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I can't believe there is only one other review on this great little dive computer, so I felt it deserved a bit more of a mention...
Suunto and the Gekko
Around three years ago I purchased my first dive computer - the Suunto Gekko. The RRP is £180, but I picked mine up online for £140. There are plenty of similar discounted online offers out there, so picking up a bargain is not difficult. It's probably the cheapest dive computer you can buy, and the simplicity of it is reflected in this low price.
Of course, before making my purchase I read plenty of product reviews and found that Suunto consistently came up as a market leader. The Suunto Gekko is also claimed to be the number 1 selling dive computer worldwide. The diving trips I have undertaken in the years since have definitely confirmed this. I'd say a good 30% of my fellow divers own the Gekko, (including dive-masters and instructors) so its reputation obviously prevails.
I'd say this is the ideal computer for a SCUBA beginner, who is just interested in staying safe underwater and enjoying the dive. I say this because the Gekko has no PC interface, and cannot be connected to a computer. If you are a specialist or professional diver and plan on synching the details of your dive log with your PC software then this is not the dive computer for you (but then you'd probably already know that wouldn't you...!). Personally I have never seen the fuss in logging all your intricacies online or on your PC, when every diver has a log book anyway, which is signed and stamped and is the perfect place to neatly detail your diving experiences. The Gekko will log 50 hours of dives in an easy to get to history, so that if you get a little behind in your log book you'll always be able to catch up a later date. I've found this feature really easy to use and a great help when the day is filled with triple dives, and not much time in between.
Suunto Gekko features
As well as your dive history the Gekko will also allow you to check your max depth, average depth and total dive time from the entire lifetime memory. A nifty little feature allows you to see your entire dive profile in minute intervals which is perfect for then plotting in the space in your log book post-dive. The Gekko has all the usual features such as a programmable dive alarm (which is loud enough to clearly hear underwater), a phosphorescent display (no backlight, but on night dives I just charge up the phosphorescent display with my torch before descending and it lasts a good 20 minutes) and a calendar clock. Two large buttons on the front of the computer allow you to scroll through these features in a couple of steps, with minimum fuss.
Programming the Gekko
I took my Suunto Gekko away with me for the very first time and in the excitement forgot to take the user manuals, doh! However, I was actually able to work out how to programme the settings without any help from the handy instructions, as it really is very simple. (Just to note the computer comes with a small laminated 'quick guide', which clearly shows you what all the numbers and buttons mean and how to speedily programme in everything you need at the beginning).
It's also fully Nitrox capable, although I cannot vouch for this feature because I've never had to use it. I have however heard from trustworthy fellow divers that it is easily and quickly programmed when using Nitrox.
Don't be fooled by the pictures on the internet which make the Gekko look like it is a neat little watch. This is definitely not one of those dive computers that you could wander round with on your wrist après-dive. The face is approximately 7cm in diameter and the strap is around 3cm wide. The strap is also extremely long, so unless you plan on wearing a very thick dry suit, I'd recommend trimming it down to a sensible size. As well as its size this is a rather clumsy looking computer, with a white plastic face surround, setting off the large, greenish display, and finished off with a black plastic buckle strap. It's not pretty, but it does the job.
Durability and reliability
I've taken my Gekko with me on well over a hundred dives and it is still amazingly functioning on its original battery. I have a spare battery for when the time comes and this only cost me £5, so is worth having around. The computer has been smashed on rocks, trod on and spent many a time accidentally in the bilges of a boat, but it looks surprisingly good considering. The Suunto Gekko comes with a plastic screen protector, which does scratch easily and is now looking distinctly worn. It does not however impede reading the display, and as no-one should ever consider wearing this as a fashionable watch it is not really a problem! Many retailers will supply you with a free spare screen protector when you purchase the Gekko, should the original crack or break.
My overall opinion
The Suunto Gekko is a dive computer that I will not be replacing in the near future. It fulfils all the recreational divers needs quite happily, and at a great price. I'd specifically recommend this for anyone starting out in diving, from the occasional holiday diver to the warm-water marine surveyor. I love my Gekko!
Thanks for reading :-)
This review also appears on Dooyoo under my username sbeach000