Long Term Scuba Gear Test
Long Term Scuba Gear Test: Thermalution Red Grade Ultra

Mark Evans: I have been very impressed with the Thermalution Red Grade Ultra. This full-length suit really does bring a whole new dimension to keeping warm on a dive in cold waters. Charging the batteries is a doddle – you can connect both of the compact batteries to the charger at the same time, so within a few hours you are ready to go again, though I have been getting several hours of use out of a single charge, so you’ll get a good day of diving in the bag easily and can then stick them on while you pop out for apres-dive beverages. The controller is similarly easy – just sit it in its charging dock to boost its power when necessary, though this little unit seems to last for a long time.

Suggested retail price: £1,050
Number of dives: 6
Time in water: 5 hrs 55 mins


Long Term Scuba Gear Test: APEKS MTX-R

Mark Evans: The MTX-R is proving to be the perfect companion when diving – it is so comfortable and efficient, I forget that it is a test unit! It excels in the cold waters it was designed for, but it will be in warmer waters in a few weeks when it heads to the Caribbean for my Grenada assignment.

Suggested retail price: £529
Number of dives: 34
Time in water: 33 hrs 25 mins


Long Term Scuba Gear Test
Long Term Scuba Gear Test: Zeagle Halo

Mark Evans: The Halo continues to impress, and I really like the feel of it both on the surface and underwater. It is just so supportive. I am still not a fan of the integrated weight pouches. I acknowledge that the Ripcord system is effective in an emergency situation, but for day-to-day use on a Red Sea liveaboard, for instance, when you are passing up your weight pockets into the zodiacs three or four times daily, unzipping pockets and fishing around for the weight pouches is a bit of a pain. This isn’t such an issue in their native USA, as most of the time they dive from hardboats, so weights are not handed up from in the water.




Long Term Scuba Gear Test
Long Term Scuba Gear Test: DeepBlu Cosmiq+ Dive Companion

Mark Evans: The DeepBlu Cosmiq+ Dive Companion will be heading back to Grenada when I head off on assignment in a couple of weeks, but for now, it has been back into the depths of Vivian.
Such a great little computer and so easy to use. Everything has been well thought out, including the charging system – simply locate the magnetic clips in the right general area and it clicks into place solidly. It is then just a case of plugging in the USB and you are off charging. Straight forward but highly effective, and it is only dinky, so easy to travel with.

Suggested retail price: £230
Number of dives: 16
Time in water: 15 hrs 45 mins


Scuba Gear Test 1
Long Term Scuba Gear Test: Aqualung Reveal X2

Mark Evans: The Aqualung Reveal X2 has found favour with all of the test team members, who like its traditional twin-lens styling combined with some nifty modern touches, including subtle ‘grip’ sections on either side of the nose pocket to aid getting some purchase when you equalise. We also all commented on the vision the mask provides, which is quite broad to the sides and downwards.

Suggested retail price: £46
Number of dives: 12
Time in water: 11 hrs 15 mins


Long Term Scuba Gear Test
Long Term Scuba Gear Test: Shearwater Research Perdix AI

Mark Evans: The Perdix AI has been with me for me test dives in Vivian, and will soon be getting a treat – heading off to the warmer waters of the Caribbean for an assignment in Grenada. The battery life is quite outstanding on the Perdix AI, but when it does eventually run out, it is a simple matter to pop open the battery compartment and slot in a new one – being an AA cell, you can find these virtually anywhere, so no fear of being computer-less on a trip.

Suggested retail price: £870 (comp only)
Number of dives: 11
Time in water: 10 hrs 15 mins


Long Term Scuba Gear Test
Long Term Scuba Gear Test: Ratio iDive Sport Easy

Mark Evans:The iDive Sport Easy makes a fine addition to your arm, looking an extremely smart and functional sports watch, but it also very capable as a wristwatch dive computer, and as we have said before on the Long Term Test pages, it boasts far more features than even the most dedicated and technology crazed diver would ever access. It will also be heading to Grenada on assignment in a few weeks for some warm-water testing.

Suggested retail price: £375
Number of dives: 4
Time in water: 3 hrs 20 mins


Long Term Scuba Gear Test
Long Term Scuba Gear Test: XDeep NX Zen

Mark Evans: As discussed last month, the xDeep NX Zen is a seriously well built piece of kit, and it has some nice accessories that can be fitted if you so desire. We got the integrated weight system, which nearly attaches to the backplate for security and slots over the waist webbing strap. I hate wearing weightbelts, and only need a couple of kilogrammes when in warmer waters anyway, so compact pockets like these are perfect. That said, you could probably cram about 8kg into these bad boys if you needed to, so that would cover you for UK and temperate water diving in a drysuit as well!

Suggested retail price: £535
Number of dives: 11
Time in water: 9 hrs 45 mins



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