Improperly described as a smartwatch, the Descent Mk1 by Garmin is a capable dive computer that combines powerful fitness tools with all functionalities you might need while exploring the depths of the ocean.
It addresses diving enthusiasts specifically, although it can also satisfy hikers or the marines.
Garmin Descent Mk1 is a superb all-rounder. With the Fenix 5X platform at its core and functionalities developed specifically for the underwater, it combines the capabilities of a dive computer with the features of a watch, fitness tracker, altimeter, and GPS.
Cutting-edge technology allows it to keep track of all your activities and record gym, trail, or diving data to help you boost performance.
Performance blends with looks as well; the watch has a utilitarian yet sleek design that pairs amazingly with swim, fitness, or casual outfits.
Built with the divers in mind, Descent Mk1 is also an excellent timepiece for sailors, marines, swimmers, athletes, as well as anyone else who wants to wear a capable, waterproof, and highly aesthetic smartwatch.
Based on Fenix 5X, the Descent Mk1 has all the functionalities of the popular fitness tracker and adds some more specific ones developed for swimmers and divers.
An intuitive interface makes it super-easy to access features for a range of diving activities. You can use it to plan your recreational, technical, or free diving, check your current depth and dive time, descent and ascent rate, water temperature, decompression stop information, and more.
The dive computer activates itself automatically as soon as you hit the water, so you won’t have to lose time setting up the watch each time you want to plunge into the blue.
Highly appreciated are the tone and vibration alarms that turn on at critical points in your dive. The computer also supports up to 6 gas mixes and has configurable conservative settings, so you can easily set up your own safety limits.
One thing missing is a specific function for the tide; considering that most divers also enjoy sailing and boating activities, this would have been a nice addition.
Sure, you can connect the Descent to your smartphone to access vital information such as the weather forecast and moon calendar, but Garmin could have just equipped the smartwatch with these functions.
Also, DYN tables are not included for apnea mode. You can track your pool training for time, turns, and total distance using the swimming mode though.
The Descent Mk1 has the rugged design of an utilitarian watch blended with the sleek, stylish lines Garmin is renowned for.
It comes in two versions. The standard one, called Silver, with steel bezel and silicone band, and a Premium version with titanium bezel and band. The 1.2-inch vibrant colour display remains unchanged between the models, giving unity to the line.
Lightweight and super-comfy to wear, it fits wonderfully on most wrists.
Garmin also offers the silicone band in three stylish shades besides the factory black. They don’t come with the watch, but it’s nice to know you can buy them.
The backlit display is visible in most light conditions and is adjustable for apnea mode, so you can leave the light on while diving.
When you’re not diving or swimming, the Descent Mk1 becomes an everyday wearable timepiece and fitness tracker comparable to Fenix 5X.
The underwater GPS gives it a Quatix 5 touch, allowing you to mark waypoints, as well as track your hikes.
Standard sports watch functions also include heart rate monitoring and advanced multi-sports features such as running dynamics and preloaded profiles for hiking, skiing, biking, running, paddle boarding, rowing, and more.
Like most smartwatches, the Descent boasts advanced connectivity features and long battery life.
- Dive computer allows you to monitor underwater performance and set safety levels that could potentially save your life.
- The battery lasts for up to 19 days in watch mode and up to 10 days in smartwatch mode.
- Advanced fitness tracking features and heart rate monitoring even underwater.
- Easy smartphone connectivity through Garmin Connect.
- Adjustable backlight settings and individual alarms.
- Dive tracking and notifications are quite limited in apnea mode.
- It doesn’t count arm strokes or fin kicks.
- No tide information unless you connect to your smartphone.
Descent Mk1 Competition
|Display size||51 x 51 x |
|51 x 51 x |
|47 x 47 x |
|46 x 49 x 13 mm|
|Display type||Sapphire |
|Resolution||240 x 240 |
|240 x 240 |
|240 x 240 |
|360 x 360 |
|Weight||94 g||98 g||85 g||46 g|
|Silicone or |
|Silicone or |
|10 ATM (EN13319 compliant)||10 ATM||10 ATM||5 ATM|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth Smart, ANT+, Wi-Fi||Bluetooth Smart, ANT+, Wi-Fi||Bluetooth Smart, ANT+, Wi-Fi||3G/LTE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC|
|Up to 19 |
|Up to 12 days||Up to 14 days||Up to 14 days|
How We Tested
Finding the best diving spot is not always easy; that’s why we tested the Descent Mk1 at the NEMO33 facility in Brussels, aka the deepest indoor swimming pool in the world.
The dive computer performed wonderfully underwater, except for the slight drawbacks highlighted above.
Regarding its fitness tracker capability, battery, and smartwatch functions, we tested by wearing it uninterruptedly until the battery died. While the battery doesn’t really last for 19 days, it still delivers two weeks of runtime on watch mode.
Garmin Descent Mk1 is a surprising all-rounder that serves all onshore and underwater purposes. The manufacturer could incorporate more boating functions, given the nautical nature of the smartwatch.
It’s ideal for swimmers, divers, and anyone else looking for a truly waterproof timepiece. Undoubtedly, real value for money.