John 

JUST AS MOBILE PHONES SEEM to be getting bigger, the latest computers from Uwatec are becoming reminiscent of that good old housebrick, the original Decobrain.
I havent looked back since I started using a Uwatec Galileo Sol. Its a full-function computer that integrates with your breathing gases and with your own heart-rate via a Polar heart-rate monitor that you wear while diving. Alas, all that comes at a price, so now Uwatec has introduced an entry-level version called the Galileo Terra.
As Sol means sun and Terra means earth, one imagines that a Luna version pitched between them will be along shortly, and once they get into computing for trimix dives, an Astra wont be far behind.
The Terra is neither integrated with your gas, nor does it come with heart-rate integration. In fact it is more like a conventional computer, except that, as others get smaller, Uwatec has gone the other way with a bigger, easier-to-read instrument.
It has the same huge screen as the Sol, with the marvellous built-in electronic compass that appears totally unaffected by tilt, and stays on long enough for you to use it properly, and set bearings. It has the same oil-filled case, resistant to enormous pressures of depth, with a separate air-filled user-replaceable battery compartment.
The lithium battery is said to be good for three to five years of diving.
Operated by three large buttons that cause no problems to heavily gloved hands, it all seems very intuitive. In an era when everything now comes with a massive unreadable instruction manual, I simply picked up the Terra and got on with it.
You press the menu button to get the menu. You scroll down the alternatives and enter the sub-menu you want.
The buttons then become plus, minus and save. What could be easier

Algorithm
The algorithm is the same as is currently used by other Uwatec computers such as Aladins, but there are four additional levels for micro-bubble suppression. (Level 0 is the good old Buhlmann ZH-8L algorithm that has been tried and tested over a generation of divers.)
Micro-bubble levels may be important when considering repeat dives. If you choose a level (from 1 to 4) you may be asked to make additional stops during an ascent. These are called level stops. Unlike mandatory deco-stops, should you choose to miss one, the computer merely readjusts to the next less-cautious level for micro-bubbles.
The Terra also gives you the option to make PDISs (Profile Dependent Intermediate Stops). These are calculated by the computer and are a more sophisticated approach to that used by many computers that offer Deep Stops. Again, if you miss one, the computer simply recalculates by cascading to your shallower decompression.
The Terra is available for use with only one mix of nitrox per dive, but another to-be-paid-for upgrade means that predictive multi-gas use will be available soon.
One of the nicest features of both the Sol and Terra is the automatic (optional) three-minute safety-stop timer displayed at very large size on the screen.

Display Legibility
Reading this computers display is very easy. If you find the figures too small, you can opt for less information in bigger figures.
The Terra has built-in screen illumination. During the dive, alternate displays show tissue-loading in a bar-graph form (there is an O2 and a nitrogen-loading bar graph as well, on the main screen); the dive profile to that point; and the quickest way to ascend safely.
The screen is so big that everything is visible, and you dont have to push buttons to get additional essential information. Visual alarms are explained in straight words.

Settings
You can set this computer for any mix of nitrox, as well as to micro-bubble levels. If you later feel that you would like to integrate your computer with your heart-rate, a to-be-paid-for software upgrade will be available online.
You can also download pre-recorded written messages via PC or Mac with the right version of SmartTrak software (included) - useful for instructors or anyone with a complex message to convey to another diver under water.
The dot-matrix display makes these messages very readable, and all the alarms are explained in real English (or other languages to suit) rather than using confusing icons.
You can also download up to 100 simple diagrams, in grey-scale bitmap form, of an underwater route. Logbook details are comprehensive and even include a graphic profile of your dive that you can personalise (via SmartTrak) with your own details.
The only problem I foresee is that, although this is the entry-level version of the Uwatec Galileo range, it still isnt cheap.

OTHER COMPUTERS TO CONSIDER:
Suunto Vyper 2 £349
Mares Nemo Wide £279
Uwatec Aladin Tec 2G £339




Divernet
Compass
Compass display
Standard
Standard display

SPECS
UWATEC GALILEO TERRA COMPUTER
PRICE
£469
ASCENT RATE Variable according to depth
WARNINGS Written visual and audible (optional). Normal In-water
NORMAL IN-WATER DISPLAY Full
ALTERNATE DISPLAY 1 Classic
ALTERNATE DISPLAY 2 Light
DECO INFO All
DIVE PLANNING Yes
LOGBOOK Yes
PC INTERFACE SmartTrak
DIVING MODES Nitrox, Gauge, Air
OTHER NITROX MIXES Single-mix (Internet upgradeable)
MIXED GAS No
DEPTH RATING 330m (Computer functions to 120m)
BATTERY User-replaceable lithium CR
CONTACT www.scubapro.com
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