Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Suunto Vytec Dive Computer

As I contemplate purchasing the new Suunto Vytec Air dive computer, I wanted to reflect on my current dive computer, the Suunto Vytec.

I currently use the original Suunto Vytec, not the Vytec DS, with the wireless transmitter. I originally wanted a wrist top computer because I felt like it would be easier to read and I wouldn't have to worry about it dragging on the floor of the ocean and harming the environment. With my computer and compass on my wrist it would be right in front of my face as I dive around! I looked at a number of wrist top computers with different options but I didn't like the D5 and D9 because they seemed too small and hard to read and it also didn't make sense to get a computer without a wireless transmitter. Why would I want to have all my important information on my wrist except for my pressure gauge (the most important instrument you carry)? True it isn't that difficult to look at a SPG, especially if you currently have a non-wireless computer, but if you are going to remove the computer then why not remove the gauge as well? I figured if I couldn't afford the extra money for the wireless transmitter, then it wasn't worth having the wrist top computer.

The Vytec's display is very simple but contains a lot of useful information like a pressure gauge, depth monitor, alarms for safety stop, battery indicator, max depth and large buttons to change the modes or make configurations. The beauty of having any dive computer resolves to dive log memory and automatic table calculations. A lot of people start to forget how important dive tables can be but the computer always remembers! It comes with a cable for syncing to your computer and the software is fairly easy to use (although I prefer SharkPoint). You can download the software on their website for free and as I had to find out, you can find replacement cables on eBay for less than $50.

While I'm sure this goes for most Suunto dive products, the only downside to the Vytec is the dive software. The problem is that the computer is so great and easy to use that software isn't much to brag about. The interface screen is a little dull, the backup and saving of your database isn't as friendly as it should be and to be honest, it looks like they didn't put much time into designing it. The easiest thing would have been to copy your normal dive log layout and while they tried to, they fell short. All in all, the Vytec is one of the best dive computers I've ever used and as of right now it is my 3rd computer. I've heard good things about replacing the battery, although I've never done this myself.

My motivator for getting a new computer, in this case the Vytec Air, is it has a built in compass and the viewable angle is greater. It also has a little newer design and larger logbook and profile memory. Plus my Vytec is a bit old and I think it's just plain time for an upgrade!

Suunto Vytec Dive Computer features:

  • Not the DS
  • Wireless Transmitter
  • Large Display
  • Great display information – pressure gauge, depth monitor, safety stop alarms, battery indicator, max depth indicator, etc.
  • Large Buttons
  • Easy Sync to Computer
  • Dive Log memory
  • Safety Alarms
  • Three Operating modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge
  • Free PC software, USB cables available on eBay for less than $50
  • Easy to clean
  • User Replaceable battery – never did

Anyone have any suggestions or comments about the Suunto Vytec Dive Computer that I didn't cover? Oh and check out a picture of my computer:

Update on April, 6th 2010:
I've reposted this to my scuba website, Check it out here.

Also check out this posting on installing Vytec Dive software on Windows.

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