In 2016 we saw Aqualung break free of Suunto and launched there own line of dive computers. The Aqualung i300 is the entry level computer with a lot of interesting features. The real question however is; is it better then their former partners entry level computer the Suunto Zoop Novo?
The i300 is a big display computer much like the Suunto Zoop Novo and the Mares Puck Pro which are its competitors.
The Aqualung i300 has four dive modes, first off you can dive with normal air but also with enriched air. The computer can also work as a bottomtimer in gauge mode and its possible to freedive with the i300. Interesting is that Aqualung has found a way to ensure you can do freediving and scuba diving on the same day. This is something Suunto hasn’t managed to do yet. The algorithm used is a Buhlman algorithm which is widely considered as the best. Incorperated in this algorithm Aqualung also added deep stop capabilities which will extend your bottom time just a bit.
A big difference to its competitors is the display on the i300. It is a lot smaller and it isn’t a dot matrix display which really makes it harder to read compared to the other computers. They did manage to put display lighting in it however to help you read off the display during night dives. The buttons below the display are easy to operate even if you are wearing gloves. With the right button you flip through the menu and you confirm it with the left one, quitte easy.
The menu is easy to navigate and because the options on entry level computers are limited it won’t take you long to get to know all settings. Aqualung has chosen some weird abbreviations for some settings tough which might need you to slap out the manual and look them up. H20 ACT for instances means water activation and this might seem easy now but it raised a big question mark when we first say it.
Great Extra Features
It is possible to replace the battery of the Aqualung i300 yourself. When you do all the data will stay on the computer instead of losing it all. The i300 also automatically detects when you are about to dive on altitude and adjusts the algorithm all by itself. The logbook has a capability of 24 dives and when a 25th dive is made the first dive gets removed by itself. This will be enough for most divers but its not a whole bunch of storage like we have seen on the Suunto Zoop Novo.
The interface isn’t included which is a shame and is supposedly used to upgrade the computer. When we looked for updates we couldn’t find any and we’re wondering if any will get published any time soon. The interface is also used to transfer data from the computer to your laptop or desktop pc. There is a free diver-log program to download which is also available as an app on your smartphone. There is also a paid version of the app but it doesn’t offer significant extra features worth paying for for most divers.
Is the Aqualung i300 worth a buy?
If you don’t mind the display which is a bit smaller, you’ll get a great computer. It has a lot of features which competitors won’t have like the data retention and automatic altitude detection. This makes the Aqualung i300 a really good computer for every starting diver.
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I agree with your assessment. As a new AOW cert’ed diver I was anxious to get my first computer. My instructor recommended the Zoop Novo she was using. I bought one and it has been everything I could hope for. I didn’t mind the larger-than-a-watch form factor because I wanted a larger face to help with poor eyesight. Then, I bought my own reg set and BC. It came with a console version of the i300. In my mind it is every bit as good a computer as the Suunto. I would use it as a primary without a second thought.