The Genie of the Dive By Steve Warren
The Aladin name has been one of the biggest on the dive computer market for several years. The series of computers manufactured by the Swiss firm Uwatec remains one of the leaders, even as other major manufacturers have been catching up with their own models as the use of computers becomes the norm.

The Pro is the company’s decompression computer designed for air diving. I used it as a back-up to an Aladin Air computer, which is air-integrated, for a week’s planned decompression diving in Gibraltar. It has an uncluttered LCD screen, and numerals and icons are presented boldly. I have rotten eyesight and a low tolerance level for nitrogen narcosis, so I’m easy to confuse – working out my exact decompression status can take me a while with some computers. The Pro presents need-to-know information in an unambiguous way, and it is extremely easy to assimilate.

The computer automatically switches from sleep to dive mode when you hit the water, so there’s no chance of a start-up error. If you dive and still have saturation time left, it will continue to monitor your altitude, letting you know when you can fly or letting you know that you shouldn’t attempt to climb up a mountain! It automatically adjusts your no-decompression time if you dive at altitude and will also take into account the water temperature, so that if you are doing a particularly cold dive it will either allow you less no-decompression time or add to your decompression stop time.

Once you’re in decompression status, the Pro displays an ‘up’ arrow, which indicates the time required to reach the surface, including stops, and the depth of the first stop. Once you begin your ascent, you are warned if you exceed the computer’s ascent rate. Ascend too quickly and the Pro takes this into account and extends your stop time.
Your total ascent time and the duration of each stage decompression stop is calculated assuming that you will decompress at an exact depth of 3, 6, 9, 12 or 18m. Sometimes it is preferable to stop a little deeper than the specified depth: it can be more comfortable in a swell and allows a little leeway if you inadvertently ascend a bit, giving you time to react before you ascend beyond the safety limit and violate your stop. If necessary, the Pro will compensate by adding more time to your required decompression stop. So when decompressing below the necessary depth, make sure to monitor your air with even more care than usual as your stop time may be longer.

As with all of the current Uwatec computers, the Pro uses the Bühlmann adaptive algorithm. This ‘smart algorithm’ is designed to warn the diver of dive profiles that might increase the chance of decompression illness. I wasn’t interested in pushing any limits for the sake of a more complete review, and never incurred any warnings from the Aladin other than to slow my ascent. The Aladin Air typically required about a minute’s extra decompression compared to the Pro for the same profiles. Compared to another model we recently group tested, the Suunto Favor, decompression times were two to three minutes longer.

The Pro comes with the usual complement of logbook functions, look-ahead dive planning and personal computer interface options.

To summarise, the Aladin Pro performed flawlessly during my week’s use and priced at £289, I’d have no hesitation in recommending it.

• Phone Uwatec UK on 01420 561412 for further information

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