Top 5 Watched-Sized Dive Computers [Reviews and Comparison Chart]
When it comes to diving computers there is no preferred way to wear them. You can pretty much mount them anywhere you like.
You can wear them on your forearm, clip to your BC, or have it attached to your regulator as part of the console. Better yet, you can have all the advanced features of today’s dive computer in an elegant wristwatch.
When looking for a dive computer watch thou, there are a lot to choose from.
You can opt for a budget model that simply tracks no-decompression-limits, or you can opt to get a top-of-the-line computer with all the bells and whistles. Your choice will basically be determined by your budget and personal preferences.
Dive Computer Watch Comparison Chart
Following is a table of some of the most popular dive computer watches. Use it to quickly compare their features, ratings, and prices.
|Dive Computer||Oceanic OCi||Suunto D6i||Suunto D4i||Mares Matrix||Sherwood Amphos
|Display||Partial Dot Matrix||Partial Dot Matrix||Partial Dot Matrix||Full Dot-Matrix||Segment|
| Air |
|Nitrox||Yes to 100%||Yes to 99%||Yes to 50%||Yes||Yes to 100%|
|4 Mixes||3 Mixes||No||3 Mixes||2 Mixes|
|USB Cable||USB Cable||USB Cable||USB Cable||USB Cable|
|Memory||24 Dives||140 Hours||140 Hours||36 Hours||24 Dives|
- Scroll below to read reviews of each product
What Is A Dive Computer Watch?
Not to be confused with dive watches, which are basically depth rated timepieces whose main function is to tell time. Dive computer watches are full-featured watch-sized dive computers that can make real-time decompression calculations.
Don’t let their small size fool you, thou. These small devices pack as big a punch and can have all the same features and capabilities as their larger counterparts. Including advanced features such as air integration, Nitrox capabilities, gas switching, and digital compasses.
Why Should I Consider Owning A Dive Computer Watch?
If you’re a scuba diver who’s serious about the sport, a watch-sized dive computer delivers the perfect combination of functionality and Style. Not only are they perfect for all your underwater adventures, but also looks great for a night out on the town, special event, or everyday wear.
Their small size also makes them a great travel companion for your next dive trip, where reducing weight and saving space in your luggage is a major concern. Especially, with the rates, airlines are charging for checked-in luggage these days.
Many models are also equipped with a digital compass. Have you ever unpacked your dive bag only to notice that you forgot to pack your compass? This has happened to me once or twice before. But with a digital compass, you can simply set your computer to compass mode and you’re ready to go. The compass can be a little slow at times but get the job done. What makes them great thou, is many of the compasses can also be activated on the surface for land navigation.
Even if you already have the perfect dive computer, a dive computer watch also makes a great backup computer for fail-safe diving in the event your primary dive computer fails or malfunctions. Some models even have the capability to change its algorithm to closely match those of your primary computer
And, because you’re always wearing it, you will never forget to pack or lose your dive computer.
Did I forget to mention that they just look cool? Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind when you see someone walk in the dive center with a dive computer watch on is, this person is a serious diver.
What Should I Know Before Buying?
These types of dive computers aren’t for everyone thou. There are still a few thing you should know about dive computer watches before you make the decision to buy.
If you are visually impaired or dive in low visibility conditions the smaller screen and digit might make them harder to read.The small buttons can also be harder to press when wearing thick gloves.
Changing batteries can sometimes be a pain as well. Because of their intricate construction, many do not have user changeable batteries and require an authorized service technician to change the batteries. So while you’re waiting for your batteries to be changed you’ll be out a dive computer.
Shortlist Of The Pros & Cons
Reviews of Some of the Best Dive Computer Watch
Any of the following watch-sized dive computers would be a great buy. The one that’s best for you basically come down to your personal preference and budget.
Just like anything else, you can get a really nice dive computer with all the features if you’re willing to spend a little bit more, but there are great products at every price point.
Oceanic OCi Top Rated
The Oceanic OCi is a great all-in-one watched-sized dive computer featuring wireless air-integration, digital compass, gas switching, Oceanic’s unique dual algorithm, and so much more. All of which is contained in a strong lightweight housing.
It utilizes a split LCD/dot matrix display which clearly displays all vital dive information as well as menu options. It features a very simple and easy to navigate user interface which uses a combination of press and holds of the four buttons to browse and select features and settings.
As well as time mode, it also features 3 different dive modes, Air, Nitrox with gas switching capabilities (up to 4 mixes), and Free Diving making it an ideal dive computer for recreational diving and those doing more advanced diving.
What also separates the OCi and other Oceanic dive computers from others on the market is their dual algorithm technology which allows you to switch between two recognized decompression models. Each of the dive models can also be modified using a conservationism factor.
This is great when diving with a buddy with a different dive computer or if you are using it as a backup dive computer because it allows you to modify the computer’s algorithm to closely match the profile of the other computers.
It also has a host of other great features which makes it a top-rated dive computer, like Multiple transmitter Capabilities and other advanced watch functions.
What Diver’s Liked
“The OCi is a great size and easily navigable”
“Everything is top of the range, except maybe a little disappointed in the electronic compass”
Suunto D6I Dive Computer
The Suunto D6i is an upgrade of their popular D6 model. It now features new tilt-compensated 3D digital compass and optional wireless air integration, it also has increased memory and accuracy compared to the original Suunto D6.
It features an intuitive menu-based user interface controlled by four push buttons, which makes accessing, programming, repatriating diving data very easy.
Being a watch-sized dive computer the screen is quite easy to read. The center of the screen is full dot matrix allowing the most important information, as well as the digital 3D compass to be read easily at a glance.
The Suunto D6i comes equipped with 4 dive modes including Air, Nitrox, Gauge, and even Free diving for those who are serious about the sport. It is also Nitrox compatible up to 99% as well as gas-switching capabilities up to 3 gas mixes.
It is also one of the most stylish dive computer watches. It’s available in many different styles, including stainless steel and all black steel.
What Divers Liked
“Outstanding Dive Tool easy to program and use”
“Great dive computer. Suunto still maintains the greatest quality in making the best dive computers.”
Suunto D4i Novo Most Popular
The D4i Novo is the newest version of the D4i. Function wise it is still the same dive computer, just that Suunto has improved the aesthetics with a more comfortable silicone strap, color matched housing and strap, and glossy finish to the buttons, bezel, and buckle. Making the Suunto D4i Novo even more stylish and comfortable to wear.
Just like the D6i it features a partial dot matrix display making your most important dive information easy to understand, four controlled buttons for easy programming, optional wireless air integration, as well as PC/Mac interface to easy transfer dive profile to your computer, as well as providing many other watch functions when you’re not diving.
This is one of the more affordable watch-sized dive computers, also making it one of the most popular for scuba divers as free divers alike.
What Divers Liked
“Great computer: easy to use for free diving and scuba diving, you can use it as a daily watch.”
“I have used the D4i on 7 dives and it works well, easy to read , over all , I’m well pleased.”
Mares Matrix Dive Computer
The Matrix is a great watched-sized dive computer from Mares. It features a full-dot matrix display, tilt compensated digital compass, Nitrox capability with gas switching up to 3 mixes, and stopwatch while diving.
It very easy to operate as well. It features 4 buttons, which makes scrolling and selecting different sitting via the intuitive user interface nice and easy.
Its full dot-matrix screen provides a high-resolution display which makes reading all your vital dive informational a snap. It also allows the dive computer to display a graphical representation of your dive profile, 3D compass, as well as a choice between digital and analog time.
However, the main selling point of the Mares Matrix is its rechargeable battery. Having a battery that is rechargeable means that you won’t have the headache of replacing batteries, which simply means maintenance free diving. The only downside to this is that the battery only last about 7 to 10 days before needing recharging. It is charged via a charging cradle which also doubles as a PC (or Mac) interface for downloading dive profiles and updating the firmware.
It might lack features such as air integration and free diving mode, but features such as a graphical chart of you multilevel dives, and 35 hours logbook also make the Matrix a great tool for debriefing after diving.
What Diver’s Liked
“Nifty little toy. I used it on a full charge and it sat through 10 dives with 30% battery left to talk about with the watch running its compass about half the time”
“Very easy to use, lots of good functions.”
Sherwood Amphos Air
The Amphos is Sherwood Scuba’s first watched-sized dive computer adding to an already great line up of great dive computers. It features air integrated, four operation modes including free diving, and the ability to switch between two gas mixes which would appeal to pretty much any scuba diver.
It also has a safety and deep stop with a countdown timer, 24 dives logbook, as well as audible alarms with flashing icons.
Similarly to the other dive computer watches, it also features a four-button user interface. It’s display and intuitive operation is designed on the Wisdom 3 format. So, if you have ever used or owned a Sherwood Wisdom Computer you should feel right at home.
However, It’s a bit bigger than your usual wrist watch but still, sits pretty comfortable on your wrist if you plan on using it as an everyday watch. It’s larger than normal size also allows for a larger display and Bigger, clear, easy to read digits.
What Diver Liked
“Big, clear numbers are easy to view underwater.”
“It is reliable, it works great and it simplifies driving”
The Bottom Line
Dive computer watches provide the perfect mix between style and functionally and has quickly become the new icon of the serious scuba diver, similarly to what dive watches were to the early scuba divers.
With so many dive computer watches to choose from these days, it is easy to find one that matches your personal style as well as your diving preferences and budget.