibility.
The recreational dive computer can monitor up to three Nitrox mixes. It also includes three transmitters to provide individual PO2 points for each mix. Using a hose-less gas integration algorithm, the computer provides real-time calculations for accurate gas mix management.
The device is intended for recreational dives and includes a free dive mode. To keep track of your direction, the computer also includes a digital compass with north reference and return bearing lock.
The Mantis 2.0 from Scubapro is a wrist-mount air integrated dive computer for recreational and technical divers.
Main Features and Performance
The Scubapro Mantis 2.0 is a versatile little dive computer. It mixes up to three gas mixes, including air and Nitrox. However, it does not include compatibility for Trimix mixes.
The Mantis 2.0 features a wristwatch style design with a digital display. It is compact and ergonomic, taking up less space on your wrist compared to other options.
The interface includes four buttons on the sides. Unfortunately, the buttons are stiff. You may also need to play around with the settings to fully understand the complicated menus.
As with many air integrated dive computers in this price range, it comes equipped with a digital compass. Unlike other most other options, it also includes a heart rate monitor and custom computations. It uses biometrics for customized functions such as alerts when you overexert yourself.
Suunto is one of the top manufacturers of dive computers. With the Eon Core Wrist Dive Computer, the company offers a high-end device for technical dives.
Main Features and Performance
The Eon Core is a wrist-mount computer with a large rectangular display. It shows your total depth, depth with no decompression, tank PSI, dive time, and more. The information is displayed in bright colors against a deep black background.
No matter the type of gas that you use for your dives, the Eon Core wrist dive computer should have you covered. It can connect and transfer readings from up to 10 gas mixes using separate Suunto Tank PODs.
Thanks to Bluetooth technology, you can wirelessly sync your log data to your smartphone or tablet after each dive. You can also use the connection to customize the display and plan for your next dive.
It is a relatively expensive dive computer intended for experienced divers.
For those who prefer hose-mounted dive computers, the Sherwood Vision Dive Computer stands out as an impressive choice. It features a simple interface and dual decompression algorithms.
Main Features and Performance
This hose-mounted air integrated dive computer is equipped with a locking-style hose fitting to make it easier to quickly disconnect the device. It is easy to install and use. The three-button interface and organized menu system allow you to easily browse the settings and operating modes.
The Sherwood Vision Dive Computer also comes with advanced features including two separate decompression algorithms. You can select between the two options based on your diving preferences for more accurate calculations.
During your dive, you receive real-time calculations to let you know how much time you have left. You may also customize the display settings to suit your needs with multiple display modes and data options.
Rounding out the features is the three-axis digital compass. It includes full tilt compensation to provide reliable navigation.
The Cobalt 2 dive computer from Atomic Aquatics is a hose-mount computer with a large display and several useful features, including the ability to mix up to six Nitrox gases.
Main Features and Performance
The Cobalt 2 is a high-end hose-mounted dive computer. It is compatible with air and Nitrox mixes and features leak-proof magnetic buttons.
Compared to some of the cheaper hose-mount computers, Cobalt 2 has a large display. The 256K full-color LCD display is backlit with bright fonts on deep black background. It is easy to read in the dark without the need to shine your flashlight on the computer.
After your dive, you can easily upload data to a computer using the provided software.
The D5 Wrist Computer is another option from Suunto. It is a stylish choice that supports multiple diving modes and comes with a durable travel case.
Main Features and Performance
The Suunto D5 air integrated dive computer has a wrist-mount design. The display is a little larger compared to most wrist-mount options and features a colorful LCD display.
The readings are clear and easy to read, only requiring a quick glance at your watch to check the depth and other data.
The available diving modes include air, Nitrox, and free dive. It is easy enough to use for novice divers, allowing you to focus on the underwater experience instead of worrying about the controls on your computer.
Each of the dive computers reviewed offers reliable performance. They also include a diverse range of features. Some of the air integrated dive computers listed above are only intended for recreational dives while others provide multiple diving modes.
The Shearwater Teric Wristwatch Computer includes settings for recreational, technical, and free dives. The Suunto Eon Core computer also provides multiple operating modes and supports up to 10 gas mixes. These options are better suited for experienced divers who require versatile dive computers.
Novice divers may prefer the simplicity of the affordable Aqua Lung i450T. It has an easy-to-navigate interface but only offers logging for recreational dives.
While most of the computers discussed feature wrist-mount designs, some divers may enjoy a hose-mount computer. The Sherwood Vision Dive Computer is one of the cheapest options. The simple three-button interface and quick-disconnect hose fitting make it a popular choice.
To select the right option, consider your typical diving conditions and overall experience.
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Oceanic has been manufacturing quality scuba gear since 1972, and this beginner’s dive computer is no exception. The Veo combines a sleek, compact design with a range of features, including Bluetooth connectivity and a number of operating modes. Its easy-to-use interface will make your dive safer and more interesting.
It is 20% sleeker than the Veo 2.0 and the text display is much larger, making the watch very easy to use underwater.
This dive watch has been designed for beginners and offers all the features a new scuba diver needs at an affordable price range.
It is not ideal for advanced and professional divers since it misses out on certain features like the ability to work with a Trimix tank or offering air integration.
The Oceanic Veo 4 comes with a host of features, such as:
The Oceanic Veo 4 has four different modes:
This dive computer can work with a gas mix which could be 100% oxygen or a combination of up to 3 gases at one time.
There are a few well-known algorithms used by divers to calculate decompression. The Oceanic Veo 4 allows divers to choose between 2 of them based on which one they’re more comfortable with:
1. DSAT – this algorithm was designed for recreational divers by PADI and is well-known and used globally.
2. Pelagic Z+ – this algorithm is designed to help divers maximize their dive time without affecting their safety, even if they perform multiple deep dives on the same day. It takes into consideration a range of factors, such as time, gas mix, and even water temperature. It incorporates the Buhlmann model used in almost all dive tables and by well-reputed scuba gear manufacturers like Suunto and Mares.
Modes are adjustable through the DiverLog+ App (discussed in the data transferability section below).
The watch relies on the concept of conservatism, which limits your dive time at the maximum depth to ensure safety and reduce the risk of bends.
The controls for various features in the Veo 4 may be automatic or manual:
This dive computer has an automatic altitude adjustment to heights ranging between 2,000-14,000 feet (610-4200 meters).
It also includes a timer for deep stops for any dives deeper than 80 feet (25 meters). The safety stop prompt is automatic and is adjusted based on your depth and time spent underwater.
The Oceanic Veo 4.0 has SmartGlo backlighting to make the screen visible and legible, even at night or when cave diving. The display text is also larger than many other dive computers to make it easier to see it underwater.
Display settings are variable based on the mode you have selected for your dive. In any mode, the watch will display when your battery is low.
The dive computer stores past dive data, and by pressing just a single button, you can even view the data from your most recent previous dive. It can store data from the past 24 dives, after which you will need to transfer it; otherwise, the data will be automatically erased once you complete your 25th dive.
The Veo 4.0 offers Bluetooth connectivity and can be connected to any smart device through the DiverLog+ App. Through this app, divers can adjust their gas mixes, switch algorithms, customize the watch display, set dive alarms (for instance, for decompression stops), etc. Any of these features may be adjusted immediately before or after your dive.
Before your dive, you can set all the required alarms and the gas mix. Post dive, you can upload your most recent dive data onto the app, including any photos or videos from your dive.
Within the app, you can create a dive log to keep track of your depth, dive time, etc. and beat your own, personal best.
Apart from the basics, the Veo 4 also offers some extra features:
Despite having almost all the essential features, the Oceanic Veo 4 misses out on a few:
Despite missing some features like air integration, the Oceanic Veo 4.0 combines a sleek design with one of the most easy-to-read displays on the market.
Its high battery life and ability to calculate decompression for depths up to 300+ feet makes it great for beginner and intermediate-level divers. While it isn’t the best choice for advanced divers, it can still be used with a gas mix of up to 3 gases, has very high battery life (and replaceable batteries), and allows you to choose between 2 different dive algorithms.
Its Bluetooth connectivity and compatibility with the DiverLog+ App makes it easy for you to store dive data so you can access it no matter where you are in the world.
The best part is that it stores all these functions in a compact design, slightly lightening the load during your dive.
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Suunto has been manufacturing sports watches for a couple of decades now, and its dive computers are used by beginners and professionals alike. The Suunto D5 is meant to be used by pretty much any type of diver and has an easy-to-use interface. It is designed to make your dives as safe and enjoyable as possible.
With an incredible range of features and a customizable look, the Suunto D5 may be the dive watch you’ve been looking for.
The Suunto D5 is best for both professional and beginner level divers who have room in their budget. The conservatism setting sets the watch’s decompression model to function based on whether you’re deep or shallow diving.
You can also keep a tab on your dive history, especially if you’re trying to improve your dive by, say, spending more time at a certain depth, etc.
The Suunto D5 is not designed for technical use based on factors like the depth to which it can be used, the decompression model on which it works, and so on.
The Suunto D5 is packed with a range of useful features:
The Suunto D5 has 4 different modes:
What’s great about this watch is that it also has air integration, which allows divers to see how much pressure is left in their tank just by looking at the watch screen. This air integration is done through wireless pairing with your Suunto Tank POD Transmitter. It not only tells you the air pressure but also the air supply remaining.
The watch is also capable of identifying different gas mixes, and in the Air/Nitrox mode, you can add up to 3 different gases. You can even make adjustments based on your current altitude or your desired level of po2 (partial pressure of oxygen, which may be toxic if it exceeds a certain level).
The watch makes use of the RGBM 2 decompression model for calculations, which takes into account the way the gases dissolve and form bubbles in a diver’s body and bloodstream. This ensures that the diver makes the right stops and doesn’t experience any discomfort like the bends during their dive.
The watch has an idle mode, which turns the watch off if it has been inactive for more than 2 minutes (to preserve battery life). Tapping any button on the watch will turn it on.
There is also a deep sleep mode that is activated when the watch has not been in use for a day or two. In order to restart your watch, you need to connect the watch to your PC via a USB cable and press any button, or just submerge it in water.
These modes basically help the watch preserve the power it needs to run its full-color display.
The Suunto D5 is certainly not a budget buy, but with great price comes great display quality. The watch has an HD LCD color display with a backlight that enables you to see the screen, even if you’re deep diving or diving at night.
Your Suunto D5 can be reset after connecting it to your PC and going to the Reset settings. This is particularly useful if the watch is being rented out by a dive shop.
The dive computer can be connected to your PC via a USB cable. The battery is also rechargeable and can be connected via a USB cable to your PC when you need to charge it.
It also has some great wireless connectivity features. It can be synced to the Suunto app via Bluetooth, which opens up an entire world of diving for you because this app is a social media platform of sorts for divers.
Once your watch and app are synced, you can download your dive data onto your smart device and create a dive log and have a complete record saved on your device. There’s even an option that allows your friends to watch your dive and “like” or comment on it.
Suunto even has support videos online to help you figure out the entire process easier.
Apart from all the essentials, the Suunto D5 has a number of extra features that can make your dive as comfortable as possible:
The watch has a built-in compass so that you can navigate where you’re headed without having to carry any more extra baggage.
Ideally, divers should ascend slowly to allow the compressed gases to escape their bodies without forming gas bubbles and causing decompression sickness. The Suunto computers allow for a maximum ascending speed of 10 meters (32 feet) per minute. If the diver ascends at a rate faster than this, the watch will vibrate to let the diver know that they should stop for a bit. It will also let them know how long to stop for and when to resume their ascent.
One of the major uses of a dive watch is to guide you on when to make decompression stops. The factory setting of the Suunto D5 is designed to include decompression stops in any dive deeper than 20 meters (65.5 feet). If you feel like you’re experienced enough to manage on your own, you can manually turn this feature off in the settings.
Decompression models may be conservative (+2 and +1) or aggressive (-2, -1, 0) – a conservative model means less time in the water with fewer decompression stops and vice versa. With the Suunto D5, divers can set their desired level of conservatism to suit their dive.
Like all dive computers, the Suunto D5 isn’t perfect (although it comes pretty close). Shortcomings of this dive watch include:
The Suunto D5 has pretty much everything you need if you’re a recreational diver. It’s loaded with some great features such as multiple modes, conservatism, a customizable display, a built-in compass, and so much more. The sleek, customizable appearance makes it all the more appealing, and it’s solid, durable build make it a worthy investment.
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As far as dive computers go, the Descent MK1 has made quite an impression among scuba divers. For years, Garmin has been manufacturing precision outdoor and marine technical equipment. This is the company’s first dive computer, and it’s chock full of some truly incredible functions and features.
Catering to a range of nautical uses (including both those above and below the surface of the water), the Descent MK1 is certainly not the most budget-friendly dive computer on the market, but with the high price tag comes high performance.
Using the same technology as some of its best sports watches, Garmin has created a sleek smartwatch that includes a range of features, such as an HD color display, GPS navigation, a range of dive modes, and even a heart rate monitor. It has a pretty excellent battery life: 40 hours for diving, 20 hours for GPS, and 10 days as a regular smartwatch.
This is clearly a premium dive computer that is designed for people who dive nearly every day and are likely to use all or most of the functions it offers. For those divers, it is worth the investment. You can choose between a silicone wristband and a DLC titanium band.
The Garmin Descent is fit for a range of purposes, such as spearfishing, professional, and casual scuba diving. It is ideal even for beginners who may not fully understand decompression models.
Let’s dive into the core features of this dive computer that make it worth the investment:
The Garmin Descent features 6 different dive modes:
It is possible to switch gases and gas settings on the Garmin Descent during your dive, but the process does require fiddling with some buttons underwater, and you may get incorrect depth or time notifications occasionally.
The watch operates on the Bühlmann ZHL-16C Algorithm Model of decompression to calculate NDL and decompression stops. This is one of the most commonly used algorithms in scuba diving computers. It takes your depth, time underwater and gas mixture into consideration to determine safe diving parameters. You can adjust conservatism settings of the algorithm to ensure you stay within your personal limits.
The Apnea Hunt mode in the Garmin Descent MK1 is the Apnea mode for freediving without the audible alarms. You might be wondering why anyone would need this? Well, if you’re spearfishing then the last thing you’d want is to alert your prey with noise coming from your freediving computer.
The dive mode allows staying quiet underwater while using the apnea or freediving mode. This is probably not anything that many freedivers will use but if you’re into spearfishing then it’s a great addition to the standard modes that are available.
Rather than having to manually start and stop your dive computer before beginning your descent and after ascending (which would really be something at such a premium price), the watch automatically detects when you’re in and out of the water. This is enabled through the GPS function of the watch.
The Garmin Descent offers automatic altitude adjustment, but you need to calibrate the watch to enable this feature. You may do this manually or turn on Auto Cal., which will allow the altimeter to self-calibrate every time you turn on your GPS tracker.
The watch has a 1.2-inch color display, which is always on and is semi-readable underwater. The backlight is adjustable so that you can alter the brightness based on your altitude. Double-tapping the screen will allow you to switch between screens – this will work even if you are wearing thick gloves that prevent you from pressing the buttons. The screen display shows up as 3 separate pages:
Since managing your dive time is so essential, it is displayed on all three pages of the screen.
This is often considered to be an important feature if the dive computer has been purchased by a dive store that rents out equipment. It is also quite handy if, at some point, you decide to sell your watch.
The Garmin Descent has a factory reset option, which will make it brand new and even make its processing speed faster. Within the watch, settings is a restore default option through which you can reset the device.
The dive computer records dive data in real-time and create an internal log as soon as you get in the water. Real-time data displayed includes the time of dive, depth, water temperature, etc.
It has a storage capacity of 16 GB, which enables it to store data of up to 10,000 dives. If you’re someone who dives daily, sometimes, even more than once, you will need access to your dive data to observe dive timings, etc.
The Garmin Descent can connect to your laptop via a USB cable or to your smart devices via Bluetooth and includes WiFi connectivity.
You can also sync your watch to the Garmin Connect app to have easy access to dive data such as maximum depth, time spent at the bottom, water temperature, and GPS data so that you can keep track of your stats and improve your dives.
The watch also has a number of features that aren’t absolutely essential for a dive computer but are still quite useful:
You can view entire maps or plotted points on either your watch or on your phone through the Garmin Connect app. GPS tracking starts automatically when the watch is in dive mode, but you can customize the settings to mark your ascent/descent points from the shore and to locate water regions that have the most fish to observe.
You can set in-water alerts for factors like dive time, multiple depth markers, etc. If there is a change in water pressure, the watch will automatically record your dive. All this allows you to dive freely and focus on enjoying yourself rather than fiddling with your watch to find out which depth you were meant to take a decompression stop at and so on.
The watch makes use of Fenix 5X software, which keeps track of your fitness activity through 26 different settings.
In addition, the watch has a built-in heart rate monitor, which will help you keep track of your heart rate when you’re underwater and will keep you alert in case of emergencies.
With the compass mode on, you can not only keep track of where you’re headed but also simultaneously keep an eye on your decompression information.
Despite offering some incredible features, the Garmin Descent is not free of shortcomings:
If you love to dive every day or you’re an active spearfisher, then the Garmin Descent MK1 is ideal for you (provided you have the room in your budget). The range of different modes makes it suitable for different types of dives, and its high storage capacity makes storing dive data a breeze. Its compatibility with computers and smart devices allows you to keep track of your dive activities as well.
Apart from functioning as a dive computer, it can also be used as a standard smartwatch.
Despite some major plus points, the dive watch is better-suited for casual divers rather than professionals due to some concerns such as a lack of air-integration and a short depth rate.
If you like the Garmin MK1 then please use the image below to pin to Pinterest!
There is nothing more tranquil than plunging into the abyss and watching the rays of light wafting into the water above you. It’s just you and the never-ending blue. You have corals for a company and the occasional Great White.
Scuba Diving is fun, it’s surreal, it’s ethereal, and it can be dangerous.
If you are a first-timer, you want to ensure that you spend more time awing at the many delights the ocean will throw at you, rather than fiddling with multiple pieces of equipment, trying to figure out how much time you have before you run out of air. That’s always the first-timers’ most important concern, isn’t it?
If you are an experienced diver who scrounges the ocean floor for wrecks, you already know the importance of having a good diver computer. Those wrist-watch sized scuba dive computers that do all the hard work of crunching through thousands of different probabilities and displaying on a colorful screen that, ‘Hey buddy, it’s time to head back up. Civilization calls‘.
Personal scuba diving computers can be lifesavers. Not to mention that with a few many add-ons thrown in, you get exclusive bragging rights in the scuba diving community. But if trying to select a dive computer off the shelf doesn’t make your head spin, then you are not aware of the tech specifications and the gobbledygook you will have to navigate through, just to get numbers on the screen.
Thankfully, we help you pick the top dive computers for you, irrespective of your skill level or the tech that you are looking for. But before we wear our flippers and plunge headlong into it, let’s quickly take a moment to understand what dive computers are all about and a few desirable features that can make or break you, when you are submerged 100 feet under the ocean.
We structured this post by giving a quick overview of what you need to know about picking the top choice diving computer for yourself. You can check our detailed buying guide to find the best dive computer! Below we show our suggestions of specific models to look at. For a detailed overview of what you need to know before buying a scuba computer, please have a look at our guide on how to find the best scuba diving computer for you and your diving style!
Keep the issues listed in the buying guide in mind. We have compiled the list of the best scuba computers below. In the list, we highlight their strengths and weaknesses and also suggest what each model is best used for.
We are not confusing you with a long list of the 10 best dive computers but instead have compiled a very focused list of different models that are top in their different categories!
It’s not that easy to introduce the Shearwater Research Teric. Why do you wonder? It’s just an amazing dive computer that was introduced not too long ago and it’s hard to figure out what would be missing.
The screen is amazing. Yes, it’s a smaller size and you use the Teric as an everyday watch if you have a large wrist but it’s crystal-clear and displays all important information. You won’t have any issues reading the data underwater. The Teric is the best technology available today packed into a top-quality case that also looks quite attractive. The glass is made from sapphire crystal and is highly scratch resistant. Even hard impacts won’t result in a broken display!
You navigate the features in the menu through four separate buttons along the sides of the case. You can even program one button to quickly get you to a specific menu option. The screen itself can be configured to show any data you want in whatever font-size and color you prefer.
The dive watch is a little large to be worn every day (except if you have a pretty large wrist), and it is designed to not only have vibrating and audible alerts for dive limit violations and warnings but also so you can have up to two daily alarms. Even more amazing is that this small device comes with an integrated 3D compass for diving. The readings are displayed along the outer edge of the display making it easy and intuitive to use.
The Teric offers optional air-integration. You can connect it to two separate wireless transmitters to track gas and air consumption in up to two tanks. It can deal with Air, Nitrox, and Trimix. You can even use it with a rebreather or in freediving mode.
It comes with a rechargeable battery you can’t replace yourself. Battery life is up to 50 hours between charges and you can charge it wirelessly. The Teric has a logbook with up to 500 hours of dive data. You can connect it through Bluetooth to your PC or mobile device to offload and analyze your dive information.
We’ve evaluated a lot of dive computers and this is truly the best we have come across in our opinion. You can also have a look at our in-depth review of the Shearwater Research Teric to get a better idea of whether this is the right device for you.
There’s not much else to say than ‘Wow’. The Shearwater Research Teric offers it all. It’s overkill for a beginner. Otherwise, it’s a great scuba computer that has all the features and functions you could ever require.
We honestly don’t know why anyone wouldn’t be excited to have this technological marvel to keep you safe underwater. The only reason not to look at the Teric is if you’re opposed to wrist-mounted diving computers. Besides that, it’s hard to imagine a better computer on the market at the current time.
One of the most important features that beginner divers look for, is to get access to important information when they need it the most, without having to fiddle through unwanted screens. That’s precisely what they get with the Cressi Leonardo dive computer. With a one-button user interface to get information and customize the dive computer, it is one of the most user-friendly models in the market.
You can toggle through the various modes and settings in the blink of an eye without getting lost while doing it. The Leonardo features a modular design that allows you to use it as a wristwatch and also remove it and mount it to a console. It comes in a variety of color combinations. It includes an air and Nitrox mode (up to 50%), has a large segmented dot-matrix backlit display which displays all the information clearly. While it uses a conservative algorithm, it offers users enough options to tailor this level.
An in-built log stores data for up to 60 dives and there are critical audible alarms to sound the most important information. The backlight is not the strongest and could use improvements.
We compiled a detailed dive computer review on the Leonardo if you want to dive deeper into what it offers and what features you’ll be missing compared to more expensive alternatives.
The Cressi Leonardo is a great dive computer for beginners and also a great choice for a backup dive computer for recreational divers.
If you’re willing to spend a little more, then check out the Cressi Giotto dive computer (click here for a detailed dive computer review). It’s a step up and offers some better features. You can also check out our head-to-head comparison of the two devices to learn more about the differences in detail.
The Mares Smart is a minimalist but efficient entry-level dive computer that trumps a lot of high-priced models with its intuitive user interface and two-button control. It may lack the bells and whistles you’ll find in higher-end devices. But it more than makes up for it with its well thought out dive mode screen and comprehensive data.
It has a stylish and sleek design with both the buttons and the bezel ring made of stainless steel. This also gives it a more solid feel, unlike flimsy all-plastic models. The Smart can also double up as a sporty wristwatch when you are not diving. It comes in a variety of colors to match your style.
The main display shows you the vitals such as NDL, water depth, dive time and temperature. Besides this, there is an ascent rate indicator and tissue loading bar graph. There is an alternate screen that shows the gas mix, the average depth, the max depth, the current time and the oxygen toxicity.
The two-button controls make it easy to change the screen. The top button can be used to tweak the settings in the upper part of the display and the lower button allows you to navigate through the alternate displays. It allows two Nitrox gas mixes (21 – 99% Oxygen) and the Surface interval countdown is another stellar feature of the Mares Smart dive computer, which makes it a versatile choice at this price point.
There are visual and audible alarms for critical alerts and the backlight is excellent allowing clear visibility even in the dark. If you make the noob mistake of ascending too quickly, it sounds an alert with a large ‘SLOW’ on the screen.
We’ve compiled a detailed dive computer review of the Mares Smart dive computer that you can find here. It’ll go more into depth on showing the available and missing features of this model.
Priced at under $350, the Mares Smart offers enough features to make it a great buy at this price point. It may be considered as an entry-level dive computer because of the innocuous appearance and lack of a colored display. But it packs a punch with its features and is even used by professional divers.
Mares introduced another model of the Smart that comes with air integration. It’s basically the same set of features as the Mares Smart except that it offers (optional) air integration through a wireless transmitter on the tank.
The Oceanic Geo 4.0 is a somewhat unique, affordable computer that targets beginners and recreational divers. What makes it unique is Oceanic’s dual algorithm setup. You can switch between two different versions which makes it ideal if you’re often diving with different buddies.
You can pick which algorithm to use based on what dive computer is used by your buddy. That will give a more equal match of computations and you are closely matched to the alarms and warnings of your partner.
The Geo is a wrist-watch sized device you can wear all day. It comes in several color combinations. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of more expensive devices but it has features you wouldn’t necessarily expect at this price point like automatic altitude adjustments.
The display is a little cramped, but it’s still easy to read all the information shown. The backlight is good and allows to read the information in less than perfect lighting conditions. Navigation of the menu items and the overall use is simple through four buttons placed evenly around the display.
The Geo 4.0 dive computer can handle two Nitrox gas mixes that can range between 21% and 100% Oxygen. The dive log is small with data being kept for up to 24 dives. They do not offer air integration for the Geo. That’s not surprising at the price point it’s offered. Besides that, it offers anything a recreational diver could look for. You can even switch the battery by yourself.
You can check out our in-depth evaluation of the Oceanic Geo 4.0 here. There you can find a lot more detail on this amazing dive computer.
Oceanic released the successor of the Oceanic Geo 2.0 not too long ago. The updated 4.0 model has a number of good updates for you as the diver. However, you can still find 2.0 online. If you want to save some money, then get informed by checking out the dive computer review of the previous model, the Geo 2.0 here: https://www.deepbluediving.org/oceanic-geo-2-0-dive-computer-review/.
The Geo 4.0 checks all the boxes for an entry-level and recreational dive computer. It offers Oceanic’s unique dual-algorithm setup which makes it easy to adjust your computer to one your buddy uses to avoid getting alarms and warnings that don’t line up.
The logbook is small and if you are looking at a scuba computer with air integration, then you’re out of luck with the Oceanic Geo 4.0. The logbook can easily be downloaded to a PC so you usually won’t run into an issue losing any data. The only time it can be a tight squeeze is if you go on a longer dive vacation and don’t have a PC with you.
For the price you pay you’re getting a stylish dive computer you can use every day. It’ll last you for years to come until you require additional features like air integration. If you like to have the dual algorithm setup, then you’d be looking at the Oceanic OCi at that point. We have a detailed review of this device to be found here.
The Suunto Vyper Novo is the upgraded version of the very successful and widely used Suunto Vyper (check the differences between the Suunto Vyper and the Suunto Vyper Novo here ). The Suunto Novo model received some impressive upgrades like air integration, handling of multiple gases, etc.
These features make it also one of the best scuba diving computers you can find today. It’s a great device if you’re an experienced diver but is also not too complex to be managed by a beginner. The Suunto Vyper Novo can manage up to three different gas mixes.
Compared to models that are sized like a day-to-day watch, the Suunto Vyper Novo is large. The benefit is that the larger display shows all important information at-a-glance.
The number of buttons to press on this Suunto model to get any information you might need is minimized. This way the gadget is what it should be, a device to help you stay safe while diving and not yet another technical nightmare you need a Ph.D. to understand!
The large size makes it easy to press the buttons even when you wear thick gloves. The display is sharp and easy to read in any light condition. The backlight allows seeing data even in the darkest spots underwater.
We prepared an in-depth evaluation of the Suunto Vyper Novo dive computer. Check it out if you’re interested in this particular model that’ll be a trusted device for years to come.
The Suunto Vyper Novo is a feature-rich scuba computer that offers everything that an experienced diver needs. As a recreational diver, there are no capabilities you could require that are not delivered.
The features you get even include a 3D compass. If you combine that with the wireless air integration you end up not needing a bunch of other gauges and devices.
Even if you are in your early days of diving, you can have a closer look at the Suunto Vyper Novo as the best diving computer for your needs. The air integration can be something you add later as it’s optional. The base device offers features that will be satisfactory for years to come!
The Atomic Aquatics Cobalt2 is our pick for the best console-mounted dive computer. It’s feature-rich and offers a brilliant color display. It offers all the bells-and-whistles you could look for as a recreational diver that uses air or nitrox for diving and prefers the console setup over the wrist mount.
Most other manufacturers offer a range of dive computers to choose from. Atomic Aquatics offers only the Cobalt 2. For good reason as it is a solid system that will usually not have you missing any features if you dive recreationally.
The display is colorful, provides graphics and can be configured by you. You can set up what data you want to see on the screen. Navigation is performed through four buttons on the device. The computer offers air integration. It uses a hose to connect the Cobalt 2 to your regulator to measure the pressure in the tank and display it.
Another high-end feature that is part of the device is the integrated 3D compass. Having a rather large and colorful display helps with being able to get an instant view of your bearings through the compass. It can be harder to use a compass on smaller screens.
There’s a lot of menu options for you to choose from. You can easily navigate through them with the four buttons on the bottom. The Cobalt 2 dive computer allows switching between up to six nitrox gas mixtures.
The computer is powered by a built-in lithium-ion battery you can recharge. Each charge allows the device to work for up to 60 hours so be sure to bring the charging cable if you go on an extended dive trip.
The logbook is large at around 600 hours of dive time. The color display makes it easy to display detailed dive data from past dives including graphics. You can connect the Cobalt2 to your PC to download dive data through USB cable.
The Atomic Aquatics Cobalt 2 is a console-mounted dive computer for the pros that leaves no wishes unfulfilled. It offers features you expect from a high-end device such as this.
Having air integration and a 3D compass together with up to 6 different nitrox mixes makes it a great scuba computer for experienced divers. The only things you might miss are trimix or rebreather setups.
We’re also not that excited about the rechargeable battery. While in theory, it’s great and environmentally friendly we think a user-switchable battery is helpful if you are on dive trips where you potentially have a hard time finding a charging possibility.
The Oceanic VTX has a visibly different design than many other diving computers. The screen alone is amazing and displays the information clearly and in vibrant color.
The overall navigation and usage of the device are easy. The buttons are placed strategically and can be used even when you’re in thick gloves.
The VTX is worn on the wrist. It is a very specialized device so it can’t be worn as a regular watch! Looking at the features it is amazing though to have all those capabilities packed into a reasonably small device.
The Oceanic VTX targets experienced divers with demanding needs for features and data. It is feature-rich and allows to do a lot of data gathering and programming. It easily connects to a computer through Bluetooth.
The logbook is a little on the small side with enough capacity for around 24 dives. Going on a scuba vacation might push you over the limit here. The other caveat is that the battery life could be a little longer. It’s around 20 hours. Diving trips where you’re not having a computer handy to offload dive data and where you use the computer more than usual can easily end up with frustrating moments where you run low on battery and/or dive log!
The Oceanic VTX is definitely considered a high-end scuba diving computer. That’s not only reflected in the features and capabilities it offers but also in the price. Besides all the bells and whistles that this device offers, the highlight is the display. Colorful and vibrant, yet very clean. It shows all the information you need in a clear and concise way.
If you’re not an experienced diver and do not you require all the data collection so you can slice and dice it as you please, then you’ll definitely find other scuba computers that are cheaper and offer a set of features that matches your needs. The Oceanic VTX has it all but that can end up being a little too much for many divers.
The Shearwater Research Perdix is one of the latest and flagship offerings from the Canadian manufacturer who commands a cult following among diving enthusiasts, ever since they launched into the market with the ‘Predator’, their first dive computer.
The Perdix is an upgrade worthy of every accolade it is receiving. This is a smartly designed dive computer that can be taken along for anything from recreational dives to deep water technical dives. It is small, has a slim profile and a long-lasting battery.
What greets you out of the box is a large 2.2-inch color screen display with ample space for displaying all the information you’d ever need. You can see adaptive safety stops, the number of stops, the depth and the duration of stops that are tailored according to your dive time and previous dive history.
The Time to Surface is displayed clearly and shows you the most important information, considering all the safety stops.
You can customize or choose from four different dive modes, OC recreational, OC technical, CC-INT and gauge. It’s aimed at advanced and technical divers and can handle a rebreather.
The Shearwater Research Perdix bridges the gap between a recreational dive computer and a technical one. It is a flawless package. If you intend to go beyond the average recreational dive or into deeper waters, this is what you need. If you are a technical diver, the Shearwater Research Perdix is the best dive computer for you!
We hope you enjoyed browsing through our list to find the best dive computer for your upcoming scuba adventures. We have tried to include a few entry-level models, something mid-range and something for the serious guys to play with. Always do your research and make an informed decision.
If you are just starting to scuba dive, then you want to check out our guide to find the top dive computer for beginners.