Scubapro dive computers are often overlooked by divers, mostly because Scubapro just doesn't have the biggest slice of the market share so doesn't get the same exposure that Suunto gets but twenty or so years ago things were different and Scubapro / Uwatec computers were the ultimate in modern dive computer technology.
Recent years have seen a big push from Scubapro to revamp their computer range with more appealing and versatile models that suit a wide range of divers from beginner to advanced. The Galileo range has been a solid line with a loyal group of followers that saw the benefits that the line had over the competition and the G2 has really helped push the flagship line further.
The premium end of the price scale is well covered by the G2 but in the thick of the cut throat action of the entry to mid level computers you'll find the Scubapro Aladin Sport Matrix, a worthy successor to the original Uwatec Aladins that was worn proudly by so many divers all those years ago.
The Sport Matrix is competing with the likes of the Suunto Zoop Novo, the Mares Puck Pro+ and the Aqua Lung i300 and whilst it is priced slightly higher than its competition it is more than a match in terms of features and functions.
If a puck style dive computer like this doesn't support nitrox and allow for user changeable batteries (without the memory wiping) then it's not even worth thinking about so we'll skip over the "essentials" of what every computer should provide as a bare minimum and concentrate on what matters.
The Sport Matrix uses a split LCD screen with a segment display covering the top two thirds and a dot matrix section at the bottom. The screen is clear and easy to read and an active back light keeps the screen visible in low light situations. Nothing out of the ordinary so far, most computers have that but the Aladin Sport Matrix utilises the dot matrix section by adding a digital compass, something that its closest rivals don't offer.
Scubapro have built the Sport Matrix around their Predictive Multi-Gas algorithm that is based on the Buhlmann decompression that allows for sixteen tissue compartments, a truly tried and tested algorithm with can only be millions of dive hours accumulated by divers around the world.
Scubapro allow the algorithm to be customised using their microbubble level settings, fine tuning the model to your age, experience and physical condition. The algorithm also supports intermediate stops that are calculated using their PDIS (Profile Dependent Intermediate Stops) which takes into account nitrogen loading, current and previous dive profiles as well as gas mix for a safer dive. The algorithm also supports up to three gas mixes, giving the Sport Matrix an advantage if you plan on progressing your skills to more advanced diving in the future.
Whilst all of the Sport Matrix's competitors support a PC / Mac interface (as does the Aladin), the Aladin is the only one in the price range that features Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, giving you instant access to your dive profile data straight from your compatible smart phone or tablet. Simply install the appropriate Android or iOS app (free at time of writing) and you're away. Transfer and log your dives as soon as you de-kit and share your latest dive with the world before you have even left the dive site.
The closest dive computer to offer this is the Puck Pro+ which requires an optional extra interface which basically turns the PC / Mac connection into a Bluetooth 4.0 device.
The Aladin has a two button menu system that makes navigating through the various screens and settings just that little bit easier, eliminating the need to carry on scrolling back round the menu options if you pass the one you wanted. Menu screens are entered and exited using a long press whilst moving between screens and settings is a short press.
The units is mounted on an elastomer strap which is certainly long enough to go round the wrist of a drysuit and thick undersuit but at some point the elastomer strap option might not be for you as you advanced and Scubapro has allowed for that. There are four holes in the housing that holds the computer and these are there for a bungee strap to be fitted by simply looping bungee cord of an appropriate length through the holes on one side and knotting before repeating for the other side....Bob's your uncle you have instantly converted it to a bungee strap without an special adaptors. All you have to do is remove the elastomer strap by pushing the strap pins in to release it.
The Aladin Sport Matrix is a versatile, fully featured yet affordable dive computer that will support a wide range of divers whether they are taking the plunging on their first dive or developing their skills with accelerated decompression and gas switching. If you are serious about buying a dive computer that will last and stay with you as your diving progresses then you really need to consider the Aladin Sport Matrix as a short listed option and not necessarily bow to popular choice.