10 Reasons We Love the Garmin Mk2i

Not Just for Divers!

So, you are in the market for a new diving computer and want to ensure that you are spending your hard-earned money on the best piece of equipment you can afford. Some divers are happy with a basic fully functioning non-air integrated computer that provides them with their No-Deco time, depth, and safety stop. We have a wide variety of computers to suit all needs, but our instructors are specifically fond of the Garmin series. Not only is this a capable dive computer it is also an activity tracker with over 20+ pre-programmed activities, and a full smartwatch.

Like you, many of our customers wonder “what is the best dive computer”. Our professionals and instructors at Space Coast Dive Center know that this answer varies depending on the type of diving you are planning on doing, and how much you want to spend on a computer. While each individual answer may vary slightly, the majority of us believe that the Garmin Mk2i is the best computer on the market. You will appreciate the simplicity of the technology and the capabilities it provides during and after each dive. This is a computer that was designed by Divers for Divers.

In our professional opinion we believe that Garmin has put a great deal of thought and research into the development of this computer. We all appreciate the automation features and ease of use, but are the most impressed by the durability and versatility of this dive computer.

Our Top 10 Favorite Features:

Compact: Compared to many dive computers the Garmin Mk2i is extremely compact. It is comfortable on nearly every wrist. Did we mention that this dive computer also doubles as a smart watch? You can officially ditch your Apple or Samsung smartwatch! The case size measures 52mm, just 9mm larger than the smaller Mk2S. As you can see, this watch fits perfectly on Ashley’s tiny wrist. Should you be the traveling type, or a weekend ocean warrior, the size of the Garmin Mk2i will surely provide you with an ample sized smartwatch chalked full of features.

Air Integration: Probably one of the most outstanding aspects of this watch style dive computer is the air integration. When you pair with the Garmin Descent T1 transmitter (available as a bundle or ala’carte), the Garmin Mk2i becomes a full-service dive computer with the ability to provide you will all of the information you need in a single location. The Garmin Mk2i has the ability to read 10 separate transmitters up to 10meters away. What does this mean to you? You can track your dive buddies air, (whether that is your child, your significant other, or a student). Just plug a Garmin Descent T1 transmitted into their regulator’s first stage and voila, instant peace of mind. Are you a cave diver who prefers side mount, and wants to have an instant air readout on your stage bottle as you swim towards it? Are you a tech diver and look like the guy below?

GPS: Are you a diver that likes to take the GPS coordinates of each one of your dives? How would you feel about wearing a piece of equipment that does that for you, without any prompts? You will appreciate the sophisticated GPS capabilities of this computer. It automatically records the GPS point just before your head goes under, and when you pop back up after the dive. You’ll probably be surprised just how far you can travel on a drift dive. Not to mention that the Garmin Mk2i’s GPS features run off of Garmin’s sophisticated Global satellite system, providing you with the ability to save the GPS coordinates of your dives regardless of where you are in the World. This is Ashley’s favorite feature!

Easy to Read: You may think that the screen is small for a dive computer, but it’s packed with concise and straightforward information. We like to think of it as a small but rather mighty dive computer. Unlike many of its competitors, the Garmin Mk2i has a very bright screen. This allows each user to read important dive data (Pressure, Time to Surface, and No-Deco Time to name a few) quickly and without having to strain. The digital numbers are HUGE and read clearly, the N2 & ascent bars are brightly colored coded so you can quickly analyze your ascent rate and Nitrogen uptake.

Tap Feature: You read that right… you can tap to move through screens while you are diving. You will appreciate the novelty of tapping the screen to move between data sets while you are diving. This computer was specifically designed with every kind of diver in mind. If you were heavy dry gloves with liners, you can easily tap through the selection without having to guess if you are hitting the correct button or not. And let’s just be honest nobody really wants to have to play with buttons on their dive. Want to check your compass heading quickly, just tap… and then tap back to your air. While you may feel silly tapping away at your dive computer, don’t, it’s how the cool kids are diving these days.

Compass: Boy have we have seen some bad electronic compasses over the years. From laggy movement to huge discrepancies in headings compared to multiple analog compasses, the range of horrible electronic compasses is as vast as the Sahara Desert. This is not one of them. You can dump your analog compass as soon as you strap this baby on your wrist. Not only is the compass readout clear, it also has the fastest tracking we’ve ever seen on a wrist computer. You will find that it is just as accurate as your analog compass, thanks to Garmin’s years of research and development in GPS & geospatial technology. Our favorite feature of the electronic compass is the fact that you can easily set a heading, and  it will automatically show you the reciprocal! Goodbye to turning that bezel and second guessing your memory at depth.

Battery Life: Only one other computer has exceeded the battery life of this computer, the Uatech Luna (still kicking on the same battery 8 years later). If you are an average diver & weekend warrior, you will enjoy the long battery life. On average we are charging ours every other week. This computer recently went to Grand Cayman, where it spent 7 days diving (4+ dives a day) and came home with 42% battery life. This is a fantastic computer if you are a World traveler and spend time on land and the sea.

Garmin Pay: Remember when we said that the Garmin Mk2i is a fully functioning smartwatch, as well as dive computer? Well, that means it also has a pre-installed payment widget that allows you to tap to pay at any point of sale device that supports the tap feature. You know you love having the ability to tap to pay for things. There is just something chic about pulling up to the airport parking lot payment kiosk and reaching your hand out of the window to pay for a week’s worth of parking. You can also pay for more dive gear… 😊

Easy to Use: If you enjoy difficult to use dive computers, then this is not the computer for you. With a few simple button pushes you can easily change almost every single feature on the Garmin Mk2i. Need to change O2 % for your next dive? Need to pair another transmitter? Want to see the tides at your favorite dive spot? Going kayaking in the morning and then yoga in the afternoon? Each function is available to you with just a few clicks of a button or two.

Garmin Dive App: You will love this app! How do we know? Bbecause we love this app. As long as you have your phone’s Bluetooth enabled & your Mk2i is in range, the computer will automatically download your dive data once it is in range. This means that you will have immediate access to your dive data directly after each dive. Each dive will include a readout of the GPS coordinates on a map, a general name that you can edit, you’re starting and ending pressure (if enabled), and a plethora of other dive data to satisfy even the hungriest dive nerd out there. Want to know what your SAC rate for each dive was? Need to know just how much pressure you used per minute? It’s all there. But this app acts not only as a way to track your dives, it is also a place to find new dive locations and connect with a local diving community.

Whether you are an active individual who dives occasionally, or a full-time professional whose dive gear is rarely dry, the Garmin Mk2i has something to offer. It’s beautiful and rugged style hides the hard-core technology that Garmin has packed into this dive computer. In one day, you can go from Paddle Boarding to jogging to diving, without changing your watch. While the $1,850 USD price-tag is at the higher range for a dive computer, the Garmin Mk2i is worth it. Why settle for a computer company that dabbles in dive technology when you can invest in a trustworthy company dedicated to excellence in Geospatial technology and activity tracking. Stop by the shop and try on one of our models.