Some divers and many fellow DLLers will remember the Uemis, a dive computer that, rather like Roy in Bladerunner, burned so very brightly for a short period of time before sadly passing into obscurity like tears in rain.
The thing with the uemis was that despite the fact it ended up spending most of its time not working, the OLED screen was a thing of beauty. I can still remember dropping below the 30m mark in Vobster, an experience akin to passing through the gates of hell, into a thick layer of black silt so dark that it swallowed the beam of my green force torch up and meant you couldn’t see your own hand in front of your face. But even there the uemis screen glowed clear, bright and visible and from that point on computers without OLED screens just didn’t cut the mustard.
I was very excited therefore to finally get my hands on a Liquivision computer. Here was a piece of kit not only with an OLED screen but also full trimix capability, something that ultimately never materialised for the uemis.
At first glance the Liquivision is not a pretty computer, it’s boxy, quite small and the screen is a bit pixelated unlike the slightly more high tec lines of the uemis. However as we all know looks only matter when you’re trying to sell an item of kit so top marks to the manufacturers there!
The unit is practical though, it comes as standard with a watch style strap, but also bungee to mount through holes on the side which is by far the best way to secure anything that costs lots of money to your wrist.
However, the most immediately different thing to note about the unit is the complete lack of buttons. Instead you use a tap method to navigate around the menus. This has the advantage of reducing potential failure points and also means you won’t be fiddling around with cold hands and thick gloves when trying to gas switch later in a dive. It takes quite a bit of getting used to but having now done a full deco dive with it I can say that it genuinely works and you’ll soon be flying around the menus as quickly as I’m now typing on this iPad in comparison to my fat fingered approach when first presented with a touch screen.
There are a huge range of settings on the computer but they’re all laid out in a sensible way. You can easily change things like screen and menu colours, which allows for endless fun and games when someone leaves it on the table, pops to the loo and returns to find it all set to pink.
From a teccies perspective setting gases is easy and ENDs, deco stop depths etc are all customisable.
When diving the computer is fantastically easy to read and you quickly forgive any slightly old fashioned looking fonts and pixelly boxes on the screen. When not in deco the computer functions simply and easily with ascent rates and safety stops all built in. Once in deco, the unit is easy to read and simply displays time to surface, ceiling and stop time in an easy to read line in the centre of the screen. Gas switches are very easy to do: When you reach the MOD you simply tap the top of the unit 3 times to bring up the menu and then tap to select the gas you want and confirm. I found this very easy to do despite the fact that the visibility at 20m was nil, my reel had jammed and disappeared and the reg I was using was delivering mainly water.
The Liquivision isn’t cheap coming in at about £770 although that makes it only a little pricier than a D6 with a whole range of extra features. Yes it does trimix which is fantastic but the main selling point of this computer, just like the uemis, is the screen. When Maxim and I were in Chepstow on Monday they’d had some mud slide into the water with the rain and the vis was seriously reduced in the shallows. This had the effect of making it very dark down at 50m but the Liquivision was bright, easy to read and reassuring.
If you want a tec computer then this is great but equally if you just want a computer with an amazing easy to read screen then this may also be as great option as well.