The Apple Watch Ultra is an adventure smartwatch, with special features aimed at hikers, trekkers, outdoors enthusiasts, and divers. Apple collaborated with Huish Outdoors to create the newly released Oceanic+ app, which in combination with the sensors on the Apple Watch Ultra, turns it into a fully functioning, certified dive computer.
Before starting this article, I set out to take an in-depth look at the Oceanic+ app, and at the same time, compare its functionality and usefulness with the G-Shock GWF-D1000 Frogman dive watch — which also has a dive computer. It was by doing this that the Apple Watch Ultra, once again, surprised me. It did so because it encouraged me to do something new, and the Frogman has never quite managed the same thing. What do I mean? Let me explain.
Before I go into detail, here’s what you need to know about the watches and the new app. The
What about certification? The
The G-Shock GWF-D1000 Frogman is made to the ISO 6425 standard (as indicated by the Diver’s 200m mark on the face) and has 200-meter water resistance. To meet the ISO standard, the G-Shock has to show specific information about a dive, including time elapsed, visibility in darkness, resistance to magnetic forces, corrosion and temperature resistance, plus undergo a wide variety of tests for water resistance.
The team behind the Oceanic+ app describes the app as, “Designed to assist anyone looking to dip a toe into the adventures that await in the underwater world. The app teams up with
The Oceanic+ app is up and ready to go in a few moments. If you don’t pay for the subscription then you can only use the snorkeling feature, which shows the maximum depth reached, how many sessions you’ve logged in a set time period, the time of your dive, and the temperature. Scroll down with the Digital Crown, and the compass shows on the screen.
The touchscreen is not operational during this time, but the Apple Watch emits sound and vibrates against your wrist, which the Oceanic+ team says is a strong enough sensation that it can be felt under a 7mm thick wetsuit. If you pay to unlock the scuba mode, you get a lot more information — including depth, decompression time, the amount of time needed to return to the surface, ascent speed, and a battery meter for the Apple Watch. There are also warnings if you ascend too quickly, and an alert to stop if necessary.
Paying for the scuba mode also unlocks the location planner in the app, where data from your dives are also stored. The information shown includes all the data collected by the
If you’ve used a fitness tracking app, you won’t have any problem understanding and using the Oceanic+ app. It’s clear the intention was to make it accessible to beginners and learners, and even when using it on dry land, the Watch app’s usability is obvious. Because the screen is locked, you can’t accidentally cancel the activity, and you need a long press of the Digital Crown to exit the dive program. It’s all very easy to use, just like the Apple Watch itself.
How do the
The screen shows your depth and elapsed time, plus the compass can be called into action by pressing the Comp button. The circular complication shows time elapsed in minutes, and the complication to the right shows temperature when you’re underwater, and Surface Time when you’re not. This also shows on the main time screen when the dive computer isn’t active. In the same window, the watch shows a “Slow” warning and beeps if you ascend too quickly. The watch stores a log of each session with maximum depth, temperature, time elapsed, and compass data.
Elsewhere, the GWF-D1000 has a tide indicator that can be manually set to a specific location, a moon phase indicator, a temperature gauge, and all the usual G-Shock watch features — such as alarms, the world time, a timer, and a very bright backlight. It’s solar-powered and uses the MultiBand 6 radio wave system to maintain accurate time.
Using the G-Shock Frogman’s dive computer is very easy once you’ve learned the process, and the information shown on the watch face is clear, plus the backlight is really effective at illuminating the entire face. Remember, all this is essential for it to meet the ISO standard. However, it’s not as comprehensive, informative, or as interactive as the
There’s nothing easy about scuba diving. It’s an activity to be taken very seriously, and one that requires training and certification to perform safely. I missed out on the chance to take my first lesson in 2020 (thanks pandemic), but haven’t really thought about it since — at least, until now. The
That’s not to say the Frogman is basic or uninspiring; it’s not. But I like it for different reasons than the
The combo of the brilliant
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