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.
TUSA IQ-650 Element
The IQ-650 Element is a trimmed-down model that offers a Deep Stop option, which kicks in below 80 feet. A single-button control accesses modes and adjusts settings. The screen is divided into three sections, and color-coded bar graphs track N2 and O2 loading as well as ascent rate. This is a very simple DC, supported by a pretty good owner’s manual. The main screen is laid out nicely, but the gas-loading bar-graph coloration is not intuitive, so it’s important to understand it before hitting the water. On the other hand, the ascent bar graph is nice, as is the safety-stop feature.
Liberal or Conservative
Middle-of-the-road. There are no programmable safety settings.
Simple and clean — for a basic computer, it gets the job done.
|Style||Wrist-mount or console|
|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|