A diving computer is a device used by divers to measure their dive time and depth, as well as to control their ascent and descent rate. The most basic function of a diving computer is to track a diver’s dive profile, which is the time it takes for a diver to descend from the surface to the bottom of a dive, as well as the time it takes for a diver to ascend from the bottom of a dive back to the surface.
We are going to be reviewing the top 5 best watch-style dive computers. We will take a look at which one is our favorite, what features they have. Hopefully, this will help you make an informed decision on your next purchase.
Factor to Consider When Choosing Dive Computers
Dive computers are equipped with user-replaceable batteries. For the purpose of this review, we have included dive computers that have rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries can be recharged by plugging into a USB port or AC/DC adapter via your computer or another device capable of supplying power. An advantage to choosing a dive computer with a removable battery is that you don’t need to send it to the manufacturer for changing the battery every two-three years if it’s still in good working condition. You can save money on shipping by buying a replacement battery locally instead.
The best depth gauges are highly reliable, accurate, and quick responding sensors that provide diverse critical information about the current depth and water pressure at any given time. The best dive computers are equipped with depth gauges that provide an instantaneous reading of real-time depth up to the maximum allowed diving depth of the diver.
The diving computer should have preset alarms for specific functions. It is important that alarms are loud enough to be heard by divers in case they are engaged in an underwater activity or neutral buoyancy exercises, or if their earphones malfunctioned.
The alarm on a dive computer may be set off when a diver reaches certain depths, depths below certain levels, time duration set before an ascending ceiling is reached, etc.
Depending on the preferences of the individual diver you can either choose between audible alarms or visual ones. Visual alarm options include LCD screens while audible alarm options include vibrating alerts.
The user interface on a dive computer is really what makes it easy to read and understand. The display should contain large fonts that can easily be seen underwater, as well as buttons that can be pressed even with gloves on or if there’s water between your fingers. It is recommended that the dive computer has an LED backlight for better display clarity in dark or low-light conditions.
There should also be a changeable contrast and brightness adjustment to make the screen clear and easy to read no matter what environment it’s in. Some dive computers can even be set underwater to allow easy viewing of information without having to pull away from your task at hand.
A dive computer with a graphical display is definitely more universal than one that just displays numbers because there are many different types of divers who will be using the same device – each with their own personal preferences for preferred reading methods.
Any information displayed on the screen must be easily understood by diver regardless of their ability level, age, or time spent underwater. The best watch-style dive computers can show several different graphs and information at once, not just one.
5 Best Watch Style Dive Computers
Garmin Descent Mk1 Watch-Sized Dive Computer
The Garmin Descent Mk1 Watch-Sized Dive Computer is a full-featured dive computer that is also sleek and watch-style in design. It has a bright 1. 2” color display and is equipped with sensors including a 3-axis compass, gyroscope, and barometric altimeter.
It also has GPS and GLONASS capability to let you mark your dive entry and exit points for surface navigation. The device can be used in modes for single and multiple gas dives (including nitrox and trimix), gauge, apnea, and closed-circuit rebreather (CCR) mode.
Additionally, it has a dive log to store data from up to 200 dives, which can be shared online via Garmin Connect and its included mobile app. The Descent Mk1 also has a built-in heart rate monitor, making it versatile enough for various sports beyond diving.
Shearwater Research Perdix AI
This wireless-enabled device can integrate tank pressure data seamlessly, and it comes with five open-circuit gas switch presets for easy configuration. Additionally, it features the Bühlmann ZHL-16C algorithm with gradient factors for precise decompression calculations.
Plus, the large full-color screen is easy to read even in difficult lighting conditions. Last but not least, the dive logbook can track up to 1000 hours of diving.
Oceanic Geo 2.0 Air/Nitrox Computer Watch
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line dive computer watch, the Oceanic Geo 2.0 is definitely worth a look. This computer is powered by Oceanic’s dual algorithm, which allows you to choose between Pelagic DSAT (based on Spencer/Powell data) or Pelagic Z+ (based on Buhlmann ZHL-16C data).
It also has four operating modes: WATCH (for an alternate time, Chrono, daily alarm, and countdown timer), NORM (for air and nitrox), GAUGE (with run timer), and FREE (tracks calculations to allow switching between NORM and free).
The user interface is also very user-friendly, with “Step Back”, which allows for forwarding and backward navigation through the menus and settings. You can switch between up to 2 nitrox mixes with no restriction (and one of them may be up to 100 percent O2), and there is a 3-minute stop time, which displays minutes and seconds. The deep stop feature also has a countdown timer, which you can turn on or off. There is also a 2-minute countdown at half your maximum depth for dives greater than 80 ft / 25m, and single-button access to the “Last Dive” display (max depth & bottom time).
One of the best features of the Geo 2.0 is that it has data retention, which maintains calculations indefinitely when the battery is changed. You can also set an audible alarm with a flashing LED light for notifications, and there’s even history mode, which includes the total number of dives, max depth, total dive hours, and lowest temperature.
Mares Smart Air Dive Computer Wrist Watch with or Without LED Transmitter
If you’re in the market for a dive computer and are looking for something with a bit of style, the Mares Smart Air Dive Computer Wrist Watch is a great option. It’s available with or without an LED transmitter, and its simple interface design makes it easy to use for any level of diving. Plus, the customizable audio alarms are a great bonus.
SUUNTO Eon Core Wrist Dive Computer with Transmitter & USB
As a certified diver, you know that having the right gear is essential to your safety and enjoyment while underwater. If you’re looking for a dive computer that offers a comprehensive feature set as well as a sleek, stylish design, then you’ll love the SUUNTO Eon Core Wrist Dive Computer.
This computer comes with a transmitter and USB, so you can easily keep it charged and updated. It also has a clear color display with large, prominent digits, making it easy to read even in low light conditions. Plus, its intuitive menu logic makes it easy to navigate even if you’re not familiar with computers.
The SUUNTO Eon Core Wrist Dive Computer is also equipped with a digital compass that can tilt up to 45 degrees, so you’ll be able to navigate in even the most challenging underwater environments.