Known mostly for their regulators, Aqua Lung has finally entered the dive watch market after they’ve acquired a dive computer manufacturer of their own. Divers have eagerly waited to see what kind of product this reputable company would release into the market, and the i200C is the result.
With the i200C, Aqua Lung has demonstrated once again what they do best. They take something basic and improve upon it until it is up to or exceeding the standards of the latest dive computers on the market. This is clear in how the i200C combines affordability with numerous features that beginners and recreational divers need. It sports a lightweight and sleek design that won’t get in your way during dives.
Choosing the right dive computer can be difficult when there are so many options to pick from. In this review, we’ll go over what else the Aqua Lung i200C has in store and help you figure out if it is the right dive computer for you
Aqua Lung i200C vs. i300C: What are the Differences?
If you’re wondering what the differences are between the i200C and the i300C, the answer is not much. The biggest difference is that the i300C is bigger and perhaps this can make it easier for users to read the data at a glance from the larger display. However, the i200C’s slimmer profile and watch mode functionality means it can also be worn daily outside of diving which makes it more versatile.
Aqua Lung i200C Overview
Right off the bat, it’s clear that the i200C is designed for beginners and recreational divers in mind as evidenced by its affordable cost. It’s also not a bad choice as a back-up device for more experienced divers. However, it should not be used as a primary dive computer for technical divers since it does not come with the advanced functionality they are looking for.
- 4 Dive Modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge, Freedive mode.
- Numerous color options.
- 4 navigation buttons.
- Lightweight at 76 grams.
- Switch between three nitrox mixes.
- Maximum operating depth of 100m (328ft).
- User-replaceable battery.
- Automatic altitude adjustment.
- Built-in LED light and numerous alarms including ascent rate warning and low-battery alarm.
- Watch mode functionality.
- History mode for dive data storage.
First impressions are important, and the first thing you’ll see when you unpack the box is a sleek, sporty watch-style dive computer in the color that you ordered. You’ll also find a lens protector, battery compartment opening tool and extension strap included.
There are 6 colors to choose from: Grey, Dark Grey, Bright Pink, Aqua, Blue, and Hot Lime. The dive computer frame matches the color of the strap, and it has a bright chrome finish on the bezel.
Since this is a watch-style computer, the strap length is pretty standard as far as watches go. Making them any longer would help with wearing it over a wetsuit, but then it’d be too long for normal everyday use. Thus, Aqua Lung thoughtfully included an extender strap to remedy this issue. The downside is that it only comes in one color: black. So if you like matching colors, unless you have the Dark Grey one it’s going to look out of place.
Next, we saw that it has 4 side buttons and we immediately got to work by pressing them randomly as part of our test. Within a few minutes we got a good feel of what each button did, so overall we can say that it is quite intuitive. The i200C also comes with a quick-reference guide if you want to remove the guesswork and learn all of the functionality like a pro.
When worn, it strikes the right balance of feeling solid without feeling unwieldy or heavy. Depending on the color you pick, notably the Hot Lime or Bright Pink, you will be sure to elicit comments from passersby.
As we mentioned, the Aqua Lung i200C is a slim dive computer. Its screen size is 33m which is a bit on the small side, however that is the trade-off for a lighter and more comfortable device.
The i200C displays its information on its segmented LCD screen which we found easy-to-read. Under low-light conditions, the backlight can be activated by pressing the button which is useful for night diving.
Next, the device has a side LED alarm light to alert you of any safety violations even in low-visibility environments. You can also set your own alarms for dive time, depth, etc., and when the conditions are met, the warning will be displayed on the screen in addition to the audible alarm.
Navigate the menu using the 4 side buttons. They are spaced far enough apart that you won’t accidentally press two at the same time when wearing thick gloves. A single button will show the depth and time of your last dive.
The Aqua Lung i200C has 4 operating modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge (with run timer) and Free Dive mode. In dive mode, you can switch between 3 nitrox mixes up to 100% oxygen without restriction in the middle of a dive. The i200C does not support Trimix.
The i200C runs on the Pelagic PZ+ algorithm. Its conservativeness is somewhere between the conservative RGBM model (which has less dive times than most) and the liberal DSAT model. In effect, you can expect to get more bottom time while still staying safe.
Next, the PZ+ algorithm is modeled after the Buhlmann Model and is intended to provide you with more dive time, even if you are performing multiple dives in a day or diving several days in a row. The no-decompression limit (NDL) is also somewhere between the DSAT and RGBM limits.
One thing to keep in mind is that dive algorithms do not factor in your physical fitness into its calculations. Thus, if you are feeling unwell, make sure to adjust the conservatism levels and increase your surface interval (time spent between dives) to reduce the likelihood of getting decompression sickness.
Some features of the i200C are automated for your convenience. For instance, the watch automatically turns on when you get into the water. It also automatically adjusts the altitude in both saltwater and freshwater between 916m to 4,270m (~3,000ft to ~14,000ft). At 916m, the depth is automatically calibrated to saltwater.
The i200C has numerous audible and visual alarms. Its high-visibility LED warning light is hard to miss, even in low-light conditions. When this device is warning you about a stop you need to make, you can be sure that you will see or hear it. Additionally, the computer has a user-selectable deep stop with countdown timer.
Dive Data and Transferability
Analyze the data from your past dives using the built-in History Mode that records your last 24 dives. Any more dives after that, and the oldest dive data will be erased to make space for the latest dive. Make sure to transfer the data from the i200C to your PC or Mac before that happens.
Transferring the dive data to a computer requires an external cable and installing the DiverLog+ program which provides numerous functionality. You can create a dive profile, adjust your dive computer settings (gas mix, saltwater or freshwater, alarms, etc), add notes to your dive data history, and share pictures and videos to the world.
However, we found it to be much easier to use the DiverLog+ app on our phone (available for both iOS and Android). The i200C uses Bluetooth Smart technology to seamlessly connect to your phone, where you can then control all the settings of the dive computer just like on the computer. This is even easier though, since it doesn’t require having a computer nearby or a cable.
So, here’s a brief scenario of how you might use the device. After a dive, you can transfer the data of the dive you just completed into your smartphone with the DiveLog+ app logbook. You will see the time and date, dive profile, water temperature, and so on are all present on your smartphone.
You can then choose to add additional notes, such as your location, what gear you were using, names of the people you were with, how you felt at the time, add in any videos or photographs that you took, and so on. There is even an option to get someone to digitally “sign” the logbook.
Once you’re satisfied with the data, you can send it across social media by pressing the ‘share’ button. Let your friends know about your diving adventures using Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Email, whatever you like.
It is also very easy for users to update the software on their dive computer to get access to the latest features thanks to the intuitive interface. You can find the latest firmware updates and DiverLog drivers on Aqua Lung’s website.
The Aqua Lung i200C uses a 3-volt CR-2430 user-changeable battery. In other words, you do not have to send this dive computer into a service center if you know how to replace the battery yourself. The CR-2430 is a very common battery that you can purchase in most supermarkets and of course in dive shops. However, we recommend buying a battery replacement kit which comes with an O-ring.
The battery is expected to last 2-3 years assuming an average of 50 dives per year. If you dive more frequently than that, then you may have to replace the battery once a year. Furthermore, freedive mode and watch mode can drain the battery very quickly and may reduce the battery’s life expectancy.
When you replace the battery, all of its settings and calculations will be retained even with a new battery. However, just to be on the safe side, you should sync your device with your smartphone or computer using the DiveLog+ App prior to changing the battery.
As we’ve mentioned above, the Aqua Lung is best suited for beginner and recreational divers. It does not have some of the advanced functionality that technical divers are looking for. For instance, it does not have a built-in compass which is very useful to help users navigate the environment.
Furthermore, it does not have wireless air-integration. This feature allows divers to see how much air is remaining in their tank at a glance. Deep divers that meticulously track their air supply need to see this information quickly, especially in low-light conditions. There is also no support for Trimix, which advanced divers need for specialty dives.
With that said, these features would drive up the cost of a dive computer significantly. Additionally, beginners and recreational divers probably would not need these features anyways.
Lastly, the download cable is not included when you purchase an Aqua Lung dive computer. You will have to purchase it separately. However, this is not as much of an issue in Bluetooth capable devices such as this one. You can instead wirelessly transfer the data to your smartphone which is very convenient.
Aqua Lung i200C Review: The Verdict
Overall, the Aqua Lung i200C is a well-priced option for beginner and recreational divers. In a short time, we were able to get a good handle on how it works, which speaks to how intuitive and well-designed it is.
The usability of this dive computer, especially when linked to the DiverLog app, is excellent. It may take a few tries before you understand all of the short names for each menu, but once you do it becomes easy to navigate.
Next, the calculation model the i200C runs hits a sweet spot where it is just conservative enough, but still allows you to get the most out of your dive time. You will not feel restricted in any way while still enjoying your time underwater.
Switching between modes is done straightforward, and the screen display is segmented neatly so that the data is easy to read at a glance. Even in low-visibility areas, the built-in LED backlight helps to illuminate the screen.
Divers who want a dive computer that can also double as a watch will be glad to know that the i200C has a watch mode. Thanks to its slim profile, it won’t be cumbersome to wear daily unlike some other bulkier dive watches.
We really appreciate Aqua Lung’s focus on the end users (such as you and me) and how we use technology on a daily basis. In this day and age, who doesn’t own a smartphone? The world is becoming more and more connected, and we’ll be bringing our smartphones with us on every dive trip.
Thanks to the Bluetooth connectivity, the i200C is massively appealing to us. You don’t need to use an external cable to transfer data to your device. Just use the DiverLog app to transfer all of the data from your recent dives to your smartphone. You can even adjust the settings on your dive computer from your phone!
To conclude, if you are looking for an affordable dive computer that is packed full of useful features, as well as a watch that you can wear everyday, then the Aqua Lung i200C is a fantastic option.