Aqua Lung i300C Dive Computer Review

aqua lung i300c dive computer review

The Aqua Lung i300C provides more features than your typical entry-level dive computer, yet its price is similar to if not lower than them, making it such a value-packed product. This wrist dive computer is designed to be versatile with functionality that is useful for all levels of divers, even more than its predecessor the i200C. Whether it’s numerous dive modes, gas switching, a user-replaceable battery, or wireless Bluetooth connectivity, the i300C is packed with goodies. Read on to find out what else this model has to offer.

Aqua Lung I300c Wrist Dive Computer with Bluetooth Black/Blue
70 Reviews
Aqua Lung I300c Wrist Dive Computer with Bluetooth Black/Blue
  • Wirelessly interact with your i300C via the latest Bluetooth Smart technology using your mobile device, the free DiverLog+ app (available for iOS and...
  • 4 operating modes. Air, Nitrox, Gauge (with run timer) and Free Dive (tracks calculations to allow switching between DIVE and Free)
  • User-changeable battery and data retention. Maintains settings and calculations between battery changes

Aqua Lung i300C Features

Display

One crucial feature of dive computers is if they are legible underwater, and the large display of the i300C and its strong backlight makes it so. The two buttons located below the display are easy to press and access, and they are what you use to navigate the interface with. Whether you are diving in the day or at night, the display is illuminated enough to display the crucial dive information no matter your situation.

With that said, compared to some other dive computers such as the Suunto Zoop Novo, the i300C’s display is somewhat smaller. It also doesn’t have a dot-matrix screen, so its legibility can certainly be better. However, any shortcomings in its display is more than made up for by its other features.

Automatic Water-Activation

Hate manually activating your dive computer? The i300C can be water-activated and will turn itself on when it detects it has been submerged underwater. Of course, you can manually turn it on yourself using the two-buttons on its side which are easy to press even with gloves on. Simply hold one of the two buttons down, enter the water, and then release the hold to manually activate it.

With that said, there is no “Off” button on the i300C. It will simply go to sleep after a period of inactivity. After two hours of inactivity, it will shut itself down to conserve battery.

Automatic Altitude Adjustment

Yet another automatic feature is its altitude adjustment. In other dive computers, you are limited to a fixed range of altitude ranges, and you have to select the proper one yourself. With the i300C, it can detect the exact height above sea level and automatically factor this information into its calculations. This ensures that your dive profile is always accurate and eliminates the potential for user error. Divers who frequently travel to dive sites at various altitudes will love this.

Algorithm

The Aqua Lung i300C uses a modified version of the Buhlmann ZHL-16c decompression model. It provides a visual N2 graph so that divers can see when their tissues are reaching critical saturation points.

This algorithm has various conservative factors so that divers can adjust it based on their level. The conservatism factor will adjust how it should calculate the NDL. Since the altitude adjustment is automatic, this information is already factored into the calculation without any input from the user’s part.

The Buhlmann decompression model is one of the most respected in the diving community and is often used by tec divers for dive planning. As long as you follow its recommendations, you will be able to safely dive within your limits. The i300C will still recommend safety stops (and remind you to take them with its alarms). However, by adjusting the conservative factor, you have some flexibility in manipulating your bottom time. The Buhlmann algorithm can even handle repetitive dives and consistently keep you safe for days that are jam-packed full of diving.

Wireless Bluetooth Connectivity

It wasn’t that long ago that you had to purchase a separate (and expensive) cable just to be able to transfer your dive data out. Nowadays, more and more dive computers are starting to adopt Bluetooth technology, and for an entry-level dive computer like the i300C to do so is simply amazing.

Compared to the alternative, using a cable, Bluetooth is so much better. The USB cable is a separate expense and one that you can easily lose. Furthermore, you have to connect the dive computer to a computer using the USB cable. When you’re on vacation or on a liveaboard, it’s not fun to be lugging around a laptop.

With Bluetooth connectivity, you can simply install the DiverLog+ app on your smartphone or tablet, and wirelessly transfer your dive data to your preferred smart device. Once on the DiverLog+ app, you can easily generate a report and display the information in graph format. This information can be analyzed and used for future dive planning.

Additionally, you can remotely adjust the i300C’s settings using your smart device. This is a godsend for those who are dissatisfied with the i300C’s two button navigation and its interface. It’s much faster and convenient to control the settings from your smartphone instead, without scrolling through endless menus.

If you want, you can even attach images to your dive reports. You can then share the report on social media. That means sharing depth, times, and amazing images of your dives with family and friends. Compete with them, make them jealous, or just let them know what you’ve been up to on your vacation using the DiverLog+ app.

Multiple Operating Modes

Most entry level dive computers only have air and nitrox dive modes, and even the nitrox mode is probably up to 50% oxygen. Not so with the Aqua Lung i300C. It comes with four operating modes: air, nitrox, gauge, and freedive. Furthermore, its nitrox mode supports up to 100% oxygen.

In air mode, the i300C provides standard dive information like your dive time, current depth, N2 levels, water temperature, ascent rate, and NDL. Nitrox mode ups the functionality by also providing ppO2 data and numerous alarms if any safety violations occur.

Even though the i300C allows gas-switch between three gas mixes, it is not intended for decompression diving. If you go past the NDL, the algorithm will try to bring the diver back to the surface. If you do plan on using it for decompression diving, use it as a backup by setting it to gauge mode. In this mode, it will track only the dive time and depth without calculating NDL.

Lastly, few dive computers have a freedive mode, but the i300C does. When activated, the computer will provide numerous alarms which will provide divers information on their dive time, depth, and countdown time, as well as if they are reaching critical nitrogen levels. The i300C’s algorithm can even help you plan a day where you can both scuba dive and free dive safely.

User-Replaceable Battery

You can replace the i300C’s battery yourself easily. Simply purchase a battery replacement kit with O-rings, and you can replace the battery at home or abroad. It even retains data about previous dives. Included in the box is the tool that is required to safely access the battery compartment.

Being able to replace the battery yourself saves you from having to send it in to a service center. It’s also a godsend if you are on a vacation or liveaboard and the battery suddenly dies on you. Just bring the battery replacement kit with you and perform the swap yourself. This is an excellent feature for people who are often diving in remote areas or locations where a service center is not available.

Aqua Lung i300C vs. Mares Puck Pro and Suunto Zoop Novo

We are specifically looking at how the i300C fares against the Mares Puck Pro and Suunto Zoop Novo because they are all big display computers with a similar price point. The comparison between the Aqua Lung and Suunto is particularly apt because Aqua Lung used to be part of Suunto.

When Aqua Lung and Suunto went their separate ways in 2016, it was around this time that Aqua Lung released the i300c. Just based on features alone, the i300C appears to surpass the Suunto Zoop Novo in almost every respect, and is available at a lower price too.

Comparing the displays, the i300C has a smaller screen, whereas the Zoop Novo has a larger dot matrix screen for better legibility. The Zoop Novo has four buttons compared to the i300C’s two, and the Puck Pro’s single button. More buttons means more chances of confusion, but once memorized, allows one to navigate the menus faster. The i300C’s and Puck Pro’s respective two and one button setups can be more difficult to navigate the menus with.

WIth that said, there’s a lot going on under the hood of the i300C. It has automatic altitude adjustment functionality, Bluetooth connectivity for easier updating of firmware and transferring of dive data, and four modes including a freedive mode. It’s clear that the Mares Puck Pro and Suunto Zoop Novo are outclassed in this area.

As far as aesthetics go, none of them are particularly stylish, and will probably only be used for diving. The i300C looks most like it could pass as a digital watch, whereas the Puck Pro looks too plain and the Zoop Novo looks most like a dive computer. If you really want to maximize your investment and wear your dive computer in daily life, the i300C is the one that can double as a sports watch the most.

For diving, the i300C uses a Buhlmann-based algorithm, and both the Puck Pro and Zoop Novo run RGBM decompression models. The Buhlmann model is better-suited for more advanced divers, but can also be used by beginners. Therefore, the i300C can continue to service you for longer as your skills as a diver improve than the other two.

As an example, the i300C provides more detailed information regarding one’s no-decompression limit (NDL). It displays a visual-graph on the screen which changes in real-time as the diver ascends and nitrogen is released from the tissues. The Zoop Novo and Puck Pro simply display a number of minutes remaining before the diver reaches their limit. We’ll go into more detail about its decompression algorithm in a later section.

Lastly, Bluetooth connectivity is such a massive improvement for a dive computer. In the i300C’s case, not only can you transfer data; you can also remotely control it using another device such as your smartphone. It makes changing settings so much easier out of the water. Neither the Puck Pro nor Zoop Novo have this.

While these trio of dive computers are all marketed to beginners, the i300C just has more features and can grow with the diver. Its price point is attractively low, and you will be hard-pressed to find an equivalent or better dive computer in a similar price range as the i300C.

Summary

Aqua Lung I300c Wrist Dive Computer with Bluetooth Black/Blue
70 Reviews
Aqua Lung I300c Wrist Dive Computer with Bluetooth Black/Blue
  • Wirelessly interact with your i300C via the latest Bluetooth Smart technology using your mobile device, the free DiverLog+ app (available for iOS and...
  • 4 operating modes. Air, Nitrox, Gauge (with run timer) and Free Dive (tracks calculations to allow switching between DIVE and Free)
  • User-changeable battery and data retention. Maintains settings and calculations between battery changes

Whether you are a beginner or an underwater enthusiast, the Aqua Lung i300C provides a little something for everyone. It has some advanced features like freedive mode, automatic altitude adjustment, gas-switching, and its advanced Buhlmann algorithm make it an ideal choice for recreational and casual divers as well.

The Bluetooth connectivity makes it so convenient to backup and analyze your dive profile. You can even change the computer’s settings from your smartphone. This means you save money by not having to purchase a cable that you could easily lose. The i300C is already an affordable device, and when you consider that many other dive computers might as well add an extra $70 dollars to their price because they require a cable, then you’ll realize what a deal you’re getting.

To add onto that, the i300C has a user-replaceable battery that can retain your data even after the battery has been removed and replaced. Most dive computers lose their dive data once the battery is removed. And if that device needs a cable to backup its data, then think of how much of a hassle that is to deal with. With the i300C, it’s just a simple matter of opening it up, replacing the battery, and continuing on with diving.

There’s lots to like about the Aqua Lung i300C. It’s an entry to a mid-level dive computer that is available at a great price. If you can deal with its small display and two-button navigation, then you are getting one of the best deals on the market.

Last update on 2021-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API