Suunto D4i Novo – dive computer for beginners or more?

Suunto D4i Novo black

Category of dive computers has in the last few years reached the point of division. On one side we have dive computers that have only one purpose - help divers under water.

Other category are dive computers which are not built only to wear over a diving suit, but also in combination with the regular "dry" clothes. 

Suunto D4i Novo is a perfect example of the tipping point reached. It brings strong and colorful design, but it doesn't have all the capabilities that you would expect from a Suunto dive computer. What is missing? Keep reading...

Suunto D4i Novo in a box

In my opinion, this is an entry level dive computer, despite the price tag. It will do the trick(s) under the water but it seems that its main role is to make you buy D6 or D9 series more easily.

Considering how reputation of Suunto has sunk since they settled in a legal action about faulty device, I would expect that they would offer more to their customers, even in the entry level product range. 

Suunto D4i Novo - quick facts

Suunto d4i Novo Black is a fabulous scuba diving computer that suits entry-level as well as well-experienced medium divers.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight design that makes it easy to use and daily wear
  • Multiple modes (Air, Free Dive, Nitrox and Gauge)
  • Optional Air wireless transmitter
  • Easy adjustment of the strap to ensure a tight and secure fit

Cons

  • No digital compass
  • It is not easy to use with thick gloves
  • The battery must be replaced at a Suunto service center
  • Price level above eg. Mares

Suunto history

Let's start with short overview of the producer. Suunto is a Finnish company, established in 1936., when the founder (Tuomas Vohlonen) patented a production method for liquid based compass.

Suunto logo

Interestingly, Suunto was from the beginning marked with lawsuits, as another company sued Vohlonen over the patent rights. All lawsuits ended up in Suunto's favour, and the company continued to develop new innovations and products. Over the years they launched:first diving compass (1965), first dive computer (1987) and first watch size dive computer (1997)... 

Ownership over Suunto changed over time, and at the moment they are part of Amer Sports, Finnish conglomerate owning, among others, Salomon, Mavic, Wilson, Atomic. 

Let's get back to our main topic now.

About Suunto D4i Novo

Suunto D4i Novo was introduced in 2014 and it's a new and improved version of old model Suunto D4i. It's now available in 5 different colors: Black, Lime, Pink (Sakura), Yellow (yes, different color than Lime!) and White. These 5 colors are available from the manufacturer's ecommerce shop, but 4 more colors are possible to find at other retailers (models are named Ocean, Copper, White Gold and Blue).

Suunto D4i Novo collection

If you decide to buy Suunto D4i Novo, beware of wrongly listed old models with a new name (it's a very common issue on Amazon and Ebay). Easiest way to be sure that you are buying the new model is to check if the buttons on the watch are metal

​What are the difference between Suunto D4i Novo and Suunto D4i?

The device itself is adapted to the needs of an average (and beginner level) diver. It is easy to handle while diving and has four different modes: 

  • Air
  • Nitrox
  • Free-Dive
  • Gauge 

It's possible to connect wireless air transmitter to control the tank pressure and keep track of the available air on display. Unfortunately (for divers, not for Suunto) it has to be bought separately, and the transmitter has to be connected to the first stage of the regulator.

Probably not many divers connect the transmitter with Suunto D4i Novo, as it is mainly intended for beginner to mid level of divers. If you would like to know how to connect wireless air transmitter - jump to the troubleshooting part of the review

D4i Novo's monitor is big enough and with that quite useful under water. It is divided in 3 areas, where top and bottom parts are LCD segments and used for displaying important information about the dive. Middle part is, on the other hand, made of dot matrix that enables showing information in more complex, but readable visualisations. 

Suunto D4i Novo on a divers hand

The watch screen displays the essential information, including current and maximum depth, dive time, time of decompression, current time, and temperature.

Freemode

When using the tool in freediving mode, to provide an accurate reading of depth in real-time, it will measure the depth 3x per second. After the dive, you can analyse in detail of your performance. From the start, timings, equalization problems or something else. 

Dot matrix middle segment of the screen will show you your dive time in minutes and seconds when you are in freediving mode. Freedive mode starts with manual activation, or automatic at 1.2m (and ends at 0.9m)

It has following settings:

  • Depth notifications - you can set up max. 5 notifications, with defined depth. Notification activates alarm, audio and visual (blinking blacklight). If you need help in setting it up - check the short step-by-step process for defining notifications
  • Depth alarm
  • Dive time alarm
  • Surface timer
  • Sample rate


Technical overview

Operated through 4 buttons

Ascent Speed Alarm

Full Depth Alarm

Dot Matrix screen with Backlight

Air, Nitrox (21 percent to 50 percent), Free-Dive and Off Mode

Deep Stop Options 

Dive Planner

Battery is CR2450 Lithium

DeCo model - RGBM

Diameter 50 mm and Thickness 16mm

Adjustable Altitude..

80 Hours Memory Power

The device allows mixtures of Nitrox with oxygen to be programmed between 21% and 50%. The PO2 limits can be set simultaneously between 0.5 bar and 1.6 bar.

The depth of operation ranges from 0 to 100 meters/0 to 328 feet. It will view and work at depths of 150 meters/492 feet in Gauge Mode. The D4i can also be scaled up to 3,000 meters/10,000 feet in altitude.

Dive Log and Connectivity

It has an interactive dive log that can record up to 140 hours of information about scuba diving. It can be transferred to your computer (both Mac and Windows) and then moved to the Suunto Movescout server where all your exercises can be monitored from all Suunto watches, including their dive computers. You can even add photos and videos of your dives for sharing with others in the uploaded logbooks.

Suunto D4i Novo in action

The database also allows future dives to be scheduled based on historical data. Dive log data can be extensively analyzed and presented in charts. It helps better choices to be made and warnings and dive times to be changed for potential dives.

Buying guide

On Amazon.com current price of Suunto D4i Novo is slightly below $500, which makes it noticeably higher compared to Mares (around $400) and Cressi Leonardo models. 

Benefit of buying through Amazon.com in this case is that you can buy it and pay in installments over 6 months. Honestly, real benefit comes from sleeping easier as you don't have to pay the whole sum at once... 

Have a look on available models and prices:

Final Verdict - should you buy this dive computer?

It is a well-balanced dive computer that offers almost all the features you may need. Only one element may be missing, the compass, but it will not necessarily be a problem for a recreational diver.

Apart from that, It is reliable diving equipment that can easily be used as a daily sports watch (it's missing countdown option though)

A great advantage is that your diving skills evolve with time. If you are a more experienced diver and you are planning more challenging dives, you will probably make an addition of the optional wireless transmitter. 

As said, I really don't think that many experienced divers will buy Suunto D4i Novo model, considering other computers available in Suunto's collection. As an example, you should check out Suunto D6i Novo model that has digital compass built in. 

Suunto d4 novo lime on a box

In case I am wrong (which I am ready to admit anytime), below you can find the direct link for the bundle of Suunto dive computer and wireless transmitter:

Troubleshooting area: few helpful information for existing owners

How to solve DM5 compability issues with MacOS?

Warranty Period for Suunto D4i Novo - things to know

How to change the battery on Suunto D4i Novo?

How to define depth notifications on Suunto D4i Novo

How to connect wireless air transmitter?

If you are like me and not very careful with user manuals for the device you bought, here you can find the digital copy of the manual for previous version of Suunto D4i (you will find that there were no major changes in how you use your new Suunto D4i Novo compared to possibilities of the previous generation)

Maybe you are more interested in a good old traditional diver's watch?

Phoibos PY015D – desk diver with a personality

About the Author Costanza

Author, contributor and marketer with interest in various topics. My first big interest are watches, especially vintage looking dive watches. Second pet project of mine is career consultancy for introverts (check it out at: costanza-rules.com). Reach out on Twitter or Facebook, let's have a chat!

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