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My dive computer is the only piece of my scuba gear I can keep close to me every day. I use it as a watch; it is my link to the ocean, reminding me my next dive is only a matter of time.
While I can’t do this with the i330R, it was, nonetheless, love at first dive. Saying the Aqualung i330R changes everything for me underwater is an understatement. On the one hand, the Aqualung i330R will be my main dive computer from now on, thanks to all the situations it helps me handle; on the other hand, I’ll keep wearing my i200C on my wrist outside of the water and as a backup computer.
From drysuit diving in Brittany to wetsuit diving in Gran Canaria and Port-Cros National Park in France, I have scuba dived 27 times with it so far. If you are wondering if this is a better option than the Shearwater peregrine colour dive computer (since it’s much cheaper), here is my experience.
Please note that for the purpose of taking pictures for this article, I sometimes wore my dive computer on my left arm (the shutter button of my camera is on the right). Still, it’s definitely a better idea to wear it on your right arm: when ascending, you can both control your BCD’s direct system with your left hand while keeping an eye on your dive computer on your right arm.
Aqualung i330R main features
Before getting into the details, here is a quick summary of the main noteworthy features of the i330R dive computer:
- Bright colour screen with a lens protector included (already installed)
- Case dimensions: 5.5×5.5×2.0 cm (2.2×2.2×0.8 in.) approximately, relatively compact even if slightly larger than a dive watch
- NATO strap: rugged woven nylon strap with 5 metal buckles, one-piece strap that goes below the case for added security.
- 3 operating modes: Dive (Air/Nitrox), Free Dive, Gauge (depth gauge & timer only)
- 3 gas mixes: switch between up to three gases underwater, from 21% to 100% O2
- Operating water temperature: -2.2°C to 35°C (28°F to 95°F)
- Maximum functional depth: 100 m (333 ft.)
- Automatic altitude adjustment: starts from 916 m/3,001 ft. above sea level to a maximum altitude of 4,270 m/14,000 ft.
- Battery life: 30 diving hours, rechargeable
- Battery charger: USB type A / micro-USB type B cable with a magnetic adapter
- Menus only available in English
1 – No more last-minute battery missions before travelling
I’m sure you can also relate to how frustrating it can be to change the battery of a dive computer before a trip. At least, I could change the battery myself with my previous Aqualung dive computers, the i450T and the i200C: I just need to stock up a few CR2430 batteries. But before that, I had to bring my Suunto D4i to a dive shop to make the change. It was expensive (50 to 80€), and I had to anticipate a 2 to 4 weeks delay.
Hopefully, we’re moving away from single-use batteries as all our electronics are getting rechargeable. Knowing I can recharge the i330R anywhere, even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is taking away a lot of worries (hello New Caledonia).
For my 3 trips this year, I had to recharge the i330R at the beginning of each one. I only recently realised I had left the Bluetooth function activated the whole time. I could also have saved the battery by lowering the screen brightness setting, which I had put at the maximum level.
However, given how easy it is to charge it (2 hours full charge from a power socket, and 3 to 4 hours from a laptop USB port), I prefer keeping a super bright screen: Recharging once before each trip is not bad at all!
Just so you know, the Aqualung i330R is delivered with a micro-USB type B cable, the same as most Android smartphones, which is connected to an adapter that you place between the case and the strap of the dive computer where you see 4 metallic circles. The adapter and these connectors are magnetic, so they stick together.
Important: the USB cable doesn’t come with a power adapter. You can reuse your adapter from your smartphone, any power bank or your laptop.
My recommendation? Invest in a travel multi-USB charger; when hotel rooms lack power sockets (they often do), it does wonder to be able to charge all your electronics at once.
2 – Intuitive, large and colourful screen to beat nitrogen narcosis
Having a colour screen on a dive computer could have been just another show-off gadget. It is not. From my very first dives with it, I realised something: I wasn’t looking at my computer 2 or 3 times in a row to make sure I had correctly read all the parameters. When diving deeper, undoubtedly due to at least a mild nitrogen narcosis, it can go up to 5 times.
I found the colour code (white, blue, green, yellow or red) to help my brain make sense of each parameter. It is even easier to read thanks to the brightness and contrast of the screen.
Once you’re back at the surface, the Aqualung i330R displays the last dive parameters (max depth and bottom time) directly for 10 minutes without any necessary action. This way, you can share your parameters with the crew without wondering where to find them. After the 10 first minutes, the surface interval counter returns, and you only need to push the top button to see the parameters again.
Reading is intuitive, but general navigation is too when adjusting settings or consulting the dive plan or the logbook. The large screen allows using icons for each settings menu. Days when you had to guess what the code meant to navigate the menu are over!
The Aqualung i330R uses a 2-button navigation system. With one long press on the bottom button, you enter a menu or confirm a setting. With a long press on both buttons, you come back to the main screen. It was so straightforward that I must say I hadn’t opened the manual before writing this article.
2 – Dive parameters are always lit in the dark
Whereas you scuba dive at night or in low visibility conditions that look like you are night diving (hello Scotland & Brittany), I’m sure you already had a moment like, “where the h*** is the backlight button?”. Even once you find it, you have to push it and then have only a few seconds to make all the readings you need before just pushing it another few times.
With the i330R dive computer, this nightmare is over since the screen is always on. On my second dive in Gran Canaria, I went for a 75-minute night dive in pitch-black conditions (close to the new moon). I like night diving, but I’m always feeling a bit anxious about it. I realised my biggest concern was not knowing what depth I was at any moment.
This time, thanks to the i330r dive computer and its bright screen always on, I never had such a relaxing night dive as I could quickly check my depth anytime I had a doubt if I went too deep or too shallow.
4 – Diving in a drysuit without an extension to your dive computer
If you have been reading this dive blog for a while, you know how much I love drysuit diving. It gives me the superpower of scuba diving anywhere any time of the year, without turning into an ice cube.
However, after fixing all the details to make my drysuit dives comfortable, there was still one bothering me: the length of the bracelet of my dive computer was always too small with my Fusion drysuit.
My Suunto D4i came with an extension bracelet, so I kept using this one when wearing my drysuit. But even if conservative is good for a dive computer, Suunto computers are incredibly conservative, way too conservative. When I wanted to use it again as a backup dive computer for my scuba diving road trip in Brittany, I realised the plastic extension had broken! I let you imagine how pissed I was. So, I decided to wear my i200C attached to a D-ring of my BCD as a backup computer.
This is why the NATO strap of the Aqualung i330R is so good: first, you have enough length to go around any thick suit; if you wonder what happens if you have too much length left, no worry, there are 5 metal buckles to put it away neatly.
Beyond the fact you won’t need an extension to your dive computer bracelet, the rugged woven nylon strap, similar to a car safety belt, is virtually unbreakable. It could be the biggest innovation the i330R is bringing beyond the colour screen.
5 – Connecting the Aqualung i330R to the DiverLog+ app
The last reason I wanted to highlight is not brand new since I started using the Bluetooth function and the DiverLog+ app last year with my i200C dive computer. However, I’m still marvelling at this new possibility, so I thought it was worth mentioning.
The Aqualung i330R uses Bluetooth 5.0 data transfer to connect with the DiverLog+ app on your smartphone. You can download it for free: iOS / Android. On the first use, you have to pair the dive computer up, but it only takes 30 seconds. You can have several Aqualung dive computers connected to your phone.
Every time you want to upload your dives wirelessly onto your smartphone, just remember to go to the “utilities” menu of the i330R and activate the Bluetooth function (don’t do like me, think about switching it off after the upload is complete).
The DiverLog+ app allows you to add information to each dive like the exact location, the equipment you used, your divemaster’s or dive buddy’s signature, or even upload some pictures or videos.
To write my blog posts, I love analysing the curve. It gives me precise depth and water temperature information for each moment of each dive. It helps me to correlate certain events or remember at which depth I found a certain marine species. Ultimately, the curve analysis can help you become a better diver, smoothing out depth variations as you descend or ascend.
Last but not least, you can share online your dive parameters, information and curves with your friend thanks to a link to the DiveCloud. Here are a few examples from some of the dives I did with my i330R dive computer:
- Swansea shipwreck, Brittany
- El Cabrón marine reserve, Gran Canaria
- Port-Cros National Park, French Riviera
Things to consider before buying the Aqualung i330R
Honestly, I haven’t found anything I didn’t like while using the Aqualung i330R. But I found the following points worth being noted if you are considering getting one for yourself or your favourite dive buddy:
- The i330R cannot be used as a watch: the computer goes to sleep after being used. You can reactivate it by pressing any button (note it also wakes up automatically once underwater at a minimum of 1,5 m deep for at least 5 seconds), but it doesn’t display time by default. You’ll have to keep it with your scuba diving kit.
- The main screen indicates “Surface” even before diving: Even if you haven’t been diving for some time, once you wake up the dive computer, it displays “surface” like if you were on a surface interval. It can be confusing (I was at some point), but actually, before you first dive, it indicates the total time since activation.
- The maximum internal memory is 24 dives: On the 25th dive, it will erase the oldest dive. So make sure to log your dives in your logbook or upload them onto the DiverLog+ app.
- The charger doesn’t come with a power adapter: I don’t think it’s a big issue, but it’s better to know it beforehand. I recommend getting a travel multi-USB charger.
I hope this Aqualung i330R review was comprehensive and answered all the questions you may have had about this colour screen dive computer. If you still have questions, please post them in the comment sections; I’ll do my best to answer based on my experience.
Do you need more information about scuba diving gear? Check these diving equipment reviews:
- Enter the LEG3ND: my review of Aqualung signature regulators
- Outlaw vs Rogue: full review of Aqualung minimalist BCDs
- The perfect scuba diving bag doesn’t exist?
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This article was written in partnership with Aqualung. As always, all my views and opinions are my own and reflect my experience honestly.
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