Home Scuba Gear Scuba Gears Tested over a six-month period

Scuba Gears Tested over a six-month period

The Scuba Diver Test Team gets to grips with a selection of products over a six-month period, including the Apeks MTX-R regulator, Aqualung Reveal X2 mask, Shearwater Research Perdix AI dive computer, Zeagle Halo BCD, and the xDeep NX Zen wing.

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THERMALUTION RED GRADE ULTRA

THERMALUTION RED GRADE ULTRA
The Thermalution heated vest was a big hit with the Test Team when it was first released on to the market. Able to be worn under a wetsuit or a drysuit, it pumped out a decent amount of heat that helped stave off the cold. Now things have moved on. Thermalution have now launched the Red Grade Ultra, a full-body undersuit that is equipped with a wireless controller that can be recharged wirelessly and additional heating elements located on the thighs. It is a professional model most suitable for those who dive deep, or in a drysuit.

With the additional heating elements focused on your thighs, the Red Grade Ultra will improve the blood circulation of your lower extremities and provide you with unparalleled comfort – just the thing for British diving in cold waters.

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

APEKS MTX-R

APEKS MTX-R

The MTX-R has now been put through its paces on several dives in low single-digit temperature water, and it never missed a beat. I have always found Apeks regulators to be excellent in cold water, but this one stands out even in that crowd. I also like the fact that it just works well straight out of the box, and there aren’t any knobs or levers to fiddle with. My go-to reg is an Apeks Black Sapphire, and once I got it set up to my preferences, I have never touched the cracking resistance control knob or the venturi lever, so losing these is no real hardship

The MTX-R was a worthy winner of the Choice award in last month’s high-end reg group test, and put up with rigorous testing procedures designed to push a reg’s tolerances to the max. Trust me when I say that you will be hard pushed to get this nifty unit out of its comfort zone.

Information
Suggested retail price: £529
Number of dives: 16
Time in water: 14 hrs 25 mins

ZEAGLE HALO

ZEAGLE HALOI have been impressed previously by the build quality and robustness of Zeagle BCDs, and the Halo is another solid effort from the US company. It is more of a traditional BCD than its other popular wing designs, but still has many of the features we have come to expect, including non-dump trim pockets, and a power inflator that detaches so you can flush out the interior of the bladder with freshwater from a garden hose.

One thing I was pleased to see was that the Halo came with zipped weight pouches to go in the integrated weight pockets. This makes handing up your integrated weights into a RIB much easier, as you can now just undo the pocket zip and then fish the weight pocket out. It even has a grab loop to make this even more simple. And if you need to dump the weight in an hurry, the Halo also has the Ripcord system – grab the red handle, pull and the pouches are jettisoned.

Information
Suggested retail price: £567
Number of dives: 3
Time in water: >2 hrs 15 mins

DEEPBLU COSMIQ+ DIVE COMPANION

DEEPBLU COSMIQ+ DIVE COMPANIONThis is not a computer that you can just strap on your wrist and go diving with. You need to pair it up with your phone or tablet first, and this then updates the Cosmiq+’s software, sets the time and so forth, and requires you to create a profile that you download your dives to. It doesn’t take long to do, and once you have paired the computer with your phone or tablet, making any changes to gas mixes, etc, is extremely straightforward.

The ground-breaking social media mobile app is still in beta stage, so there are improvements to be made, but I’ll get onto those in a later review. As a brief measure of the appeal of this computer, on a trip to Grenada in March, one of the dive guides wanted to buy it!
Information
Suggested retail price: £230
Number of dives: 1
Time in water: 0 hrs 54 mins

AQUALUNG REVEAL X2

AQUALUNG REVEAL X2
Masks are very personal things, either they fit or they don’t. The Aqualung Reveal X2 seemed okay on the surface, but the first time I dived it I took my regular mask along just in case. What a waste of time that was! The Reveal X2 fit- ted like a glove. Comfortable, easy to adjust, no leaks, dead easy to clear, and good all- round vision for a twin-lens mask. I’m going to like diving this.

Information 
Suggested retail price: £46
Number of dives: 1
Time in water: 0 hrs 54 mins

SHEARWATER RESEARCH PERDIX AI

SHEARWATER RESEARCH PERDIX AII was a big fan of the original Perdix, and the AI functionality on the new version is just as user-friendly as the rest of the computer. The display as before is totally user-customisable, and through the transmitter can show the remaining pressure in up to two separate cylinders, as well as your gas time remaining (GTR). Linked in with the original functionality, this just makes the Perdix AI pretty much the complete dive computer.

The Shearwater Research transmitter is currently going through CE-approval, but as we said last month, it is the same Pelagian transmitter supplied with Oceanic and Aqualung computers, so if you own one of these and are upgrading to the Perdix AI, you won’t need to splash out on another transmitter.

It also comes in a nifty little padded and zippered box – especially useful given the recent UK flight ban on electronics from certain countries. If your precious computer has to go into the hold, at least you know it is well protected.

Information
Suggested retail price: £870 (comp only)
Number of dives: 2
Time in water: 2 hrs 10 mins

RATIO iDIVE SPORT EASY

RATIO iDIVE SPORT EASY
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 couple of weeks. In the meantime, I thought it was useful to list a couple of the many features that the iDive Sport Easy hides within its wristwatch-size casing.

The iDive Sport Easy has a long-life rechargeable battery (rechargeable via a USB), which can give up to 25 hours as a dive computer, and up to two months as a watch. It can manage this thanks to its nifty ‘sleep’ mode, whereby if it stays still for five minutes, it automatically turns off its display, which reduces the battery drain by up to 80 percent. As soon as the iDive’s sensor detects movement, it switches the display straight back on. It also boasts a barometer, altimeter, thermometer and even a weather forecast function. You are, without a doubt, going to win the ‘my computer has more functions than yours’ competition in the pub!

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

XDEEP NX ZEN

XDEEP NX ZEN
The xDeep NX Zen we are getting for Long Term Test is still with another reviewer who is not relinquishing his grasp on it, but while we are waiting for this unit to arrive, we can look back on the handful of dives we completed on a Zen a few months ago when we took one on assignment to the Bahamas.

It is the ideal rig for travelling with, thanks to its relatively compact bladder and skeletal backplate, but it still boasts the robust build quality for which xDeep has built up such a strong reputation for. The first thing which catches your eye about the Zen is the location of the power inflator hose. Instead of being mounted over the left shoulder as is the norm, this one comes out from the top centre of the bladder. This means that it can be routed over either shoulder if you so wish, but more importantly is ultra-streamlined to reduce resistance as you glide through the water.

Information
Suggested retail price: £535
Number of dives: 2
Time in water: 2 hrs 35 mins

THERMALUTION RED GRADE ULTRA

THERMALUTION RED GRADE ULTRAI 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

APEKS MTX-R

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

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

DEEPBLU COSMIQ+ DIVE COMPANION

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

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

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

RATIO iDIVE SPORT EASYMark 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

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

THERMALUTION RED GRADE ULTRA

THERMALUTION RED GRADE ULTRA

Mark Evans: Well, what can I say. The Thermalution Red Grade Ultra really delivered. I had been impressed by previous vest-only incarnations from this company, but this full-length suit is on a different level completely. The thigh heating elements make such a difference to your overall warmth, and okay, we are nearing double figures temperature-wise even in quarries now, but it still gets chilly after an extended period of time underwater and so I could feel the benefit.

The controls are simple – each ‘slide’ lights up a different colour, which corresponds with the power setting. Easy! I just stash the controller in a thigh pocket on the dive.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £1,050
Number of dives: 4
Time in water: 3 hrs 50 mins

APEKS MTX-R

APEKS MTX-RMark Evans: With a BCD Group Test in three price brackets, as well as some general ‘test’ dives, the MTX-R has been getting plenty more in-water hours. And no surprises for guessing that it continues to impress.

Wherever I take it, UK or abroad, it gets plenty of attention for its slick good looks – the white and matt metal combo works so well – and it is refreshing to be able to say that it performs just as well as it looks, per- haps even better. It faultlessly delivers gas regardless of depth, temperature, current, position and so on – just what you want from a go-anywhere regulator.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £529
Number of dives: 29
Time in water: 28 hrs 15 mins

ZEAGLE HALO

ZEAGLE HALOMark Evans: The Halo has been getting a workout recently, with plenty of ‘test’ dives in their own right, as well as an outing in the high- end price bracket for our BCD Group Test. The comfort and fit of the Halo is excellent, and can be adjusted to your personal requirements. The backpad and straps have plenty of padding, and once it is cinched up correctly, there is zero tank movement topside or underwater. I also like the zippered pockets, which are easy to access even with a bulky drysuiton – just practice that you are opening the pocket up, though, not where the integrated weight pouches go!

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £567
Number of dives: 9
Time in water: 8 hrs 45 mins

DEEPBLU COSMIQ+ DIVE COMPANION

DEEPBLU COSMIQ+ DIVE COMPANION

Mark Evans: Finally retrieved the DeepBlu Cosmiq+ Dive Companion from Test Team
member Dave Hope, who had taken it with him to Grenada and clocked up some warm-water hours. Now it is back in the UK’s colder waters and still performing well. I am still a huge fan of the vivid screen display, which is just so easy to read even in the lousiest UK conditions. I also like the heavy-duty NATO-style webbing strap, which can be quickly and easily adjusted for a wetsuited or a drysuited wrist, and holds the computer securely in place during the dive.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £230
Number of dives: 14
Time in water: 12 hrs 55 mins

AQUALUNG REVEAL X2

AQUALUNG REVEAL X2Mark Evans: Along with the Cosmiq+, we also got the Aqualung Reveal X2 back from Mr Hope. It had found favour with many divers in Grenada, and its comfort, fit and decent field of vision have gained it plenty of fans over here as well. Art Director Matt Griffiths collared it as a replacement for his ageing Scubapro mask, and was in-stantly smitten. He liked the all-black colour scheme of our test mask, but most of all the comfort of the super-soft silicone skirt. It is one of those masks that you can just ‘slap’ on your face and it fits, no faffing around getting it settled in place.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £46
Number of dives: 9
Time in water: 8 hrs 45 mins

SHEARWATER RESEARCH PERDIX AI

RATIO iDIVE SPORT EASY

Mark Evans: The Perdix AI has been busy again, accompanying me for the BCD Group Test dives, as well as a few ‘test’ dives. Testament to how good it is, I just chuck it on my wrist and it is as if it has always been there. I glance at the screen and immediately know what it is telling me. When a computer becomes second nature, you are onto a winner.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £870 (comp only)
Number of dives: 9
Time in water: 8 hrs 35 mins

RATIO iDIVE SPORT EASY

RATIO iDIVE SPORT EASYMark Evans: We finally got our iDive Sport Easy, in a subtle black finish. In the flesh, it is a neat, lightweight and reasonably compact unit, which will not look out of place on your wrist on a day-to-day basis. It got its first outing during the BCD Group Tests, and the screen display proved clear and easy to read even without the back-light, but switch this on and it really pops. I’d recommend setting this to ‘permanently on’ here in the UK. And because it is rechargeable, no worries about running the battery down.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £375
Number of dives: 2
Time in water: 1 hrs 50 mins

XDEEP NX ZEN

XDEEP NX ZEN

Mark Evans: It felt a little like Christmas at Scuba Diver HQ, as the arrival of the Ratio computer was swiftly followed by the xDeep NX Zen. I had been looking forward to getting this unit after briefly trying one in the Bahamas last year, and it did not disappoint. It is very comfortable and performs well, but perhaps most importantly, it looks the business. Look at the construction of that backplate, for instance – it is like a piece of modern art. You could hang that on your wall as a discussion piece. The workmanship is simply second to none.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £535
Number of dives: 7
Time in water: 6 hrs 55 mins

THERMALUTION RED GRADE ULTRA

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.

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

APEKS MTX-R

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.

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

ZEAGLE HALO

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.

DEEPBLU COSMIQ+ DIVE COMPANION

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.

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

AQUALUNG REVEAL X2

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.

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

SHEARWATER RESEARCH PERDIX AI

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.

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

RATIO iDIVE SPORT EASY

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.

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

XDEEP NX ZEN

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!

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

Anchor Dive Lights Series 3K

Anchor Dive Lights Series 3K

Mark Evans: The new arrival this month is the Anchor Dive Lights Series 3K 20 degree spot. This dinky little torch is made from aviation-grade aluminium, depth rated to over 100m, and has various power settings – 100 percent, 50 percent and 25 percent, as well as three pre-set signalling rates, and a neat incorporated battery indicator that lets you know the remaining charge. The 4,315 lux beam delivers 75 minutes burn time at 100 percent, and it can even be upgraded to an umbilical system, boosting the burn time. It performed brilliantly in Grenada – a full report on how it really lit up our dives will be in the next issue’s Long Term Test.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £695
Number of dives: 0
Time in water: 0 hrs 0 mins

THERMALUTION RED GRADE ULTRA

Thermalution Red Grade Ultra

Mark Evans: The weather might be steadily improving, but if you are plunging into lakes and quarries, then it certainly gets to 10 degrees C or below pretty sharpish once you drop below 10-12m. So, the Thermalution Red Grade Ultra heated undersuit has been a blessing when I have been conducting lengthy test dives in Vivian and Stoney, but I can really see it coming into its own in the winter when good thermal insulation is paramount, especially for technical divers with long deco obligations. The wiring from the batteries to the suit itself is well thought out, too, to avoid any restrictions to movement.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £1,050
Number of dives: 9
Time in water: 8 hrs 45 mins

ZEAGLE HALO

ZEAGLE HALO

Mark Evans: Art Director Matt Griffiths donned the Halo for our group fin tests, and while he has been using wing-style BCDs for a few years, he soon got to grips with the Zeagle and found it to be very comfortable and supportive in the water, as well as being very quick and easy to put on and take off.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £567
Number of dives: 14
Time in water: 13 hrs 45 mins

DEEPBLU COSMIQ+ DIVE COMPANION

DeepBlu Cosmiq+ Dive Companion

Mark Evans: The DeepBlu Cosmiq+ Dive Companion did well in Grenada, when it adorned the wrist of Publishing Director Ross Arnold for our multitude of dives. Often we were doing four dives a day, and some of these we were pushing the NDLs to a minute or two, and the Cosmiq+ coped fine. It was more conservative on the second dives onward than other computers, but it handled the odd few minutes of decompression with aplomb.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £230
Number of dives: 45
Time in water: 43 hrs 35 mins

AQUALUNG REVEAL X2

Aqualung Reveal X2

Mark Evans: Publishing Director Ross Arnold make good use of the Reveal X2 while we were on assignment in Grenada, and he found it to be very comfortable, and easy to get settled on his face without any leaks. In fact, it was so good, he forgot it wasn’t his usual mask, and that is testament to how soft the silicone skirt is. Being black, it was a pain to photograph, but it is available in different colours if you want.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £46
Number of dives: 41
Time in water: 39hrs 155

SHEARWATER RESEARCH PERDIX AI

Shearwater Research Perdix AI

Mark Evans: The Perdix AI got a great workout in Grenada, as we were banging in up to four dives a day, and on several were pushing out NDLs, as well as racking up a few minutes of decompression. The Perdix handled it all with no dramas, and I really like the colour-coded green countdown for the safety stop – it runs down in minutes, and once it is done, you get a nice big green ‘tick’ and ‘complete’ – how simple is that? Deco obligations are also clearly displayed.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £870 (comp only)
Number of dives: 38
Time in water: 37hrs 45 mins

XDEEP NX ZEN

XDEEP NX ZEN

Mark Evans: The xDeep NX Zen continues to impress. I have always admired the build quality of everything this Polish manufacturer brings out, and its wings are no different. Everything from the beautifully crafted backplate to the robust stitching in the heavy-duty material oozes quality. For those who like to tinker with their kit to get it fitting and performing just right, there are plenty of tweaks and adjustments that can be done to the Zen.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £535
Number of dives: 17
Time in water: 15hrs 55 mins

APEKS MTX-R

APEKS MTX-R

Mark Evans: And so the Apeks MTX-R reaches the end of its run in our Long Term Test stable. This no-frills regulator – it has no venturi or cracking resistance controls – just works, and it works extremely well. Designed for very cold water use, it is equally at home in the tropics, and the white-and-matt-silver colour combo is very eye-catching. Belting reg from the Black-burn-based company, which is set to be a classic. Little details, like the swivel at the first stage end of the primary hose, and the hidden extra low-pressure port, all help to make the MTX-R stand out from the crowd.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £529
Number of dives: 57
Time in water: 56hrs 15 mins

Typhoon DS1 (New arrival)

Typhoon DS1

Mark Evans: The new arrival this month is the Typhoon DS1, the company’s limited-edition 70th anniversary suit. It pays homage to the first membrane dive suit that Typhoon produced, featuring all the original logo designs, and is still made in the UK at Typhoon’s factory in Redcar. Constructed from Typhoon’s TX6 fabric, with two-layer rubber-taped seams, it features heavy-duty latex neck/wrist seals and comes with neoprene socks as standard, with the option of a thermic boot. The two large leg storage pockets feature two compartments, an internal D-ring and attachment loops. It comes with a YKK plastic zip to help reduce weight and increase flexibility.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £895
Number of dives: 0
Time in water: 0 hrs 0 mins

THERMALUTION RED GRADE ULTRA

Thermalution Red Grade Ultra

Mark Evans: The Thermalution Red Grade Ultra has been proving its mettle on various fronts again. Long quarry and sea dives can sap your heat reserves, but with the Red Grade Ultra, I could just top up as and when I needed to – there were some jealous looks! And showing it is truly multi-use, I also wore it under my drysuit – without any other thermals – for an epic round-Anglesey RIB trip. It was nice to boost my temperature when the wind chill got a little too much.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £1,050
Number of dives: 13
Time in water: 12 hrs 25 mins

Anchor Dive Lights Series 3K

Anchor Dive Lights Series 3K

Mark Evans: The Anchor Dive Light accompanied us to Grenada, and before we get into the performance side of things, let’s talk about the size of it. It is positively dinky, and even with the optional Goodman handle, it clips unobtrusively on your BCD until you need it. Perfect for travelling divers, it doesn’t take up much of your weight allowance either.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £695
Number of dives: 19
Time in water: 18 hrs 20 mins

DEEPBLU COSMIQ+ DIVE COMPANION

DeepBlu Cosmiq+ Dive Companion

Mark Evans: The DeepBlu Cosmiq+ Dive Companion did well in Grenada, but it was back into the cold when it went with DeeperBlue’s Stephan Whelan for dives in Stoney Cove and Vivian Dive Centre. He was very impressed by the vivid colour screen, which he found easy to decipher even when the vis was decidedly ‘challenging’, shall we say.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £230
Number of dives: 54
Time in water: 53 hrs 15 mins

AQUALUNG REVEAL X2

Aqualung Reveal X2

Mark Evans: More dives in the Reveal X2, this time back in the colder waters of the UK. DeeperBlue founder and our freediving guru Stephan Whelan is getting back into diving after a seven-year hiatus, and so he sported the Reveal for a dip in Vivian and was immediately smitten with the fit and comfort. A sign of a good new mask is when you are on the dive, you forget that it isn’t your ‘old faithful’.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £46
Number of dives: 46
Time in water: 44 hrs 55 mins

SHEARWATER RESEARCH PERDIX AI

Shearwater Research Perdix AI

Mark Evans: Well, it is official, I am totally loving the Perdix AI. I have long been a fan of the Scubapro Galileo Sol for its clear display, simple navigation and liberal algorthim, and that has been my ‘go-to’ computer, but the vivid screen of the Perdix AI, along with its compact size, easy-to-navigate menus and endless personalisation, has tempted me away from that old favourite. This might need to get ‘lost in the post’ come the ever-closing ‘end of term’ time…

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £870 (comp only)
Number of dives: 42
Time in water: 41 hrs 15 mins

XDEEP NX ZEN

XDEEP NX ZEN

Mark Evans: In these uncertain times of Brexit, it is quite amusing to see the ‘European made’ slogan on the NX Zen, but the team at xDeep are justifiably proud that their robust and well-constructed products are made in their native Poland and not farmed out to some cheap factory in the Far East, so you will see this message repeated several times on the wing harness and bladder. The feeling of high quality is hard to ignore or mistake.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £535
Number of dives: 22
Time in water: 20 hrs 35 mins

ZEAGLE HALO (End of term)

ZEAGLE HALO

Mark Evans: And so the Zeagle Halo reaches the end of its run in our Long Term Test stable. This robust, well-made jacket-style BCD may sit at the higher end of the price bracket for a traditional unit such as this, but for your money you get something durable enough to put up with whatever you can throw at it. It is extremely comfortable, performs well both on the surface and underwater, and has some nice design touches, including the Ripcord emergency system for your weights, and spacious pockets that you can easily access. If you are in the market for a tough BCD, check it out.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £567
Number of dives: 18
Time in water: 17 hrs 25 mins

Our gear content is sponsored by Mike’s Dive Store, the UK’s premier dive retailer. For all your diving needs visit them in-store or online for your diving, freediving, snorkelling and servicing.

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