By Shaun Notley, June 2020.
It is not that uncommon to find a piece of kit that really impresses with a specific task. However what is rare is to find a piece of equipment that impresses equally throughout a wide variety of missions. The Shearwater Perdix AI dive computer is one such item.
My need of a versatile dive computer is traced to the type of diving I find myself doing. Sought qualities inevitably differ depending on the job at hand.
A few days ago I conducted a bottom survey for a boat yard. Visibility was extremely poor and the amount of information to be gathered had to be precise, all whilst being on video. The following features of the Shearwater Perdix AI helped things run smooth:
- The bright, 2.2” display with automatic screen brightness was clear and easy to read despite very poor visibility and ambient light conditions.
- The user customizable display meant I could have the information wanted immediately on hand, in this case a live compass reading and clock. Especially useful when my hands were occupied making notes, using a metal detector and handling a probe.
That same computer, with the user customizable display altered, also accompanies me whilst I am teaching diving classes. Because it is a feature packed full decompression, multi gas trimix dive computer it comes loaded with everything I could possibly need regardless of what I am teaching.
- The adjustable gradient factors are a great tool to help explain basic deco theory, adjust exposure level and determine where decompression stops begin.
- The dive planner mode incorporates gas consumption and provides an on-wrist alternative to other software. One drawback is it can be fairly tedious to run through multiple dive plans because of the menu structure and two buttons – for example running an actual, a +5min, lost deco gas, +5m, differing gradient factor plans may take a while compared to desktop software.
- In water operation is intuitive, performing gas switches is clear and easy, as is navigating through further information not displayed on the main screen.
Once all the work is done, the Shearwater Perdix AI can also come out to play. In this case as a constant PPo2 dive computer that can be used with a closed circuit rebreather. I use the computer as a decompression obligation back up to the CCR’s hardwired displays when I can get out for some fun rebreather dives exploring the nearby wrecks.
The dive computer even has a very simple recreational mode for those not yet wanting to be so adventurous but wanting the growing room, a clear display and the great build quality offered. Periodic updates downloadable via Bluetooth keep the computer up to date with the latest firmware on offer and from experience the customer service is prompt, personal and efficient.
Instead of getting one recommendation, I have to give it 3. It performs fantastically as a commercial diving tool, a technical/recreational open circuit computer and as a constant PPo2 closed circuit computer.