super-simple to use.
THIS HAS GOT to be the Golden Age for dive computers. Seems every time we turn around another smokin’ hot data cruncher hits the dive market. This time it’s Oceanic’s VT4.0, and it has arrived just in time for summer.
The VT4.0 is a wrist-mount dive computer that’s loaded for bear when it comes to features. The most obvious is its hoseless air integration, with the ability to read up to four transmitters. It also can track three gas mixes, it has a three-axis full-tilt digital compass, and, our favorite, a choice of two algorithms, one relatively liberal, one relatively conservative. There’s also a very cool Deep Stop feature, a Buddy Pressure Check feature, just about the best Safety Stop system going, the ability to customize the data presentation, we could go on and on.
But the beauty of the VT4.0 is not that it’s so full of features; rather, it’s that it’s so easy to use. Unusual among wrist-mount dive computers, the nice-sized display screen on the VT4.0 has allowed Oceanic to include a very intuitive on-board menu system, which we see as the core strength of this dive computer. Get the hang of the three control buttons, and suddenly this dive computer becomes scary-easy to program, both dive settings and personal preferences, without having to refer to the owners manual, plus you can navigate the various modes and decipher the data as easily as if you’d been diving with it your entire life.
The SGR team recently had a chance to log quite a few go-downs with the VT4.0, and dive after dive, this unit did not disappoint. The sectionalizing of the display keeps data separate, orderly and easy to understand. The on-board compass is easy to calibrate and even allows you to input declination. And like everything else, it’s simple to access and use at depth.
Compared to other full-featured advanced dive computers on the market today, the VT4.0 is a real contender. Compared to wrist-mount dive computers in particular, this data cruncher gallops way ahead of the pack. It’s by far the easiest wrist-mount computer we’ve used; the data presentation is outstanding, and the use of words instead of symbols (i.e. “Safety Stop,” “Deep Stop,” “Change Battery,” etc.) as well as menu prompts and bar graphs transforms a complex piece of equipment into an Everyman’s dive computer. Virtually anyone who can press a button and read a screen prompt can navigate through this system with confidence. The only downside we encountered with the VT4.0 was that its audible alarms were hard to hear at depth. Of course, we were wearing 3mm to 5mm hoods, so that might have had something to do with it. But that grumble aside, the VT4.0 looks like a winner to us. We look forward to doing a full-on head-to-head comparison of this wrist-mount champ in an upcoming dive computer shootout. SGR
Price: $1,199.95 complete; $749.95 receiver only
Made In: USA
Warranty: 2-Yr. Ltd.
(To take an online class and learn how to use your new computer or see it in action on a virtual dive, check out http://www.divenav.com/.)