Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer Review
When starting to think about the Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer Review, I figured with so many features, I wasn’t going to be able to explain all of them without this being as long as Lord Of The Rings. A quick scan through the Spec List will show you what I mean. I have owned loads of dive computers over the years. They have come a long way since my first Uwatec Aladdin Sport, which had wet contacts instead of smooth, positive buttons. So being a typical diver, I just grabbed the computer and started pushing buttons like I'd owned it for years.
The first thing you notice is the full colour, crystal clear TFT display, three buttons and a logical menu structure that you can actually navigate without referencing the User Manual. The buttons are very responsive and the menu items are displayed in bright green on black background; when you scroll up and down, the chosen menu item turns white, making it very clear to see what you are selecting. When you select an item to change or adjust it flashes. This means you are unlikely to change something accidentally while scrolling through the menu. Someone has actually made a real effort to make this easy to use, which is a refreshing change.
The Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer is described as “Complex made easy”. This is a great way to describe it. The simple bit is the user interface, menu and Divelog+ App. The complex bit is the decompression algorithm which is based on Bühlmann ZHL-16C, noted as “an algorithm for the safety-conscious diver”. The good news is, you don’t need to worry too much about that bit (unless you are a geek like me and really interested in decompression algorithms).
The Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer has three modes including Dive Mode, Gauge Mode, and Freedive Mode, a rechargeable battery, air integration for up to 4 transmitters at once, 4 gases up to 100% O2 and full Bluetooth functionality, allowing easy set up of your dive computer from your smartphone. There is way more than that too, but we will get into that in a moment.
Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer Review: UnboxingThe Aqua Lung i770R & Transmitter (transmitter sold separately) comes boxed complete with the following:
- Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer
- Aqua Lung Transmitter
- Download/Charging Cable
- NATO Wrist Band
- Bungee Kit
- Lens Protector
- Quick Reference Card
- Digital Instruction Manual
- Paper Safety Reference
- DiverLog+ Brochure
The simple to follow Quick Reference Card explains step by step how to navigate the menu. I didn’t even notice this at first, as I simply pulled the computer out of the box and started playing with it.
Wrist Strap & Bungee Mount
The Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer comes fitted with the NATO Wrist Band, which is substantially stronger (and more secure) than a standard rubber strap. So, what is the first thing you do? Put it on your arm, press buttons randomly and grin at the rest of the dive team who are stood there rolling their eyes at you saying “How on earth did you manage to get one of those to try?” The NATO Wrist Band is really comfortable worn on a bare wrist. While test diving the computer, I chose to use this strap as I wanted to see how it performed. It did what it said on the tin. I was diving in a shorty, full wetsuit and drysuit depending on the type and depth of the dive. It worked just as effectively over both a wetsuit or drysuit. Long term, I would probably swap the NATO Wrist Band to the Bungee Mount, as these style wrist mounts are my personal preference. Bungee mounts make it easier to put your computer on before a dive, allows for compression of neoprene, minor suit squeeze when wearing a drysuit, and ensures your dive computer stays secure at any depth during your dive. It’s a nice touch that Aqua Lung decided to include one of these as standard.
Diving The Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer
There are so many features on this computer, I am not going to cover EVERY single one of them, as you wouldn’t sit here and read them all. Main areas discussed are:
- Menus (Surface & During The Dive)
- The Display
- Diver Configurable Alarms
- Air Integration
- Power & Battery Life
- Diverlog+ App & Bluetooth
When you turn the computer on, the first menu you see is the HOME MENU that includes:
- MY INFO (Personal Info)
- DC INFO (Dive Computer Info)
- SETUP (Display, Date-Time, Language, Bluetooth)
- MODE (Dive, Gauge, Free)
- HISTORY (Summary of basic data recorded during all DIVE and GAUGE)
- LOG (Log stores Information from DIVE and/or GAUGE)
For those of you wanting to use this for Freediving, these dives are not shown in History or the Log Mode, this dive data is only visible using the Diverlog+ app.
Menus (During The Dive)
When you turn the computer on, the first menu you see is the HOME MENU that includes:
- MAX DEPTH (Maximum Depth of Current Dive)
- DATE (I am guessing you can work this out)
- TIME OF DAY (This was surprisingly useful actually)
- TEMPERATURE (Can be changed from F to C)
- ELEV (Elevation, so if you are at Sea Level or Altitude)
- O2 SAT (Percentage Oxygen saturation from 0% - 100%)
- CURRENT PO2 (Oxygen Partial Pressure of the gas you are breathing)
This is all useful dive data, but I am glad that they were put as Sub-Menu items, as it means the main dive screen is less cluttered.
Ease of use underwater has to be one of the major factors influencing my opinion of a computer. Yes, of course, navigating the menu is important, but it’s wholly irrelevant how easy it is to use on land if the computer isn’t clear underwater. The Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer has an ultra-bright, high-contrast, full-colour TFT display which is crystal clear in all conditions (yep I copied that straight from their website). The display also comes with easily adjustable brightness in 10% increments and has a diver adjustable auto-dim setting. This means you can adjust it for your specific dive environments.
During the test dives, I started running on 100% brightness with AUTO-DIM to 10% after 20 seconds. 10% was a little low in clear, bright, shallow waters. 100% is never too bright, but to conserve battery a little I adjusted this to 90% - 40% with a 20-second delay. But you will find which works best for your current dive. Honestly, I loved this feature, something I hadn't used before, but I am happy I have now discovered on this computer. The lens protector that comes with the Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer works perfectly and is something I made sure I used, as I am slightly ham-fisted like most divers. It protects the screen without any reduction in screen quality or clarity.
Diver Configurable Alarms
The Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer has a number of user-changeable alarms. Having the ability to turn them on and off as and when you need them is great. There will be times where the alarms won’t be needed and historically I haven’t used them. But during the testing of this computer, I played with lots of features that I wouldn’t usually use.
The alarms menu offers you control over:
- AUDIBLE (ON or OFF)
- DEPTH (Set a maximum depth alarm)
- DIVE-T (Set a maximum dive time alarm)
- TURN PRESS (Set a turn pressure alarm)
- END PRESS (Set an ending pressure alarm)
- N2 Bar (Set a number of nitrogen segments to be filled)
- DTR (Set a dive time remaining alarm)
When any alarms sound, the computer beeps once every second for ten seconds. You can acknowledge the alarm at any point by pressing the SELECT button. Nicely, you can simply decide to turn all audible alarms off, which I personally prefer. This is complete in AUDIBLE settings on the computer or by the app (see image). The computer has a full FREE DIVE Mode with its own alarms, which emit multiple beeps multiple times that cannot be acknowledged or set to OFF.
I have owned a transmitter in the past, but never really got into the habit of using it as I was forever switching between singles, twinsets, sidemounts, and rebreathers. While testing the Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer, I focused on using the transmitter more consistently. I chose to use an analogue gauge (SPG) as well as the transmitter. Mainly because I am a dinosaur who doesn’t entirely trust battery technology. But there was no need to worry – not just did the gas pressure from the transmitter match the SPG every single time, but the transmitter option allows you to confirm your gas pressure in 1 bar increments. I have to say, having the GTR (Gas Time Remaining) on screen was good. Knowing how long your gas will last is really useful and makes a difference. This is worked out by analysing your current breathing rate and adjusting it for your current depth. Nice to know. I played with this a lot. Breathing hard means your GTR will reduce as you use more gas. Slowing your breathing rate down and relaxing makes your gas last longer. We know this, but having it displayed in a number of minutes is useful (and pretty cool).
The smart people at Aqua Lung have even come up with a solution for those of you with only one high-pressure port on your first stage or choose not to use an analogue gauge. They have added a LOW TMT (TRANSMITTER) BATTERY WARNING LEVEL and ALARM LEVEL. The Warning Level activates when the transmitter voltage drops below 2.7 volts and displays a graphic TMT LOW BATT is displayed on a yellow background at the bottom of the screen, but it allows the transmitter to keep functioning. When the transmitter voltage drops below 2.5 volts, the graphic TMT LOW BATT is displayed on a red background at the bottom of the screen. Transmitter operation continues until the battery drops to a nominal voltage. When this happens a Lost Link Warning will display on the screen. The Aqua Lung Transmitter pairs to your computer for life (you can change these if you need to, but I can't see why you would). You are also able to connect up to 4 transmitters direct to your computer, so running sidemounts fully air integrated is now a very viable option. When setting up your computer before the dive, the computer even tells you the state of the battery on each of your transmitters in the TMT menu. Nice!
The computer has a rechargeable lithium battery. These are the same type of battery as you will find in a smartphone. Something that I really liked was that the battery life is displayed on the home screen as a percentage of battery remaining. Obviously I would recommend keeping your computer charged when going diving, but this is testing the unit, so I allowed it to drop lower than I would usually. I dived the computer all the way down to 6% (I always dive with two computers anyway). The manual suggests you can get around 30 hours of dive time at 100% brightness before needing to recharge the computer. This feels pretty accurate. But the amount of time I was messing and playing with features between dives, downloading, updating gases, and settings I probably had a little less (but not much) than this. The screen on the Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer is the biggest draw of power and using it on full brightness reduces the interval between charges. The screen will automatically go into a sleep mode after 10 minutes of inactivity to conserve power. Pressing any button will wake the screen up again.
Charging The Battery
The Aqua Lung cable is a standard USB fitting and the computer can be charged off any USB charging device. The manual says that charging the computer "will take an average of 1.5 -2 hours with a wall charger and 3 - 4 hours charging from a personal computer's USB port.". I used a desktop computer and plugged it into the wall to charge the unit during the test dives. So back to my 6% power. I set up my dive gear, turned on the gas, and got the LOW BATT warning on the computer. Time to charge the computer, so I went off to the office, plugged it in, and hoped for the best. In around 45 minutes the computer charged around 30/40%, more than enough for my day's diving. This was way faster than I had anticipated.
Bluetooth Download & Diverlog+ App
At first I thought the App was going to be a little gimmicky, but I was wrong. This app is probably the easiest way I have found of updating your dive computer settings. Divelog+ allows you to update your personal info, language settings, full display controls on the computer, time and date, all your diver alarms, gas and transmitters and all your utilities. It is really comprehensive. Connection via Bluetooth couldn't be more simple. The dive log has a number of nice features including linking images, videos and allowing your buddy to sign the log. You can also share your dives straight to social media from the app.
- Rechargeable lithium battery
- High-visibility Thin Film Transistor (TFT) colour screen with an easy-to-use interface
- Colour screen. Ultra-bright, high-contrast, full-colour TFT display, with easily adjustable intensity for perfect clarity and battery savings when a high-intensity screen is unnecessary.
- Easy-to-use interface. Monitor all your key information with the intuitive menu structure. The Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer intuitive 3-button navigation interface allows for easy settings preview and updates.
- Bluetooth data transfer to the Diverlog+ app*
- Using your smartphone or tablet, the Diverlog+ app (available for iOS and Android) allows you to wirelessly interact with your computer via the latest Bluetooth Smart technology.
- Remotely control all your computer settings, view Log and Profile data, add location, notes, and other details. You can also store, share photos, and videos of your dive.
- Hose-less gas integration. Our patented Gas Time Remaining Algorithm provides calculations in real-time, allowing accurate gas management.
- Compatible with 4 different transmitters and nitrox mixes on a single dive.
- Paired-for-life transmitter. Once you pair your transmitter to your Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer, it’s done—there’s no need to ever pair again.
- 3-axis full-tilt compass. Easy-to-read compass graphics, with a compass bearing lock and reciprocal heading for easy navigation. An alternate compass bar can be displayed on the primary dive screen with the touch of a button.
- Multiple gas capability manages up to 4 Nitrox mixes (with 4 transmitters), each with individual PO2 set points
- Audible alarms and colour changing segments provide cautions and warnings for additional safety
- Automatic altitude adjustment ensures an accurate profile
- Included adjustable bungee wrist mount and NATO band
- Pre-Dive planning feature allows a preview of planned dives to maximise your next adventure safely
- Automatic Safety Stop Countdown displayed in minutes and seconds for clarity
- Battery status indicator for both computer and transmitter
- 4 operating modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge and Free Dive, so it’s up for any adventure
- User-updatable software gives access to the latest features and upgrades
- Optional deep stop with countdown timer
- Salt or freshwater dive selection
For an even more in-depth analysis of the features check out the Aqua Lung website.
The Aqua Lung i770R Dive Computer: Conclusion
I had never dived with an Aqua Lung computer, so I had no idea what to expect. I also had no idea what the computer looked like before it arrived or how it worked. After completing over 40 dives in around 3 weeks, I now have a very good handle on this computer. Aqua Lung has addressed some problems that other dive computers face. They have clearly embraced the way the end-user (you) uses technology on a day to day basis with the smartphone app. Bluetooth Download and Settings Adjustment have never been as simple. The dive screen has been cleared of clutter and only displays information that is critical to the dive.
Additional information can be viewed quickly and easily from within the menu. The contrasting black background, rather than a grey, allows real emphasis on the coloured numbers during a dive. Not trying to cram all the detail onto the dive screen was a really smart idea. If I want to know the water temperature or the time of day I can find it with one button press. But in all honesty, these aren't critical to the mission of a dive at every glance.
Complex made simple. Yeah, I would go with that. Would I recommend this computer? Yeah for sure. If this is the way the future of Aqua Lung dive computers is going, then you are going to be seeing more and more of these at dive sites and on the back of dive boats around the world. This computer does everything that you could want from a dive computer and probably more than you realised you would want too.