Modern dive computers pack a hell of a lot in to such a small device. At the moment the market is flooded with computers that offer a range of features to suit every need. Consumers can choose from the inexpensive to the very expensive, from small displays to large displays and dozens of menus and modes. One of the top names in outdoor electronic performance equipment is Suunto, and alongside their premium range of mountaineering and adventure products is the Cobra – a dive computer that combines versatile features with a user-friendly design.
With so much choice available to diving enthusiasts, Suunto will be hoping the Cobra has enough venom to make its mark.
The Cobra is a sleekly designed product with a bright blue-LED screen packed with data and titled compass that is large and clear. The solid plastic construction gives the impression of a product that is built to last and Suunto has made the Cobra compatible with a wide range of dive instruments – Suunto and non-Suunto – so that users can make their perfect console. The Mode, Time and Plan buttons are all easy to use – even in 5 mm gloves – and the Cobra’s slim profile ensures that only a one hand operation is required.
As good as the design of the Cobra is, looks are not something that is of the first concern to divers choosing such a product. What really counts in computer consoles is the features – an area in which Suunto excel.
The luminescent display on the Cobra is the most visually appealing thing about this dive computer. Being such a lightweight and small device, you would be forgiven for expecting a small screen; however, what you get is something that is large and high-definition. The display has an adjustment feature that allows you to set a timer from 5-30 seconds for the light to automatically light up and make your data visible.
Through air integration, the Suunto Cobra is able to monitor and display tank pressure, as well as keeping a continuing count on remaining air time and the rate of air consumption. Users are also given the ability to set the Cobra so that it provides audible and visual alarms for depth, pressure and air. It has to be said that the visual alarm is much better than the audible one.
Versatility is something that Suunto are very keen on providing to users and with Nitrox, Air and Gauge modes, the Cobra certainly allows users what they need in order to make the most out of a dive. The Cobra can be programmed for nitrox mixtures between 21% and 50% oxygen. The oxygen can also be adjusted with partial pressure settings between 1.2 and 1.6 bar. At this point a mention must be given to the owner’s manual, which is well-written and clearly laid-out for first-time users. Taking a little bit of time to read the manual will have everyone well prepared to make the most out of the Cobra.
Back on to the features and the RGBM algorithm which provides excellent decompression flexibility. Continuous decompression means that ascent time is much improved. There is also a ‘Plan and Review’ feature, whereby users can test upcoming dives before stepping into the water and review dive data and logs on a computer using Suunto provided software.
There is a lot to love about the Suunto Cobra, from the design to the features and even the user manual. If you are looking for an air integrated console mounted drive computer that can really benefit the diving experience, this is it.