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Welcome to Dive Gear Reviews, a comprehensive guide to scuba diving equipment. Scuba diving is an expensive pursuit, so looking up reviews for a particular article of equipment is a wise precaution before investing any hard-earned money in it. However, consumer reviews may or may not be written by an experienced diver, and magazine reviews could be suspect due to the advertising ties of the publication in question. Dive Gear Reviews provides cross-referenced reviews assembled by an expert, making it possible to see at a glance what multiple sources said about a particular piece of scuba equipment. If one magazine loved a scuba regulator or a dive computer, but the consumers hated it, that information will be found here.

Mares ICON HD/AI Dive Computer Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Mares ICON HD/AI Dive Computer Review Posted in: Dive Computers, Over $500

Updated September 25, 2014

British underwater photographer Charles Hood called the original Mares ICON “the iPod of dive computers,” and rightfully so. The computer earned massive plaudits from field testers and owners alike. Scuba Diving magazine named it a 2010 Tester’s Choice, Dive gave it a strong review with an 8 for value and a 9 for performance, and LeisurePro users rated it with 4 Flags. Mares followed up on that success by releasing a moderately improved, air-integrated version, the ICON HD/AI, which earned the 2012 and 2014 Tester’s Choice from Scuba Diving. As the two versions of the ICON HD computer are so similar, and both are still available on the market, we deal with them together.

The standout quality of this wristwatch-style dive computer is its strikingly clear, full-color LCD screen. The name of the computer is derived from its computer navigation system, which is based on using the four control buttons to pass through graphical icons, just as in any modern computer operating system. The result is a dive computer packed with features while remaining completely intuitive, while the color-coded data displays provide tons of safety information at a glance. The Mares ICON HD has an audible alarm, and supports regular air plus three different Nitrox blends up to 99%. However, that Christmas Tree of a screen comes at a cost, and the Mares ICON HD’s battery lasts only to a maximum of six dives before running out of power. Yet this is only a minor drawback, as the dive computer is chargeable via both an AC adapter and through a USB port.

The big change for the newer ICON HD/AI is the addition of air integration. Mares also made some minor software changes, adding more dive options and expanding on the functionality of the digital compass. Otherwise, it is the same award-winning, smartphone-like numbercruncher as the original ICON HD.

The one drawback to the Mares ICON series that appears with any frequency in the consumer commentaries is that the integration with your PC is not a simple plug-and-play. Some owners have found getting their ICON and PC into sync very frustrating, akin to trying to sync early iPods with a Windows machine.

Average Price: The ICON HD/AI is listed at $1,600, but is sometimes on sale for as little as $1,100. The original ICON HD is still available on the market, with the list price marked down from $1,200 to $1,100, but you can often find it marked down for less than $1,000. The bottom line on shopping for either of these computers is to look around for a while before you buy.