COMPUTER Suunto D3Graphic simplicity
I am amazed that there are still divers who rely on watch and depth gauge or even their buddys computer. Computers are so inexpensive now that many people would not dream of travelling without a backup instrument, let alone their primary computer.
     After all, if your one and only computer goes wrong on a week-long dive trip for any reason, you would have to wait 24 hours before diving again with a borrowed one, and thats an expensive day of diving lost.
     Of course, there is one group of divers for whom the ordinary diving computer is of no use - those who breathe gases other than air or nitrox.
     They tend to plan their dives with a proprietary dive planner package on a PC and then need to stick closely to that plan once they are in the water.
     But they still have to record time and depth accurately to carry out that plan, and it is well established that divers are no good at reading the time.
     They can still do with the accuracy afforded by the microchip and electronic pressure sensor, and this is where the Suunto D3 comes in.
     The Suunto D3 is a dive-timer and its a depth gauge. Menu-driven like its computer brethren, it has four push-buttons that allow you to change it from timepiece to free-divers stop-watch, or to reveal a PC-downloadable log of the dives it has done.
     Water-activated, it times the dive and displays actual depth. The surface interval is timed in both minutes and seconds.
     The D3 has an audible alarm which can be set to beep at regular time intervals. You can change the battery yourself when necessary, and select from a range of sampling rates too, which might be of interest to free-divers wishing to scrutinise their underwater achievements later on.
     Its as clear to read as a Stinger or Mosquito, with its own independent illumination, but if you dont want a computer, its that much cheaper. But then, confusingly, it isnt, because the Suunto Favor S computer is £75 less expensive.
     The D3 looks very snazzy with its black and orange finish, and a velcro strap that will adjust between the slimmest wrist and the bulkiest drysuit, but the other snag I can foresee is that, with a maximum depth of 99m, it wont go deep enough for some tekkies.
     So with its once-a-second sampling rate that will prove useful to free-divers as its only real unique selling proposition, I cant see a lot of Diver readers wanting one.
The Suunto D3 costs £220.
  • Suunto UK 01420 587272, www.suunto.com

  • Divernet
    + A watch and depth gauge with a memory

    - No deco calculations
    - 99m depth-limit