Hi. My name is John and I “was” an OLED screen snob!
As you may be able to tell from my past reviews of dive computers on ScubaGadget I love the bright and beautiful screens on the OLED dive computer. I thought I would never use another LCD screen computer. That was until I tried the Scubapro Galileo computer. I would say I have seen the light but that would be just an anti-pun. It’s not that I don’t still appreciate the vibrancy of an OLED screen. But what I did learn was that Galileo’s easy reading, billboard size display and incredible e-compass are just two of features that really make for a great dive and inter-dive experience.
With the Galileo, I do not miss any of the annoying downsides of my OLED computers. OLED computers use much more power and have to be charged regularly. There were a few times when the last OLED computer we used drained while sitting in between dives. I have over 100 dives on the Galileo and it is still reading a full battery. Charging is just one more thing I don’t have to do to think about to prepare the next dive. The Galileo battery is also simple to replace by the user. Additionally OLED screens can be hard to read in bright sunlight at or near the surface. But the Galileo is easier to read in bright light.
The $995 (Luna with transmitter) retail price is under that of many of the OLED dive computers.
Vive La Difference
Galileo has everything you need for an extraordinary underwater experience. It is a feature packed and hoseless air-integrated number computer that is easy to use. The screen is massive. It is also a dot matrix screen so the displays are flexible. A dot matrix screen can display any image (e.g. dive site maps). A non-dot matrix or segmented display can only display numbers and letter or other characters that can be made of of straight segments. Additionally, the Galileo screen is one of the largest in the industry. The diver has multiple screen options that allow you to show the important information in a large and very visible font. I don’t need to flash fingers to show my buddy my remaining air, I can tilt my screen and the numbers are visible from any safe buddy distance. Even more importantly, I also can see the numbers without my cheater lenses.
And then there is the amazing compass. The built in e-compass covers the whole width of the screen and as as easy to read as the numbers. Unlike manual compasses it is functional when tilted. It is simple to set navigational points which include your return setting and the 90 degree angle points.
A computer buying myth
I was recently talking with an open water student about which dive computer she should purchase for her first computer. She reasoned, “I am sure I don’t need that ‘high tech’ computer (Galileo) with all of the fancy bells and whistles. I just want something simple.” I realized and told her that large screen of Galileo (as well other features) make it one that is more simple to use for new divers. There is plenty of room on the Galileo screen for easy to read and navigate menus and information. The smaller, low end dive computers must use cryptic abbreviations and jam vital information into a small screen area. This makes the smaller computers much harder to learn for new divers.
Another potential urban diving myth that some divers hold is that an air-integrated computer with a transmitter will be less reliable than one that uses a hose. We cannot find any evidence either way. Our service consultant pointed out that he sees a significant number of failures on dive computers with hoses; especially for the quick disconnect style. He believes the facts could go either way, but is sure that both can fail. Transmitter reliability has also improved much over the years. We are seeing more and divers using a backup computer (e.g. Oceanic B.U.D.) or at least a back up SPG.
IrDA data is fast
Another Galileo feature in the “what’s old is still better category” is the infrared data transfer. You may remember seeing this type of data transfer on Palm PDAs and older laptops. It is more common these days to use a USB transfer cable. But the IrDA transfer is blazing fast. It dumped 80 dives to our computer is a few seconds. Being used to that taking much longer on USB computers I had to look twice to believe it was done. Also the IrDA port on the computer allows for less failure points in the case. IrDA may also mean you have to by an IrDA to USB receiver. While Scubapro guarantees their optional adapter they do admit that there are some very inexpensive ones available that will work. Our personal opinion is that given the cost to manufacture, the cable should be included and built into the price of any dive computer.
Minor pleasant details
The Galileo comes with a both a hard plastic screen cover and modern smartphone style screen protector that allows for much easier surface viewing. You can easily replace the band with the included clip ring so you can use it with a retractor. The band is removed by pushing the pins all they way out from either end which is much more reliable and easier to use than the standard spring loaded band clips. I took my band off and threaded in some bungees instead. The included band is fine but I would like to see them design a band like the one on the UEMIS dive computer.
A quick list of the features we love about the Galileo:
- large user changeable battery
- the buttons are big enough and spaced to use with bulky gloves
- reliable hoseless gas integration
- large and easy to use navigational system with digital compass
- huge dot-matrix screen
- 3 display modes
- graphic data display
- fast IRDA data transfer of dive logs and updates
- update-able firmware
- multiple languages available
- screen can be flipped to change the button position
- alarm signals are loud enough to be heard through our 10 mill hood
- emergency contacts can be stored in the computer
- after dive screen shows a climbing safe altitude as you de-saturate.
- it comes with a both a hard plastic screen cover and modern smartphone style screen protector that allows for much easier surface viewing
- Optional heart rate monitor
Just so there are no mixed expectations, as we previously mentioned, the Galileo screen is fantastic but some of the photos of it make it look better than the Kindle Paperwhite screen. In reality it has the same color and contrast of other LCD screens. This brings to mind a suggestion for Scubapro. How about the next version having a Paperwhite screen?
We and all users we interviewed love this computer. It’s easy to learn, feature rich, powerful and flexible; which makes it good fit and value for both new divers and seasoned pros. It has been around for awhile and we still can find no significant complaints online.
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