We swooned enough over previous versions of Mares’ Icon HD that we were determined to play hard to get this time around — in vain, as it turns out. Once again, we fell hard for the big LCD screen, the effortless four-button navigation and the digital compass of our dreams. We all get a little worried when the things we love change, but in this case, we see that it was for the best. the Icon’s new dive display is even better than before, with streamlined data presentation and improved use of the Icon’s colors. There’s still one-touch access to a dive-profile graphic, but now it intrudes less on other dive data. A new underwater menu lets you change settings — night mode, for example — and access a tissue-saturation bar graph. You can also scroll through scads of data, including gas-consumption rate, maximum depth for gas selected, CNS, PO2 and battery levels — for the Icon’s batteries as well as those in the tank transmitters. mares also added a color-coded tank-pressure display that lets you program the pressure thresholds that trigger yellow and red. Outwardly, the Icon was left unchanged except for the new Gunmetal black edition that we tried (“such a sexy machine,” wrote one shameless test diver). For the record, the Icon’s test-diver score only rounds up to a perfect 5; in raw numbers, it was just 4.86. This suggests there’s room for improvement, but honestly, we sort of hope they won’t change a thing. The Icon HD is our Testers’ Choice in this category.
MSRP: $1,200 ($600 for transmitter) // Gas mixes: 3 // User controls: 4 buttons // Compass: Yes // Info: mares.com