Wrist-mount computers: for data-hungry divers whorequire instant information with the most convenient package possible
1. AERIS A100
Performance: The A100 is the bare-bones entry in this year’s test group. It uses only a single button for navigation and offers air or nitrox mixes to 50 percent. There are no audible alarms, no backlight and no ability to download data. The A100 does, however, come with Aeris’ Dual Algorithms feature, which is a big plus. Like the A300, it uses easy-to-read green/yellow/red bar graphs to monitor nitrogen loading and ascent rate. Its safety-stop countdown system is also quite good. In spite of its single button, navigating through the A100 system is surprisingly simple. Getting the hang of the sequencing took testers no time at all, with only minimal reference made to the A100’s well-laid-out manual.
Liberal or Conservative: With its Dual Algorithms feature, you can choose your computing model based on current dive conditions, or to match your buddy’s dive computer.
Bottom Line: A simple, inexpensive model that’s relatively easy to use, the A100 offers most DC functions plus throws in dual algorithms. And it’s also available in a console.
OPERATIONAL MODES- Air, Nitrox | NITROX CAPABILITY- 21 percent to 50 percent | O2 GAS MIXES- 1 | USER CONTROLS- 1 button
AIR INTEGRATED- No | ONBOARD COMPASS- No | COLOR HIGHLIGHTS- Yes | PC KIT- No
MSRP $309.95 INFO diveaeris.com
2. Aeris A300
Performance: While it might look old school, this DC is packed with modern computing features like three-gas capability to 100 percent O2 and Aeris’ Dual Algorithms. The primary screen offers current depth and no-deco time, with the rest of the data relegated to alternate screens. Some test divers considered this a clean presentation. Others wanted to see more data on the primary screen. Either way, you can’t mistake the big, bold data digits. The A300 provides a very good safety-stop countdown, plus it uses three-color bar graphs with extended pixel loading that makes tracking tissue loading and ascent rate extremely easy. The A300’s button system is intuitive, and its owner’s manual is one of the best.
Liberal or Conservative: Dual algorithms enable you to dive liberally or conservatively. A Conservative Factor setting increases the safety level.
Bottom Line: With Dual Algorithms and a display screen that makes excellent use of colored bar graphs, plus a very reasonable price, the A300 is a Best Buy.
OPERATIONAL MODES Air, Tech, Gauge, Free Dive | NITROX CAPABILITY 21 percent to 100 percent O2 | GAS MIXES 2
USER CONTROLS 3 buttons | AIR INTEGRATED No | ONBOARD COMPASS No COLOR HIGHLIGHTS Yes | PC KIT Optional ($94.95)
MSRP $409.95 INFO diveaeris.com
3. MARES Icon HD/AI
Performance: In a class all its own, this impressive data cruncher hit the scene a couple of years ago, bowling everybody over with its big, bright, full-color LCD and smartphone-style menu. Improvements to this latest model include an upgraded system that adds options to dive modes and expanding functions to its already excellent compass. But the big news is the addition of hoseless air integration. The color coding for bar-graphing tissue loading, deco time and ascent rate is unmatched. And the blinking red banner for too-fast ascents really gets your attention. Of course, all of this vibrant color requires lots of power. Thankfully the lithium-ion battery is rechargeable. Programmingwise, this DC is so intuitive that you can set all parameters simply by following the screen prompts.
Liberal or conservative: The Icon HD leans conservative. You can also program four altitude and three personal-safety levels.
Bottom Line: The Icon HD/AI, now with hoseless air integration, was the unanimous favorite wrist-mount DC with test divers, who didn’t hesitate a moment before picking it as the Testers’ Choice.
OPERATIONAL MODES Air, Nitrox, Gauge | NITROX CAPABILITY 21 percent to 99 percent O2 GAS MIXES 3 | USER CONTROLS 4 buttons
AIR INTEGRATED Yes | ONBOARD COMPASS Yes | COLOR HIGHLIGHTS Yes | PC KIT Included
MSRP $1,800 INFO mares.com
4. TUSA IQ-750 ELEMENT II
Performance: The Element II is similar in appearance to the A300 but functions quite differently. The button sequencing and navigation is not as intuitive. Testers found it’s not a system you can master just by experimenting with pushing buttons; you’ll definitely need to read the manual. Luckily, the owner’s manual for the Element II is a very good one, offering logical page/function progressions and clear instructions supported by helpful illustrations. In the water, a workable primary dive screen offers basic data, plus an easily accessible alternate screen. The N2, O2 and ascent bar graphs are better than average, as is the safety-stop function.
Liberal or Conservative: The Element II is middle of the road. It provides a Conservative Factor setting to increase safety.
Bottom Line: The Element II, also available in a console version with an analog SpG, is a decent dive computer with lots of features and functions. However, it requires a bit more study and patience to set it up and navigate through the system. Otherwise, you have a solid data cruncher at a good price.
OPERATIONAL MODES- Air, Nitrox, Gauge, Free Dive | NITROX CAPABILITY 21 percent to 100 percent | O2 GAS MIXES- 2
USER CONTROLS- 3 buttons | AIR INTEGRATED- No | ONBOARD COMPASS- No | COLOR HIGHLIGHTS- Yes | PC KIT- Optional ($99)
MSRP $430 INFO tusa.com