Appeared in DIVER July 2007

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John John Bantin has been a full-time professional diving writer and underwater photographer since 1990. He makes around 300 dives each year testing diving equipment.

COMPUTER SUUNTO VYPER 2 + COBRA 2

There has never been more choice, either. To fill the gap between its more expensive watch-like and technical-diving models and its entry-level computers, Suunto has introduced a variant of the popular Vyper and gas-integrated (by hose) Cobra - the Vyper 2 and Cobra 2.
I took them both diving for a sunny week in Egypt. The Cobra 2 was a pre-production model without any instruction manual, so forgive me if Ive missed anything.
I have great faith in the Suunto RGBM algorithm with its iterative deep stops. What I will tell you about is what makes the difference between the Vyper and Vyper 2 and the Cobra and Cobra 2 (right).
Firstly, both now include the Suunto digital compass. Its got a tilt sensor so that you can use it without too much drama, and you can use it on land too. Its easy to use, but you need to be familiar with it because it turns off a bit quickly for my liking.
One of the most obvious differences is that Suunto has departed from simple LCD and gone over to dot-matrix display for the first levels of display. Dot-matrix allows for a better definition of words and much clearer messaging.
This is important when your brain may be befuddled at depth. It also allows the display to flip from black-on-white to white-on-black when its important to get your attention, such as when youre ascending too quickly.
The Cobra 2 is integrated with your tanks contents via a hose. However, this doesnt mean that you need to leave expensive hardware connected to your regulator and tank, subject to possible mishandling by others while youre not diving. A bayonet quick connection sees to that.
Tank pressure and a prognosis of remaining gas time based on your previous breathing rate and remaining tank pressure at the depth is displayed. Keep that figure bigger than your total ascent time and you should be OK.
In common with other Suunto computers, these models show the depth of your first mandatory stop and your total ascent time, but not the stop time. If you set it for the optional deep stop (for either one or two minutes), this is displayed too. A safety stop is automatically displayed for three minutes when you get to 6m or less, if the deep-stop option is switched off.
Nitrox can be set over the full range of breathable mixes, and the maximum ppO2 can be varied between 0.5bar and 1.6bar.
Both these computers allow you to pre-programme two different nitrox mixes in order to switch to a richer nitrox mix (including the option of pure oxygen) during an ascent to speed deco time. In gauge mode, they display the time in both minutes and seconds.
When it comes to remembering previous dives, these computers have much longer memories than their less-expensive cousins. They can be varied for sampling rate just like the Vyper and Cobra, but the new versions also offer a profile graph of each dive and, unlike the D6 and D9, these are displayed fully in a moment.
Overall, besides the extra features, the dot-matrix display really makes a difference to your ability to read these computers instantly in all sorts of conditions.
I was even able to read the main displays while using a mask that was not equipped with my reading lenses!


Divernet Divernet
SPECS
SUUNTO VYPER 2 + COBRA 2
COST Cobra 2, £585; Vyper 2, £349
ALGORITHM Suunto Deep Stop RGBM 100/50
ASCENT RATE Variable according to depth
GAS INTEGRATION Cobra 2
DIVE SIMULATOR Yes
MAX DEPTH DISPLAY 150m
ASCENT RATE 10m/minute
DIVE PLANNING Yes
LOGBOOK Cobra 2, 42hr (Vyper 2, 80hr)
PC INTERFACE Yes
DIVING MODES Air, Nitrox, Gauge (min & sec)
OTHER GAS MIXES Two nitrox (21-99%)
MIXED GAS No
CONTACT Suunto, suunto.com
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