I wanted to write a short review of the new DeepBlu COSMIQ dive computer since there is really not a whole lot of information about this computer on the Internet.
A month ago I signed up to be a DeepBlu Ambassador so that I could evaluate this dive computer. The retail price of $299 puts it at a very competitive price point compared to other dive computers with color screens on the market. It is also pretty small, slightly larger than most Android or Apple watches. I could see people wearing it on dive trips when not diving although in my opinion it’s a little too large to be used an everyday watch.
I ordered it online from DeepBlu’s Store and it took about 8 days total to arrive. Not too bad considering it was shipped via DHL and processed from Taiwan.
Unboxing the DeepBue COSMIQ
At first appearance un-boxing the DeepBlu Cosmiq is like an Apple product. The packaging is small and well-designed. It comes with a nice padded carrying case, a USB charger, two screen protectors and a small manual. It also includes a small piece of bungee cord should you want to use a bungee mount instead of the provided watch strap.
Connecting to your phone / changing settings
Pairing with your phone is easy. I am using the Android app and it immediately notified me that there was a new firmware available (version .7) and it took approximately 8-9 minutes to upgrade my DeepBlu COSMIQ. All of the settings on the computer are changed and manipulated through the Android or iOS app. The computer itself syncs via Bluetooth with your phone to the DeepBlu mobile app. Using the DeepBlu app you can change settings like the date/time, set the computer conservative settings, setup alarms for depth/dive time and change your nitrox ppO2 settings (1.2 to 1.6 for alarms). As far as I can tell there is no way to disable or silence alarms.
The only settings you can change on the computer itself without using the mobile app are switching between dive modes (watch mode, scuba mode, gauge mode, freediving mode, divelog mode, and transfer mode) and your nitrox gas settings in dive mode (21% to 40%). There is also a NDL planner. The dive log holds 25 dives on internal memory so if you don’t plan on doing any more than that on a trip then you won’t really need to sync the computer with your phone immediately. The thing here is that the Deepblu COSMIQ is really designed to be paired with a smart phone especially for uploading your dive logs to their cloud-based social media service.
At some point it would be REALLY nice if there was a desktop application available or possibly third-party support for other dive logging software. For example, perhaps it can be made to sync with Subsurface (an open source dive logging software) in the future. I’m assuming DeepBlu would have to release some sort of API or it would have to be reverse-engineered. Right now my biggest concern is what happens to your dive logs if the company ever goes out of business and decided to shut down their cloud-based service for uploading your dive logs. Even the ability to export your logs would be very useful.
Unfortunately I’ve found the Android app to be a little buggy although it does work just fine. Right now you have to leave and go back into settings mode to change settings. It appears to only let you change one thing at a time. The Android app (and from what I’ve seen of the iPhone app) are both very feature limited. The iOS (iPhone/iPad) app is slightly more mature. One big issue right now is that the Android app does not support the ability to add a new dive site in their Dive Log application. This is pretty frustrating since I can’t really sync any of my dive logs without putting in a location (unless I want to put in the wrong one). The developers are aware of this limitation and plan to fix it in the next release of the Android software. Right now if you want to upload your dive logs to the DeepBlu app and the dive sites do not exist you’ll need to use the iOS app otherwise it won’t work.
So what about diving with the actual thing?
Thankfully it arrived the week before my trip to Cozumel so I took it on a few shore dives in New England. I was diving my rebreather but I left the DeepBlu COSMIQ in dive mode on air just to see what kind of NDLs it would give me. It’s very easy to read the display on this computer at night. In the future I’ll probably use it as a bottom timer when diving the rebreather.
The attached watch strap fits over my drysuit without any issues but I suspect a lot of people might opt to switch the strap out for bungee mount (a piece of bungee comes included for you to do this).
The temperature readings in the water were very consistent with my Shearwater Petrel and Oceanic dive computers however on the surface in the air they did not seem to be accurate but it was probably picking up my body heat. For my shore dives I did not go very deep so the NDLs didn’t really come into play.
I took the DeepBlu COSMIQ with me and dove with alongside my Shearwater Petrel (which I set to Low conservative mode 45/95 for Gradient Factors) to see how it would compare. I did 12 dives with it on total in Cozumel. I now have 14 dives total on my DeepBlu COSMIQ.
I haven’t really stretched this too far yet to be honest. When I did 3 dives a day I just plugged it in to charge at night. I was down to 2 bars at the end of doing 3 long dives (almost 4 hours of bottom time for comparison). For days where I only did two dives I just charged it every other day. The company claims 6 to 7 hours of continuous use and it seems to be pretty accurate. This wasn’t an issue for me at all but if this is your only computer you probably want to make sure you charge it every night so that it does not run out of battery on a dive epecially if you’re on a live-aboard and doing 5-6 dives a day..
NOTE: It appears that in the latest firmware the computer will alarm/warn you if the battery is extremely low. I never got to this point.
The DeepBlu COSMIQ computer charges with a provided USB cable. There are two contacts on the bottom of the computer with a magnet on the charger to hold it in place. Unfortunately I found the magnet to be pretty weak. If you move the computer around it can fall off the charger. Not a huge deal, just something to be made aware of.
Obviously the one downside to the DeepBlu Cosmiq is that the battery is integrated (actually, there is a compartment you can open but I’m not sure if it’s meant to be user-replaceable. I have not attempted to open it just yet.
DeepBlu COSMIQ uses a 2.2inch LCD screen with pixel-less EBTN technology. EBTN stands for Enhanced Black Twisted Nematic. It is a high contrast screen and it is very easy to read underwater. The disadvantage of this screen is that it is not very customize-able but it is great for displaying “digit” or “icon” images. The response time is also quite slow but for a watch or dive computer-type application it really is not a big deal.
Here’s a picture of what it looks like underwater (note the deco obligation 🙂
I think it is pretty easy to read compared to most “puck” or wrist-style dive computers. The numbers are large. It is not cluttered with a lot of information and it is organized and formatted very well. I would still give the edge to most real LCD or OLED computer like the Shearwater Petrel, Atomic Cobalt, or Mares Icon. Overall I found the screen to be nice but I did have some issues reading it in direct sunlight on the surface; It’s not an issue underwater at all. I also noticed a little bit of salt residue build up on the edges of the screen after multiple days of diving so I would definitely make sure to give this a good rinse. Even a 5 minute dunk in warm freshwater to remove salt crystals buildup around buttons and screen would be helpful.
According to manufacturer the decompression algorithm is based on the Bühlmann ZH-L16C model however they do not really document what changes or modifications they have made to it.
You have the option of changing the conservatism settings in the Deepblu app to Conservative, Normal or Progressive. The default is Normal. I have my COSMIQ set to Progressive mode. I really no idea how this compares to other computers that also use ZHL-16C with Gradient Factors. They don’t publish their NDLs but they do have a dive planner mode so that you can compare it to other computers. I haven’t done that yet.
I am used to running an Oceanic computer with the DSAT algorithm or a Shearwater using gradient factors 45/95. Both of these are considered aggressive / liberal compared to something like Suunto’s RGBM algorithm but they have always worked well for me.
In the 11 dives that I used the Deepblu COSMIQ in Mexico I went into deco and had a ceilings on 4 of them. Provided I stayed below the ceiling and completed my obligation the computer did not seem to “lock” me out. Some of these were pretty “aggressive” recreational dives where I was hunting lionfish for quite a while at 100ft using Nitrox. Honestly I don’t think a Suunto would have been very happy either. My understanding is the computer will display ERR in Dive Mode or Dive Plan mode if you are locked out but I didn’t experience yet since I was “good” and completed the required stops below my ceiling. Funny story time… I may or may not have gotten sick of the beeping noise and placed the computer at 20ft on a deployed Surface Marker Buoy and then went back down and then proceeded to do an additional 20 minutes of diving on my Shearwater 🙂
My Shearwater profile illustrates this pretty well but I admit to nothing. 🙂
I think for most dives the Deepblu would be fine but I will admit I purposely pushed the dives a little bit to see what the Deepblu COSMIQ would do.. It went into deco far sooner than my Shearwater and everyone else in the group who was using Oceanic computers. Hard to do an apples to apples comparison since these were all mult-level dives and people were at different depths in the water column.
In general it’s hard to make a direct comparison but even in Progressive mode I found the Deepblu to be a lot more conservative than say an Oceanic with DSAT or a Petrel running with GF 45/95. In some cases Shearwater will give more time than Oceanic depending on your depth. Sometimes even ascending 10ft (3.3m) makes a huge difference. Not so much on square profile. Obviously not always a good idea to ride this. I need to investigate and compare some of my dive profiles a little bit further.
So far I really like the Deepblu COSMIQ. It’s small and the screen is easy to read. I think it will make a good recreational dive computer or a bottom timer especially for the price. More time will be needed to assess it’s reliability with regards to flooding, battery life and general durability. Mine already has a couple love scratches on it but I am pretty hard on my gear. I only have 14 dives on it so far. Let’s see how I feel about it after 50-100 dives..
I haven’t really played with the social media aspect of the dive logging software too much yet since the Android application is unable to add new dive sites and unfortunately none of the dive sites that I commonly dive in New England are listed yet :-). I will admit it does make for some “pretty” dive logs.
Right now my biggest complaint is buggy software. I find the Android app a little wonky but thankfully all of that can be fixed in software as more features are added. There are also some poor English translations in the software, for example “Uploading the medias..”
I would also love to see some improvements in the firmware on the computer itself, namely the ability to disable audible alarms or perhaps silence / acknowledge them by clicking one of the buttons. Multiple gases would be nice but it’s really not needed for a recreational computer. Other simple things like the ability to switch from 24 hour time to standard 12 hour time.
Finally, the last couple things I would really like but they may be unlikely is third party support for other dive log software like Subsurface so that I do not need to store all my dive logs in the Cloud. Even a desktop or web-based version of their DeepBlu application would suffice for me.