THERMALUTION RED GRADE ULTRA

Mark Evans: 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

Mark Evans: 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

Mark Evans: I 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

Dave Hope: This 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

Dave Hope: 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

Mark Evans: I 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

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 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

Mark Evans: 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

 

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