This year’s dive computers offer something for everybody. From basic and inexpensive to feature packed and pricey, divers have a choice of big screens, small screens, three-color bar graphs, dot-matrix displays, increased battery life, larger memories and up to three gas mixes. Hoseless air-integration continues to be a hot item, on-board digital compasses have really come on strong, and some kind of Deep Stop feature can now be found on virtually every model.
To tackle the massive job of evaluation, ScubaLab uses a testing protocol divided into four phases: Lab Work, Ocean Work, PC Downloads and Chamber Runs. We start off in the ScubaLab shop and pour over spec sheets and websites to familiarize ourselves with all the features and get all the facts. Then we fire up each computer, and with an owner’s manual in hand we dive into the system, scrolling through modes, searching out menus and setting parameters to prepare the units for our ocean work.
SUUNTO Cobra 3
The Cobra 3 features a new electronic 3-D compass that can handle up to 45 degrees of tilt. The system displays tank pressure up to 5,000 psi and comes with a Deep Stop feature. A dot-matrix display and two-color bar graphs easily track depth, NDLs and ascent rate. All critical data is easy to see and use. Retrieving surface-interval info after the dive can be a little tricky until you get used to the system, but the digital compass is one of the better designs we’ve seen.
Liberal or Conservative
Conservative. Personal adjustment and altitude settings offer more conservatism, but it’s also possible to adjust RGBM settings to make calculations more liberal.
We like the sleek design, bold digits and two-color graphs. Throw in a well-laid-out owner’s manual, and there’s a lot to love.
|Price||$850; $975 w/ quick-disconnect and Dive Manager Software|
|September / October 2009 Issue Scuba Lab Review Quick Links|
|Hollis DG-O2||Mares Puck Air|
|Oceanic OC1||SCUBAPRO/UWATEC Galileo Luna|
|Sherwood Wisdom 2||SUUNTO Cobra 3|
|SUUNTO Vyper Air||Tusa IQ-650 Element|
|Zeagle N2ition 3|