Long Term Test - Suunto D5 Review by Oyster Diving
Oyster Diving, the UK’s leading PADI scuba diving and travel centre have been operating for over 13 years in London and the South of England and are pioneers in all aspects of UK diving. We employ over 15 PADI professional dive instructors so we know our stuff!.
Over the years we have used many different products of recreational scuba diving equipment and we like to give customers our honest reviews on the latest kit. This then allows them to make an informed decision on their next purchase and ensure they are getting the right diving equipment suitable for them.
If you are not familiar with Suunto they have been the worlds largest dive computer brand for umpteen years. They were the first company to launch a mainstream watch style computer with the Stinger back in the 80’s.
In recent years they have launched great wrist style (larger screen size) computers with loads of innovative features such as LED screens, wireless transmitters etc.
We have taken the D5 for a 5-month test drive and done over 100 dives with it. We've leant it to our other instructors to test and compare against their computers and combined have done over 100 dives with it.
The Suunto D5 is the first “affordable” LED style watch style computer to hit the recreational dive market. It comes in 2 varieties; black bezel and stainless steel. The black bezel is £50 dearer and apart from the ascetics is identical. I opted to use the black version with a neon lime green strap. Normally I don’t like garish colours but I find I really like the lime green and figured if it ever fell off my wrist while underwater would be easy to find and recover. There is a varied choice of interchangeable strap colours including blue, white, ocean, orange, amber and of course black. They are also launching different material straps including leather, urban silicon, textile and different silicon composites. So there really is a style for everyone.
When they announced the launch of the D5 I was concerned that to pack all of that tech in, it would be too large and bulky. However it is a great size and surprisingly light. I’ve been wearing it as a full-time watch for around 5 months now and it feels as comfortable as any watch I’ve owned before.
The D5 is crammed full of features that make it perfect for all levels of recreational divers including:
- Easy to read LED screen
- Digital compass
- Nitrox mode
- Multiple gases
- Integrated tank air-pressure (when connected to a transmitter pod)
- Bluetooth connectivity
Most of these features are available on their larger brothers but this is amazing given the D5’s size! The biggest benefit to me is that it is rechargeable. Most watch style computers have to have their batteries changed fairly regularly and to have it done by an authorised technician such as ours is around £50. So if you opt for the cheaper version you only need to save on 11 battery changes and it’s paid for itself – or at least that’s how I justified buying another dive computer to my wife!
Initially I was hoping that like wrist style rechargeable computers the battery would last the 18 or so dives you do on a weeks' liveaboard. This sadly isn't the case. Without diving the battery lasts around 5-6 days but if you are doing multiple dives each day then the battery will last 3-4 dives i.e. it needs recharging every day. This is pretty easy as the magnetic USB cable means it charges your computer while you sleep.
Thanks to its state of the art crystal clear LED coloured screen, the D5 is really easy to read above and below the water, in all light conditions. For those who live/travel in ultra-sunny areas there is an ‘ultra-bright’ setting.
Underwater it is easy to read all of the main data such as no-decompression limit, depth, tank pressure and safety stop. If for some reason you don’t like the display I believe you can tailor it to your own liking through the app mode, but I haven’t tried that yet as there’s nothing wrong with the current one.
If you want a basic entry dive computer and dive very infrequently then go for the Aqua Lung i200 as it will do most of the things you want for about half the price. There are more expensive watch style LED computers on the market but unless you are a tec diver or plan on going down this route then you should ask yourself, is it worth spending nearly double? If like me, you enjoy the latest technology and safety features such as tank-pressure readings and hate paying £50 every time you have to change the battery then definitely go for this. I guess it’s like comparing the latest Apple or Samsung smart phone to a basic mobile phone.