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Announcing the SubGravity H3 - Powered by SeaBear

Discussion in 'Computers, Gauges, Watches and Analyzers' started by SubGravity, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. CCRMichael

    CCRMichael Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Utah
    You have to push a button. 1 button push will take you to where you can see time, date, altitude and compass. You can also access a stop watch. Then the screen will time out and go back blank to conserve battery power.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  2. DeputyTom

    DeputyTom Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Florida
    Depth doesn't matter ????? And it's not 1/16" variance. In my dives I've seen as much as 5' of difference with an average 2' difference. Accurate depth readings are very important to me when cutting backup tables for my mix dives as well as any dives I'm doing. On another note, when setting up O2, 96% to 100% yields a depth of 22'. You can't get 20', but you have to set for 95% which yields 19'.
  3. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    you should only see 1'/atmosphere difference between fresh and salt. I.e. in fresh water, you will be at 103ft instead of 99ft if your computer is set up for salt water. Hardly a significant difference, but there is a EU standard for depth which is 33.5ft where they average the two densities to make it "close enough" for most diving.
    Diving Dubai likes this.
  4. dmoore19

    dmoore19 Denizen of the PUB ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Colorado, United States
    The difference between fresh water and Salt water is .013 psi/ft or 1.3 psi/100 foot.
  5. RonR

    RonR Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Washington State
    Depth may matter if you're making a map, but your computer calculates decompression based only on pressure. Pressure readings get converted to depth for the display, and the depth displayed will vary depending on if the computer is calibrated for fresh, salt, or something in between. It may not match what you would get if you ran a measuring tape to the surface. But what density of water the computer is calibrated for makes no difference for its decompression calculations. It's for your viewing only. As others have pointed out, that's about a 3% difference- although different parts of the ocean will vary as well.

    Not all computers or sensors will be equally accurate, so you may see some variance in readings that don't have anything to do with salt/ fresh calibration. And when you cut tables based on depth, you are assuming some specific density of water. You can use feet, meters, or some other unit when doing that, but your computer is just looking at pressure when it runs its calculations.

    Long-John-Silver likes this.
  6. MixAddict

    MixAddict Nassau Grouper

    The H3 takes into account barometric pressure and altitude when calculating MOD. If you are at sea level you should find that the H3 calculates an MOD for 100% O2 to be 6 meters/20 feet. If you live at 4500 feet altitude where I live, the MOD for 100% O2 will calculate at 7 meters/22 feet. This is of course based on a PO2 of 1.6

    Kind regards,
  7. DeputyTom

    DeputyTom Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Florida

    All of of my diving is in Florida from the keys to the panhandle, with the majority being caves. Altitude setting on the H3 is 0.
  8. MixAddict

    MixAddict Nassau Grouper

    Please give me a call at the office and let's see if we can figure out what's going on with your computer. The number is 801-256-6608

    Kind regards,
  9. FindingMenno

    FindingMenno PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
    as mentioned in an earlier post, I started using an H3 recently. I promised a little review of the H3 after I got some more experience with it. Right now I have done about 20ish dives with it now, and 3-4 freediving sessions, and I think I can give you my first impressions.

    A bit of background about me so you can place my views on the H3 in the right perspective.
    Currently I am working as dive operations manager and dive instructor/guide on an expedition sailing vessel in the South Pacific/SE-Asia. My diving consists of doing recreational diving in tropical conditions. This is mainly no decompression diving on air. I’m very interested to start Tec diving in the (near) future to expand my diving skills and extend my reach underwater. Furthermore I also started to do freediving/apnea recently (when free time allows in between scuba dives…. ;-) ) as we have a freediving instructor on the ship.
    My previous (and first) computer was a Suunto Vyper which neared the end of it’s life at about 10 years and 900 dives due to a malfunctioning depth sensor (even 48 hour fresh water soaks didn’t help any more….)
    So this is my first hands on experience of a computer other than my previous Vyper (and 4 dives with a Galileo Luna I tried out once). I have not tried competitors like the Petrel, OSTC, xDeep, Divesoft, etc. (this is a bit difficult when working on a boat in the South Pacific…!).
    When I started looking for a new computer I was interested in one with a more advanced (color) screen, suitable for rec/tec/apnea, a more advanced/controllable deco model than Vyper (which seems to overly punish repetetive diving), a compass for backup and occasional primary use (I use Suunto SK7 wrist mounted compass if I know I have a ’navigation intensive’ dive), and possible air integration. On form factor I was looking for something not bigger than the Vyper as I feel for apnea and rec I wouldn’t want anything bigger.
    Also I should mention I always have had a strong interest in 'hi-tec’ gadgets (computers, audio/video, etc), so I’m easy to persuade myself to buy a piece of equipment which might be bit overkill for my actual usage (realistically, a Zoop or D4i would probably been sufficient for 99% of my diving!).

    Regarding the H3, I bought it on a special offer in Germany, with a free Trimix/CCR upgrade. This brought the price from close to 1000 EUR to around 775 EUR, bringing it on par with Petrel/OSTC3 pricing in Europe.
    The H3 is running on firmware 1.37, and the downloaded manual I have is v0.12.

    So what are my views on the H3, and what improvements or additional features would I recommend?

    + Compact size factor.
    + Price compared to other 'all in one’ computers such as Suunto D6i or DX.
    + Feature set (appears close with best such as OSTC3/Petrel).
    + Amount of information available on compact screen(s). I especially like the option between the ‘basic’ screen and ‘extended’, during the dive you can select to have the most significant information clearly presented, and switch to a second page if you need more extended/detailed information. I feel computers like Petrel/OSTC3 try to display a lot of information on one page, thereby sometimes making it appear cluttered and hard to distinguish the more important information. Also the compass screen is very clear.
    + Easily rechargeable battery, no compartments to be opened by user. Charges quickly (ca 2 hrs).
    + Potential to be a great ‘all in one’ dive computer - apnea, rec, tec.

    - Soft/firmware appears to need further development in functionality and user interface.
    - Price (unless special offer) compared to Tec computer competitors.
    - Resolution screen seems (is) lower than competitors.
    - Battery life seems to be limited to ca 6 hrs (think I did 4 dives at 45 min average and 45 min of freediving in 5 days when it reached the last bar on the battery indicator). For reference, I have the display brightness on ’7’ or '8’ which about the minimum to be readable in clear (shallow) water in the tropics. As I only did a few charge and usage cycles so far I a will try to monitor this some more to get a better feel for the battery life.
    - Sometimes too small/thin a font is used making it hard to read (for example ‘extended’ information page, deco schedule), especially if the font color offers a low contrast (red on black background).
    - The display is hard to read in bright conditions. This however might be general comment on TFT/OLED screens and not H3 specific. As mentioned please note I have not used a TFT/OLED screen dive computer before, and also I dive in tropical environments. I’m not sure if brightness is adjusted automatically using an ambient light sensor, it appears not to be. I could not find out if the H3 uses a optically bonded display or not which seems to make a difference in this aspect.
    - A personal preference, would prefer a bungee mount option available. I know this is available on the T1 and the H3 is more a watch design and thus has a strap, but would like bungees on the H3 too!
    - A potential issue: the lack of charging possibility if the USB cable gets lost/breaks. I requested a spare when I ordered my H3 but this was not available yet.
    - Maybe due to newness, but no dive logging software seems to be able to import data, I’m using a Subsurface beta release which should support the H3 CSV files. Furthermore the generated CSV files seem to be missing data. For example I did a 27:34 min dive (40 mtr deep wreck). The H3 manual and CSV fileheader state that the sampling interval is 5 seconds, thus 12 datapoints per minute. The CSV file generated for this particular dive has 330 depth data points. 330 depth data points divided by 12 datapoints per minute is 27,5 minutes so correct. However only one in 6 depth data points has corresponding NDL, TTS, Ceiling and Temperature data included. So that means that this data is only recorded once every 30 seconds (1 in every 6 datapoints at 5 sec interval per data point). That seems to throw off Subsurface, which only seems to read this fully populated one in every 6 datapoint (so at a 30 second interval) and then assumes that this is data at a 5 second interval, a difference of a factor 30/5 = 6. So the 27,5 min dive is recorded as a 27.5/6 = 4,6 min dive by Subsurface. Granted, this might be more of a Subsurface than Seabear issue, but for an advanced computer like this I would expect a better data sampling interval then once every 30 seconds (even my ten year old Vyper can be set to once every 10 seconds). Also the profile for apnea dives seems to miss data points when displayed on the logbook pag in the H3. It becomes a very rough/staircase profile as opposed to a smooth profile (see photo for a 1.19 min / 14.56 mtr dive). It appears to only use a datapoint every 5 seconds, which is the sampling rate for OC, as opposed to one every second which is the sampling rate for apnea mode.
    - Seems to fully reset (losing settings and tissue info) when ejected from my MacBook (have to test further if this is not user error). If I eject by pushing a button on the H3 my MacBook reports that the H3 was not ejected properly, although the H3 then seems not to reset.

    My initial conclusion: a decent computer, but I feel right now it still is slightly 'buggy’ and held back by the user interface and look and feel, which I assume can be mostly be solved with software updates. It feels a bit like still in development, which it probably is seeing the relative newness of Seabear and the H3.
    There are some trade-offs in hardware (screen size and resolution, battery size) made to get the compact form factor. I think it is a personal choice for each diver where their preferences lie, and if these trade-offs are acceptable in light of these preferences.
    Regarding price, with the discount it is in line with competitors such as Petrel and OSTC3.

    If you’re looking for a ‘watch’ size computer suitable for doing both rec/tec/apnea the H3 is a fine choice, on the assumption that some more development with regards to software is done. When I compare the price of the H3 to competitors in this specific field (thinking of Suunto D6i and DX) I believe it offers good value, I believe the Trimix H3 is slightly cheaper than the DX? If you compare the Nitrox version of the H3 to the D6i the prices are close together but then the possible growth opportunity to Trimix is a nice option compared to buying a new computer.
    If you want a computer for only tec use the Petrel and OSTC might be better choices, as the trade-offs of the H3 seem to have more negative impact for this use.

    For me personally, seeing my intended use for mainly rec and some apnea, the size of the Petrel made it a non-option, as the lack of an apnea mode. The OSTC3/Sport was a stronger competitor seeing my intended use. In size factor it is very close to my old Vyper, and it has an apnea mode.
    When I made my choice I was really torn between the OSTC Sport (as Trimix is less of an priority) and the H3. If I would have added Trimix/CCR as a priority I would probably have been torn between the OSTC3 and H3. In the end the compact form factor, the special offer, easy rechargeabilty (although in hindsight I’m still not sure if the integrated battery is a strength or a weakness...), potential future features (air integration, there has been talk of and also mentioned in the manual a GPS receiver already in the hardware?), and a bit of a geeky interest in the ‘new kid on the block’ pushed my choice to the H3.
    After using the H3 I have no regrets with the purchase (taking into account that it probably still is a maturing product) but am 50/50 on whether the OSTC3/Sport would have been a better choice. But then again, I would have probably wondered the same the other way around….

    What I would like to see improved, or added in features, is unsurprinsingly a result from my own initial experience with the H3, and seeing what some competitors in the tec field (Petrel, OSTC) and ‘all in one watch computer’ field (eg D6i) seem to offer. Please again note that I have no personal experience of the Petrel/OSTC/D6i, but what I could find from the manual when I was comparing computers previous to my purchase.

    On the soft/firmware side:

    Bugs that need to be fixed:
    *The possible reset issue (losing settings and tissue info) on ejecting from Mac.
    *Discarding short & shallow dives (say shallower than 1,5 mtr and 1 minute) from being written to the logbook or registered as the last dive. It is clear that these are not dives, but for instance the computer registering the diver entering the water from the boat (giant stride, back roll).
    *Correct the missing data points when displaying the apnea dive profiles.
    *A more aesthetic one, on the watch display several numerals (‘5’ and ‘7’) seems to be just a bit smaller than the others on the time display but seem ok on the date display? Looks a bit messy...

    Interface & menu improvements:
    *The red numbers (deco information), especially the smaller/thinner fonts, are hard to read especially in shallow water (brighter environment) due to a low contrast to the black background. Maybe make this a larger/thicker fonts, or a lighter (more orange?) color to improve contrast.
    *Display the next deco stop more clearly. It is now only shown on the decompression schedule page (which is a nice page BTW) but is somewhat ‘lost' there between the other stops and as a result of the smallish font used. The ‘basic’ and ‘detailed’ dive info page only show the ceiling and TTS information. Suggestions are; That this combined ceiling and TTS data switch to a single larger font deco stop countdown (as done for the safety stop) on reaching the stop depth; or on the page with the decompression schedule display the next stop in a larger font than the later stops (as is shown on some illustrations in the manual, see page 60 as opposed to page 54).
    *I feel the two decimal depth information is not really needed (I’m using metric units). I don’t believe that level of accuracy is needed (and whether it is actually that precise), and the constantly changing number is causing ‘unrest' in the screen. One decimal number should be good enough (as is shown in illustrations in the manual).
    *After a selection in a menu make a return to the previous (level up) menu page standard instead of going back the main (dive) screen (except maybe for a gas selection), this makes adjusting several settings in the menu a bit of a pain as you end up being thrown back in the main menu all the time.
    *I suggest an easier overview for the logbook, for instance a main page with approx 5/6 dives per page with one line with date/start time/depth/time per dive. In this way you can easily look back through your dive history and find the specific dive you are looking for. And once you found this dive, then select the dive to see a page with the details and a page with the profile (this is the way the OSTC does it and seems more efficient).
    *No time-out when viewing the logbook so that it jumps back to main (dive) screen, very annoying when I am reviewing/logging a dive with my guests and I end up being thrown back to the main page all the time...
    *Make it easy to mark a heading by pressing one button press when on compass screen, no need to go to a navigation menu.
    *Just an aesthetical request, a bit more detailed /‘nicer' looking battery status, for instance: 10% bars; a % indicator; a gradual bar, instead of very rough and slightly ‘cheap’ looking 1/3rd bars now.
    *Possibility to set the alarm clock from watch mode as well, so no need to start the dive computer mode.
    *Move (or add) temperature read-out to the detailed dive page, that seems a more logical place (and is shown there in the manual on page 60 and 64) than (only) the profile page during a dive.

    Feature requests:
    *Auto brightness adaption option for the display. But is an ambient light sensor present in the hardware?
    *Dive planner. Seabear state (after I contacted them before my purchase) that they feel this is not necessary nowadays as most people use laptops or apps for dive planning. That might be so, but I feel an advanced computer like this should have this option (all the software seems in place, competitors have it), and it is useful so you don’t need to get your tablet/smartphone/laptop out on a dive site, and most importantly your dive computer has your tissue information when planning a repetitive dive. (Remark, this review was written before being informed a new firmware was available, I don't know if the added dive simulation provides this feature?)
    *The @ 5min TTS forecast, what happens to TTS if I stay 1/2/3/4/5 minutes longer at the current depth.
    *Select the depth for last deco stop (3 or 6 mtr), a standard feature on most technical dive computers.
    *Selectable timeframe in which repetitive dives are counted as one dive and written to the logbook as one, for instance a (OC/CCR) dive starting within say 5 minutes (preferably user selectable time) from the previous is most likely the same dive.
    *An apnea countdown on the surface, with a beep when finished (see Suunto D6i)
    *An apnea ventiltion cycles timer (see Suunto D6i)
    *Apnea depth alarms (see Suunto D6i)
    *Selectable data sample rate for the logbook.

    In the actual hardware of the H3:

    *A bungee mount option, for instance a little adaptor you can place between the lugs over the springbar.
    *An ambient light sensor for screen (if not present already?).
    *A higher resolution screen.
    *Improved battery life (?).

    If I am somewhat harsh in my review of the H3 and the suggested improvements, it is because I feel a lot of things are relatively small things which can be relatively easily addressed with soft/firmware releases. I realise that no dive computer is perfect and we all can probably name improvements for each computer we use. Also I realise that Seabear and the H3 are relatively new to the market compared to competitors like Shearwater and Heinrichs Weikamp, and they need time to develop and mature the product. But right now I feel a bit of a ‘beta’ tester sometimes!
    But seeing this newness the H3 is a remarkable good effort, and I hope that Seabear will stand behind it and keep developing it to address the points I made. Also, if some of the comments made are a result of ‘user error’ feel free to correct me on this.
    See my comments as a well mentioned helping hand to make the H3 an even better dive computer, and make Seabear ending up on the shortlist next to the Petrel and OSTC for anyone looking for a new computer!

  10. THRASH

    THRASH Barracuda

    @Bolle.....nice write up. Good read. Thanks!

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