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Any comments on Garmin Descent MK1

Discussion in 'Computers, Gauges, Watches and Analyzers' started by Dave WANG, May 3, 2019.

  1. ATJ

    ATJ Barracuda

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
    These are just the issues that I have personally experienced and are unlikely to be the only ones. Some of them are genuine bugs others may be “working as designed” but the design is poor.

    Deco handling. The handling of deco is not great. If you exceed NDL the safety stop is cancelled. I have my safety stop set to 5 minutes. If I exceed my NDL by one minute I’m “allowed” to surface more quickly than if my NDL was not exceeded! Even if you cancel any deco commitment before reaching 5 metres there’s no safety stop. Garmin actually fixed the last part in 4.00 but then broke it again in 6.00 (which in itself is a cardinal sin).

    When you exceed NDL the NDL display is replaced by TTS (time to surface). I’m trying to remember if the watch actually displays the deco commitment at all. I have a feeling it doesn’t other than telling you to stay under 3m. I rarely go into deco so I can’t remember for sure. Basically, if you ever plan deco, don’t have the Mk1 as your only dive computer.

    Dive start. The dive starts as soon as you descend below 1.2m but it needs more logic. The other day my buddy and I jumped in and she dropped a fin. I ducked dived to grab it for her. I didn’t go below 2m and was under for 30 seconds. I didn’t need to breathe off my regs. This got logged as a 30 second dive. None of my other dive computers logged it as a dive. They all have extra logic to prevent this.

    Dive end. There’s a configurable End Dive Delay, the time the Mk1 waits after surfacing to actually end the dive. This allows for surfacing in the middle of the dive (find a buddy, bearings, etc.) without splitting the dive. This is a nice feature. The Mk1 originally added the delay to the dive time but they fixed that in an early firmware but still it doesn’t show a lot of insight.

    The problem with the feature is that it doesn’t log the dive exit until after the end of the delay. This means you could get out of the water at the end of the dive and be 10s of metres away before it logs your exit. What is worse is that the Mk1 doesn’t turn on the GPS until after the end of the delay and only seconds before recording the location. This is not enough time to lock onto satellites and the location is often inaccurate. I’ve had it log my exit 100m away on land!

    Surface interval. There’s a widget that displays your surface interval but no way to see it on the dive display. If you are doing a second dive there’s no easy way to see how much longer you should wait. All my other dive computers display the surface interval right there on the display when the computer is ready to dive.

    Temperature. The temperatures logged for the dive do not match the temperatures displayed on the screen during the dive! On my Mk1 the difference is 2-3°C! For example, a dive where the water temperature is around 18°C as shown on the display of the Mk1 (and verified by my Perdix and Citizen) gets logged as 15°C! You can demonstrate the problem even out of the water by going all the way into dive mode and seeing the temperature displayed. Exit dive mode and bring up the temperature widget. Right now on my Mk1 dive mode shows 25°C and widget shows 23°C.

    Fitness features

    Intensity minutes. The measuring of intensity minutes is grossly inconsistent. I can rack up intensity minutes going for a slow walk but not on a fast walk when I’m left out of breath. It will often log intensity minutes while I’m walking back to my car after a dive even though the Mk1 is mounted on my camera rig and has no HR data.

    Flights of stairs. It records the number of flights of stairs you take but is grossly inconsistent. I live in a two story house. Some days every trip upstairs gets counted. Another day I ended with zero flights even though I went up and down over 10 times.

    Sleep. The sleep data is often screwy. For example if I sit in bed and read on my phone before getting up in the morning it gets recorded as REM sleep. What used to get reported as Deep Sleep now also gets reported as REM

    Garmin Connect is a joke! There are so many things wrong with it I could start a whole thread about it.
  2. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    Deco handling is not a big issue and most other PDCs do the same thing. I guess I'm just used to it over the years. I never follow my PDC blindly: it's just a tool. If no safety stop is required, I simply look at my current dive time and add five minutes. Nothing I ever stress about. I don't mind

    I've never had the issue with the end of my dive. I guess that's because I do another 5 minute rest before I fully exit if I'm doing a shore dive, especially if deco was involved. Yes, it takes me at least ten minutes to exit from the beginning of my safety stop. I usually wear redundant PDCs, and I can't remember which one I go to for my SI. If I'm diving caves, it's usually a single 2/3 hour dive in a day, so SIs aren't that important.

    Temperatures have been fine for me and far better than older PDCs.

    Intensity, flights & sleep work well enough for me. I use that info as a guide to whether I'm being a couch potato (or not) and not as a scientific measurement or important data point. Garmin Connect works well for me as well on my Samsung Galaxy S9+.

    There's no doubt about it: I love my Garmin Descent as well as my Shearwaters.
  3. Chidiver1

    Chidiver1 Barracuda

    Sounds like you need a replacement. What' all is wrong with Garmin connect?
  4. ATJ

    ATJ Barracuda

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
    I'm thinking more about other less experienced users. There's no way I could recommend the Mk1 to someone as their sole dive computer. Sure it is fine as a back up but I think the issues with deco handling it too risky as the only dive computer.

    By the way, all my previous dive computers have handled deco and safety stops better than the Mk1. The Oceanic Atom is not great but it is still better.

    I often do a double dive (and many of my friends do, too). As most of the dives are tide dependent we want to minimise the SI. At the same time, from a safety perspective we need to not have too short a SI so it is important to us. Having multiple dive computers certainly solves the issue but (as above) I can't recommend the Mk1 as a sole dive computer.

    I make scientific observations so accurate temperature readings are important for me.

    My Oceanic Atom 3.0 is the only dive computer with dodgy temperature readings but I think that is across the board for Oceanic. My 19 year old Citizen Hyper Aqualand is still my most accurate device for temperature (and I've checked it against a scientific grade mercury thermometer. My Citizen Cyber Aqualand NX was as accurate as the Hype Aqualand. My Perdix is pretty accurate. Once Garmin fix the bug with the Mk1, it should also be accurate.

    That said, a dive computer costing over $1,000 should be accurate.

    I agree. Those things aren't hugely important to me either. However, they are features of the device and as such should actually work. Often they don't. They are features that the likes of the Teric don't have and so are points of differentiation. They should work.

    I love my Perdix! I want to love my Descent Mk1 but it lets me down too often. Perhaps if Garmin fix the issues (that I have) I will be able to love it.
  5. ATJ

    ATJ Barracuda

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Too many things to list.

    Here are just a few.

    Garmin Connect is the Garmin cloud based environment for all Garmin devices, not just the Descent but devices for running, cycling, etc. As it is cloud based it basically doesn't work if you don't have an internet connection. There's a mobile version for your phone and a web based version for regular computers. Even the mobile version basically doesn't work without an internet connection.

    One of the nice things about Garmin Connect is that your dives are automatically synced with Garmin Connect as soon as the Mk1 is in range (and you have an Internet connection). Within a minute or so of getting back to my car after a dive, I get a notification to say the dive has been uploaded.

    If you don't have an internet connection (say you are on a dive trip to a remote area) you can't upload your dives to Garmin Connect. It is possible to access the log files directly off the watch but they are in a propriety format (FIT) so you can't do anything with them. Fortunately, a number of 3rd party dive log apps like Subsurface and MacDive are able able to read the FIT files so you can get to your data with a bit of fiddling.

    The available dive data in Garmin Connect is pretty basic and there's no way to get much detail (you need the 3rd part apps to get that). There are some really dumb things in there. For example , you can enter the start and ending pressures and tank sizes. There's a field for SAC but it doesn't calculate it for you. Calculating manually from the data provided in Garmin Connect is not easy as the average depth is only displayed as an integer. But that's sort of irrelevant as the SAC itself only allows an integer. When you work in metric, SAC is measured in bar/minute and the range is typically 0.5 to 1.8. With only an integer to work with, the SAC will be completely meaningless.

    Clearly, the designers of the extensions for diving know nothing about diving.

    I could go on but I couldn't be bothered. The only value of Garmin Connect is a temporary spot for the data to download from for the 3rd party apps.
  6. 0321tony

    0321tony Angel Fish

    As far as the temperature logging goes it might be an issue using C, I use F and have had no issues the only difference being that on Connect it has a decimal point and not on the watch itself so on Connect it might be 43.4 and the watch display will say 43. I just checked several of my dives against Connect and they are all the same. I have never gone into Deco with my watch so I can't relay to that issue. As far as the surface interval I use my dive planner rather than check SI time, a simple button push to check SI really isn't that much of a hassle for me when I do look at it.
    The Connect app I agree has some bugs that could definatly be fixed to make for a better app. My biggest issue is that I have to have internet connection to access it. I dive a lot of areas that have no internet connection or any cell reception. I also dive several different configurations with my gear depending on where I'm at or what I am doing and would like to be able to go back and at least be able to do weight checks for a given config, for that reason I use DIvemate on my phone. Not as easy to download dives as Connect but not that big of a deal, at least I can do it offline.

    The only bug that I can complain about is the compass changing from magnetic north to true north when changing a heading underwater then back to magnetic north once the desired heading is set. Not a big deal for those that don't have much of a declination in their area but here it's 18 degrees so its something I have to pay attention to while navigating. I have sent a video of that issue to a contact I have and hopefully we will see a fix in the next update that hopefully should be coming soon.

    I don't see Garmin stepping out of the dive community, my feeling is they are just getting started and the MK1 was more or less to test the waters so to speak and probably has just a small team working on the Descent. I think the reaction to the MK1 was positive and we may see some really cool things come from Garmin in the near future especially if Garmin sees good potential to keep expanding their dive computer line the development team may get bigger and things happen faster. With the outcry for the Mk1 to have AI and many people saying they would buy it if it had AI I'd be willing to bet we will see the Descent AI real soon. But who knows whats going on behind the doors, they may just abandon it all together and were stuck with what we got.

    Bottom line is that I love my Descent
  7. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    I think you're blowing any "risk" way out of proportion. It's not hard to look at your PDC as you hit your safety stop. While I usually wear redundant PDCs, I don't do it for that reason.
    This appears to be your new mantra.
    I haven't had an issue with them. I do wonder: have you done the calibration? The only measurement that's so far off it's ludicrous is the altitude. I live within a 200 ft of sea level and it often has me high above sea level. :D
    I agree with your observation here. While diving is such a small part of their market, they can really use the images from diving to promote their whole line. My favorite feature of the Descent is it's size. It's just not that clunky and I wear it 24/7 unless it's being charged. It's also the most rugged smart watch I've worn and has been deep in the bowels of engines on both land and sea. It takes a lickin' and keeps me kickin'! :D :D :D
  8. ATJ

    ATJ Barracuda

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
    It is not Celsius versus Fahrenheit. It s a bug that Garmin have already admitted (I mentioned that when I first brought up the issue). They were able to reproduce it 4-5 months ago so one hopes there is a fix in the next update (whenever that might be).

    It is not an issue with Connect. It is an issue with what gets written to the dive log and is (or can be) different to what is displayed on the watch during the dive itself. If you look back at your dive log AFTER the dive, what displays on the watch and Connect will be the same because it is the same data. By the way, the only time you will see the temperature to one decimal point is for the Average temperature which is merely and average of the samples which are all integers.

    Try this. Go all the way into dive mode so it displays the temperature as it would during a dive. (It's fine, you can do this even when not in the water). Note the temperature reading. Quit out of dive mode and go to Temperature widget. Note the temperature displayed there. Do they match? On mine they don't. That is the bug.

    DiveLogTemperature.JPG WidgetTemperature.JPG

    From my limited experience of 2 units, it appears the size of the temperature difference varies between units. For my first Mk1, the difference was only around 1ºC. I reported it to Garmin but I thought it may have been a rounding issue - one was rounded and the other was truncated, or something like that. When the Garmin button on my first unit failed, Garmin replaced it with a brand new unit and this second one has a much larger difference.

    This is how my original Mk1 compared to my Citizen Hyper Aqualand (which I regard as being accurate) and my Shearwater Perdix AI:

    This is from the replacement Mk1:

    Anyway, I'd be interested to see what differences people with Mk1s show between Dive Mode and Widget.

    Ah... if it was a simple button press I wouldn't mind as much.

    To get into Dive Mode you need at least two button presses (once to bring up the activity list and once to select the dive activity). You might need another press if you are changing the dive type. Once you are in dive mode (which is where you need to be to start the dive) you can't display SI. You need to exit dive mode (back button twice) and then press at least one button to bring up the SI widget. The number of presses would depend on the ordering of your widgets but you could place the SI one so it is first.

    The next problem is that the SI widget only stays open for two minutes and then it reverts to the regular watch face. This means if you are more than two minutes before reaching your desired SI you have to keep pressing it to see where you are at.

    Once you reach your desired SI you have to go back into dive mode (2-3 presses).

    For me personally, this is not a huge issue because I dive with multiple dive computers and all the others display the SI right there on the face when the computer is ready to dive. If this was someone's only dive computer, it would be a hassle.

    I doubt that Garmin will do much to improve it. Garmin Connect is pretty useless for running, cycling, etc. Most serious runners, cyclists, etc. use other apps and import the data from Garmin Connect. This is what divers need to do as well.

    Yep. This one has been reported by a number of people. Perhaps we'll get a fix.

    I wish they were more communicative. Look at Shearwater. They even hang out here on SB and answer people's questions, admit bugs and provide quick fixes. With Garmin we're lucky if they answer a post in their own forum! Getting them to admit a bug is like getting blood out of a stone - and they don't do that publicly: it is either after multiple emails or private messages.[/QUOTE]
  9. ATJ

    ATJ Barracuda

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
    I'm not trying to be difficult here.

    The original poster asked for comments on the Garmin Descent Mk1. I provided a list of issues that I have found.

    It is fine that some people might not have experienced the issues or do see them as a problem. But they are still there. Other people may not want those issues and it is useful to know BEFORE they spend >$1,000 on a device.
    scrane and MacNugget like this.
  10. scrane

    scrane Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boise, ID.
    Just to open this up again.

    Here's my impression of the Descent after a little less than a year:
    Depth measurement: Excellent.
    NDL tracking: Excellent.
    Compares very well with Perdix in both of these parameters.
    Mapping: very good.
    Temperature tracking: OK minus. I doubt any wrist mounted sensor can be accurate.
    Counting steps: OK, but this is really just a feel good parameter.
    Barometric pressure: I can't get a good handle on this due to a lack of reference and interaction with altitude.
    Heart rate with onboard sensor: Sucks Big Time.
    Heart rate with armband: Good
    Altitude measurement: Sucks Big Time.
    Firmware updates and factory support: Sucks.

    For a minimalist Dive Computer the Descent functions well. But as a Dive Computer it is way overpriced.
    As an activity tracker it is barely OK. But as an Activity Tracker it is way overpriced.

    One gets the impression that Garmin developed the Descent as a Parlour Trick.
    It is probably my biggest mistake in buying SCUBA hardware. I definitely would not buy it again.
    DiveTy, Chidiver1, tridacna and 3 others like this.

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