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- Initial Thoughts
- Why Get Your Own Dive
- Cressi Leonardo
- What Comes With It
- Background on Cressi
- The Competition
- Frequently Asked
The Cressi Leonardo dive computer is the first of its kind to be made by well-known Italian scuba diving brand Cressi.
The Cressi Leonardo is an elegant and simple machine that is ideal for beginner divers or those who want an affordable, uncomplicated dive computer.
Though it is the first dive computer to be made by Cressi, they appear to have got it right the first time around.
The Leonardo is easy to navigate with a large, informative screen that is still travel friendly.
In this review, we’re going to dive deep into the specs and reviews of the Cressi Leonardo dive computer to see if it’s your perfect match.
Let’s dive in.
The initial impression of the Cressi Leonardo dive computer is that it looks like a large wristwatch – not super sleek but still stylish. The screen is easy to read and the single button navigation is super simple.
The Cressi Leonardo is definitely one of the cheapest dive computers around and the price is incredible… But you get what you pay for. It is geared towards beginner and casual recreational divers and doesn’t have all the functionality you would expect from a more expensive model aimed at more experienced divers.
The Leonardo is Cressi’s first foray into the dive computer market and they have designed a great entry-level diving computer.
Despite its slightly inconvenient size, the affordable price, decently sized logbook, and the ability to wipe the memory after every dive make it ideal for diving novices or dive centers looking for rental computers.
Why Get Your Own Dive Computer?
If you’re a beginner diver, looking at all the scuba diving gear you need can be overwhelming. Whilst you can definitely buy it all in one big hit, it can be more cost-effective to prioritize your purchases.
Back in the olden days (ok, pre-2010), dive computers were big, clunky, and very expensive. Nowadays, they are a vital tool that can protect you and serve you in multifaceted ways – and they’re not all very expensive.
Firstly, the safety aspect cannot be denied. A dive computer provides you with an accurate way to see your depth, ascent rate, and, most essentially, your no-deco time. This allows you to get the most out of your dive without risking decompression sickness. Just in case you do overstay your welcome at depth, most dive computers have built-in deep stop and safety stop functions to keep you safe.
Dive computers are so much more accurate than working out your blood saturation from the old school charts you used when you did your open water course. The algorithm in the dive computer uses real-time data to give you the most accurate safety information.
An additional safety feature of the more complex models of dive computers is air-integration. This means that they pair with a pod that screws into your first stage which allows you to see exactly how much air you have left with just a look at your wrist.
Another factor is convenience. A dive computer is a big memory log that will keep track of all your dives and even display them on your phone or laptop so you can look at your profile and stats in more detail. In time, this can help you learn more about your diving, such as your surface air consumption rate (SAC rate) and help you to improve.
Dive computers don’t come cheap, though these dive computers for beginners are a great place to start. They might lack the functionality of some of the more expensive models like the Garmin Descent MK1 and Suunto D5, but they get the job done!
Many liken diving without a dive computer to driving without mirrors – once you’ve used it, it’s hard to go back!
Cressi Leonardo Features and Functionality
The display of the Leonardo Cressi dive computer is oversized which allows you to see all the salient information at once, including time, mode, depth, decompression status, dive time surface intervals, ascent rate, and battery status.
The screen is high definition, with sharp lines and an edge-to-edge LCD screen. The information is all large enough to be easily read, ensuring easy monitoring of vitals.
The screen is easy to read in good light and visibility but the Cressi Leonardo backlight leaves a little to be desired. The low power light means that the screen is tricky to read in low light and visibility. Of course, shining a good dive light at it eliminates this problem but it’s worth noting.
To navigate the Cressi Leonardo dive computer, there is a one-button system. Simply press to toggle through the menus and hold to select. You might have to press the buttons a few times to get where you want to go, but there’s no chance of getting lost which is perfect for novice divers.
The Cressi Leonardo has three diving modes – air, gauge, and nitrox. The automatic air diving mode (21% oxygen, 79% nitrogen) kicks in as soon as you descend below 1.2m. The surface interval will begin once you ascend above this depth, after a two-minute countdown.
The gauge mode is a bottom timer and will display your dive time in minutes and seconds. This mode acts as the Cressi Leonardo freediving mode, though there isn’t a dedicated apnea timer.
The nitrox mode allows you to dive with between 21% and 50% oxygen. Want to learn more about nitrox? Check out our introduction to nitrox blog now!
The Cressi Leonardo dive computer can store the data from up to 75 hours of diving, or 60 dives. It samples data every 20 seconds to give an accurate depiction of your dive.
There is a device (which can be purchased separately) that allows you to connect the Leonardo to your computer and look at all your dive data.
The Cressi Leonardo has an unusual feature – it can be completely reset after every dive. This makes it a great choice for dive centers that need to rent them out multiple times per day to different customers.
Whilst the Leonardo lacks the sleek style of newer models like the Shearwater Teric, it is still a good-looking piece of kit. It is compact enough to wear as a wristwatch… But only if you have big wrists! It also comes in a variety of colors to match your existing gear.
Safety is a vital part of any dive computer and the Cressi Leonardo is no different.
It has audible alarms and flashing screen warnings for safety and deep stops as well as when you are approaching deco. The alarms can be configured to suit your needs, including switching most of them off completely.
An ascent rate calculator ensures you are ascending safely and there is an oxygen-toxicity bar graph and alarm. The built-in safety stop will activate on any dive below 32 feet and will require you to stop for 3 minutes between 10 and 20 feet.
The Cressi Leonardo dive computer is one of the more conservative models on the market. There are three different conservatism settings – though we don’t recommend messing with them unless you have the necessary knowledge and experience!
The Cressi Leonardo runs an RGBM (reduced gradient bubble model) algorithm which is adjusted from Suunto’s tried and tested model. The algorithm accounts for silent micro-bubbles and errs on the conservative side when it comes to repetitive and multi-day dives.
The Cressi Leonardo has a CR2430 battery which is predicted to last for three years – assuming you dive around 50 times a year. Of course, if you’re diving every day, it’ll probably run out much quicker.
A pleasant note about the Cressi Leonardo battery is that it’s user-replaceable. Many brands require you to send the computer back to them to change the battery so assuming you have the right tools, you can save yourself time and money.
Alas, for the low price tag, you do end up missing some functionality from the Cressi Leonardo.
Most notably amongst the missing features are:
- No compass
- No air integration
- No allowance for multiple tanks or mixes
- No programmability
- Backlight that could use some improvement
If you’re a beginner diver, none of these missing features are going to impact your diving very much! If you’re interested in doing some technical courses in the future, this might not be the computer for you.
Background on Cressi
The company Cressi began in 1939 in Italy with two brothers who shared a passion for craftsmanship, technical design, and the ocean.
A pair of avid hunters, Egidio and Nanni Cressi began to design masks and spear guns so they could move more efficiently beneath the water. By 1946, they had gained such a reputation throughout Italy that they founded the Cressi company in Genoa.
To this day, family-owned Cressi is a worldwide player in water sports product manufacturing. Cressi has a culture of innovation that spans 60 years which has meant that they’ve been the first to bring many products to market. This includes the Pinnochio mask, the first dive mask with a nose pocket for easy equalization.
The spirit of invention continues into the modern-day, with the latest crystal silicone technology in their masks and cutting edge algorithms in the Cressi Leonardo dive computer.
All Cressi products are produced in their Italian facility, which allows engineers to develop, test, and incorporate the latest materials and technologies into their products quickly and efficiently.
Cressi has a long-standing history of fantastic customer support. Cressi offers a two-year warranty for their products after you register your purchase on their website.
Mares Puck Pro
First off, both brands are well known and trusted in the scuba diving industry for their stylish, functional, and reliable equipment.
Both computers are pretty hardy, with rugged designs that cope well with a rough, scuba divers’ life. Their price tags are pretty similar, which makes them both popular for dive center rentals.
With matching one-button navigation and big, easy to read displays, beginners should find these computers equally intuitive. Both feature nitrox, air, and gauge modes – though gauge is called “bottom timer” on the Puck Pro. Another noticeable similarity is the use of user-replaceable batteries.
A big difference is the logbook capacity of the two dive computers – the Cressi Leonardo has 70 hours versus the Puck Pro’s not-so-generous 36 hours. The smaller Cressi Leonardo is also smaller, making it more comfortable on your wrist.
The functionality on the Puck Pro might just edge out the Leonardo with the inclusion of gas switching, though we wonder how often beginner divers will use this feature.
Finally, the Puck Pro comes in at a slightly lower price than the Leonardo – though both are very affordable options.
Suunto Zoop Novo
Like the Cressi Leonardo dive computer, the Suunto Zoop Novo is a popular choice for entry-level scuba divers and dive centers alike.
Both models are distinctly affordable (though the Zoop Novo is around 50% more expensive than the Leonardo) and rugged in design. The Leonardo wins in design stakes though, passing for a large wristwatch whilst the Zoop Novo is uncomfortably big to wear out of the water. Despite that, the power of the Cressi Leonardo light means that the Zoop is easier to read in low visibility.
Navigation is simple on both models, though the Zoop Novo has a four-button design instead of the single button on the Leonardo. They have similar logbook capacities (60 and 70 hours) and identical oxygen capabilities in the nitrox mode.
Both the Suunto Zoop Novo and Cressi Leonardo have three modes – air, nitrox, and gauge. The battery life is similar on both models but the Suunto Zoop Novo requires a battery change at a registered Suunto service center, unlike the Leonardo
Both options are great for those on a budget, beginners, and dive centers, though the Leonardo does win out in terms of wearable design.
Can I dive at altitude with the Cressi Leonardo dive computer?
The Cressi Leonardo allows altitude adjustments up to 12,100 feet or 3,700m. It is recommended that you acclimatize to a new altitude for at least three hours before diving!
Can I download my dive data to my phone or laptop?
Well, yes and no. You can, but you have to buy the download kit separately from the dive computer. Once installed, you can download your dive log to a PC or a Mac. It allows you to view your dive profile information, complete with graphs so you can review your dives and improve your diving.
Alone, the download kit costs around $100. Once you have the download kit, you will need to install the free Cressi software.
Can I change the Cressi Leonardo battery by myself?
Yes, you can! The Cressi Leonardo uses a 3-volt CR430 battery which is completely user-replaceable. The battery life varies depending on usage, but three years with an average of 50 dives a year is about right. Diving in cold water will decrease the battery life quicker.
The replacement battery costs under $23 and if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, most diving retailers will be happy to help
How Do I Maintain My Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer?
Like all dive computers, the Cressi Leonardo needs a little basic maintenance to keep working at its best. First and foremost, it’s important to give it a good rinse in freshwater after every dive to ensure there is no build-up of salt, sun cream, and sand in any of the vital components.
Saying that, it is designed to be used in rough marine conditions and is pretty hardy – though obviously, you should attempt to protect it from sharp shocks and extreme heat where possible.
Finally, if your computer does get damaged, be sure to take it to a Cressi service center or trusted dive shop. Fiddling with the watertight components when you don’t know what you’re doing can result in a very dead dive computer!
Is there a Cressi Leonardo manual?
The Cressi Leonardo dive computer manual will come with the dive computer and can also be found here.
Is there a Cressi Leonardo Freedive mode?
Though it does not feature a dedicated freediving mode, the Cressi Leonardo gauge mode does function as a basic bottom timer, which should satisfy the needs of beginner freedivers.
Where can I source a Cressi Leonardo dive computer?
Cressi Leonardos are popular dive computers and can be found at most diving retailers – both online and in person. Or, as always, Amazon!
Do I have to buy the Cressi Leonardo as a wrist-mounted design?
Whilst the wrist-mounted design is more common, the Cressi Leonardo console is another great way of using the model. This version sits alongside your submersible pressure gauge (SPG) on the end of the hose.
Can I dive with Nitrox?
Yes, you can dive with nitrox containing up to 50% oxygen.
What is the maximum operating depth of the Cressi Leonardo?
The maximum operating depth of the Leonardo is 132ft or 40m. This might seem shallow, but it will be plenty for the majority of recreational divers.
In conclusion, the Cressi Leonardo dive computer is an ideal first dive computer. It’s easy to read display, easy navigation and low price point make it perfect for beginners.
The clunky design isn’t really suitable for everyday wear and the lack of functionality seen in mid and high-range dive computers could frustrate more experienced divers… But it is robust, reliable, and a great choice for those who just want to dive.