Question What are your thoughts on Garmin Descent Mk2 as a backup DC?

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Hoag

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It has been far too long since I have been diving and I am looking forward to the days when it is not so much of a pain to get to someplace with warm, turquoise waters. I am a recreational diver who dives in warm (tropical) waters while on vacation. I do not need something that I can manipulate with a dry suit or gloves. While on dive trips, I use a Citizen Aqualand as my dive watch.

Citizen Dive Watch.jpg


Having said that, in the meantime, I am using this imposed hiatus to update some of my gear. I definitely see the advantage of having a backup dive computer and I was wondering what peoples' thoughts were regarding the Garmin Descent Mk2 - specifically the Mk2S.

I don't want this to turn into a "If you don't use Shearwater, you're going to die horribly" thread. My primary DC is a Perdix AI, so relax.

Here are some of the reasons that the Descent Mk2S caught my eye as a backup:
  • My day to day watch is a Tag Formula 1. It has a 43mm face. So does the Descent Mk2S, so it will be the same size as what I am used to wearing. While on a dive trip, I could use it as my watch when not diving.
  • It uses the Bulhman ZHL-C algorithm with variable GF settings (same as my Perdix AI).
  • It performs other functions (Such as a heart rate monitor for when I am on the "dreadmill". I am trying to improve my fitness, so this is actually a fairly big point for me.)
  • The drawback to the Descent Mk2S is that with it not being an AI DC, I will need to have an SPG for it to be of any real use if I need it mid dive. I don't see this as a real problem, but something I need to be aware of. I have an SPG on my 1st stage now anyhow, so this is not new.

Reasons why I might consider the Descent Mk2i:
  • Air Integration. It would require a different transmitter than my Perdix AI, but a different transmitter increases the independent redundancy and I am, after all looking for a backup.
  • It uses the Bulhman ZHL-C algorithm with variable GF settings (same as my Perdix AI).
  • Like the "2S", it performs other functions (Such as a heart rate monitor for when I am on the "dreadmill". My doc told me I should get into shape. I replied with "Round is a shape." (The doc didn't think that was nearly as funny as I did.) 🤣)
  • The drawback to the Descent Mk2i, however is that it is bigger than I am used to as far as a daily wear watch. (I do not see this as a "deal breaker", merely a factor to consider.)

Reasons why I might (or might not) consider the Peregrine (This was my 1st thought for a backup DC):
  • Of the DCs that I am seriously considering, it is the only one aimed at Recreational Divers such a me. I am not paying for features that as a rec diver I neither need nor really want.
  • It has a similar layout and form factor as my Perdix AI.
  • It is (by far) the lowest price. (This combined with the fact that I am not paying for features I will never use makes it probably the best value for me.)
  • Drawback: It is too big to be used as a watch (and there is no real way to use it practically as a watch) when I am not diving so I will still need to have a watch.

Reasons why I might or might not consider the Teric:
  • The AMOLED display is supposedly one of, if not the best displays in the industry.
  • Uses the same transmitter as the Perdix AI. (This can be both a good and a bad point for a back up. If the Perdix fails, then the Teric acts as a backup, but if the transmitter fails, then I am back to using my SPG. It is not a fully redundant backup.)
  • It is a 55mm face. This is significantly larger than what I am currently wearing as my day to day watch, but should be "doable".

So ... the way I see it, I have four choices. There are pros and cons to each of them. Who has been faced with a similar choice and what did you ultimately choose (and why)?

Like I said, I really don't want this to turn into a "If you don't use a Shearwater, you're going to die horribly." thread.
 

inquisit

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The premium for one of the Garmins is only worth it IMO if you will use the non-diving, smart-watch functionality. If it's just for the heart-rate monitor, a $40 chest strap will likely yield better readings and can be paired to your smart phone. As you mentioned, the addition of AI really jacks up the cost on this option.

I do love the Teric. In spite of the slightly smaller numbers, my aging eyes can read it better than a Perdix due to the added brightness. However, it is expensive (relative to the Peregrine). OTOH, it is very small; I put mine flat on my harness strap, completely out of the way but easily accessible if needed. Is "out of the way" worth the premium?

I wouldn't sweat the lack of AI on the Peregrine. Your backup DC in a rec context is merely an insurance policy against missing the next dive or two on an expensive trip. Why pay double or triple for the same "coverage"?
 
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Hoag

Hoag

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The premium for one of the Garmins is only worth it IMO if you will use the non-diving, smart-watch functionality. If it's just for the heart-rate monitor, a $40 chest strap will likely yield better readings and can be paired to your smart phone. As you mentioned, the addition of AI really jacks up the cost on this option.

I do love the Teric. In spite of the slightly smaller numbers, my aging eyes can read it better than a Perdix due to the added brightness. However, it is expensive (relative to the Peregrine). OTOH, it is very small; I put mine flat on my harness strap, completely out of the way but easily accessible if needed. Is "out of the way" worth the premium?

I wouldn't sweat the lack of AI on the Peregrine. Your backup DC in a rec context is merely an insurance policy against missing the next dive or two on an expensive trip. Why pay double or triple for the same "coverage"?
Thank you.

The reason why I want to ensure that I have a backup as a rec diver is that on my last LOB (the Aquacat), we jumped in the water and went through a swim through. When I got out of the swim through, my DC had died. We were at 108feet (based on my dive watch). I signalled to my buddy that I was OK, but my DC was dead and I was returning to the boat and that they should buddy up with somebody else. As soon as I get that they were OK with that, I headed back to the boat.

The crew lent me one of the boat's DC's for the rest of the week. The dive that I aborted was the 1st one of the day, on the 2nd (or maybe 3rd) day of the trip, and I had been out of the water since about 4pm the evening before. Any residual N2 that I had, would have been minimal, so I wasn't too worried about not having the actual tissue loading in the new computer, but I was aware that it wasn't accounted for and stayed shallow the rest of the day.

If I had a back up, it wouldn't have even been a factor.

As for the additional functions that are available on the Garmins, there are some that I would use. For instance, I am doing a Landscape Photography Workshop this fall, so a GPS to find my way back to the car will come in handy. There are other functions too, I just didn't want to list everyone that I will or might use.
 

lexvil

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First off, if you don’t use a shearwater you are going to die! On the other hand if you do use a shearwater you are also going to die.

I use a Teric as a back up but also use a Teric as primary, I don’t bother with an SPG if my transmitter dies I either make a n educated guess if I’m on my normal profile and end the dive a little early but in the travel only type of diving you Bring up an SPG is a great thing to have, otherwise with equipment failure it’s end of dive time. I would use my spare transmitter for the next dive, I wouldn’t really want two transmitters on my reg at the same time, easier to end the dive and prep for the next one.

the Garmin is a nice piece of gear from what I hear, the only reason I haven’t tried one is the transmitter only working with it but if I were not equipped with the old transmitters and were buying from scratch I would give the Garmin a very serious look.

your plan and reasons are sound but if you aren’t going AI there are much lower cost options.
 

waterone

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I have worn the mk2i daily since it was released and it seemed large at first but after wearing it, I haven't noticed again.

  • GPS - this is a sweet thing and I like being able to see entry and exit for my log. I like to see how far I traveled on different current days for drift dives...just a novelty thing. If I really like a spot, I can have it marked and come back.
gps.PNG
Entry-exit.PNG


  • Tap to change screens- this is a cool feature
  • HR- this works during dives and It will take your HR reasonably well through a 3mm. I can tell when I have had to kick hard or if I am just mellow cruising.
  • O2-cool but having this feature turned on and battery depletion is extremely accelerated- functions but doesn't seem to log underwater
  • Payments- I thought was a joke and would never use. But I have used the payment system many times at dive resorts and on dive boats when I am not carrying a wallet.
  • From my tests it seems that the MK2i has a faster gas refresh rate (not that this matters)
  • tx distance - cool feature if you are diving with kids but IMO useless anywhere else
  • Dive App- the dive log is fantastic for tracking data, looks visually appealing and even more so when you add dive pictures to the log
  • Smart watch features- you can use this watch for ton of sports and it isnt a basic watch like the Teric for daily wear. I like being able to track speed and milage and trails used for snowboarding and atv riding.
  • Music- I thought this was a joke but I actually use it on dive boats and back country
  • Watch faces- tons of options and can add pictures
For amoled vs garmin - underwater I can read a Teric from a far distance, but I have no issues reading a mk series from a simple tilt of the wrist. In my opinion, unless you are reading the Teric from someone elses wrist, the Garmin has a hands down visually better display.

Draw backs of an MK2i vs Teric-
  • No Surf GF - but for you this would be moot since you have it on your other one
  • tx sound - this thing beeps and I keep mine on low - this will either annoy you or you wont notice a thing. (On low my mk2 will see tank pressure from 30 feet or more away so it seems to not lack much power)
  • TX - two types of transmission for above and below
  • Lack of simplicity - Teric is easy to use where as Garmin has so many features that there is a larger learning curve
  • data tracking - Like most smart watches Garmin seems to collect as much info as you let them. You can turn it all off but with loss of some cool features.
  • no overlay of navigation point on screens




With that said- if you do not wear this watch as a daily wear IMHO it isnt worth the extra $400
 

ScubaJCBS

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I don't have the MK2 but I do use the original decent. I like it as a back up and I also like the way the Garmin dive app puts the depth+pulse+temp all on one screen.
 
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Hoag

Hoag

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I just reread my original post, and I realize that there was something which was implied, but maybe I wasn't totally clear on.

Three out of the four DCs that I am looking at as a back up are watch sized, and I posed the question about using them as a watch/smart watch. Just to be clear (because I don't think I was at first), I am not looking for a DC that can serve as a replacement for my Tag on a day-to-day basis. I am wondering if these could be used as a watch day-to-day while I am on a dive vacation, so for a week or maybe two at a time, long long term.
 

waterone

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I am wondering if these could be used as a watch day-to-day while I am on a dive vacation, so for a week or maybe two at a time, long long term.
Of course they can.

Out of what you are considering---

If you want a true smart watch that doubles as a dive watch then your ONLY choice is Garmin. If you want a smart watch with AI your ONLY choice is Garmin.

If you want something that functions as a basic watch with AI then Teric it is.


If you are only going to use it while on vacation, then IMO Garmin is not worth it unless you just toss money around. Sure, it is nice to see surface interval, Time to fly visual display (even though completely unneeded), GPS, activity tracking, notifications and other things on the Garmin but some of the features can be an annoyance during a vacation as well.
 
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Hoag

Hoag

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Of course they can.

Out of what you are considering---

If you want a true smart watch that doubles as a dive watch then your ONLY choice is Garmin. If you want a smart watch with AI your ONLY choice is Garmin.

If you want something that functions as a basic watch with AI then Teric it is.


If you are only going to use it while on vacation, then IMO Garmin is not worth it unless you just toss money around. Sure, it is nice to see surface interval, Time to fly visual display (even though completely unneeded), GPS, activity tracking, notifications and other things on the Garmin but some of the features can be an annoyance during a vacation as well.
Thank you for you insightful response.

I will be going to a (sort of) local dive shop in a couple days. They have the Garmin Mk2i (no 2S) and the Teric in stock. The owner of the dive shop will be there & he uses a Garmin as his DC. It will be my first chance to see them in person, other than online and an ideal chance to pick his brain.

I do see using the Garmin as a smart watch for certain things (Heart Rate monitor while on the "Dreadmill", GPS etc), I might find that I begin to wear it more and more as a daily (smart) watch, but right now, those are nice to have features that are not at the need to have level. I appreciate your observation that while wearing it as a daily watch, it seemed large at first, but that didn't last long.
 

waterone

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Being able to put them on the wrist and see the screens is a big thing. To me the Teric while supposedly having a very slightly smaller screen online, in person the Teric screen seems actually slightly larger (but not more useable due to the dark edge) and so does the case.

I know this pic isn't the best because something about the different lighting types for the screens and my phone make both screens look absolutely horrible, but it gives an idea on the screen size appearance. In reality the Teric is super crisp and the Garmin has great colors.
Teric and Garmin.jpg





I do see using the Garmin as a smart watch for certain things (Heart Rate monitor while on the "Dreadmill", GPS etc), I might find that I begin to wear it more and more as a daily (smart) watch, but right now, those are nice to have features that are not at the need to have level. I appreciate your observation that while wearing it as a daily watch, it seemed large at first, but that didn't last long.
Completely different route... but if you are more interested in a Health sort of thing then maybe a smart ring that if you wanted you can also dive with....

 

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