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The dive computer is an essential piece of scuba diving equipment that provides you with the data and instructions to help keep you safe during your dive, calculates how long you can stay down for, stores your dive profile data and, increasingly, allows divers to share their diving experiences to the world before they've even left the dive site.
With the dive computer being so important to all divers regardless of training or experience level we think it is critically important that we stock a vast array of dive computers to suit all diving levels and disciplines. Everything from top end and technical dive computers to entry level dive computers from the best and most respected diving brands around the world can be found in our store.
But it isn't enough to just have them available to buy from our online store or our bricks and mortar store in Chiswick, London. A dive computer is a complex bit of dive kit and to aid all of our customers in choosing the right one regardless of whether they chat to someone via the website, on the phone, via email or in store, all of our staff are divers that have not only a working knowledge of dive computers but they have also attended training sessions to learn the details, features, specifications of the computers, how to set them up and in a lot of cases have physically dived with them.
Dive computers fall into one of three styles, the traditional wrist top dive computer such as the Suunto Zoop Novo or Vyper Novo, the watch style dive computer like the Garmin Descent MK1 or Aqua Lung i200C and the console computer like the Scubapro G2 Console.
Each style suits different diving situations and divers. Someone that dives in cooler waters with a drysuit or in low visibility conditions might favour a larger wrist top computer with a bigger screen and longer/more robust strap whereas a diver that only dives on holiday in tropical water might prefer a compact watch style computer that looks good at work the rest of the time. Console computers are generally not so popular in the UK compared to other countries but offer the option of keeping all your instruments in one handy console.
SUUNTO ZOOP NOVO DIVE COMPUTER
GARMIN DESCENT MK1 DIVE COMPUTER
SCUBAPRO G2 CONSOLE DIVE COMPUTER
High specification dive computers like the Shearwater Perdix or the Teric are often designed for a broad spectrum of divers and are usually capable of supporting anyone from entry level to technical divers and, if anything, are geared more towards the technical diver than anyone. Usually they feature the latest in technologies and offer advanced diving features like trimix gas mixes or support rebreathers.
The computers may have all these features but that doesn't mean you have to use them. If you're a new diver or even an experienced recreational diver that likes the look of an advanced computer there is absolutely nothing stopping you using it as long as you don't mind paying a premium for some features you might not need.
Nearly all brands offer a higher end dive computer that they lavish with colourful screens, rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth connectivity and more. Aqua Lung has the i770R, Suunto has the EON Steel or the watch style D5 and Mares has the Genius. There is certainly no shortage of choice.
SUUNTO EON STEEL DIVE COMPUTER
SHEARWATER TERIC DIVE COMPUTER
SUUNTO D5 BLACK DIVE COMPUTER
The boundaries between what could be defined as an entry level computer and an advanced dive computer is becoming much more blurred by the day. Computers have so many features these days that even basic models will still often support gas switching for divers using nitrox for example.
Generally when we talk about advanced dive computers we mean one that requires significant additional diving training to use fully. That could be when using stage cylinders and switching between bottom and decompression gases or even Trimix.
Again though, just because a dive computer has advanced features doesn't mean that a new diver is forbidden from using it. It will still give you the information you need to safely complete your first dive or your 1000th dive as a recreational diver.
SUUNTO EON CORE DIVE COMPUTER
SCUBAPRO G2 DIVE COMPUTER
SUUNTO D6i NOVO DIVE COMPUTER
Entry level or beginner dive computers are affordable, simple to use yet still provide everything a budding or experienced recreational diver needs to enjoy their dive safely. The screen are generally uncluttered, showing only the critical dive information and the menus are simple to navigate.
This is the really price competitive end of the market with brands battling to get divers on their respective product journeys. Prices are low and you can pick up some feature packed computers at a steal. Models like the Aqua Lung i100 are simple, effective and cheap whereas the Aqua Lung i300C, Mares Smart or Oceanic Veo 4.0 are a little more expensive but offer more features.
This type of dive computer serves three purposes:
AQUA LUNG i100 DIVE COMPUTER
MARES SMART DIVE COMPUTER
OCEANIC VEO 4.0 DIVE COMPUTER
Generally speaking there isn't much that you can upgrade on a dive computer. More advanced dive computers might allow the installation and use of a different decompression algorithm, others might have a choice of strap colours or types. The one significant upgrade that many divers opt for is the wireless transmitter.
Wireless transmitters send live cylinder pressure data directly to a compatible & paired dive computer which can use the data to display your remaining cylinder pressure, use it to calculate your breathing rate to personalise your dive profile further and create a custom decompression plan or use it to calculate the air time you have left at that depth. As a visual guide for your during kit checking and for your buddy during the diver some transmitters feature a LED that changes colour as your cylinder pressure drops, going from green to orange to red as your get nearer your reserve pressure.
In most cases transmitters are proprietary, meaning they can only be used with the matching brand dive computer. As technology improves we also find that newer models come out that no longer work with older models. The Suunto Wireless Transmitter and Tank Pod, for instance, do the same job over pretty much the same distances but the Wireless Transmitter uses an analogue signal whereas the Tank Pod uses a digital signal. Hence only the newer EON Steel, EON Core and D5 currently support the Tank Pod. A nice little feature of the Suunto Tank Pod is a proximity pairing. Hold a compatible computer near the pod and the pairing screen will automatically be opened on the computer.
Don't forget that we are here to help. Can't decide between two, five, ten different dive computers? Just give us a call on +44 20 8994 6006, send us an email, or come in and see us in store and we'll be happy to run through all the pros and cons. With the vast majority of dive computers being in stock in both our store and warehouse we may even be able to suggest an alternative you hadn't thought of.
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