Suunto recently introduced an entry level dive computer that they’re calling the D4. It’s not as complex as either the D9 or the Vyper we covered previously; rather, Suunto describes it as “the introductory model in the Suunto diving line”. When you’re talking about Suunto, however, even “introductory” means an astounding number of features for both SCUBA divers, and free divers:
- Standard digital watch features like 12/24 hour display, dual time, date, daily alarm, and stopwatch with split time.
- Four modes: time (for when you’re not diving), free dive (for diving without a tank), air (for diving with standard air), and nitrox (for diving with different gas mixtures).
- Dive planning and analysis functions. The “no-stop-time planner” can help you plan a dive that requires no decompression stops.
- Sophisticated free dive data measurement including depth sampled at three times per second, maximum depth, surface time, deepest dive of the day, longest dive of the day, and more.
- Data transfer function which allows you to download data from the watch to the Suunto Dive Manager PC desktop software.
- Audible and visual alarms for dive time and depth.
- In dive mode, current depth, maximum depth, current time, dive time, decompression time, and temperature.
- Suunto’s “Deep Stop RGBM” algorithm (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model).
- Adjustable for altitude and personal settings.
- Multi-step ascent rate indicator.
- Battery power monitor and warning function so you don’t find yourself diving with a dead battery.
- Glass face, metal/composite housing.
- Metric or imperial units for display.
- Bitmapped display capable of showing graphs as well as numbers and text.
- Up to 240-hour profile and logbook memory.
Unlike a lot of dive computers, the D4 looks more like a general outdoors/fitness watch, and would even be very reasonable as a daily wearer. I really like Suunto’s use of bitmapped displays; as with the X9i and Lumi, they let you convey a lot of information very clearly, as well as graphs, big numbers, and so forth.
Street price for the Suunto D4 is around $500 USD, and should be available any day now (“early 2008”). You won’t find the D4 or other Suunto dive computers in mall watch stores, however. Suunto considers these watches sophisticated dive computers, and only sells them through dive shops and related retail outlets.
By Paul Hubbard