Cressi Leonardo vs Donatello Entry-Level Dive Computer Comparison

Two of the best entry-level dive computers come from Cressi. First, there’s the Cressi Leonardo which might be overall the best-selling dive computer so far.

Next, the one touted the Leonardo’s successor, the Cressi Donatello. It’s more modern in looks and slightly more capable. Is it overall worth going for it, though?

We compare the two models side-by-side for you. Pick whichever suits your needs best. Neither of those two dive computers will let you down when you scuba.

Cressi Leonardo vs Donatello

Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer

The Cressi Leondardo is one of the best entry-level dive computers (Best Dive Computers for Beginners – Buying Guide and Reviews) you can get. It’s a wrist-watch design that is easy to navigate with a single button.

Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer
Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer

It uses the Cressi RGBM algorithm with three user-adjustable conservatism settings. One of the reasons the Leonardo became so popular is that it was a perfect dive computer to rent by dive shops. It could be completely reset to forget any history and give each new diver a fresh start.

The display is relatively easy to understand and read. However, one of the downsides of the Leonardo is that the backlight is not very strong. There are a number of divers that feel like a slightly brighter backlight would have been a considerable improvement.

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Cressi Donatello Dive Computer

The Donatello uses many of the design features of the Leonardo. It also comes with a single-button navigation that you can quickly master.

Cressi Donatello Scuba Diving Computer
Cressi Donatello Scuba Diving Computer

Aside from the sleeker looks, some small yet essential improvements are to be found under the hood. 

First, the Donatello uses an improved version of the Cressi RGBM algorithm. It also separates the dive modes into Dive (Air/Nitrox), Freediving, and Gauge. The free (Apnea) program is an addition that you won’t find on the Leonardo.

The biggest improvement is the display and backlight. The screen is easier to read and intuitively understandable. The backlight is stronger, and you won’t have any trouble reading it underwater in low light conditions.

Lastly, the Donatello has a significantly better battery life. You can expect the battery to last around twice as long as with the Leonardo. Both dive computers allow you to change the battery yourself.

The Donatello does keep proven and desired features found on the Leonardo. You have many alarms and warnings and the capability to reset the device to erase all history. This makes it an exciting option for dive shops that rent out dive computers.

Cressi Donatello Dive Computer Review

Side-by-Side Comparison of the Cressi Donatello vs Leonardo

Cressi LeonardoCressi Donatello
NavigationSingle ButtonSingle Button
ModesAir, Nitrox, GaugeAir/Nitrox, Free/Apnea, Gauge
FO2 Adjustment Range21% – 50%21% – 50%
PO2 Adjustment Range1.2 – 1.6 bar1.2 – 1.6 bar
AlgorithmCressi RGBM
Modified Haldne and Wienke
Cressi RGBM
w/ uncontrolled Ascent Protection Algorithm
Conservative Adjustments33
Visual and Auditory AlarmsYesYes
Ascent AlarmPermanentOn/Off
Deep StopOn/OffOn/Off
Log Book60 dives/75 hours50 dives per mode
Sampling Rate20 seconds5 seconds (Air/Nitrox, Gauge)
2 seconds (Free)
Est. Battery Life at 50 dives per year2 years4+ years
Total ResetYesYes
PC/Mac connectivityOptional USB interfaceOptional USB interface

Final Thoughts on comparing the Cressi Donatello vs Leonardo

In our opinion, it’s not a big decision to make. It’s clear that the Donatello has various improvements over the Leondardo that make it worth choosing it.

The improved display and backlight alone are worth the slightly higher price to get the Cressi Donatello. If you’re just looking for a solid backup dive computer and want to save some money, then by all means, go for the Cressi Leonardo. It’s a proven device that is used by many scuba divers.

Cressi Donatello vs Leonardo
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