Suunto D4i Novo - Our Guide to this watch sized Dive Computer
Suunto re-designed the D4i dive computer and released the Suunto D4i Novo. There are 3 notable differences between these two dive computers which are mostly cosmetic and minor.
In this review, we'll look at the differences between these models, as well as compare it with other watch sized dive computers.
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Watch Sized Dive Computers - How big is compact?
The Suunto D4i and D4i Novo are considered watch sized dive computers, although these are still quite large in direct comparison to a watch. Many people happily wear these as their every day watch, especially when on vacation.
These measure 1.91″ x 1.72″ (48.6 mm x 43.8 mm) across the face, and .63″ thick (16 mm).
What are the main differences between the D4i and the D4i Novo?
The internals and functions of these two dive computers are the same.
Cosmetically, the screen face and buttons are slightly different. The D4i has plastic buttons which have been changed to metal buttons on the D4i Novo.
Suunto released the Novo with a silicone band. Silicone is noticeably smoother than the elastomer band and wraps around the wrist easier.
The case of the D4i Novo is .25 oz heavier (7 grams) than the Suunto D4i. Both are compact and lightweight.
The USB cable needed to download the dive log is included when you buy the Novo. This remains an accessory at an extra cost when buying the D4i.
Apart from these differences, the Suunto D4i and the D4i Novo share the same features and functionality. The Novo is available in more color choices.
Does the D4i Novo have Wireless Air Integration?
In the world of diving computers, wireless Air Integration (AI) is increasing in popularity. AI technology and reliability has improved greatly in recent years.
The Suunto D4i and D4i Novo both have the capacity to upgrade to wireless AI with the purchase of a transmitter. The Suunto wireless Air Integration transmitter is an accessory. Having this capability is a great option for mid level divers who want to upgrade their gear or training later on. There are combo packages available that’ll save you money if you buy the transmitter at the same time as the dive computer.
The air integration feature reads your cylinder pressure. It then calculates and displays your remaining pressure and breathing time. This is based on the current depth and air consumption rate.
The transmitter pairs with the diver computer to display your tank information on your wrist. It retails for between $430 – $450.
Wireless Air Integration
What other divers are saying on Scubaboard.com
Can you dive without wireless air integration? - Yes.
Will wireless air integration make your dives easier, more accurate, safer, and more enjoyable? - Yes.
You’ll appreciate that your dive computer has wireless Air Integration when you’re penetrating a long and narrow passage in a wreck. With the quick flick of the wrist, you’ll see all the vital info you need with very minimal movement.
What about Diving Modes and other settings?
The D4i and D4i Novo have 4 operating modes, Nitrox/Air, Free Diving, Gauge and Off. Switching to the Off option will stop the dive computer going into dive mode if you’re snorkeling.
Both the Suunto D4i and D4i Novo have an electro-luminescent back light. The duration of the display can be adjusted between 5, 10, 20, 30, and 60 seconds, or turned off altogether. The brightness of the back light and the Display contrast can also be adjusted.
It’s easy to set it to display either metric or imperial settings depending on your personal preference. The time settings can formatted to either 12 or 24-hour display.
The Altitude setting is adjustable to 3,000 meters.
There's a Stopwatch, Apnea timer and Alarm clock. It also has a dual time function which allows you to keep track of the time in a second time zone. The Dive mode will activate automatically when you dive deeper than 4 feet (1.2 meters), unless it’s previously been switched to OFF mode.
Diving in Nitrox mode increases your bottom times. The Suunto D4i and D4i Novo adjust their dive calculations to keep you within safe limits and reduce the risk of decompression sickness. After entering the percentage of oxygen in your tank and the oxygen partial pressure limit into the dive computer, the safe maximum operating depth (MOD) is calculated.
Is it worth getting the Suunto D4i download cable?
The USB download cable comes with the Suunto D4i Novo. This cable lets you to download your dive log to a laptop and also updates the firmware. Being able to download and analyze your dives helps improve your performance in future dives.
The Suunto D4i does NOT come with the cable. This is an optional extra. The cable retails for around $85.
How to make adjustments to the settings
An advantage Suunto has over some of its competitors, is its intuitive menu. The short video below shows how to change basic settings on the D4i, D6i and DX range of Suunto dive computers.
Is the battery of the D4i Novo user-changeable?
Well, that depends on who you ask!
Suunto state on their website and in the user manuals for the D4i and D4i Novo, that the battery must be replaced at an authorised center. It says that the battery change is not something you can do yourself. Having said that, there are Suunto D4i battery replacement kits for sale on the internet.
It really comes down to you, and whether you’re comfortable doing this yourself. The Suunto battery replacement kits include the battery, o-ring and a small tube of silicone grease.
One option is to buy the battery replacement kit yourself and take it and the dive computer to your local dive shop for replacing. This way you won’t be voiding the warranty, and you will save yourself a few dollars at the same time. Make sure you check with your local dive shop beforehand.
The life expectancy of the battery depends a lot on how you use it. Based on around 100 dives a year, the battery life will be around 12 to 18 months. The life expectancy will decrease if you’re diving in very cold water. If its used in Time Mode only, the battery life will extend to around 2 years.
What about Automatic Safety Checks?
The Suunto D4i automatically goes through a series of checks each time you enter Dive mode.
When entering DIVE Mode, the back light and beep activate. This is followed by the graphical display elements turning on. The Altitude and personal settings are displayed along with Maximum Operating Depth (MOD), gas content, and PO² values. The battery level is also checked.
If you’re between consecutive dives, your current tissue saturation is also included as part of these checks. The PLAN Mode shows your desaturation times based on your previous dives.
When in DIVE mode the current Depth, Surface Interval time, No Fly times, dive time and temperature are shown. AIR settings will show tank pressure pairing and the tank pressure alarm when paired with the wireless air transmitter.
Standard Alarms, Warnings, and Safety Stops
As we all know, Safety stops are part of good diving practice and are a critical part of most diving plans. The Suunto D4i and D4i Novo display two different types of safety stops – recommended and mandatory. There are audible and visual alarms that will alert you to important limits or when presets are being reached.
With every dive over 30 feet (10 meters), there’s a 3-minute countdown for the recommended safety stop. This stop is taken in the 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meter) range. A STOP icon and a 3 minute countdown is displayed.
The default setting of the depth alarm is set to 100 feet (30 meters). This can be adjusted or switched off.
Which actions will trigger High and Low Priority Alarms?
This is a full decompression computer, so it will show the stops required if you run out of decompression time.
Visual alarms include:
It’s important to note that if the backlight is set to OFF, the dive computer will not illuminate when an alarm sounds.
High Priority alarms will appear when:
Alarms for FREE DIVING will appear when:
- Defined depth is reached.
- Duration of surface time until next dive is reached.
Low Priority alarms will appear when:
- No-decompression dive becomes a decompression stop dive.
- Mandatory deep stop violated.
- Tank pressure reaches the defined alarm pressure or the fixed alarm pressure, 50 bar (700 psi).
- OLF value at 80% or 100% (Nitrox dive mode only).
- Defined maximum depth or the maximum depth of the dive watch is exceeded.
- Defined dive time exceeded.
Planning a No Decompression dive
The mode PLAN NoDeco is used to plan dives to avoid deco stops.
Enter the depth of your next dive into the dive computer. The dive computer will then calculate the maximum time you can stay at that depth without requiring a decompression stop during your ascent. Suunto dive computers include all dives taken over the previous 4 days when making their calculations.
What about the Logbook Memory, Bookmarks & Dive History?
The Suunto D4i and D4i Novo have a detailed logbook and dive history available in MEMORY mode.
Logbook contains a detailed dive profile for each recorded dive.
Sample Rate - The time between each data point saved in the log, is based on the sample rate. The default sample rate is 20 seconds which can be adjusted.
Logbook Capacity depends on the sample rate. Based on the default sample setting of 20 seconds and without the transmitter, the capacity is around 140 hours worth of dive time. With transmitter data, the capacity is reduced to a minimum of 35 hours.
If the dive computer memory is full, the oldest dives are deleted as new dives are added. In Dive History view, you can switch between SCUBA History and FREE DIVE History.
At any time during a dive, you can add a bookmark to the dive log.
The bookmarks can be viewed when scrolling the dive profile in the logbook. Each bookmark records the present depth, time, water temperature, heading, and tank pressure (if available).
SCUBA Dive History records a maximum of 999 dives and 999 diving hours. The counters reset themselves to zero when these limits are reached. Scuba Dive History shows:
- a summary of the dive hours.
- the total number of dives.
- maximum depths.
FREE DIVE History records a maximum of 999 dives and 99:59 diving hours. Counters are reset when these limits are reached. Free Dive History shows:
- deepest and the longest dives of all free dives.
- cumulative dive time in hours and minutes.
- the total number of dives.
Warranty and General Maintenance
All Suunto dive computers are covered by a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty. This doesn't cover normal wear and tear. The wireless air transmitter comes with a 12 month warranty.
To keep the dive computer performing as it should, it needs to be serviced at an authorized Suunto service center every 2 years, or after 200 dives. A standard service includes a general operational check, replacing the battery and a water resistant check.
Although they can withstand the rigors of diving, dive computers need to be treated with the proper care and respect. Protect it from shock, extreme heat, direct sunlight and chemicals. It should go without saying, but take extra care not to knock or drop it.
After using in salt water, always rinse in fresh water and a mild soap. Carefully clean the housing with a moist soft cloth or chamois.
Clean the water contact and depth sensors on the side of the computer using fresh water and a soft toothbrush. The water contact is what detects when the unit is submerged and switches it into Dive mode. After washing and drying, store in a dry place.
Take it to a Suunto service center as soon as possible if moisture appears inside the case or battery compartment, and never try to open the case of the dive computer.
What’s the difference between the D4i and the D6i Novo?
The D4i Novo and D6i Novo are Suunto's watch-sized dive computers.
The Suunto D6i Novo has a built in compass, can handle up to 3 gases and has a maximum depth of 150 meters. It also has a sapphire crystal display.
Suunto made adjustments to the D4i, and released the D4i Novo. The Suunto D4i Novo is a watch sized dive computer packed with features.
Air Integration is a nice touch but the transmitter can be added later on if your budget doesn’t quite stretch that far at the moment. Divers who’ve made the switch to wireless air integration, say they’d never go back. (Scubaboard.com)
Last Updated on August 30, 2020