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Garmin Descent G1 Dive Computer Review

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dive log book

Garmin has recently unveiled the new Descent G1 series of dive computers. Just like the brand’s previous Mk2 models, the G1s sport multi-type dive technology, a variety of health and wellness features, over 30 built-in indoor and GPS sports apps, and extensive smartwatch functionality. As for the differences between the two series, the G1 comes with extended battery life, a more compact build, and more affordable pricing, albeit at the expense of some significant features. So, let’s take a closer look at what the new Garmin G1 dive computers have to offer and how they compare to the Mk2 series.

Dive Features

The Descent G1 Series is fairly versatile in terms of dive functionality - it has features for new recreational divers up through seasoned technical divers. The G1 supports multiple dive modes for single and multiple gas dives (including air, nitrox, trimix, and 100% O2), gauge, apnea, apnea hunt, and closed-circuit rebreather.

On the computer display, you can quickly and conveniently access essential dive data such as depth, time, temperature, residual nitrogen, deco-stop requirements, etc. All of the data is customizable to the user’s preference. The device also comes with such convenient features as a 3-axis digital compass, vibrating depth alerts, and automatic entry/exit point tracking.

Freedivers will enjoy customizable dive and surface screens in apnea modes, plus more metrics like ascent and descent rates to analyze performance between dives.

One thing to keep in mind, the G1 series computers are not air integrated.

Sports Apps and Lifestyle Features

The Descent G1 Series contains a multitude of built-in sports apps including apps for swimming, hiking, running, cycling, golf, yoga, and surfing.

The computer also contains a range of fitness and wellness features including advanced sleep monitoring, hydration and menstrual cycle tracking, fitness age, training status, daily suggested workouts, and more.

Connectivity Features

The G1, along with the rest of Garmin’s Descent dive watches, is built to pair with their Dive App. On the App, you can review specifics to keep a more detailed logbook, share information about your trip, and get the scoop on places to check out from other users.

The computer can also be paired with an inReach Mini 2 satellite communicator (satellite subscription required) to send and receive messages or trigger an SOS in case of emergency. If an incident is detected, Garmin Connect Mobile can send a message with the user’s name and location (if available) to their emergency contacts.

In between scuba diving or other sporting activities, the Garmin Descent G1 has a number of other connected features such as Garmin Pay, and the ability to receive notifications for calls, texts, calendar reminders, social media updates, and breaking news stories when paired with compatible Android or Apple smartphones.

On the downside, the G1 cannot connect to wifi or store music.

Garmin descent g1 features

Build and Design

Both computers in the series - the Descent G1 and Descent G1 Solar - have a high-contrast easy-to-read monochrome display built into a 45mm watch case, with a depth rating of 10 ATM (100 meters/328 feet) with leakproof inductive buttons and a sapphire lens.

Compatible with Garmin QuickFit bands, the G1 allows divers to swap between long and short straps for different thicknesses of exposure suit, or switch up the look of their timepiece from a dive to dinner.

The G1 offers a rechargeable battery with up to 25 hours in dive mode, up to three weeks in smartwatch mode, and up to four months in smartwatch mode with the solar charging models, assuming the watch is worn in bright sunshine for around three hours per day.

G1 vs Mk2/Mk2i

While the G1 series is very similar to the previous Descent Mk2 models in regard to both their dive-specific and lifestyle features, there are a few notable differences to keep in mind.

The first thing you’ll notice is the design. The G1 is a much lighter and slimmer watch. Garmin narrowed down the screen from 52mm to a more manageable 45mm and swapped a heavy steel build for an impact-resistant fiber-reinforced polymer. While this may be a plus during the topside activities, the G1’s smaller screen (which is monochrome, unlike the Mk2/Mk2i’s full-color display) may be a bit harder to read underwater and the smaller interface buttons are likely to be more difficult to operate with neoprene gloves on.

As for the battery life, with the G1, users can expect 25 hours of bottom time for diving (which is a drop from the 80 hours in dive mode in Mk2), and up to four months (for G1 Solar) between charges when used just as a smartwatch.

Then, there is, of course, the price to consider. The Descent Mk2, and even more so the Mk2i, belong to the luxury segment of the dive computer market, while the G1 is a much more affordable option. For less than half the price of the Descent Mk2i, the G1 offers a lot of the same advanced functions that we have outlined above.

That being said, there are a few features that have been trimmed away in the G1 together with the reduced bulk and significant price decrease. The most notable one is probably the air integration. The G1 also missing a touchscreen user interface of the Mk2i, wifi network connectivity, mapping function, and the ability to store music.

All in all, in contrast to the clearly scuba-centric Mk2 series, the G1 feels like a device for people who live an active lifestyle and also happen to dive. Nevertheless, there is a lot to love about this watch, and it will definitely become a great addition to Garmin’s already impressive lineup and the dive computer market overall.

Garmin Descent G1 Solar will be available for purchase at DIPNDIVE in mid-April.

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