THERMALUTION RED GRADE ULTRA

Mark Evans: I can’t wait to get into the water with the Thermalution Red Grade Ultra. I really liked the basic heated vest from this company, and so will be interested to see how much more warmth is generated by this next-generation suit. Even though it is a full- length suit, it still packs up remarkably small, and weighs absolutely nothing, so don’t be concerned about bulk as you layer this under your normal undersuit and drysuit. However, it still oozes quality, and all the connectors, etc, seem to be well-constructed and well-thought-out, but only time will tell once we start getting wet with it. Roll on BCD testing next month!

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £1,050
Number of dives: 0
Time in water: 0 hrs 0 mins

APEKS MTX-R

Mark Evans: More hassle-free dives on the MTX-R completed. This regulator is simply a joy to breathe through, and with no knobs or levers to faff with, just stick it in your mouth and off you go. The Comfo-Bite mouthpiece also helps, as this has to be one of the best on the market.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £529
Number of dives: 21
Time in water: 19 hrs 55 mins

ZEAGLE HALO

Mark Evans: I am notorious for being pretty hard on my equipment, but the way I look at it, if it can survive a period of time with me, then it will surely do you proud! A case in point with BCDs is giving them a thorough rinse once your diving day or holiday is done and dusted. My everyday go-to BCD is lucky if it gets a quick slosh in freshwater, and I don’t even think of trying to get clean, freshwater into the bladder, even though I know it is probably a sound idea.

That is where the Zeagle BCDs come into their own. They are fitted with a compact, efficient power inflator that simply screws off so you can attach a garden hose to the end of the inflator hose and flush out the interior of the bladder with freshwater. It is so quick and easy that even I didn’t find it a chore, and getting all that saltwater rinsed out of the bladder will ensure the BCD lasts you for years.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £567
Number of dives: 5
Time in water: 4 hrs 25 mins

DEEPBLU COSMIQ+ DIVE COMPANION

Dave Hope: The screen is really clear to read throughout your dive, but in clear water on a sunny day in the Caribbean, you do need to shade the screen to read it in the top few metres, especially around your 5m stop time (countdown starts as you get above 6m), which, strangely, is in the smaller of the two font sizes used. Don’t let that put you off though, it’s hardly a deal breaker for this cracking little computer. The battery life gave me six dives of around an hour each and a download to the app before it gave up and wanted a charge. The Cosmiq is charged with a USB cable connecting magnetically to the contacts on the underside of the computer. Once connected take a little bit of care not to knock it and disconnect the charge cable.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £230
Number of dives: 8
Time in water: 7 hrs 52 mins

AQUALUNG REVEAL X2

Dave Hope: When I have gear to test I like to get the opinions of other divers, so this mask got used by a further two instructors, a rescue and a AOW diver. One liked it, one with an old similar-style Aqualung mask went home to buy one, another forgot they were using it (praise indeed) and the last was not a fan of the black skirt but would have bought one if it came in clear. It does – and she did!

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £46
Number of dives: 6
Time in water: 5 hrs 47 mins

SHEARWATER RESEARCH PERDIX AI


Mark Evans: One of the things I liked most about the original Perdix was the dual elastic strap, which is equipped with two chunky clips. This is a real heavy-duty assembly, which once tightly in place around a wetsuit or drysuited arm will not come loose even at depth. And I find the clips are easy to use even with drygloves or thick neoprene on.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £870 (comp only)
Number of dives: 5
Time in water: 4 hrs 20 mins

RATIO iDIVE SPORT EASY

Mark Evans: Ratio is an innovative company based in Italy, and unfortunately, at the moment, I am still awaiting delivery of the iDive Sport Easy, but it is due to be winging its way across Europe in the next week or so. In the meantime, I thought it was useful to list yet more of the many features that the iDive Sport Easy hides within its wristwatch-size casing.

If you are one of those people who likes the display on their dive computer to be nice and bright, then the iDive Sport Easy has you covered, as you can set the backlight to be on permanently. And thanks to the long-life rechargeable battery (rechargeable via a USB), you won’t have to worry about using up precious ‘juice’ – just stick it on charge on an evening and you’ll be good to go the next day.

The self-compensating 3D compass is also a joy to use, and the directional display is easy to navigate. And fitting in with current times, it also has a pedometer, so you can measure your steps, mileage, speed and burned calories.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £375
Number of dives: 0
Time in water: 0 hrs 0 mins

XDEEP NX ZEN

Mark Evans: The xDeep NX Zen we are getting for Long Term Test has still not been returned by another reviewer, so let’s look back at when regular Scuba Diver contributor Stuart Philpott used one in the Bahamas. Once he had figured out how to put it all together (it comes in pieces in the box) he was happy with the configuration. He was running photo-courses on the trip, and was often acting as a ‘model’, so his buoyancy had to be tip-top and he found that the Zen was small enough to aid him in this mission. He found the xDeep harness and backplate to be comfortable when worn over a 5mm suit.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £535
Number of dives: 5
Time in water: 5 hrs 15 mins

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