Suunto Vyper Air Review: A Complete Recreational Dive Computer
|Air Integration||Wireless (Not Included)|
|Display||Partial Dot Matrix|
|User Changeable Battery||Yes|
|Nitrox Compatible||Yes/ 21-99%|
|Gas Switching||Yes/2 Gases|
|PC Interface||Yes (Not Included)|
|Integrated Digital Compass||Yes|
It’s easy to read and intuitive user interface makes it and an excellent choice for beginner divers, whereas its more advanced features, makes it a great companion as you further your dive knowledge and skills.
It features 3 dive modes, Air, Nitrox, and Gauge mode, with the option to switch between two gas mixes.
It also has optional wireless air integration which will give you your tank pressure and remaining air time on the same display as your other important dive information.
It also includes an advanced 3D compass with 45 degrees tilt technology as well as an amazing dive simulator which allows you to test potential dives without setting a foot in the water.
In this Suunto Vyper Air Review, we are going to look at a complete video overview, some of its key features, and what other divers are saying about this great dive computer.
Suunto Vyper Air Review Video
Below is a quick video overview of the Suunto Vyper Air, in the video you can get a closer look at the dive computer and some of its basic operation. You can also get a better judgment of its size and construction than you would from a still photo.
Intuitive User Interface
The Suunto Vyper Air has a very intuitive menu base user interface with the ability to back-step, which makes navigating and setting up the computer very easy.
It has 4 operation buttons, these are the MODE, SELECT, and the UP/DOWN buttons, as well as 4 basic operation modes, these are the Time, Dive, Plan, and Memory Mode.
To toggle between the different modes simply press the MODE button, and to select sub-mode simply press the UP/DOWN button.
You can also activate other features of the dive computer like the digital compass, gas switching, back-lighting, and stopwatch by pressing and holding the preferred button.
You might find that the 4 button user interface is a little bit more complicated than similar dive computers, but the manual is very comprehensive and easy to understand with detailed graphics and charts on how to access all its functions and features.
Easy To Read Display And Layout
The display on this dive computer is very easy to read and the layout makes digesting your most important dive data very easy.
The center of the screen is full dot matrix which allows you to read the most important dive information very clearly. It also displays the integrated 3D compass making your heading, bearing markers, and cardinal direction easy to read as if you were looking at a real compass.
There are also two bar graph, one on either side, which shows your current tank pressure and ascent rate. This is great if you prefer a graphical representation instead of just numbers.
Overall, the display is amazingly clear, and with the ability to configure the backlighting to illuminate for 5,10, 20, 30, and 60 seconds, you can pretty much use this dive computer in any lighting condition.
3 Dive Modes (Air Nitrox and Gauge)
The Suunto Vyper Air also incorporates 3 dive modes; Air, Nitrox, and Gauge with Dual nitrox switching capabilities.
- Air Mode – This mode is used when diving with standard air only
- Nitrox Mode – This mode is used when diving with oxygen enriched dive mixtures and has the ability to switch between two gases on the dive. Nitrox mixes can also be programmed in one percent increment between 21% and 100% oxygen, you can also adjust the oxygen partial pressure in 0.1 increments between 0.5 and 1.6.
- Gauge Mode – In this mode the dive computer can be used as a bottom timer or for free diving. It will not make any decompression calculations, therefore, will not show any warnings or alarms.
RGBM Algorithm With Options To Make It More Liberal
The Vyper Air uses Suunto’s RGBM (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model) algorithm developed by Dr. Bruce R. Wienke, based on both diving and laboratory tests as well as data from DAN. The Algorithm takes into account both dissolved and free gases in your tissues and blood, the result is a greater margin of safety for divers.
The Deep Stop feature incorporated in the algorithm allows the Vyper air to calculate continuous decompression for excellent ascent time. If you are planning on diving deep, the deep-stop option adds further protection with a series of deep stops between your maximum depth and ceiling.
In the Suunto Vyper Air, there is also the ability to set the RGBM Algorithm to become more Liberal. If you are an experienced diver you can set the RGBM from 100% to 50%, however, you should only do this if you’re willing to take the added risk this might cause to your health and well-being while diving.
You can also choose from three altitude adjustments, as well as three personal adjustments setting to make the computer more conservative for added safety.
Also induced is a dive simulator which allows you to run through actual dive profiles, in either air or nitrox, without even putting a foot in the water.
Optional Air Integration For Your Convenience
No more chasing around hoses and consoles underwater to find out your current tank pressure.
The optional wireless air integration gives you the benefit of having your tank pressure right on your wrist along with your current airtime remaining and other crucial dive information.
Pairing the optional wireless transmitter and dive computer is very simple. You just need to have the computer near the transmitter when you turn on your dive tank. It will then give you a channel number that you can change manually in the event someone else is using another compatible wireless transmitter. This will ensure you’re reading the correct pressure information from your dive tank.
You can also find detailed instruction on how to pair the dive computer and transmitter in the user manual.
Alarms and Warnings For A Safer Dive
The Suunto Vyper Air has both Audio and Visual Alarms to alert you when important limited have been reached.
There a factory set alarms that will alter when:
- When you’ve read your no Decompression Limit
- When your Cylinder Pressure Reaches 725PSI/50Bras
- When your Remaining bottom time reaches zero
- When you exceed the Maximum ascent rate
- When You exceed the decompression ceiling depth
There is also the option for you to enter other preset alarms, these are:
- Your Maximum depth
- Your Dive Time
- and, tank pressure – this is in addition to the primary factory set cylinder pressure alarm.
Integrated Electronic Compass for Easy Navigation
The integrated electronic 3D compass makes navigation a piece of cake. It can either be activated on the surface in TIME mode or underwater in DIVE mode, and can also be set to time out after 1, 2, or 5 minutes after which it will return to the mode from which it was activated.
The compass is displayed in the middle of the screen as a graphical representation of a compass rose to make reading directions as simple as reading a real compass.
There is also the option to lock a bearing so you can follow a selected course, and graphical symbols in the center of the compass display to help you navigate a return heading, as well as square and triangular patterns.
Another awesome function of the Digital compass is, once it has been activated in DIVE mode it will also save your bearings in the dive log as well.
The Suunto Vyper Air dive computer uses an R2450 user changeable battery, that should last about 100 dives or 2 years. Having a user changeable will save you on maintenance cost and time because you will not need to send your computer to a Suunto service center to have the batteries changed every time.
Changing the battery is pretty straight forward and detailed instructions can be found in the user manual. However, changing the battery is a delicate process and should be done carefully. Improperly replacing the battery can damage the dive computer when diving.
It is also good to note that there is no hot swap option when replacing the battery. You will lose all nitrogen loading and oxygen absorption calculation when you change the battery.
Review Past Dives With The Integrated Dive Log and On Your PC
Having a dive computer with a dive log is a very handy feature to have when you want to analyze your past dives, and the Suunto Vyper Air actually have a very sophisticated dive log.
It also has a high-capacity memory, the amount of dive stored is dependent on the sample rate that data is stored in the memory thou. t a sample rate of 20 seconds you should be able to save about 42 hours of dive time.
A neat feature of the Logbook is the ability to bookmark certain point of the dive. When you download the dive log to your PC the bookmarks will log the current time, depth, water temperature, tank pressure, and your compass heading at that particular point in the dive.
Downloading dive details to your PC is quite easy with Suunto’s DM4 Software. It will allow you to view additional dive info and charts, as well as better organize your dives. You also have the option to upload your dives to movescount.com where you can share your dive info as well as pictures and videos with friends.
So, What Are Other Divers Saying?
The overall feedback from the dive community is excellent, as I write this it got a rating of 9 out of 10 at Simplyscuba.com and a rating of 4.6 out of 5 at Leisurepro.com.
Reviewers like the fact that the computer is very easy to read, and that it was also easy to learn and operate, but found that it could be a little bit more intuitive. Many found the menu took a little bit getting used to before they would operate the dive computer without reading the manual.
Few divers were also impressed with the integrated compass and the fact that all your important dive data can be found on one screen.
However, there were a few complaints of the transmitter failing, but this could be expected as many electronics are not fail-safe, it is always recommended to have a backup in case this happens.
Below are a few snippets of what divers are saying:
DR– Says that the dive computer was very easy to learn and operate, and after a couple of hours he was ready to start diving with it. He also found that it was well durable and well constricted.
Colin Dawes – He was very impressed with the fact that the computer has a built-in compass, and the fact that he had the ability to check all his dive data on one screen, as well as the ability to work out how long he can dive with remaining time. He highly recommend this computer for the price.
Mike G – Also found settings menu a bit complicated until you get the hang of it, otherwise he found the Vyper Air to be a very useful piece of kit. He found the display to be generally clear and easy to read in dive mode. However, he did not particularly like the ascent rate bar graph as he prefer a percentage format more. He also went on to say that the PC interface and DM4 software worked okay.
Chisto – Says that this is a great dive computer, and for the most part very reliable, but with anything that uses a battery, it can fail. And, for this reason he has add a back up pressure gauge. Further in his review, he says this is because the wireless transmitter has fail in the past. But, this is mainly because he was separated from the transmitter without disabling the dive mode. He says most time it would re-pair itself but most times he would have to do it manually which can be complicated until you have done it a few time
He also went on to say that he like the RGBM algorithm because it is more conservative, and like the added margin of safety it provides.
He went on to conclude that you need to read the manual several times and get hands-on use to get comfortable with its operation. And because it incorporates a battery he uses it as a utility and never rely on it as his sole source of safety.
The Bottom Line
The Suunto Vyper Air make a great dive computer for any diver, whether or not your are a beginner or experienced. It’s easy to read display and intuitive user interface makes operation and find out your most critical diving information a breeze.
If you are an entry-level diver you can use the computer in air mode, but as your diving skills and knowledge progress you can easily set up the computer for nitrox and air integration. This is a computer that will grow with you as your diving need changes.