Wrist Dive Computer Reviews: Shearwater Teric vs. Garmin Descent Mk1

wrist dive computer reviews
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Although it’s not strictly an essential piece of dive equipment, a dive watch is a vital addition to any diver’s gear items.

If you enjoy diving recreationally, then you’ll know that owning a dive computer can contribute a huge number of benefits to the sport.

Understandably, many people prefer the convenience offered by dive computers that can be worn on the wrist.

Choosing the best wrist dive computer isn’t easy, with so much choice on the market, but we’re here to help.

Below, we present two wrist dive computer reviews of what we consider to be the best devices on the market at the moment.

Best Wrist Dive Computer Reviews

1. Shearwater Research Teric Wrist Dive Computer

Shearwater really outdid themselves when designing and releasing their first wearable dive computer, the Research Teric Wrist Dive Computer.

We were so impressed with its capabilities, so we felt like we had to include it in our wrist dive computer reviews today.

Suitable for both recreational and technical divers, this no-nonsense device has a lot to offer.

Features

Shearwater’s already sterling reputation in the dive computer market just stepped up a notch with this first-rate wearable device.

Its features include the following:

  • Dive Modes

The Shearwater Teric may be a bit too pricey for beginners or occasional divers, but this device would make a great investment for anyone serious about diving.

From recreational to technical, freedivers and scuba divers, this watch has a mode for everyone.

The freediving mode is a new feature for a Shearwater dive computer, but it’s been executed well.

Still, it’s just one of five diving modes that you can select.

Other modes include recreational, open circuit technical, closed circuit, and a bottom timer.

The Shearwater Research Teric Wrist Dive Computer supports Nitrox, Trimix, and Multigas.

Meaning that as a keen diver, it has plenty of ability to grow with you.

In recreational dive mode, you can dive with enriched air mixture up to 99%.

  • Extra Features

Some really thoughtful extra features include optional air integration (wireless), with which you can connect with up to two transmitters for side mounting.

There is also a testing feature to check that all your alarms work.

It will also make sure that you can feel the vibrations over your suit.

It features a really nifty dive planner, which allows you to input when your next dive would be.

Based on that information, the Teric can more accurately calculate your no-decompression limits.

Or in decompression dives, the Teric will tell you how many stops and how much gas you’ll need.

Even more advanced calculations are available via download on Shearwater’s website.

Limitations of this computer’s planning capabilities include calculations for CNS exposure, gas usage limitations, and nitrogen narcosis limitations.

But as far as dive computers go, this one does pack in a lot of extra features against many others, especially considering it’s just watch-sized.

The watch will also store up to 500 hours of dive log.

Plus, the information can easily be transferred via Bluetooth to your Android or Apple device.

  • Display

The full-color display screen on the Teric is large, bright, and crisp.

It is fully customizable to the color scheme, size, and the information you want.

The screen is made of AMOLED, or Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode, which means the colors are more vibrant and the blacks are darker.

This is the same as what state-of-the-art smartphones are using for their screens at the moment.

Meaning it’s premium quality and reduces strain on your eyes.

The Teric also has a larger display mode and high contrast settings for those who particularly struggle with their underwater vision.

The uncluttered design of the screen and color-coded information allows you to read and comprehend the information displayed quickly and easily.

Which is exactly what you want in a dive computer.

  • Ease of Use

We love the way that the display is really responsive to the mode setting you have it on.

The recreational dive mode, for example, is incredibly simple to use.

We love the fact that the Shearwater Research Teric Wrist Dive Computer has kept the screen as plain as possible.

This means that beginner divers can see exactly the information they might need and no more since that may confuse them.

One unique and handy feature on the Shearwater Research Teric Wrist Dive Computer that we’ve not seen before is the TTS (Time To Surface) number.

This tells you how much time it will currently take you to surface, including any stops you have to make.

The watch will vibrate to let you know if you’ve violated a limit, although if you have a thick wetsuit on, you wouldn’t be able to feel it.

It also has an audible alarm that you can switch to instead.

The menu is easy to navigate, and you can save your most-used settings under favorites.

That way, you can access them at the touch of a button.

Everything about this dive computer is user-friendly, and you can tell a lot of thought has been put into it.

Even in technical diving mode, the screen is really easy to read, showing you which gas you’re breathing.

Switching gas is very easy, and the Teric will warn you if you’re trying to switch to something unsuitable for the depth you’re at.

You can also customize the Shearwater Research Teric Wrist Dive Computer's display to show you the numbers you’re most interested in seeing on the front screen.

  • Aesthetics

This dive computer certainly packs a lot into a small package. Let’s not forget that it’s also a fully functioning watch, complete with timers, alarms, and stopwatch.

Believe it or not, this watch is small enough in size to be worn as a normal wristwatch.

With its sapphire crystal display window, the fascia is completely scratch resistant.

It is available in a choice of colors to suit your lifestyle. You can also choose the strap color or buy your own.

That is because it is a standard 22mm, which is compatible with the most watch and strap manufacturers.

Pros

  • Suitable for all diving abilities and types
  • Fantastic planning mode
  • Rugged construction
  • Uncluttered, easy-to-read, colored screen
  • Large display
  • High contrast modes available
  • Easy to navigate menu
  • Can be worn like a normal watch
  • Two-year warranty

Cons

  • Expensive for beginners or casual divers
  • Has a small number of limitations in planning mode

2. Garmin Descent Mk1 Watch-Sized Dive Computer

The Descent Mk1 is Garmin’s first entry into the dive computer world, and they’ve done an excellent job.

It’s as if they’ve taken a top-of-the-line sports watch and added dive computer capabilities to it.

They're bringing a new depth of meaning to the term “multi-functional" watch.

Understandably, it’s more expensive than the Shearwater Teric, but let’s take a closer look at why.

Features

The Garmin Descent Mk1 Watch-Sized Dive Computer includes all of the standard features you’d expect from a smartwatch and a good dive computer.

Before we go into its capabilities as a dive computer, let’s quickly look at the watch features it comes with.

  • Smartwatch and Fitness Tracker

Like an Apple watch, you can receive notifications, weather updates, access your daily calendar, emails, and change your music.

It’s also a top-notch fitness tracker with an LED heart rate monitor and various sports tracking modes, including swimming, running, and climbing.

In the "normal watch mode”, the rechargeable battery will last for around 19 days with just one full charge.

  • GPS and Maps

As expected from the US Marine electronics experts, the navigational capabilities on this watch are fantastic.

If you like to go exploring when you’re diving, then you’ll be hugely impressed with the Descent Mk1 map.

GPS will track your entry and exit from the water.

While diving, you’ll have access to a full-color map and 3D compass to keep track of your journey.

You can also double tap the screen for easy and fast access to your map at any time.

  • Diving Modes

A full array of diving modes are available on the Garmin Descent Mk1 Watch-Sized Dive Computer, including single gas, multi-gas, gauge, apnea (freediving), and apnea hunt.

Apnea hunt mode is an interesting feature that we’ve not seen before, ideal for spearfishing.

When in this mode, the watch is kept as dim and as quiet as possible, not to disturb your prey.

  • Additional Features

Other features we didn’t expect to see are customizable safety stops, deep stops, and conservatism.

An ascent and descent rate calculator, automatic altitude adjustments, an auto-start, and end dive feature.

  • Storage

The Garmin Descent Mk1 Watch-Sized Dive Computer is fairly limited when it comes to storage.

That's because it is so busy doing a million other things, but it still stores a fairly decent 200 dives.

That gives plenty of time to upload the information to a computer or device by Bluetooth.

  • Compatibility

The Descent Mk1 is compatible with all operating systems.

This device doesn’t have quite as many bells and whistles as the Teric, but it's still a very decent dive computer.

Serious technical divers, though, may not find everything they need on this wearable dive computer.

Pros

  • Aesthetically pleasing 
  • Quality build and construction
  • Fairly easy to navigate menu
  • Also functions as a smartwatch and a fitness tracker
  • Fantastic navigation abilities
  • One year warranty

Cons

  • No air integration available
  • Not suitable for serious technical divers
  • 100m depth rating

FAQs About Dive Computers

What is a good dive computer?

A good dive computer will be one that you can rely on to measure your depth and dive time accurately at all times.

Using your correct depth and dive time, you should also be able to trust that your dive computer has calculated safe ascent times for you, among other things.

To best ensure reliability, choose a dive computer that is manufactured by a reputable company.

Both of the dive computers featured here are excellent, although they are also at the higher end of the budget.

How much are dive computers?

As with all things in life, you get what you pay for, and the price of a dive computer will vary a lot, depending on its capabilities.

Entry-level dive computers can be found for as low as $200, up to around the $500 mark.

If you want a dive computer that can grow with you, you’ll need one with more features and should expect to pay anywhere up to around $1,500.

What wrist do you wear a dive computer on?

While diving, you often need to use your BCD inflator or dump hose, especially while you're ascending and descending.

You also need to monitor your depth and time and decompression stops accurately, sometimes simultaneously.

The dump hose is on your left-hand side, so many people choose to wear their dive computer on their right arm. 

That way, you can monitor your dive information while using the inflator or dump hose at the same time.

Which One Should You Choose?

As you can see from reading both of these wrist dive computer reviews, both of these devices are incredible, first-class products.

Our overall favorite is the Garmin Descent Mk1 Watch-Sized Dive Computer, which takes multi-functional watches to new heights.

We think this will become a popular watch among outdoor types that are mainly recreational over technical diving.

If you wear this watch in everyday life, you’ll get used to accessing these smartwatch features and fitness tracking all the time.

The fact that the Garmin Descent Mk1 Watch-Sized Dive Computer fulfills these everyday roles extremely well.

Its decent dive computer capabilities are also next-level tech.

Heading out to dive on the weekend, you no longer have to remove your watch to swap it out for a dive computer.

Your only worry is to make sure that it’s fully charged.

You can enjoy a variety of diving modes, as well as the extraordinary mapping capabilities.

To someone who spends more of their time diving or to a serious technical diver, then the Shearwater far surpasses the Garmin.

The Teric has more technical diving features, has air integration capabilities, a crisper and more legible screen, and a longer two-year warranty.

Plus, Shearwater has a proven reputation within the diving market.

Although the Garmin Descent Mk1 is our favorite wrist dive computer, it will depend on your needs and preferences as to which is the right one for you.

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