Scuba Diver Editor-in-Chief Mark Evans got his hands on one of the first Aqualung i330R dive computers in the UK, and has been busy getting it wet the last few weeks. Here he gives his opinion on the i330R, which coming in under £270 and featuring a full-colour display and rechargeable battery, represents excellent value for money.
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Hi Scuba Diver fans and welcome back. Dive computers used to be one of the more expensive components of a scuba divers arsenal of equipment but over time technological advances and a wider choice from a plethora of manufacturers has driven the price down and you can now get extremely capable units for very reasonable prices.
In this video i’m going to offer my opinion on one of the new kids on the block the Aqualun i330r. I’ve always advocated by once buy wisely and urge people to get that kit that will grow with them rather than by basic and outgrow it soon into their rise up the diving ladder of skills and experience. As I explained in our recent roundup of budget wrist mounted dive computers it has to be said the vast majority of people starting out on their diving journey will never venture into open circuit technical diving or close circuit rebreathers so really they don’t need to blow a shed load of cash on an all singing all dancing computer, that has a whole host of features they will never ever use or need many entry-level computers still post features that would allow the user to dabble in some entry-level technical diving i’m talking multiple nitrox mixes and gauge mud so there’s still the option for them to accompany you further on your diving adventures before an upgrade becomes necessary and that is the case with the aqualung i330.
Ah the i330r is a new kit on the block in the dark computer market and i reckon it’s going to give the established players a run for their money as it’s the only one under 300 british pounds with a full color screen and a rechargeable battery. As you can see the i330 is quite a compact unit compared with its brother the i70r but it’s still got a vividly bright full color screen and this is exceptionally easy to see even in bright sunlight and bad viz. Some full color screens in the past have suffered when you’ve been in the shallows on a sunny day but the display on the r330r had no issues. Now obviously on a night dive it would really pop. The screen display has the depth at the top, no decoy time in the middle and the max depth and dive time on the bottom is very clear and the bars on either side one for showing tissue loading and the other indicating your ascent rate work well too.
There are only two buttons mounted on the right hand side for you to navigate through the intuitive menus. a single quick press lets you scroll through the sections and a long press takes you into the sub menu. When you want to return to the main screen you press and hold both buttons in very easy and you can get your head around it within a couple of minutes of playing with it. Straight out of the box entry-level dive computers need to be easy to use and i always think it’s a solid fail if you need to reference the instruction booklet or digital manual to find out how to conduct basic operations when it comes to maximizing your dive time.
The i330i uses a tried and tested z-plus algorithm and once you’re back on the surface you can download your dives to your phone or tablet via bluetooth and the dialog plus app to make logging your dives at double you can also use dialog plus to manage your computer settings instead of using the button alongside that color screen. One of the main features of the i330r is the fact it is factory sealed and it’s got a rechargeable battery so there’s no worries about flooding it when you do a battery change which is always a concern when you have a unit with a user-replaceable battery life is good aqualung reckons you can get 30 hours out of a charge but you can top up the juice via the usb and magnetic charging cable as of when you need to on your dive trip the brightness of that screen can also be dialed down if you want to extend the battery life a little more.
To protect that display a screen protector is already fitted that’s a nice touch and you don’t have to faff about fitting your own and then getting air bubbles underneath. Computers fitted with a nato style webbing strap rather than the conventional rubber versions or the bungee cord that’s often offered as an option i like nato straps the strong and the secure and they look good as well remember aesthetics is important before our final summary though it’s over to my twin brother for a word from our sponsors the apex lunar advanced dive light is aimed at the serious explorer and adventurer and both 3 600 lumens from its six xpl two leds for two hours on full power
The lunar advance doesn’t simply offer different power settings it has an industry first optimized mods selector which features six preset programs offering a variety of runtimes and power settings so you can choose your power settings to optimize runtime low medium or high power depending on the dive you are doing the longest runtime is a staggering 36 hours it has an led display panel showing runtime remaining in hours and minutes and comes in a zippered protective case with its usb charging cable and a multi-region plug comes complete with an anodised aluminium goodman handle which is actually capable of holding two torches or the torch alongside an action camera the lunar advanced is depth rated to a hundred meters and comes in plastic free packaging now back to mark in the studio thanks for that bro a very illuminating look at that dive light.
I know I know, I couldn’t resist so the axelung i-330r i have to say for 269 british pounds it’s phenomenal value for money the fact it has bluetooth capabilities and offers air nitrox freediving gauge mode and in the nitrox mode can handle up to three mixes from 21 to 100 makes it worth that price tag anywhere but once you factor in the rechargeable battery and the full color display it represents even more of a bargain to put that into perspective to get a full color screen on a wrist-mounted computer previously you would have needed to add another couple of hundred pounds onto that amount to get something like the sheer water research peregrine or the suntor eon core.
Now both of these are extremely capable computers that we highly rate but the i330r cost nearly half as much as their retail prices, no it doesn’t have air integration or a digital compass but aqualung had to leave some features out to keep it so keenly priced and in my opinion i think the benefits of that vivid very clear display and the rechargeable battery outweigh the lack of these other features so what do you think of the i330r.
What would you look for in your first dive computer, leave your comments below and if you’ve got a question fire away because if we can’t answer it i’m sure some of our ever-growing subscribers will be able to assist.