BEST DIVE COMPUTERS 2016
Neil Hope picks the top dive computers for 2016
Suunto EON Steel
Available with the option of wriststrap or bungee mount, Suunto's EON Steel features a bright and high contrast, full-colour TFT screen mounted within a reinforced composite housing and a brushed stainless steel bezel. Water resistant to 150m the computer uses a simple three-button setup to navigate the user-customisable menu and has a multiple-screen display that can be viewed in either text-based or graphical interfaces. With gauge, air/nitrox, trimix and CCR modes the device automatically checks for software updates via Suunto's DM5 software whenever a connection is made to a PC or Mac. Other features include a 3D tilt-compensated compass and if paired in conjunction with one or more Suunto Tank Pods, the ability to provide multiple cylinder pressure readings.
Best for... Beginners
Cressi's Leonardo is a wrist-mounted air/nitrox/gauge computer suitable as an entry-level instrument or for those indulging in multi-day, repetitive diving. Adjustable between 21%-50% and with large digits, a backlit display and single button interface operation, the Leonardo is both intuitive and uncomplicated. With three levels of user-adjustable conservatism, a choice of PO2 settings between 1.2 and 1.6 bar and a deep stop function, the computer also offers an ascent rate alarm, 60-dive logbook plus visual and audible alarm functions. A single user-changeable CR 2430 cell should provide approximately two years/100 dives before replacement is indicated by the computer's on-screen battery life display. Using an optional interface cable allows dive data to be downloaded to Mac or PC and the instrument can also be fully reset if required.
Best for...Advanced Diving
With a high-resolution, full dot-matrix screen, the USB-rechargeable Mares Matrix offers air, nitrox and gauge modes and up to three gas mixes. The compact metal-housed, watch-style computer is available in black or white with acustomisable mineral glass display that offers reverse contrast, backlighting plus an electronic compass with heading lock. Functions are controlled by four push buttons, one of which provides access to Mares' ICE (In Case of Emergency) function where essential personal information such as contact numbers, medical conditions or insurance details can be stored. The supplied charging cradle also doubles as a means to download dive profiles and upload software upgrades.
Shearwater's Perdix is a robust, low-profile, contoured computer for technical divers. The device offers trimix, nitrox/air and gauge modes plus fixed PO2 CCR diving. A total of five open circuit and five closed circuit gas mixes can be stored in the computer's memory which may also be edited during the dive. Commands are entered via a two-button interface and the high-contrast 2.2” colour LCD display can be easily customised by the user. Operating on a single AA battery to provide 130 hours of use, the Perdix has a three-axis tilt compensated digital compass, bluetooth upgradeable firmware and an integrated bungee mount. Depth rated to 260m, the Petrel has an internal dive log of 1,000 hours.
Best for...Fitness Fanatics
Now available in a reversed LCD display Black Tech version, Scubapro's Mantis incorporates what they describe as 'Human Factor Diving' via a predictive multi-gas algorithm that uses breathing, heart rate and skin temperature to calculate an individual's decompression obligation. Manufactured from marine-grade stainless steel with a mineral glass and LCD segmented display the device is operated by magnetic push-buttons and has a four dive mode (Deco, Gauge, Apnea plus fixed PPO2 CCR) and three gas mix (21%-100% O2) capability. On the surface the computer offers full timekeeping functionality with an altimeter, thermometer, chronograph with lap memory and a swim mode with stroke counter. Rated to a depth of 120m, the Mantis is compatible with Mac and PC via Scubapro's LogTrack software.