Reviews

Seabear H3 Dive Computer (Smart Watch)

I am really old school when it comes to computers regularly buying up and using VR3 units, however I decided to look at a more compact unit to use in specific dive applications.

In the dim and distant past when I had reasonable eye-sight I used one of the Sunto D6 computers but with my advancing age I decided to go for something nice and simple or should I say big and bright!

I did a little research and decided to 'treat' myself to what is really the entry level watch from Seabear, a company which I hadn't heard much about until looking at their computer. A review of the guys that are Seabear indicated that they certainly knew their stuff. So with confidence that the company knew their field I went out and bought the H3.


I always find it hard to gauge the size of a computer from given dimensions, 'hey the watch' is 47mm square', erm how big is that actually on the wrist? Well gauge for yourself!

seabearwrist

The computer 'on wrist' (in civvies)

seabareon suit

The computer on wrist suited up

seabaretotal

Planning a dive

How does this size compare with other 'smart watches', oh yes Seabear have marketed the watch as not only a dive computer, quite a good move as the market is huge.....oh yes it's slightly larger than the Apple version which is 5mm smaller. Sizewise I like it, the same sort of size as other smart watches and not a 'chunky lump' like the sunto dive watch/computers which are a bit 'hey I'm a diver' for my liking!

The screen is pretty much the same size as the given 47mm so not a lot of lost space and all of the display is used, the characters are 9mm high and on the bright OLED display there is no chance of making a mistake even in reduced uk visibility.

seabearscreen

One of the default screens

The watch is a sealed unit with the battery being charged via a USB charger, so you can either connect up to your computer and charge up whilst downloading logs and uploading firmware or use a simple wall socket which has the pre-requisite electronics to supply the correct voltage to the computer.

Now for my bug-bear feature, the man machine interface, in this case a rubber strap! To accomodate dry-suit wearers seabear have included a strap extension, I found that this wasn't needed in the real world with the strap being plenty long enough to go around my compressed neoprene suit wrist seal. My issue is that there is no possible anchor point for a secondary restraint or lanyard, this is not a unique complaint it is relevant to the suntos and some of the more computery computers. I think that it will be possible to slip a thin, plastic coated wire behind the strap attachement and crimp it into a secure loop onto which I can fasten a lanyard pre-dive.

I can understand why Seabear have not included this potentially 'ugly' feature into the nice smoth lines of the watch but with a little forethougt it would have been possible to add a small recess easing the passage of the wire without making the computer/smart watch un-appealing to the non-diving buyer.

Currently there appears to be no plan for Seabear to supply any metal bracelet for the watch and I am not sure if it would be of any benefit, certainly the rubber strap is fine for diving, if only there was somewhere to fit a bloody secondary restraint!

The Seabear H3 is supplied without a thick and unreadable manual, did any of my readers actually read the paper manual for some of the older dive computers? The manual is available

Menu Options

I have only looked at the menu option which are of interest, you can of course adjust the screen settings times etc, whilst the stopwatch and navigation menus are pretty much self explanatory, aren't they?

Oh except the compass on the navigation is excellent and there is the option of 'tilting it' to make it easier to read at an angle, I used to think that the galileo had the best e-compass I had used, well this one is better (but overall the galileo wasn't to my liking)

Logbook

Logs of dives are retained on the computer although these can be downloaded if you really want to analyse your diving further or investigate a problem, Seabear also state that firmware upgrades are available free of charge from their website. The logs detail everything you want to know about a dive, with one screen showing the dive in a graphical format whilst the other detailing depths, times, gases and water temperature.

seabearlog

Dive Log

seabeargraph

Graphical display of a different dive

Modes


The mode menu allows you to set-up the computer either as a dive computer with all functions enabled, an apnea computer or a simple bottom timer although for this last function I am sure there are cheaper alternatives. As for its suitability for Apnea, I am no expert but the computer is thin and streamline so I assume would be eminently suitable.

Gas

The gas menu offers the option of setting eight mixed gases, with the more common nitrox mixes appearing as defaults. Using this menu it is possible to swap gases during the dive with your decompression obligation changing when the 'richer' gas is selected. It's a relatively common feature but invaluable and it's nice to see that Seabear haven't gone into a 'peeing up the wall competition' with a multitude of potential gases. Most divers would carry only two or possibly three with the additional possibility of a fourth being stored at the deco trapeze, why would your computer need more than eight gases?

If you are in the market for a dive watch style dive computer you may wish to consider, the following:-

Sunto DX, the only sunto model with similar CCR options but much more expensive;
Oceanic OC1, top of the range for the oceanic brand, with more functionality but not as wearable in public; and
Mares Matrix, big and even less functionality than the others:

You also need to note that none of these 'competitors' has a OLED screen meaning that this visibility and readabilty is compromised in poor visibility or for those who are....richer in years.

Richies rating : 9/10 : If you are a diver looking for a smart watch style computer this is the one, the only down-side is the lack of options for a secondary restraint to minimise the chance of loss whilst diving.

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