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Whether you are new to the world of scuba diving or have been going underwater for years, you know how compelling diving can be. Even though scuba is one of the most exciting athletic pursuits anyone can do, it is also dangerous. To ascend and descend safely you need access to important information. Fortunately, you don’t have to do difficult mathematical equations to find your no-decompression limit. Instead, you can rely on a dive computer to do the tough math for you.
There are a variety of dive computers available for purchase today. Like with other pieces of scuba equipment, not all dive computers are a good investment. How do you know the difference between a high-quality device and an inferior one? That’s where we come in.
In this review, we take a deep look at the Oceanic OCi dive computer. Continue reading for answers to some common questions about dive computers and an honest assessment of the performance capabilities of the Oceanic OCi.
What Is a Dive Computer?
If you haven’t been around the scuba community long, you may not know what a dive computer is. Simply, a dive computer is an electronic device that divers wear during dives. Sometimes scuba enthusiasts refer to dive computers as decompression computers or decompression meters. Regardless of what you call the device, the purpose of wearing one is clear.
As you probably know, diving too far too quickly or ascending at rapid rates can wreak havoc on the human body. Dive computers keep divers safe by measuring the depth and duration of underwater dives. Devices then input this information into an algorithm to determine a diver’s safe-ascent profile. This information is vital for helping divers avoid decompression sickness during and after dives.
Most dive computers work the same. When calculating a safe-ascent profile for a diver, they measure underwater ambient pressure in real time. Once the information feeds through the algorithm, the computer indicates how much time the diver has before reaching a specific no-decompression limit. If the diver surpasses the NDL, the dive computer tells the diver how to safely return to the water’s surface.
Dive computers have a variety of functions. While entry-level computers collect relevant information about underwater conditions and dive length, advanced ones have additional features. The dive computer that is right for you depends on your scuba experience and diving goals.
What Is the Oceanic OCi Dive Computer?
The Oceanic OCi is a high-end dive computer. While the dive computer works great for divers of all experience levels, it is specifically valuable to experienced divers. That is, if you purchase this dive computer, you have access to a variety of innovative features that are most useful in dynamic diving situations. As you may suspect, the Oceanic OCi isn’t cheap. As such, if you are a diving novice, you may be better off purchasing an entry-level dive computer and some other gear instead of investing in the high-end Oceanic OCi. We discuss pricing for this dive computer in greater detail later in this review.
The Oceanic OC1 is one of the most expensive dive computers on the market. The company’s OCS is one of the best-selling devices. Our computer, the Oceanic OCi is a combination of the two. While the OCi doesn’t have the expensive titanium frame that is standard on the OC1, it does virtually everything the OC1 does. For budget-conscious divers who want a high-performance dive computer, the OCi is a good option.
Like other Oceanic dive computers, the OCi is a wrist-worn device. The OCi screen is mostly LCD, giving divers a clear display to quickly read important information. The most essential information is displayed on the main screen. This includes gas selection, dive depth, NDL, remaining dive time and variable-ascent rate. You can toggle to additional screens to view other information, such as water temperature.
Using the Oceanic OCi underwater is easy, even if you wear gloves. The device has four stainless-steel buttons that are responsive without being overly sensitive. When you are on the surface, hitting the buttons makes a mechanical clicking noise. As such, you certainly know whether you are moving between screens or changing device setup.
Calibrating the computer and setting up dives are easy processes on the Oceanic OCi. The device works by either requiring the diver to press or hold down a button. After watching an instructional video or reading through the comprehensive user’s manual, successfully navigating the OCi’s menus becomes essentially intuitive. Also, you can choose to activate the computer with either the push of a button or by exposure to water. As such, if you are prone to forgetting to initiate a dive, you can rely on water to do it for you. If you prefer to use a free-diving mode, the OCi has you covered there as well.
Reading a dive computer underwater isn’t always simple. Oceanic addresses this problem by backlighting the OCi. Even in dark conditions, readability remains excellent. It is no surprise that both cave and deep-water divers use the Oceanic OCi. If you are concerned about the backlight draining the battery on the device, you don’t have to be. The OCi has a sensor that automatically brightens and dims the light depending on lighting conditions. When you don’t need the backlight, it turns off to conserve battery power.
The Oceanic OCi has an integrated compass that clearly displays the direction you are heading. This is an invaluable tool for scuba guides and teachers. If you work in the rescue sector, you are also likely to appreciate the included compass on the Oceanic OCi. Additionally, the OCi has a decidedly heavy-duty feel to it. The bezel and strap are both high-quality, with each capable of holding up to considerable punishment. Moreover, the screen is made from high-density acrylic, allowing it to resist both breaks and scratches.
Additionally, the OCi includes a wireless air transmitter. This feature is apt to change the way you dive. The transmitter gives you two critical pieces of information. First, it determines how much air you have remaining after measuring dive depth, breathing rate, decompression status, tank pressure and other factors. Likewise, the wireless air transmitter calculates dive time remaining. Both of these calculations are handy, as they give you at-a-glance safety details about your dive.
Oceanic OCi Dive Computer Specifications
- Algorithm: Dual: Pelagic Dsat or Pelagic Z+
- Modes: Air, nitrox, gauge, free dive
- Memory: 24 dives
- Depth Display: 330-feet for air and nitrox; 495-feet for gauge and free-dive modes
- Compass: Digital
- Readout: Imperial or metric
- Audible Alarms: Yes
- Buddy-check Feature: Yes
- Wireless Air Capable: Yes
- Altitude Calibration: Yes, 2,000-feet to 14,000-feet
- Back Light: Yes
- Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery, replaceable wireless transmitter battery
Oceanic OCi Dive Computer Pricing
The Oceanic OCi generally sells for around $700. This places it on the high-end of dive computers. If you want to purchase one of these devices, you have a few options. Of course, you can order one directly from Oceanic’s website at www.oceanicworldwide.com. The selection of Oceanic OCi dive computers on the site is extensive. As such, you can choose the Oceanic OCi that best matches your other scuba gear.
If you don’t want to order online, you can probably purchase an Oceanic OCi from your local scuba center or dive shop. Finding an authorized dealer is fast and simple with a visit to the Oceanic website. Additionally, you can purchase an Oceanic OCi dive computer from a third-party seller on Amazon. Be cautious about which seller you choose, though, as buying from an unauthorized vendor could void the Oceanic warranty.
Oceanic OCi dive computers come with a limited two-year warranty. Also, if you purchase your dive computer from an authorized dealer and are not satisfied, you can return it within 30 days for an exchange.
How the Oceanic OCi Dive Computer Compares to Other Dive Computers
When you are shopping for a dive computer, you must think about your underwater goals. After all, it is easy to spend a small fortune on features you simply don’t need. Still, the best way to understand the functionality of the Oceanic OCi is to compare it to a couple other dive computers. Below, we measure the OCi against a high-end and an intermediate dive computer.
Competitor 1: SCUBAPRO GALILEO LUNA Dive Computer
Comparing professional-grade dive computers quickly becomes an exercise in futility. Most feature heavy-duty construction, a variety of features and smart design. The SCUBAPRO GALILEO LUNA is one such dive computer. This one has everything the Oceanic OCi has under a different brand. If you have brand loyalty to SCUBAPRO, you will probably be inclined to purchase this device. If not, the Oceanic OCi is a bit more affordable and equally as good.
Ease of Use: 5/5
Assembly Time: 4.5/5
Build Quality: 5/5
Competitor 2: Mares Quad Dive Computer
If you are looking for a functional dive computer that doesn’t cost quite as much as either the Oceanic OCi or the SCUBAPRO GALILEO LUNA, the Mares Quad dive computer is worth consideration. While decidedly more limited than high-end dive computers, the Mares Quad has enough features for most entry-level and intermediate divers. We like the overall styling of this watch. It is also easy to use with a large, clear display. Unfortunately, if you work in the scuba sector or are a recovery diver, the Mares Quad dive computer likely won’t work for you.
Assembly Time: 4/5
Build Quality: 3/5
While you can pay more for the SCUBAPRO GALILEO LUNA, there really is no reason to do so. The Oceanic OCi has the same functionality for over $100 less. If you want to spend even less, the Mares Quad is a good dive computer. In a head-to-head comparison with the Oceanic OCi, however, the Mares Quad falls short.
Oceanic OCi Dive Computer Pros and Cons
- Exceptional design
- Virtually all diving features possible
- Air integration
- Onboard compass
- Four possible air mixes
- Buddy-check feature
There are so many advantages to the Oceanic OCi that it is not possible to list them all. With this dive computer, you have access to every feature an advanced diver would likely ever want. Whether you are a recreational or professional diver, the information you get from the Oceanic OCi is enough to dive with confidence.
- Limited dive log
In our opinion, the dive computer is perhaps the most complete device on the market today. As such, we had to try to find something we didn’t love about the Oceanic OCi. We are a bit bothered by the limited dive log that comes with the device. The memory capacity is only 24 dives. We would like it to be longer. Nonetheless, you can easily download logs with a USB cable. We don’t think most divers spend so much time in the water that they can’t get to a computer sooner than every 24 dives.
We also object a bit to the price tag on the Oceanic OCi. While we think the many features of the device validate its cost, the Oceanic OCi is likely out of reach to some divers. For serious divers, though, the price is likely feasible. Since the OCi comes with a two-year limited warranty, you buy with confidence. If you balk at the cost of the device, you may want to look into one with fewer features. Among the ones we reviewed, the Mares Quad is a decent option.
The Verdict: The Oceanic OCi Dive Computer Is Excellent
The Oceanic OCi dive computer has so many impressive features we simply could not list them all in this article. We picked out the best ones and called it good. Still, our review doesn’t do justice to the Oceanic OCi. Simply put, the OCi is excellent.
If you are looking for a high-end dive computer and don’t mind paying for one, you likely can’t go wrong with the Oceanic OCi. We hate giving out five-star ratings, as they can seem hyperbolic. Still, when a product deserves the highest possible rating, we are proud to recognize it. In this case, the Oceanic OCi virtually demands recognition.