A dive watch helps you to dive safely. In order for a diver to gauge your depth and length of time spent submerged, various dive statistics can be read on a dive watch to keep an eye on how the dive is progressing. Get a look at the top 5 diving smartwatches of 2023 at a variety of price points.
There are many various brands, models, diving functions, materials, and clocks to pick from. Finding a proper dive watch might consequently be quite a task.
Garmin Descent MK2 (and MK2i)
The Garmin Descent MK2 is, without a doubt, the dive computer for you if you want a truly clever one! Think of it as a combination of a high-end dive computer, a wristwatch, and a fitness tracker, all in one. Descent MK2i wireless air integration is the only item missing from this model. When it comes to enjoying your favourite pastimes, having a slew of technology isn’t always necessary.
Smart dive watches
Watch-style dive computers were an attempt by dive computer manufacturers for many years to bridge the gap between diving and everyday life, but they were never more than a small dive computer. Although the Garmin Descent MK1 was a significant improvement over its predecessor, the newer MK2 model totally excels its competitors. In the subject of diving computers, this is a big advancement in technology.
Many features of the Garmin Descent MK2 are tough to comprehend. The heart rate and pulse Oxy sensors were also collected and used in your decompression calculations when diving with the watch on your skin.
An advanced multisport watch with advanced training capabilities and long battery life is what you get when you take it out of the water. To get the best support and updates from Garmin, download the Garmin smartphone and desktop apps. The Descent MK2’s functionality and capabilities will continue to grow with regular firmware updates even after you’ve purchased it.
There are many activities and a lot of useful information to find.
In addition to backcountry skiing and sailing, this technology may also record skydiving and kayaking.
After the first Descent MK1’s popularity, which seemed to strike a balance between a dive computer and an ordinary timepiece, anticipations were high for the new Descent Mark 2. The Mk2i’s expanded capability overcame our initial skepticism as a dive computer and multisport wristwatch.
An important characteristic of the Mk2i’s capabilities is the integration of the SubWave network, a sonor-based underwater communication system. This breakthrough technology, combined with the T1 transmitter, delivers complex air integration and ultra-accurate air pressure measurements for up to five gas-mixed tanks (nitro or oxygen), dive time remaining, and consumption rate.
To have access to the same information about other divers within a 10-meter radius is wonderful. Instructors might wonder how long their pupils are underwater; however, this information is usually more useful for post-dive deep diving.
To deliver faster and more accurate ascent information, Garmin upgraded the decompression and safety stop capabilities of the Mark 2.
What are the differences?
Aside from a few minor improvements, it appears that the Descent Mk2 is still largely a recreational dive computer even if Garmin has upgraded it. Having real-time data from four additional pupils in addition to their own may be more valuable to a teacher than a tech diver utilizing a variety of gas doses. Of course, the Mk2i and extra T1 transmitters will be needed, which will be available in the New Year.
A revolutionary watch-style dive computer with an integrated 1.4″ colour sunlight-readable display (36 per cent larger than the previous model)
An underwater compass is one of six diving modes used to follow your dive from beginning to end (GPS tracking obviously won’t work underwater)
Wrist and pulse oximeter readings estimate heart rate.
The Garmin Dive app syncs data from 200 dives to your watch. Furthermore, your connected compatible smartphone makes it easy to share and review your underwater adventures.
The battery lasts up to 80 hours in diving mode, 16 days in wristwatch mode, and 15 hours in GPS mode with music.
MK2i versus MK2
The MK2i has a titanium bezel and backplate, and the Mk offers a stainless steel one.
Rebreather modes such as closed-circuit apnea diving are now available on an upgraded display of the Mark 1 model. Using the Garmin Dive app, you may locate dive sites with preloaded dive data, such as wrecks, reefs, tidal data, and enter and exit points. If using the Mk2’s app, search for a new location and mark it, and the device will take you there.
Using Garmin Dive, Connect, Golf, Explore, and IQ as examples, these applications show how the watch may be used for various sports and activities (check out the Fenix 7 range in our article).
Garmin Pay, a pulse oximeter to monitor blood oxygen levels, and phone notifications are all included in the Mark 2’s smartwatch functions, making this a truly unique cross-over.
The Mk1’s screen is one-third the size, so you can see everything. Yet the new Descent is comfortable to wear.
With a battery life of up to 80 hours in diving mode and 16 days in smartwatch mode, the MK2 appears to have developed a wristwatch unlike any of its competitors. If the SubWave ecosystem lives up to the hype.
If you’re an ultra runner, you could take it on a 35-day excursion with GPS or go scuba diving for a weekend without having to remove it to recharge.
The Mk1’s Best Features
In the Descent, a diving computer was transformed into a wristwatch that could be used for other purposes, such as tracking a person’s health. In contrast to the cumbersome design of a dive computer, the touchscreen user interface is more analogous to that of a wristwatch. Battery life that lasts a long time, including all the bells and whistles that come with a fitness-oriented watch
The Descent is mainly a dive computer, despite its additional functions. One of the most well-rounded dive computers on the market, the Mk1 has features including built-in plan mode, customizable salinity settings, automatic altitude adjustment, and compatibility with up to six gases in one tank.
The Mk1’s ability to navigate remains its most recognisable characteristic, despite its reliability as a computer. Garmin’s high standards are met by the Descent, which performs flawlessly both underwater and on land. As a pioneer in wearable GPS technology, this is not a surprise.
Given that it was Garmin’s first attempt at building a dive computer, the Descent Mk1 was a modest success. However, there was a fair amount of scepticism. The newly announced Mk2 and Mk2i from Garmin show that the company takes professional diver feedback very seriously.
The Garmin G1 Solar is significantly improved over their previous Mk2 versions in terms of longevity and wearability. However, this comes at the expense of certain crucial functionalities. The G1 Solar from Garmin Descent adds a new degree of beauty to the series’ already renowned appearance thanks to its integrated solar charging feature.
What’s different between the Mk3 and the Mk2?
The G1 Solar is comparable to previous Descent Mk2 versions in terms of dive-specific and lifestyle technical elements. The G has a slimmer profile than the scuba-focused Mk2i. Garmin shrunk the screen from 52mm to 45mm, making it easier to use, and replaced the heavy steel frame with a lighter, more impact-resistant fiber-reinforced polymer.
My favorite feature is its solar power compatibility, which significantly extends the battery life of smartwatches. Garmin claims that customers can get up to four months of battery life when using the device as a smartwatch. While the underwater charge is significantly reduced, the G1’s operating time is nearly eight times that of the Mk2.
Due to its smaller size and reduced price, the G1 has lost a few features from prior Descent models, the most noteworthy of which is air integration. The Mk2’s display, which is monochrome rather than full colour, also has two windows rather than a single screen. Furthermore, the G1 cannot connect to wireless networks, use maps, or save music.
Aside from the lack of air integration, the G1 Solar is an excellent dive computer for both recreational and technical divers. It has leak-proof buttons and an adjustable strap that allows it to be worn around a suit. It is waterproof up to 100 meters.
Apnea and apnea hunt modes are among the several diving modes available on the G1, which also includes standard Descent-series functionality for single and mixed gas dives other than nitrox and trimix. In freedive modes, performance measures are tracked and saved between descents.
The LCDs a 3-axis compass, depth, time, temperature, remaining nitrogen, and deco-stop requirements, making it an excellent complement to any current dive computer. For your convenience, a vibrating depth alert and automatic entry/exit point monitoring are also incorporated. Garmin’s Descent range of dive watches, including the G1, is designed to work with the Dive App. You can use the App to review specifics to keep a more detailed diary, share information about your journey, and get the inside scoop on places to visit from other users.
Unlike previous Descent models, the G1 Solar balances a dive computer with a timepiece. The G1’s inability to connect to wireless networks or download music is a serious flaw, but it succeeds in other, more health-related criteria.
The G1 has a host of health and biometric tracking features, including sleep tracking, water tracking, and menstrual cycle tracking. You may monitor sports like skiing, jogging, and golfing using preset programs and then use the data to organize your training and recovery using a smartphone app.
In addition to keeping track of your health statistics, the G1 may be coupled with your phone to bring you notifications from SMS, calls, tweets, or any other social media. Garmin Pay can be used to make contactless payments as well.
Conclusions on the Garmin G1
The G1 Solar has a lot of advantages. But, before I make a final decision, lets examine our concerns. The lack of air integration and wifi connectivity on the Descent has been extensively addressed. Still, it bears repeating that these are severe faults for a gadget in the dive computer and wristwatch categories. Because of the tiny buttons, I think some will be especially apprehensive about using the G1 while wearing heavy neoprene dive gloves.
Despite these disadvantages, the Descent Mk2i provides much better value for money. The G1 Solar outperforms in both markets and has a more subtle look than other bigger smartwatches made exclusively for scuba diving.
Aside from divers, everyone who lives an active lifestyle and also dives can use the Descent G1 Solar. Garmin has reduced the price and added a new, fascinating, and versatile device to their already impressive line of devices.
Garmin Descent MK2S
While admiring the Garmin Descent MK2 dive computer, perhaps even trying one on, did you conclude that it was just a little too bulky to use as an everyday watch? There’s no need to worry. The Garmin Descent MK2S is now available in a smaller, lighter, slimmer, and more compact form factor. Women who don’t want a large watch and anyone who prefers a smaller model were the primary target audience for this watch.
The Descent MK2S is identical to the ordinary MK2 in terms of functionality. An all-color composite bezel and case back replace titanium on the outside, means the watch is lighter and stronger as a result.
A full-fledged dive computer that supports air, nitrox, trimix, and CCR diving is still available in the MK2S, but it is not air integrated, so if that’s a concern, the MK2i model is best for you.
The Descent MK2S can fit in as part of your daily routine. A dive computer that also links to your smartphone, analyses your exercise activities, sleep, and so much more just makes full sense for most people, who spend a small fraction of their time diving.
Suunto is the largest maker of dive computers in the world. In fact, they were the first players in the dive watch trend in the 80s with the Stinger, so they know how to innovate. The Suunto D5 is a high-performance recreational dive computer from the Suunto D-series. Despite its lower number, the D5 was released several years after the D6i (and more sophisticated).
A fresh set of features arrives with this version. Suunto’s new FusedTM 2 RGBM decompression method is particularly noteworthy. Furthermore, the D5 has a sleek look and is packed with features that divers will like.
The D5 appears to be Suunto’s response to the growing popularity of smartwatch and dive computer hybrid devices, such as the Shearwater Teric (mentioned below) and Garmin Descent MK1.
Suunto D5 quick summary
Suunto has caught up with the recent trend of blending dive computers with smartwatch capabilities so that they can be worn underwater and on land. The company has a lot of firsts with the D5. It’s also the company’s first dive computer to have a rechargeable battery and a revolutionary new decompression algorithm.
Furthermore, I was delighted to see that the D5 pricing is reasonable. This alone will almost certainly make it a popular choice for recreational divers.
The D5 has an elegant appearance. Because the D5 can also be worn as a timepiece, it resembles current smartwatches rather than the massive, rectangular dive computers of the past.
The full-colour screen with many display settings, and interchangeable straps provide a lot of styling alternatives. As such, the D5 appears to be equally at home at the workplace as it is in the gym. In fact, the D5 design is literally award-winning.
I enjoy how clever technology and usefulness are combined here. The design isn’t the only thing that shines; there is a slew of new features within, including smart notifications, wireless connection, wireless tank pressure, digital compass, haptic alarm system, and more.
The design is slender, weighing 90g with a 53mm watch face, which is why I was relieved to discover how robust it is despite its looks.
It has a reinforced composite frame with a stainless steel bezel and a mineral crystal display in front of it all. The D5 is ready to combat the weather and endure the occasional bump and drop with all of this armour on.
Then there’s the full-colour, backlit LED screen, which is bright and simple to see even while submerged or in direct sunshine. For each dive mode, you may change how the information is displayed. Because not all of the data it collects can be presented on one screen, toggling is required to obtain less important data like water temperature. The three huge buttons on the right side make it simple to traverse these.
The D5 is also available in black or silver, with many strap colours. The quick-release mechanism makes changing the straps simple, allowing you to customize the look of your Suunto D5.
Longer straps are available for divers who use bulkier wetsuits. Also, you may switch to lifestyle straps, like leather, to meet whatever event is coming up on those informal, laid-back days.
The D5 can only be used in water temperatures between 0 – 40 degrees Celcius and has a maximum operating depth of 100m. These ranges are adequate for the great majority of recreational divers’ activities. The D5 also features Air and Nitrox, Gauge Freediving, and modes in addition to the usual dive mode.
The Suunto Tank POD for Nitrox allows you to switch between 3 mixtures and track each one with up to 3 wireless air transmitters. Thanks to air integration capability, you can watch your gas pressure, air consumption rate, and the remaining time for each tank.
The logbook feature allows you to keep track of and evaluate your last 200 diving hours (or 400 dives). You may also save your favourite dives to make it simpler to look over them again. The D5 monitors a huge amount of data, especially if you have the Tank PODs installed. For example, you may use location settings to store the precise position of your previous dives on a map.
The D5 also includes a dive planning mode. I feel it is simple, but it should be enough for organizing leisure dives.
Suunto has finally converted from its traditional, famously conservative approach to the FusedTM 2 RGBM decompression model. Also known as the RGBM 2 algorithm, which is more adaptive and accurate. The Suunto Technical RGBM and the complete RGBM algorithms have been combined to create the RGBM 2.
While this is a new algorithm, users of Suunto devices will notice several familiar features. Time penalties for multi-day dives where the surface interval was not sufficient, quick ascents, and dives deeper than the previous one (reverse profiles).
If the penalties aren’t enough to make you assess your diving habits, the D5 can go even farther. The D5 will lock you out and stop showing any decompression information if you exceed a decompression ceiling for more than three minutes.
Recreational divers are unlikely to have any problems. However, technical divers may face time penalties or a lockout if they do. As a result, tech divers should have two dive computers on hand just in case.
Even though Suunto claims it is suitable for CCR and technical diving, I would like to remind readers that the D5 is a recreational computer. Furthermore, because the decompression model no longer requires tissues to be fully free of residual gas, the no-fly times on the D5 are shorter.
Suunto responded to user input and adjusted its algorithm. There are five levels of conservatism to choose from, ranging from +2 to 0 to -2.
The minus levels render the algorithm more permissive, presumably eliminating Suunto’s auto-deco while showering. Newbies should maintain the conservatism level at zero or increase it accordingly once they are more confident.
Suunto gives consumers the ability to tweak the algorithm either way. Typically, dive computers from Suunto will only allow for a rise in conservatism, so seeing more choice is welcome.
Deep pauses were optional on older Suunto dive smartwatches. Unless the option is turned off, the D5’s default setting is that these deep pauses are suggested for every dive greater than 20m. Although not everyone feels this is useful, so Suunto has provided the setting to disable this.
Rate of Ascension
Many dive computers will advise you to limit your ascent rate below 10 metres p/min. If you accidentally go over, don’t worry. The D5 has protections in place to allow you to continue ascending securely. If there is debris or a reef in your way, for example, you may want to accelerate. When this occurs, the D5 will sound a warning to urge you to stop. Before rising, a countdown will show you how long to wait.
The Suunto D5’s Bluetooth eliminates the need for USB cords; you can simply transmit your dive log, update your software, modify settings, and share media of your dive via social media! Also, the D5 can connect to your phone and deliver notifications.
Similarly, the Suunto Tank PODs may be connected to the D5 (wireless tank pressure transmitters). Just hold your D5 close to a transmitter after inserting it into the first stage regulator and pressurising the system. It will automatically pair.
Finally, if you want to study your dive data via desktop, you can connect the D5 to a computer using a USB cable.
Fortunately, the D5 features a variety of alarms and notifications. These keep you informed of your no-fly times, safety and deep stops, and more. Though, Suunto has also made it possible to customise some of the less important notifications.
The D5 is the first Suunto dive computer with a rechargeable battery for recreational diving. To charge it, connect it to a power source with the provided USB cord. Depending on the type of diving you undertake and the features you enable, you get 6 – 12 hours of diving once completely charged.
The D5’s battery life is improved with the idle and sleep modes to save power. After two minutes of inactivity, the D5 will switch to low-power mode.
The D5 takes extra battery power to run since it has a full-colour display. Idle and sleep modes are designed to keep the D5 going. So it won’t expire unexpectedly after a day of diving (or during one!).
Watch-sized dive computers are becoming a reality thanks to Shearwater’s Teric, the company’s first attempt at this market segment. The Teric is comparable in technology to the Shearwater Perdix. However, it’s geared for leisure divers rather than the specialist crowd.
To begin, let’s talk about the cost. The Teric is prohibitively costly, costing upwards of $1000 without any transmitters or add-ons. Nearly twice as much money as the Suunto D5. The price is justifiable because of its superiority over both MK1 and D5.
For starters, it boasts more sophisticated features. These include rebreather and Trimix diving capabilities and a substantially deeper maximum operating depth of 200 metres (656ft). It’s safe to say, then, that the Teric is the pinnacle of technical diving watches. Everything is contained into a watch-sized case, which is quite remarkable.
While our evaluation focused on dive computers, the Teric may be worn as a regular wristwatch. This is thanks to its tough construction and water-resistant casing. The Shearwater Teric is a great option if you want the best of both worlds and don’t mind spending a little extra cash.
Diving smartwatches conclusions
Buying diving smartwatches is a relatable task. Take a look at a Tesla, for example. It’s brand new, cutting-edge, and stunning. Your relatives, friends, and even complete strangers will be impressed when they see it. If that’s the case, you’d have it sitting in your garage for six months of the year. It would be a pity if such a lovely and valuable object were left languishing in a storage unit, wouldn’t it?
Dive smartwatches and computers can be thought of in the same way, even if the comparison isn’t quite right. Dive computers can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. It’s a watch-like device that you wear on your wrist when diving. If you’re going to wear a dive computer while you’re not underwater, you’ll find that it doesn’t include simple watch capabilities.
Keeping a high-end piece of wearable technology in storage for the majority of the year seems wasteful to us; it ought to be worn all year long! Diving computers that may be used for diving and everyday use are now available. They include interchangeable straps and a Watch Mode that allows them to mimic the appearance and feel of a digital wristwatch.
If your diving computer also functions as a high-end timepiece, you’ve got a good reason to flaunt it. Let us help you discover the finest watch for diving and everyday use, so you get the most out of your investment.
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Last Updated on January 13, 2023
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