A Review of the Scuba Wrist Computer: Is It Worth It?


A Review of the Scuba Wrist Computer: Is It Worth It?

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The oceans hold many mysteries. Even though water encompasses the majority of our planet, many aquatic environments are as unexplored as the vacuum of space. When you are diving into such an alien environment, you want all the assistance that technology can offer. That is where the Mares Puck Pro comes in.

The Mares Puck Pro has the reputation of being one of the absolute best wrist-mounted dive computers on the market today. But does reality confirm the claims made about the Mares Puck Pro? In this article we evaluated the Mares Puck Pro Wrist Dive Computer against three members of its competition. Each received a score according to our dive computer rubric so that we could evaluate each item mathematically.

What Is the Mares Puck Pro Wrist Dive Computer?

The Mares Puck Pro first appeared on the market in 2008. It quickly redefined the way thatdive computers were thought of. Previous dive computers were unintuitive, difficult to use, or simply provided meager features for how much their manufacturers were asking you to pay for them. That all changed when the Mares Puck Pro hit the shelves.

The first models of the Mares Puck Pro sold so well that Mares continues its policy of producing no-frills, all-features wrist dive computers today. The modern design calls back to those dive computers made in 2008, but the design has been slimmed down, the firmware has been upgraded, and the display has been made larger. The modern Mares Puck Pro Wrist Dive Computer even has improved multi-gas capability.

The Wrist Mounted Environmental Computer

The Mares Puck Pro is a fully-featured RGBM nitrox computer that a diver wears on their wrist. This allows quick and accurate monitoring of air levels. The Mares Puck Pro has a built in dive log to help you keep track of how long you’ve been underwater. It even has an ascent rate monitor to help you avoid the bends. Of course, you can also gain your environmental temperature data and your current depth at a glance.

Lifesaving Notifications

The Mares Puck Pro will easily become your best friend underwater. It provides an audible beep accompanied by a visual alert to help you avoid dangerous scenarios. It will give you alerts if you begin to ascend from depth too quickly, which can cause the bends.

You will also receive these notifications if you are about to exceed the safe ppO2/MOD. Similarly, the Mares Puck Pro will alert you when your Nitrogen Saturation equals 100%. If you accidentally blow past a decompression stop, the Mares Puck Pro will let you know. It even keeps you on top of when it needs new batteries.

Many of these scenarios are not merely inconveniences: they can be real dangers. It is a great thing that the Mares Puck Pro keeps you ahead of your surroundings.

Choose the Mares Puck Pro That Is Right for You

You might think that such a practical, lifesaving item would only come in one color scheme. But that is not so! The Mares Puck Pro can be purchased in seven different versions: Black, Red, Orange, White, Gray, Black & White Plus, and White Plus. We loved the option of being able to match our wrist dive computer to our wetsuits.

Product Specs

The Mares Puck Pro measures 6.8” long, 5.4” wide, and 5” inches high. It weighs a mere 12.8 ounces and easily fits the wrists of both men and women. The Mares Puck Pro has a dive log capable of remembering 50 dives. It has a memory capacity of 36 hours, which it samples every five seconds.

The Mares Puck Pro uses a powerful backlight that makes it visible even at the bottom of dark lakes. Its maximum displayed depth is 150 meters or 492 feet. This dive computer provides an easy to access stopwatch mode and planning mode. It can be switched between imperial and metric units, so you can read it in units you are familiar with no matter where you grew up.

It can be set for either freshwater or seawater dives, which helps to optimize the data that the Mares Puck Pro feeds you. The user can easily replace its batteries when the time comes, and thankfully the Mares Puck Pro lets you know when that will be with an easy-to-read battery display. If you are pushing your limits, or simply do not like being beeped at, you can easily exclude the audible alarm in favor of receiving the visual alerts by themselves.

The Mares Puck Pro supports gas switching, altitude adjustment, and residual nitrogen resetting. It displays your ascent rate in either meters per minute or feet per minute. The display is made from tempered mineral glass, which is scratch resistant and provides a crystal clear read of your data even in murky water.

Pricing

You can purchase a Mares Puck Pro of your own for around $175. Some models and colors have ended up being more popular than others, however, and their price point may end up being a little higher. Some of the Mares Puck Pro’s competition sells for less, but we tended to find that a drop in price corresponded to a drop in quality.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

  • Mares Quad Computer

  • SUUNTO Zoop Novo Wrist Dive Computer

  • Cressi Newton Wrist Computer

Mares Puck Pro Wrist Dive Computer

Price $

Ease of Use 5 Stars

The Mares Puck Pro uses an intelligent and intuitive one-button control scheme. If you’ve used an old watch to set the date or an alarm, you’ve got the basics on how to control your Mares Puck Pro. Once you’ve been on a dive or two with this wrist dive computer, logging your dives will become second nature. It is difficult to find wrist mounted dive computers that are this easy to use.

Functionality 5 Stars

We have listed the many features that the Mares Puck Pro provides. Your gas levels, your ascent, and your environmental temperature are all easily monitored by a glance at your wrist. Even if you are not staring at this little device, it will still find a way to notify your audibly if a situation arises that needs your attention. There was no one feature that we missed when we used the Mares Puck Pro as our dive computer.

Design Quality 5 Stars

We loved the bigger display coupled with the slimmer design as compared to the earlier models of the Mares Puck Pro. We were actually a bit surprised that the original design could be improved, since it has been such a forerunner on the market for so long. That said, the dive computer fits well, it feels good, and the displays are crisp and attractive.

Warranty 4 Stars

The Mares Puck Pro comes with a two-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Durable and comfortable at the same time
  • Display is informative and easy to read even in murky conditions
  • Audible and visual notifications for emergent situations
  • Has a large memory capacity
  • Comes in many color options

Cons

  • Certain color options cost more than others

Mares Quad Computer

The Mares Puck Pro is not the only Mares product worth consideration. Many divers are fascinated by the Mares Quad Computer, which ramps the aesthetics up from “spy gadget” to “full-on sci-fi.” You can think of it this way: if the Mares Puck Pro represents the sleek Apple product, the Mares Quad Computer is like its beefier Android counterpart.

Chief among the differences is that the Mares Quad Computer uses a four button interface. This is cumbersome to some divers but welcome to others. We found that once we mastered the one button interface on the Puck Pro, the extra three buttons on the Quad Computer were just excessive. This may not be the case for all buyers.

Price $$

Ease of Use 4 Stars

The four button controls make it easy to scroll through the pages of information. However, we found the one button interface to be even easier after a brief learning curve.

Functionality 4 Stars

The Mares Quad Computer does just about everything that the Mares Puck Pro can do. However, it can take longer to access some of this information with the four button controls.

Design Quality 4 Stars

The beefier design has a nice look if you are into conspicuous gadgets. We tended to prefer the more streamlined look of the Mares Puck Pro, however. The Quad Computer comes in four color options.

Warranty 4 Stars

Mares provides a two year limited warranty on their Quad Computer.

Pros

  • Display is large and legible
  • Provides similar information to the Mares Puck Pro
  • Some divers prefer the four button control scheme
  • Comes in Black, Black & Blue, White & Black, and Black & Yellow

Cons

  • Not as streamlined as the Mares Puck Pro

SUUNTO Zoop Novo Wrist Dive Computer

No list of the competitors for the title of “Best Wrist-Mounted Dive Computer” would be complete without an entry from SUUNTO. Their attractive Zoop Novo Wrist Dive Computer certainly gives the Mares Puck Pro a run for its money. It can be switched between air, nitrox, gauge, and freedom modes, which advanced divers find very useful.

It can do much of what the Mares Puck Pro can, however, it asks a much higher price point. Ultimately, we found no feature that justified this hike in price.

Price $$$

Ease of Use 4 Stars

The SUUNTO Zoop Novo Wrist Dive Computer is definitely easy to use. There is some setup, with a USB cable required to program it, however.

Functionality 4 Stars

Being able to switch between modes like gauge and freedom is really nice. However, we do not think that the extra bells and whistles really justify it costing about twice the price of the Mares Puck Pro

Design Quality 5 Stars

This is a really handsome looking dive computer. It is solid and comfortable to wear.

Warranty 4 Stars

The SUUNTO Zoop Novo Wrist Dive Computer comes with a two-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Has great, sleek aesthetics
  • Displays vital information at a glance
  • A trusted brand for divers

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Does not provide radically more features than either the Puck Pro or the Quad Computer

Cressi Newton Wrist Computer

There is a lot to love about Cressi Newton products. Their wrist computer embraces an 80’s high-tech look that still reads as remarkably fresh today. We loved that it used a graphic CNS oxygen toxicity indicator. However, like the SUUNTO Zoop Novo Wrist Dive Computer it asks a high price point and does not improve on the features of the Mares Puck Pro.

Price $$$

Ease of Use 2 Stars

The manual for this device is long. Setup can really be tedious. It uses a four button design.

Functionality 4 Stars

You get nearly two years of dives out of its battery, which is nice. We were also impressed with the graphical nature of the CNS oxygen toxicity indicator.

Design Quality 4 Stars

The Italian design of this product shines through. It has a bit of a conspicuously fashionable nature, which is nice but not enough to justify its price.

Warranty 4 Stars

This product comes with a two-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Impressive Italian design
  • Provides essential data easily
  • Graphical CNS oxygen toxicity indicator

Cons

  • Can be a bit of a pain to set up
  • Quite expensive

Conclusion

It has been over a decade since the first Mares Puck Pros hit the market. Today, they remain at the top of their game, thanks in part to the improvements of the most recent models. What is really remarkable is how cheap the Mares Puck Pro is compared to its competition. If you want a lifesaving and highly functional dive computer but don’t want to break the bank, we have to recommend the Mares Puck Pro.

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