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Garmin dives into a new market with the Descent Mk1

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Posted: 02/11/2017 at 4:53 PM   /   by   /   comments (0)

Garmin has announced their latest in wearable tech the Descent Mk1 slated for Q4 in 2017. The Mk1 is a heavily modified fenix 5x, it runs almost the same software but has the different internal hardware. The watch is designed for divers of all levels (recreational, technical and free divers) and allows them to plan their underwater adventure using GPS waypoints to mark dive entry and exit points.

Just tell me what’s new

As I mentioned before the Descent Mk1’s design is based off Garmin’s flagship watch the fenix 5X. However, there are some core differences which I’ll summarise below:

descent-mk1-breathe-easier-dive-better

  • Dive rated for 100m operating depth (Designed to comply with EN13319 which is the European CE standard for dive computers)
  • Dive mode (New battery mode for use while diving) up to 40 hours
  • Depth Sensor
  • New Charging port
  • Diving Features
    • Gas modes
    • APNEA features (Freediving and Spear Fishing)
    • Decompression model
    • Nitrox/Trimix support

Other changes

descent-mk1-multiple-navigation-sensors

  • No Fly watch Face (When it’s safe to fly again after your dive)
  • HR recording underwater (It won’t work until you are submerged 1ft underwater and the depth gauge activates. Garmin has no plans to make this available for regular swimming. Optical HR has long had trouble as the impact of each stroke can make readouts wildly inaccurate.
  • Connect IQ apps not allowed in Dive mode

Diving Features

The watch can support up to six gases including air, nitrox and trimix. The watch also includes different Dive modes depending on your style of dive. These include Apnea mode for recreational/competitive free divers and Apnea hunt for spearfishing. Once you’ve planned your dive and set it up on the watch, it will automatically start once you dive into the water and stop the dive when you re-emerge out of the water.

Diving modes:

  • Single Gas
  • Multi-Gas
  • Gauge (no gas)
  • Apnea
  • Apnea Hunt
  • Plan Dive

The plan dive mode allows you to quickly calculate your dive via computing NDL or creating a decompression plan.

I’ll note here that this is not your typical Garmin running watch, this watch has gone through much more stringent safety tests and this will include lengthy testing of firmware updates for every future update on the watch. What this also means is that when you’re in your dive Garmin have put limits on the watch functionality to make sure you don’t end up on some screen or app that might mess up your watch and leave you in a pinch. When you’re underwater, you will only have access to about three pages of data.

Page 1: Dive Time, Depth, Water temp, Ascent/Descent rate, max depth, average depth

Page 2: Compass Information (Direction and Heading), Depth, Water Temp, Dive Time

Page 3: HR Information (Heart rate, Heart rate zone – colour coded, Time of day, Water Temp, Depth, Battery Level Dive Time

In addition to this information, you will get alerts during your dive based on what you’ve configured prior to the dive. These can include decompression/safety stop information, time and max depth.

*You cannot use Garmin IQ Connect Apps while diving

This dive computer will utilise the open algorithm Bühlmann ZHL-16c with configurable conservatism settings. You can choose from three pre-set conservatism settings, or enter your own custom Gradient Factors.

descent-mk1-premium-materials-elegant-style

Topside Features

The Descent Mk1 carries almost all the same features that make the fenix 5X such a standout GPS fitness watch. It features a high-sensitivity GPS/GLONASS receiver, altimeter, barometer and compass sensors and many of Garmin sports/training features. The Descent Mk1 can also be paired with compatible smartphones allowing users to receive and view text messages, emails and smart notifications.

Australian Availability and Price

The Descent Mk1 will be available in two styles. A stainless-steel bezel with a silicone watch band or a premium version with a titanium bezel and greater scratch resistant brushed DLC titanium bracelet.

The standard edition is expected early December with a $1,399 RRP

The premium edition is expected early December with a $2,199 RRP

Fenix 5X vs Descent Mk1

You mentioned that Descent doesn’t have quite the same amount of fitness/training features as the Fenix 5 tell me more! The following might sound like a lot but considering the number of diving features gained and the plethora of fitness features still available it doesn’t make an impact on how powerful this watch is. I’ve listed the specs below for a full breakdown of all features available.  

The Descent Mk1 won’t come preloaded with profiles for Strength, training and cardio training. It also does not come with Cardio workouts, strength workouts or the automatic rep counting feature.

In regards to training and planning/analysis features the Descent won’t come with auto multisport activities or manual multisport activities.

For running features, the Descent Mk1 has almost all the same except Vertical oscillation and ratio (the degree of ‘bounce’ in your running motion and the cost-benefit ration with stride length). Ground contact time and balance (shows how much time, in the running motion, your foot is on the ground rather than in flight and lets you check your running symmetry) and Stride length. *All of these require the compatible accessory from Garmin.

Additionally, the Descent Mk1 does not feature the FTP (Functional Threshold Power) feature that is available with the fenix 5X for cycling.

Descent Mk1 Full Spec List

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Descent Mk1

 

General

Lens Material sapphire crystal
Bezel Material stainless steel or titanium
Case material fiber-reinforced polymer
QuickFit™ watch band compatible yes (26 mm)
Strap material silicone or titanium
Physical size 51 x 51 x 17.8 mm
Weight steel with silicone band: 101 g
titanium with silicone band: 94 g
titanium with titanium band: 145 g
Water rating Dive (Designed to comply with EN13319)
Display type sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Display size 1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter
Display resolution 240 x 240 pixels
Color display Yes
Battery life Dive mode: Up to 40 hours
Watch mode: Up to 19 days
Smartwatch mode: Up to 10 days
GPS/HR Activity mode: Up to 20 hours
UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 30 hours
Memory/History 16 GB
Clock Features
Time/date Yes
GPS Time Sync Yes
Automatic daylight saving time Yes
Alarm clock Yes
Timer Yes
Stopwatch Yes
Sunrise/sunset times Yes
Face It™ watch face creator Yes
Sensors
GPS Yes
GLONASS Yes
Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor Yes
Barometric altimeter Yes
Compass Yes
Gyroscope Yes
Accelerometer Yes
Thermometer Yes
Depth sensor Yes
Daily Smart Features
Connectivity Bluetooth® Smart, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®
Connect IQ™ (downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps) Yes
Smart notifications Yes
Calendar Yes
Weather Yes
Music controls Yes
Find My Phone Yes
Find My Watch Yes
VIRB® remote Yes
Smartphone compatibility iPhone®, Android™, Windows®
Compatible with Garmin Connect™ Mobile Yes
Diving Features
Dive activity maximum operating depth 100 meters (Designed to comply with EN13319)
Single-gas mode Yes
Multi-gas mode Yes
Gauge mode Yes
APNEA mode Yes
APNEA hunt mode Yes
Decompression model Bühlmann ZHL-16c with gradient factors
Nitrox support Yes
Trimix support Yes
Gas mixes Air, nitrox and trimix, up to 100% O2; 1 bottom gas, and up to 5 deco and/or backup gases
P02 Up to 1.6 with customizable deco PO2 setting
Auto start/end dive Yes
Custom end-dive timeout Sim (20 s a 10 m)
Safety Stop yes (customizable off/3min/5min)
Deep Stops yes (using custom gradient factors)
Customizable conservatism yes (low/medium/high or custom using gradient factors)
Dive ascent/descent rate indicator Yes
Automatic altitude adjustment Yes
No fly time yes (with 24hr countdown)
Dive planner yes (basic NDL + multi-gas deco planner)
Backlight yes (configurable time and intensity; auto-on at depth)
Automatically saves dive entry and exit locations Yes
Sync dive log to Garmin Connect™ and Garmin Connect™ Mobile Yes
Alerts & alarms Audible and vibration alarms for ascent rate, PO2, CNS/OTU, NDL, deco, gas switching. Customizable (up to 40) audible and/or vibration per dive mode, based on depth or time
3-axis dive compass yes (with adjustable heading, quick change to 90R, 90L and reciprocal). Indicates degrees and direction back to set heading
Missed Deco Lockout yes (can be disabled prior to dive with user acknowledgement)
Residual Tissue Loading Reset yes (on the surface with user acknowledgement)
Surface diver status widget yes (surface interval, N2/HE loading, CNS, OTU and tissue compartment status)
Boating Features
Preloaded Boating Profiles Boating
Activity Tracking Features
Step counter Yes
Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it) Yes
Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal) Yes
Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep) Yes
Calories burned Yes
Floors climbed Yes
Distance traveled Yes
Intensity minutes Yes
TrueUp™ Yes
Move IQ™ Yes
Fitness Age yes (in app)
Fitness Equipment/Gym
Preloaded gym activity profiles Indoor Rowing
Training, Planning and Analysis Features
GPS speed and distance Yes
Customizable data pages Yes
Customizable activity profiles Yes
Auto Pause® Yes
Advanced workouts Yes
Downloadable training plans Yes
Auto Lap® Yes
Manual lap Yes
Virtual Partner Yes
Configurable lap alerts Yes
V02 max Yes
Training Status (lets you see if you’re training effectively by tracking your training history and fitness level trend.) Yes
Training Load (your total training load for the last 7 days calculated from estimated EPOC) Yes
Training Effect (aerobic) Yes
Training Effect (anaerobic) Yes
Customizable alerts Yes
Audio prompts Yes
Finish time Yes
Race an Activity Yes
Course guidance Yes
Segments (Live, Garmin) Yes
LiveTrack Yes
Group LiveTrack Yes
Round-trip course creator (running/cycling) Yes
Touch and/or button lock Yes
Hot keys Yes
Auto scroll Yes
Activity history on watch Yes
Heart Rate Features
HR zones Yes
HR alerts Yes
HR calories Yes
% HR max Yes
% HRR Yes
Recovery time Yes
Auto max HR Yes
HRV stress test (measures your heart rate variability while standing still, for 3 minutes, to provide you with an estimated stress level; the scale of this is 1 to 100; low scores indicate lower stress levels) yes (with compatible accessory)
Records heart rate while swimming yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™)
HR Broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ANT+™ to paired devices)  
Running Features
Preloaded run profiles Running, Indoor Running, Trail Running
GPS-based distance, time and pace Yes
Running dynamics Yes
Cadence (provides real-time number of steps per minute) Yes
Physiological measurements Yes
Performance condition (after running 6–20 minutes, compares your real-time condition to your average fitness level) Yes
Lactate threshold (through analysis of your pace and heart rate, estimates the point where your muscles start to rapidly fatigue) yes (with compatible accessory)
Run workouts Yes
Race predictor Yes
Foot pod capable Yes
Golfing Features
Yardage to F/M/B (distance to front, middle and back of green) Yes
Yardage to layups/doglegs Yes
Measures shot distance (calculates exact yardage for shots from anywhere on course) Automatic
Digital scorecard Yes
Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit) Yes
Garmin AutoShot™ Yes
Auto CourseView updates Yes
Green View with manual pin position Yes
Hazards and course targets Yes
TruSwing™ compatible Yes
Round timer/odometer Yes
Outdoor Recreation Features
Preloaded outdoor recreation profiles Hiking, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Jumpmaster, Tactical
Point-to-point navigation Yes
Bread crumb trail in real time Yes
Back to start Yes
TracBack® Yes
UltraTrac mode Yes
Around Me mode Yes
Elevation profile Yes
Distance to destination Yes
Barometric trend indicator Yes
Storm alert Yes
Trail run auto climb Yes
Vertical speed Yes
Total ascent/descent Yes
Preloaded topographical maps Yes
Future elevation plot Yes
Downloadable cartography support Yes
Compatible with BaseCamp™ Yes
GPS coordinates Yes
Projected waypoint Yes
Sight 'N Go Yes
Area calculation yes (via Connect IQ™)
Hunt/fish calendar yes (via Connect IQ™)
Sun and moon information yes (via Connect IQ™)
Dual grid coordinates  
Cycling Features
Preloaded cycling profiles Biking, Indoor Biking, Mountain Biking
Courses Yes
Bike lap and lap maximum power (with power sensor) Yes
Race an activity Yes
Time/distance alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal) Yes
Interval training Yes
Strava features (Beacon, live segments) Yes
Garmin Cycle Map (routable cycling-specific street map) Yes
Compatible with Vector™ (power meter) Yes
Power meter compatible (displays power data from compatible third-party ANT+™-enabled power meters) Yes
Compatible with Varia Vision™ (head-mounted display) Yes
Compatible with Varia™ radar (rear-facing radar) Yes
Compatible with Varia™ lights Yes
Speed and cadence sensor support (with sensor) yes (ANT+® and Bluetooth® Smart sensors)
Swimming Features
Preloaded swim profiles Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming
Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories) Yes
Stroke type detection (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly) Yes
Pool swim workouts Yes
Swim efficiency (SWOLF) Yes
Advanced swim features (time/distance alerts, countdown start, advanced rest timers) Yes
Open-water swim metrics (distance, pace, stroke count/rate, stroke distance, calories) Yes
Heart rate (real-time during rests, interval and sessions stats during rests, and automatic heart rate download post-swim) yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™)
Additional
Additional Air integration: no
CCR support: no

Fenix 5X vs Descent Mk1 - Differences Only

  Fenix 5X Descent Mk1

General

   
Bezel Material stainless steel stainless steel or titanium
Case material fiber-reinforced polymer with stainless steel rear cover fiber-reinforced polymer
QuickFit™ watch band compatible yes (26 mm) yes (26 mm)
Strap material silicone or steel silicone or titanium
Physical size 51 x 51 x 17.5 mm 51 x 51 x 17.8 mm
Weight silicone band: 98 g steel with silicone band: 101 g
  metal band: 196 g titanium with silicone band: 94 g
    titanium with titanium band: 145 g
Water rating 10 ATM Dive (Designed to comply with EN13319)
Battery life Smartwatch mode: Up to 12 days Dive mode: Up to 40 hours
  GPS/HR mode: Up to 20 hours Watch mode: Up to 19 days
  UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 35 hours without wrist heart rate Smartwatch mode: Up to 10 days
    GPS/HR Activity mode: Up to 20 hours
    UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 30 hours

Sensors

   

Depth sensor

No Yes

Daily Smart Features

   

Connectivity

Bluetooth® Smart, ANT+®, Wi-Fi® with sapphire editions Bluetooth® Smart, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®

Diving Features

   

Dive activity maximum operating depth

No 100 meters (Designed to comply with EN13319)
Single-gas mode No Yes
Multi-gas mode No Yes
Gauge mode No Yes
APNEA mode No Yes
APNEA hunt mode No Yes
Decompression model No Bühlmann ZHL-16c with gradient factors
Nitrox support No Yes
Trimix support No Yes
Gas mixes No Air, nitrox and trimix, up to 100% O2; 1 bottom gas, and up to 5 deco and/or backup gases
P02 No Up to 1.6 with customizable deco PO2 setting
Auto start/end dive No Yes
Custom end-dive timeout No Sim (20 s a 10 m)
Safety Stop No yes (customizable off/3min/5min)
Deep Stops No yes (using custom gradient factors)
Customizable conservatism No yes (low/medium/high or custom using gradient factors)
Dive ascent/descent rate indicator No Yes
Automatic altitude adjustment No Yes
No fly time No yes (with 24hr countdown)
Dive planner No yes (basic NDL + multi-gas deco planner)
Backlight No yes (configurable time and intensity; auto-on at depth)
Automatically saves dive entry and exit locations No Yes
Sync dive log to Garmin Connect™ and Garmin Connect™ Mobile No Yes
Alerts & alarms No Audible and vibration alarms for ascent rate, PO2, CNS/OTU, NDL, deco, gas switching. Customizable (up to 40) audible and/or vibration per dive mode, based on depth or time
3-axis dive compass No yes (with adjustable heading, quick change to 90R, 90L and reciprocal). Indicates degrees and direction back to set heading
Missed Deco Lockout No yes (can be disabled prior to dive with user acknowledgement)
Residual Tissue Loading Reset No yes (on the surface with user acknowledgement)
Surface diver status widget No yes (surface interval, N2/HE loading, CNS, OTU and tissue compartment status)

Fitness Equipment/Gym

   

Preloaded gym activity profiles

Indoor Rowing, Strength Training and Cardio Training Indoor Rowing
Cardio workouts Yes No
Strength workouts Yes No
Automatic rep counting Yes No

Training, Planning and Analysis Features

   

Auto multisport activities

Yes No
Manual multisport activities Yes No

Running Features

   

Running dynamics

yes (with compatible accessory) No
Vertical oscillation and ratio (the degree of 'bounce' in your running motion and the cost-benefit ratio with stride length) yes (with compatible accessory) No
Ground contact time and balance (shows how much time, in the running motion, your foot is on the ground rather than in flight and lets you check your running symmetry) yes (with compatible accessory) No
Stride length (real time) yes (with compatible accessory) No

Cycling Features

   

FTP (Functional Threshold Power)

yes (with compatible accessory) No

Swimming Features

   

Drill logging

No Yes
Advanced swim features (time/distance alerts, countdown start, advanced rest timers) Yes No