Dive computers are not-so-little gadgets that not only tell you the time while you’re spear fishing or snorkeling, but are also packed with a myriad of other features which make your diving experience safe, comfortable, and enjoyable.
Following is my picks of the best dive computer watches:
Cressi Leonardo Scuba Dive Computer
With an approximately 2-inch high-definition wide screen, the Cressi Leonardo has a large, uncluttered numerical display and simple abbreviations that makes it super easy-to-read under water. The main screen displays current depth, no-decompression limit (NDL), dive time, maximum depth, temperature, and battery level, while the alternate screen will tell you the PO2 setting, gas mix, and conservatism factor.
Since it’s touted as the top choice for newbie divers, the Cressi Leonardo is extremely user-friendly, with a single button interface to effortlessly program air, nitrox, and gauge modes. The ergonomic design is visually appealing and comfortable to wear. It also comes with an excellent user manual to kick-start the settings.
Everything you need to know pre, during, and post diving is displayed on the main screen. In case you get too engrossed in the admiring the beautiful coral life, the visual and audible alarms will tell you when it’s time to head back.
The watch can be fully reset after every use, making it an ideal watch for rental departments. We just wish a stronger backlight and a safety-stop timer.
Mares Puck Wrist Dive Computer
Whether you are an entry level diver looking for a great dive computer, or a Tec-Rec diver looking for a back up dive computer, the Mares Puck ticks all the right boxes.
Being one of the most basic yet reliable workhorses in the market, the Mares Puck has an easy-to-use single button. The watch has an intuitive design with a strap that can be comfortably worn on your wrist or over your wetsuit. Alternatively, you can choose to mount it on a console. The rugged design can withstand a few bumps and bangs, while the scratch-guard protects the screen.
The large display of the watch takes only a glance to read – the main and alternative screens are displayed both on surface and underwater. The Mares Puck manages three dive types – air, enriched air nitrox (EAN), and bottom time. Within each type, the display is divided into 4 stages – pre-dive, dive, surfacing and surface mode. There is also an option to choose between salt water and fresh water setting. The dive mode activates automatically at a depth of 4 meters, and warning audio alarms alert you for unsuitable diving conditions.
Diving information is stored for as long as 40 hours after each dive, while you can also upload the data onto your laptop with a USB cable.
There have been complains about the strap being unreliable and the backlight not being bright enough, but for price this dive computer is a great steal!
Pyle Sports Snorkeling Master Watch
Integrating aesthetics with features, the Pyle PSNKW30 comes in a variety of color combinations to choose from. The multi-functional PSNKW30 has 5 operating functions – Current Time, Dual Time, Chronograph, Countdown Timer and Diving Modes.
It not only displays time but also has a chronograph feature which displays the current and elapsed time. Up to 100 records of your diving information is stored in dive log, which includes your date and time, maximum dive depth, dive duration, minimum water temperature and dive site indication – you can choose between lake or sea site diving.
It is fixed with a thermometer to measure the water temperature to 1 degree Celsius or Fahrenheit. You also get to choose your preferred measurement units – °F or °C, and meters or feet. The watch is packed with additional configurable options, such as adjustable 12 or 24 hour time format, alarm time settings, and hourly chime on/off. The large display with electro-luminescent backlight makes it easy to read the watch-face, day or night.
Dive mode is automatically activated if you submerge for more than 1.5 meters for over 10 seconds and a sudden ascent or descent activates a warning alarm.
The most common complaint is that of the rotating bezel which has no practical use. Some users have also mentioned that reviewing past dives is tedious.
Suunto ZOOP Wrist Unit
Another great entry-level dive computer, the Suunto Zoop replaces its incredibly popular predecessor, Gekko. Short for Zooplankton, the Zoop shares many similarities with Gekko, but what makes it better is that it allows to download your dive data to a PC. Design wise, Zoop looks a lot like Cressi Leonardo.
Talking about looks, Zoop has a large, well-laid-out 40mm display with easily readable data digits. It has a solid construction and the bright bezel makes it look very sporty and funky. The user-friendly push button interface makes it a breeze to navigate through the menu structure as all functions are clearly labeled. The phosphorescent LCD display is super bright, but lack of backlight limits its use in the dark. On the left you have white-yellow-red colored bars that help administering N2 loading and ascent rate.
Although it’s fairly basic, Zoop features both air and nitrox (21% to 50%) modes. With a 50 hour dive log, your dive profile is saved for long. Visual and audible alarms alert you whenever necessary and there is also an option to set dive time and maximum depth alarms. When after 5 minutes of inactivity the display shuts off automatically conserving battery power.
Oceanic Geo 2.0 Air/Nitrox Computer Watch
The upgraded look of the mid range GEO 2. has a redesigned screen, a stainless steel accent ring and also a more appealing color combination, making it suitable as an everyday watch. Despite the compact size, the large numerical display makes it easy to read all the information. The restructured user interface has *Step Back* option which enables forward as well as backward navigation through settings and menus.
The full decompression dive computer supports in dive gas switching between both air and 2 programmable nitrox gas mixes, one up to 100% oxygen. It comes with 4 operating modes: Watch, Norm (for air and nitrox), Gauge (bottom timer), and free diving.
What makes the Geo 2.0 outshine the rest is the dual algorithm technology, which enables a diver to adjust the behavior of the dive computer beyond the usual safety factor changes. A memory for 24 dive logs is sufficient for most divers, otherwise data can be transferred to PC.
The adjustable backlight is great for low light conditions, especially at night. The only downside to the watch is that the bar graphs are relatively small and can get lost in the background.
Just because a watch is advertised as a ‘dive watch’ does not mean it will have all the necessary features for recreational water activities. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the gadget you’re investing in is equipped to handle the depths, like the ones reviewed above.