When an octopus is correctly configured during a dive it should
be easy to locate. Both models have a reversible hose attachment,
meaning you can bring the 1m-long hose from the left or right.
The smaller R380 sits with a low profile when it’s clipped
in place on a BCD (Scubapro even supplies the clip). Its size means
that, for divers with smaller hands, it’s probably easier
to grip than the R190. Both second stages are yellow and easy to
see underwater when secured to your BCD, although the size of the
R190 makes it more visible.
The test divers were asked to assess the purge button. Although
both scored highly for ease of use, several of the team commented
that the purge on the R190 is more clearly defined and therefore
easier to use. One of the team, an instructor, felt that the purge
on the R190 was ‘ideal when making demonstrations to students’.
Both second stages feature a system to preserve the life of the
seal inside them. On the R190 you simply depress the purge slightly
and turn it through about 20 degrees, whereas the R380 has a simple
on/off switch. Both must be set before entering the water.
Basically, most of the working parts in the R190 and the R380 are
the same, so you would expect the same performance. However, Scubapro
faced a problem when it shrunk its second-stage design. Using a
smaller diaphram meant its designers had to change its shape and
set the demand lever higher to avoid a significant drop in performance.
Did they achieve it?
In fact, the R380 was superb during our tests. It was a great breathe
at depth and very comfortable to use. Each tester marked its inhalation
resistance as better than the R190, but felt the delivery of air
from both was the same. The R380 also scored higher on comfort,
with one tester commenting that he made most of the dive on it,
because he preferred it to his primary second stage. Praise indeed.
The scores were very even. The R380 just pipped the R190 in the
end on design and inhalation resistance, but every tester agreed
they would be happy to use either as an octopus and, perhaps more
importantly, would be happy for a future buddy to one of them. The
R380 octopus costs £89.95. Telephone Scubapro on 01256 812636.
A stylish octopus for the new generation of Scubapro regulators
+ ease of breathing, comfort
– less obvious purge button
Price R190 £79.95 R380 £89.95
Diameter R190 85mm R380 70mm
Weight R190 215g R380 172g