Garmin Descent Mk1 - An All-In-One Watch For The Ultimate Outdoorsman
Garmin, a company well known for their GPS products and sports wearables, has recently entered the dive computer game, releasing the Descent Mk1. The device has immediately caused a buzz in the diving community. It is sleek, durable and packed with features, including a 1.2-inch color display, surface GPS navigation with rich color mapping, multiple dive modes, 3-axis compass, heart rate monitoring and dive-log uploading.
While all of this is already impressive, what really sets the Descent apart is that it combines the standard dive computer features with those of a complete GPS smartwatch. What’s more, thanks to its elegant design and compact size (the watch face is 51 mm in diameter), the device can be worn every day and for multiple activities, promising to become one watch to rule them all.
So, let us take a closer look at what Garmin Descent Mk1 has to offer.
Let’s start with the smartwatch part. The Descent basically comes with all the same features as Garmin’s Fenix 5X multisport GPS watch. These include:
- GPS with GLONASS;
- Full-color maps for navigation;
- Optical heart rate (HR) sensor on the back of the unit;
- Preloaded activity profiles for swimming, running, biking, hiking, skiing, rowing, paddle boarding, etc.;
- Timekeeping, lap counts and step counting;
- Sleep monitoring;
- Smartphone notifications (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, etc.), calendar notices, phone and text notifications;
- Smart connectivity to ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart accessories with an ability to control Garmin action cameras.
Now let’s look at what was added, specifically the dive computer functionality:
- Multiple dive modes (Single Gas, Multi-Gas, Gauge, Apnea, Apnea Hunt and Plan Dive);
- Multiple gas mixes (Air, nitrox and trimix, up to 100% O2; 1 bottom gas, and up to 5 deco and/or backup gases);
- Customizable conservatism (you can set it on low, medium, high or even custom with gradient factors);
- 3-axis dive compass with adjustable heading, quick change to 90R, 90L and reciprocal;
- No Fly Watch Face to tell you when it’s safe to fly;
- Auto start/end dive;
- Audible and vibration alarms for ascent rate, PO2, CNS/OTU, NDL, deco, gas switching.
Another important factor to consider, especially for such a feature-rich device is the ease of use, and Garmin did not forget about this either. It is easy to switch between modes, and if you forget to choose one before dropping in, the auto start function will revert to the last mode you used as soon as you touch the water.
The Garmin Chroma display is an always-on, semi-readable state with full color and an adjustable backlight. Double-tapping will allow you to switch screens, so that you can access the desired feature even if your gloves are too thick to hit the buttons accurately. As you start to descend, you will get live data from one of the three data pages. Those data pages on a standard gauge dive include:
Page 1: Dive Time, Depth, Water Temp, Ascent/Descent Rate, Max Depth, Average Depth.
Page 2: Compass Heading, Compass direction, Depth, Water Temp, Dive Time.
Page 3: Heart Rate, Heart Rate Zone (Color), Time of Day, Water Temp, Depth, Battery Level, Dive Time.
The Descent boasts a 16GB memory that can hold up to 10,000 dives on board. You can also share your dive logs via Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity on the Garmin Connect app.
By the way, the apps is another area where Garmin really excels. Using the Connect IQ app platform, you can add widgets, new maps, or even thousands of new, customizable faces for your watch. You can even receive text messages and check the status of your Uber.
Finally, the unit has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and comes with a USB to A/C adapter. On a full charge, it should last up to 19 days in watch mode, 10 days in smartwatch mode, 40 hours in dive mode, and 20 hours in GPS mode. Altogether, they’re aiming to provide you with a week’s worth of use in any mode before you have to charge it up again.
On the downside, the Descent Mk1 is not air-integrated or rebreather compatible yet, but hopefully, Garmin will work on that in the future.
Want to try the Garmin Descent Mk1 for yourself? You can already purchase it right here at Dip ‘N Dive. The watch comes with an extra-long silicone extender strap to fit around dry suits.
You can also check out the newer version of this dive computer - Garmin Descent Mk2.