Garmin Descent mk2 and mk2i lauched – comparison to Mk1 and specifications

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Garmin Descent mk2, mk2i

 

Garmin has just launched the Descent MK2 and mk2i, which is their latest dive computer model.

Garmin Descent MK2i

At heart, it’s a Fenix 6 that’s REALLY not designed to leak even when diving at 100m. The headline feature is compatibility with the new Descent T1 tank pressure transmitter which uses a new sonar-based communications method called Garmin SubWave.

The price tag has shot up from $1000 for the MK1 to a mouth-watering $1500 for the MK2i. You DO get more for your money.

What’s New in the Garmin Descent MK2i?

There are improvements and additions across the board, some of them minor.

The case format is slightly increased but more notably we see an increased real screen size and we can expect that to hit other new Garmin models like the 655, note that the pixel density is the same. Also of note is improved battery life but recent Garmins seem to be eating through the battery faster than they should, so be mindful of that.

There are two new models: MK2 and MK2i with the ‘i’ representing the new Air Integration compatibility with the air integrated tank pressure monitoring using Subwave technology.

Here are the headline hardware changes

 

Bezel Material MK2i

Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coated titanium

 

MK1

stainless steel or titanium

 

Case material fibre-reinforced polymer with a metal rear cover fibre-reinforced polymer
Physical size 52 x 52 x 17.8 mm 51 x 51 x 17.8 mm

 

Display size 1.4” (35.56 mm) diameter 1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter
Display resolution 280 x 280 pixels 240 x 240 pixels
Weight silicone band: 99.6 g
titanium band: 160.3 g
steel with silicone band: 101 g
titanium with silicone band: 94 g
titanium with titanium band: 145 g
Battery life Smartwatch: Up to 16 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 50 days
GPS: Up to 48 hours
GPS + Music: Up to 15 hours
Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 96 hours
Dive mode: Up to 80 hours
Dive mode with Descent T1: Up to 32 hours
Expedition GPS Activity: up to 35 days
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 32 GB 16 GB

 

Health options see the addition of 24×7 Respiration rate, Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen Saturation (with acclimation), Body Battery Energy Monitor, All-day Stress Tracking, Relaxation reminders and Relaxation breathing timer

 

  • Connectivity is unchanged except for the interesting addition of SUBWAVE compatibility.
  • We also see Garmin PAY and the ability to store about 2000 songs
  • Live event sharing, incident detection and assistance features are available – not sure if they will work in dive activities.

 

Dive-specific Features are notably improved, covering these

Closed Circuit Rebreather (CCR) MK2i

Yes

MK1
Gas mixes Air, Nitrox and Trimix, up to 100% O2; 1 bottom gas and up to 11 deco and/or backup gasses. Air, Nitrox and Trimix up to 100% O2. 1 bottom gas and up to 11 deco and/or backup gasses.
Subwave™ Support Yes
Air integration yes (via Subwave™ – MK2i only)
Number of transmitters supported 5
Gas time remaining Yes
Gas consumption rate Yes
Tides Yes yes (via Connect IQ™)
Custom dive data screens Yes
Alerts & alarms Audible and vibration alarms for ascent rate, PO2, CNS/OTU, NDL, deco, gas switching, tank pressure, gas consumption rate. Customizable (up to 40) audible and/or vibration per dive mode, based on depth or time 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

 

There’s also a built-in barometer and tide-table support along with new support for ‘other sport’ features in swimming (oHR, repeat on), cycling (ClimbPro), golfing, Running (PacePro), Skiing (Maps),

 

 

 

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Nick K

Eh, no thank you! I’ll stay with my trusty Shearwater Teric.

First, the price is outright ridiculous. I get it! It’s a land based Fenix and a dive computer in one not so tiny package, sure. But $1500 for that, with additional $400 for a proprietary transmitter? Yeah, right. Second, people hoped Garmin would use some already established A/I tech. Now, maybe their subwave sonar stuff is indeed revolutionary and the best thing since sliced anything, but I personally would prefer to wait until the next iteration. Let somebody else be a guinea pig-fish for A/I. Last but not least, it looks Mk2i will not be getting CIQ 4.0 (no current products will, according to Ray), which means somewhere in early 2021 feature updates for this insanely expensive piece of tech will stop. It’s Mk1 all over again.

Which is a shame. Garmin could have made some serious inroads in this space had they be a bit less aggressive with pricing.

Nick K

You can get Teric in the States for less than $1000. I got mine and a transmitter for about $1350 a few years back. While it lacks all Garmin smartwatch and GPS tracking goodies, it does have a huge bright AMOLED screen with easy to toggle brightness, very useful in deeper darker waters, fully configurable diving screens (Garmin used to have it pretty much locked up in Mk1 — you get what you get and you don’t get upset type of situation), and I personally dig Teric all black design better. And it’s Shearwater.

I mean… Mk2i is a sweet-sweet piece of gear. But at close to $2000 for the whole package, it’s a hard sell. Especially given that it’s too bulky to be a daily type of wear thing like Fenix. Maybe on vacation. So, it doesn’t sound like Garmin is serious into moving into this market just yet. Kind of MARQ of diving.

DawieO

The image is of the Descent mk1.

Rui Pereira

Like the blue buttons. If I had money to spare would buy it just for looks sake. As a nice bonus I would be able to get the badges I’m missing from Garmin Connect, since I don’t have a dive watch. 😛