Dive computers are vital for modern scuba divers, providing critical information and enhancing safety in underwater adventures. These technological marvels allow divers to stay underwater longer and dive more efficiently. Dive computers monitor and calculate essential information such as depth, time, and decompression limits in real-time, reducing the risk of decompression sickness and notifying divers if they are approaching their limits.
With dive computers, divers can maximize their bottom times and plan repetitive dives more accurately, as they continuously monitor nitrogen levels in the body and calculate safe dive times. Additionally, they provide crucial information such as current and maximum depth, dive time, ascent rate, and decompression stops. This data allows divers to track their dive profile and stay within safe limits.
In this guide, we will explore great dive computer options available in 2023, providing you with all the information you need to choose the right one for your diving needs. We will highlight their features, benefits, and drawbacks.
Apple Watch Ultra
While the Apple Watch Ultra is not a dive computer on its own, the Oceanic+ app transforms it into a fully functioning dive computer for recreational diving. The onboard sensors have gauges that measure depths to a maximum of 131 feet (40 meters). With the activated Oceanic+ app, the watch provides No Decompression Time, dive time, and maximum depth, among other data. The watch also has a good compass and optional Nitrox integration into planning, which makes it a great addition.
However, the watch’s disadvantages include its relatively low battery life when compared to other smartwatches and the subscription requirement for using all dive features of the Oceanic+ app. Despite this, the watch has a clear and bright display that is easy to see even in strong sunlight. The controls can be used with dive gloves, and alerts to rapid ascent with sound and haptics make it stand out. There is also great potential (and expectation) for over-the-air upgrades to monitor health. Logbook details and iPhone planner have potential through crowd-sourcing.
While the touchscreen of the watch is locked underwater, it has a wheel to shift the screen view and one button to choose a heading on the compass. The Apple Ultra is an excellent dive computer with a user-friendly display, easy-to-read info, and simple controls.
The Suunto D5i is a wristwatch-style dive computer that has exceptional aesthetic appeal and is user-friendly, customizable and provides functionally-prioritized information in all screens and modes. The device is jam-packed with all the features even the most demanding recreational diver could need. The interface is sleek and provides easy-to-understand graphics with a full-color LED screen, ensuring that you never miss a thing. The Suunto D5i is water-resistant up to 100m/328ft, has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and has updatable software.
However, the Suunto D5i is relatively expensive compared to other dive computers on the market. Additionally, some users have reported that the battery life of the D5i is not as long as they would like it to be, and that the charging cable can be difficult to connect to the computer. Despite these downsides, the D5i is an excellent dive computer that is more than capable of taking divers from their Open Water course all the way through their entire recreational diving journey.
It offers an optional air integrator (Suunto Tank POD) that has a green LED light to indicate that it’s properly reading out the pressure from your tanks. You can read up to three tanks at a time by pairing them with three transmitters. This allows divers to view current tank pressure with just a glance at their wrist. With the addition of a Suunto Tank POD, the D5i can also assist in tracking tank pressure, gas consumption, and remaining air time.
The D5i has three dive modes by default: Air/Nitrox, Free, and Gauge, and is a great option for divers who want a reliable and stylish dive computer that can be used for both freediving and scuba diving
Garmin Descent Mk2i
The Garmin Descent Mk2i is a dive computer designed as a premium smartwatch, with the added convenience of air integration and extensive multi-gas diving options. It is an upgraded version of the Garmin Descent Mk1, which was the company’s first dive computer.
With a titanium case and sapphire crystal lens, the Descent Mk2i is tough and resistant to scratches. It has a full-color OLED display that is easy to read, even in varying lighting conditions. Furthermore, it allows for customization with different watch faces and data fields. Additionally, the Descent Mk2i has a built-in GPS and supports multiple global navigation satellite systems, allowing you to track your dive and surface GPS location. The dive computer also has a 3-axis compass, gyroscope, and barometric altimeter, which comes in handy when navigating underwater and on land.
The Descent Mk2i supports air integration with the Garmin T1 transmitter, which can monitor tank pressure and transmit the data to the dive computer. It also offers multi-gas diving options, allowing for switching between up to six gases, including nitrox and trimix. The dive computer can track your heart rate, steps, and other fitness metrics, making it a versatile device for both diving and everyday use.
Overall, the Garmin Descent Mk2i is a reliable and high-quality dive computer that offers a range of features for both diving and daily use.
The Shearwater Teric is a technical dive computer that has all the features of a full-sized computer in a watch-sized device. It is suitable for serious tech divers, with a range of modes including recreational and even freediving. The freediving mode was designed to attend high-level competitive freedivers. The Teric is not only functional underwater, but also looks stylish and can be worn in the boardroom.
It has many pros, including being incredibly customizable, easy to use, clear to read, and excellent for many types of diving. Its configurable algorithm is also a plus. However, it is not the cheapest computer on the market and does not have a heart rate monitor. It is also not as rugged as larger models, and not as much data is shown on the screen at any one time compared to other computers with bigger screens.
The Shearwater Teric does not lock you out if you miss a deco stop, an option that can be switched off on the Descent. The battery can last for up to 30 hours in dive mode or 50 or more in watch mode. The Teric supports wireless pressure monitoring of up to two tanks and can be permanently paired to a transmitter. The Shearwater Teric has a bright, full-color AMOLED display with a stainless steel bezel and sapphire crystal screen.
Oceanic Geo 4.0
The Oceanic Geo 4.0 is a feature-packed dive computer that delivers impressive performance both underwater and on land. The sleek and stylish frame of the Geo 4.0 makes it a great accessory to wear on your wrist even outside of diving. With its large, backlit display and redesigned interface, the Geo 4.0 is easy to navigate, even while diving. Its four operating modes, including a freedive mode, make it versatile and perfect for recreational scuba diving. Additionally, its dual algorithm settings give you the flexibility to choose a more conservative or liberal dive profile.
One standout feature of the Oceanic Geo 4.0 is its Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to connect to your smart devices and update firmware, as well as easily sync your dive data to the DiverLog+ app. This app provides a comprehensive dive log that you can access anytime, anywhere, as well as the ability to customize your dive settings and track your gear.
Overall, the Oceanic Geo 4.0 is a fantastic dive computer that is perfect for recreational scuba divers who want a reliable, high-quality device that is easy to use and looks great on their wrists.
The ScubaPro G2 dive computer is one of the company’s most advanced offerings, featuring a wide range of features that are sure to appeal to recreational and tech divers alike. Some of the standout features of the G2 include a large, easy-to-read LCD display, customizable layout templates, the ability to change text colors, a full-tilt digital compass, air integration, and a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 50 hours. Additionally, the G2 offers trimix support, CCR and side-mount modes, making it an excellent choice for extended range and technical divers.
However, the ScubaPro G2 is not without its drawbacks. Some users have reported issues with the strap breaking after only a few months of use, while the LCD screen is not as bright as other displays on the market. Additionally, the price of the G2 may be off-putting for some recreational divers, as it offers many features that the majority of divers will never use.
When comparing the G2 to its predecessor, the Galileo Sol, the G2 offers several significant improvements. For example, the G2 is more compact and has a full-color LCD screen, whereas the Sol uses a user-replaceable battery. The G2 also offers ten times the memory of the Sol, allowing for up to 1,000 hours of data storage. Perhaps most importantly, the G2 offers support for trimix, CCR, and side-mount diving, making it a more versatile choice for divers seeking to explore deeper and more challenging dive sites.
Mares Smart Air
If you are looking for an affordable dive computer with numerous safety features that is perfect for beginner scuba divers and freedivers, then the Mares Smart is definitely worth considering. With features like air and nitrox modes, two gas mixes, audible and visual alarms, and a maximum depth of 150m (492ft), the Smart has everything beginners need as well as a range of safety features.
One of the Smart’s standout features is the ascent rate lockout, which locks the device for 24 hours if the recommended ascent rate is exceeded for more than one-third of the depth of the dive. Although this feature might be seen as drastic by some, it is a highly effective way to keep users safe and dissuade them from further diving, especially if they are not yet experienced enough to know their limits.
In addition to all of these features, the Mares Smart also has a sleek, watch-sized design that is perfect for wearing as an everyday sports watch. With a segmented dot matrix display that is sectioned into three rows, the Smart is easy to navigate, and its small profile makes it easy to wear and carry around.
The Cressi Leonardo is a great entry-level dive computer designed, developed, and produced in Italy. With a simple and user-friendly design, this computer offers all the necessary features for recreational diving, focusing on safety, efficiency, and reliability. The single-button interface of the Leonardo makes it easy to navigate, perfect for beginners or those who want a computer without extra features.
Available as a compact wristwatch or console computer, the Leonardo comes in many colors, adding to the fun of buying your first dive computer. It has a high-definition, edge-to-edge LCD screen that is easy to read, even in stressful situations. The battery indicator display on the main screen, along with depth, time, and temperature information, is also a great feature.
In terms of pros, the Cressi Leonardo is the perfect first dive computer, with a very clear easy-to-read display and a giant menu button that is easy to press even with gloves on. The computer is available in many colors and has an attractive price point. Additionally, the included strap is of good quality. However, some cons of the Leonardo include the alarms being almost disturbingly loud, the computer not being suitable for daily use as a watch, and the strap being too long, requiring trimming.
Suunto EON Core
The Suunto EON Core dive computer is a well-built, intuitive and user-friendly piece of equipment that delivers all the essential information divers need for a recreational dive. The menu system is easy to navigate, and the buttons are solid, easy to press and have a very definite action. The screen is wide, clear and displays high-contrast colours that change depending on proximity to or violation of various diving limits. The algorithm is conservative, which is ideal for recreational divers, and the battery life is impressive, lasting up to 27 hours on low brightness setting.
However, the reflective screen can be an issue in shallow water with bright sunlight, requiring the computer to be positioned in the shade for a clearer view. Also, although the display can be adjusted, it cannot be changed during the dive. The elastomer strap is standard, and the bungees are available as optional extras. The Suunto EON Core dive computer has three default displays, but the user can alter them through the Dive Manager software.
The Suunto EON Core dive computer is an excellent choice for recreational divers who prioritize user-friendliness and quality. Its intuitive menu system, solid buttons, and clear display make it an easy and reliable tool for diving. However, it may not be suitable for divers who prefer a less conservative algorithm and those who regularly dive in shallow water with bright sunlight.
The Aqua Lung i200C
The Aqua Lung i200C is a dive computer designed with beginners and recreational divers in mind, offering affordability with numerous features. With a slim profile and watch mode functionality, the device is also versatile and can be worn daily outside of diving. Technical specifications include four dive modes: air, nitrox, gauge, and freedive, with a maximum operating depth of 100m (328ft). The device is lightweight at 76 grams and is available in six colors. The i200C also features automatic altitude adjustment, four navigation buttons, user-replaceable battery, and a built-in LED light with numerous alarms.
The Aqua Lung i200C is sleek and sporty, with a bright chrome finish on the bezel and matching color frame and strap. The extender strap is included to accommodate wetsuit wearers, and the four side buttons make navigation easy. The segmented LCD screen displays information that is easy to read, and the backlight can be activated in low-light conditions. With the side LED alarm light, you will be alerted of any safety violations even in low-visibility environments. The i200C also allows you to set your own alarms for dive time, depth, etc., and when the conditions are met, the warning will be displayed on the screen in addition to the audible alarm.
Oceanic ProPlus X
The Oceanic ProPlus X is a console-style dive computer designed for intermediate and experienced divers, though beginners will have no problem using it. Its large color display is easy to read and shows all the important information, such as air integration and compass, with crisp fonts and graphics. The device is packed with features, including the ability to handle up to 4 air and Nitrox mixes, automatic altitude adjustments, and a built-in compass. The device comes with Oceanic’s dual algorithm, and its memory can store up to 99 dives.
One of the standout features of the Oceanic ProPlus X is its rechargeable battery, which provides peace of mind that you won’t run out of battery during a dive. The device also comes with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to download dive data even while you’re still on the boat going back to shore. The Oceanic ProPlus X offers nearly every feature a diver could want, from air integration to gas mixes, and comes in one single device, potentially saving you money.
However, there are a few drawbacks to the device. The four-button navigation can be a bit cumbersome, especially for new users. Additionally, the device doesn’t support wireless air integration, and its price point is a bit high. Overall, the Oceanic ProPlus X is a high-quality dive computer that offers everything a diver needs and more.
Dive computers are indispensable for modern scuba diving, providing crucial information, enhancing safety, and enabling extended bottom times and repetitive dives. As divers, it’s important to research and compare dive computers to find the best fit for our individual diving needs. With the wide range of options available, from basic to advanced features, divers can choose a dive computer that suits their experience level, diving goals, and budget. With dive computers, the exciting possibilities for exploring the underwater world are endless.
These devices offer a wealth of information and data to enhance the diving experience, allowing divers to plan, track, and analyze their dives in detail. By leveraging the power of dive computers, divers can dive safer, stay longer, and make the most of their underwater adventures.
So, investing in a reliable dive computer is a wise decision. It’s a tool that can greatly contribute to your safety, enjoyment, and success in scuba diving. Do your research, compare options, and choose a dive computer that meets your diving needs.
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