A quick review of how the new Mares Smart Apnea computer compares to other Freediving computers out there:
For Freedivers this could be a good value alternative. I took the computer on a 101m Constant Weight dive to put it the test, but the computer will apparently read depth to 150m, so will probably be adequate for most of us for a while longer.
It is a Freediving only computer, so you won’t feel like you’re paying for functions that you never use unless you scuba dive too. It costs from $400- $450 USD so is much cheaper than many alternatives.
Before the dive:
You should put it in the pre-dive setting otherwise it does automatically activate during your first dive but the activation is quite delayed. During the dive the current depth and dive time are shown in large digits and it is very clear and easy to read the display underwater. On surfacing the surface interval timer becomes the main display with the maximum depth achieved and dive time on the last dive also shown. You can also read water temperature.
For sport freedivers it has 6 audible depth alarms, I used just three on my dive, one to indicate the start of freefall, a second alarm to tell me when to take my last mouthfill and the final one at 97m to tell me to get ready to turn. It has several other dive alarm features which I am not sure I would use but might be useful for other styles of freediving or spearfishing: Surface interval alarm; Dive time alarm; Depth intervals alarm; Speed alarm..
It also has normal sports watch functions -Time, Date, Alarm, Chronograph, Countdown, and Logbook for dives. It is operated by just two buttons on the right side of the watch and it is a simple operating system ( as long as you read the instructions!).
It does not allow you to profile the dive on the computer itself but Mares say you can get a connecting lead to attach it to a pc and download your profile and data. I have yet to do this but as soon as I get a cable I will update on how this works! You can also change the battery yourself which saves time and money.
Finally and importantly – how does it look? It comes in two colour combinations Black and grey and Black and Orange. I am not sure I would wear either out at night but for the daytime it has a smart functional look as long as you’re not too far from the sea!
This could be a winner! Let’s see how it performs on some deep dives 🙂
Mike is the owner of Freedive Gili, British Freediving Champion and Record Holder and SSI Freediving Instructor Trainer. You can follow his blog posts here or on his Facebook page.