Suunto Spyder Advanced Computer Watch
As with most computers today, the Suunto Spyder is both more conservative and more liberal than US Navy tables: more conservative in that it has shorter no-decompression limits for single-depth dives; more liberal in that it allows shorter surface intervals, multi-level diving and repetitive diving.

The Spyder features a personal adjustment mode, which allows you to take into account factors that could cause decompression sickness (DCS), such as cold exposure (temperatures less than 20°C), below-average physical fitness, repetitive-dive exposure, fatigue, dehydration, age, obesity and previous history of DCS .

It isn’t possible to dive with the computer turned off, but you do need to check the altitude and personal settings and make sure the low-battery indicator isn’t on before diving with it. Being a watch as well as a computer, battery life is given as two years when used as a watch, and 300–400 dives at 20°C when used as a computer.

In common with other Suunto computers, the Spyder uses a combination of digits, icons and graphics to display information. The face, although wristwatch size, is quite easy to read and the uncluttered display clearly shows depth, maximum depth (this alternates with water temperature), time and no-decompression time. Icons remind you which personal and altitude settings you have pre-selected. A push-button, backlit display option is excellent for night diving or murky visibility.

Suunto strongly advises against decompression diving, but the Spyder can handle it. Once into decompression, an alarm is heard and the display shows minimum ascent time and depth of deepest stop, with an upward-pointing arrow telling you to ascend. At the given ceiling, the display changes to two arrows pointing at each other to indicate a stop, and the ascent time counts down to zero. If you ascend above the ceiling, a continuous beeping starts and the word ‘error’ flashes on the display with a downward-pointing arrow. If you don’t descend within three minutes, the Spyder goes into error mode and will not function as a computer for 48 hours.

The Spyder has a maximum ascent rate of 10m/min with visual and audible warnings. A depth pre-set function allows you to plan maximum depths – a continuous beeping is heard if this is exceeded.

Before the dive, a planning display scrolls through the no-stop times from 9m to 45m. The sophisticated logbook, dive-profile memory and dive-history functions can be selected by pressing a combination of buttons and can be downloaded on to a PC if you buy the optional interface.

The Suunto Spyder is a genuine innovation – I can’t wait for the Nitrox version!

•Distributed in the UK by Blandford Sub-Aqua (01923 801 572), RRP £499. The stainless-steel casing comes with a matt black or shiny gold finish; the strap is a stainless-steel bracelet or black rubber strap.

Michael Hamilton

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