Uwatec Galileo Sol Review
Recently, I have been trialling the new Uwatec Galileo Sol hose-less dive computer. The Galileo boasts a whole lot of features which make it, without a doubt, the most advanced recreational dive computer on the market. The Uwatec promotional text reads: Heart rate monitor for additional physiological tailored- decompression – Digital compass with bearing memory & navigational aid – Dot matrix display with full flexibility – Huge memory & graphic logbook for over 100 hours of stored diving an images – Picture, map and message viewing function Graphic dive profile with graphic decompression & tissue saturation representation – Interference-Free hose-less gas integration for up to 4 transmitters, including buddy’s tank and many more amazing features…
So, what does all this mean? Well, let’s look at a few items on the list
Previous Uwatec integrated models monitored your breathing rate and adjusted the nitrogen absorption algorithms to allow for extra nitrogen being absorbed when you were breathing hard. This model goes a step further. If you want, you can strap a heart monitor around your chest (the same as those worn by joggers) which talks to your computer so now the algorithm can also adjust for the extra nitrogen absorbed while your heart is beating at elevated levels and pumping that N2 rich blood around your body and reduced off-gassing when you’re sitting still at the deco stop. You can have the breathing monitor running in conjunction with the heart monitor, or use one or the other.
There is a digital compass inbuilt which is accessed simply by pressing one of the large, easy to find and manipulate buttons at the top of the unit. The dot matrix display makes the compass easy to read under adverse conditions and the compass will work at nearly any angle; there is no card to stick if the compass is not kept horizontal.
As with the Smart range of Uwatec computers, there is an in-built infra red port on the dive computer that allows it to interface with any PC or laptop computer that has an infra-red port. There is no extra device needed that on other brands can cost hundreds of dollars. With the free software, you can upload dive data, add details, photos, parameters and keep your complete dive log book on your PC. You can also adjust computer settings and customise it to suit your preferences. Now, you can also create pictures and maps which can be downloaded to the dive computer so you can reference dive site maps, checklists or instructors can load there skill slates onto the computer all of which can be accessed during the dive.
The Galileo can be paired with up to four transmitters. This allows you to switch between three different tanks which may have different EAN mixes. The algorithms allow for the different rates of absorption and off-gassing as you switch from one mix to another, adjusting decompression limits and times during the dive. The fourth transmitter allows you to monitor your buddy’s air data. I haven’t tested this feature yet. I don’t know how close you have to be to your buddy to get a reading but it may be useful if you can’t attract their attention when you want to check their air.
Note: The computer comes in the box with one transmitter so if you want to use the multi-gas or buddy check capabilities you may need to buy extra transmitters. I also recommend buying the small high pressure hoses to mount your transmittesr to discourage others from trying to pick up your tank etc using the transmitter as a handle!
The new dot matrix display presents information clearly with essential items in large bold figures. There are three basic display modes from which the user can select depending on what information they feel they want to see during the dive. I used the full display and was surprised by how ‘un-cluttered’ the screen was. I like as much information as I can get when I dive but others may just want the basics and this is easy to change.
This brings me to the menu system on the Galileo. Rather than having to learn a complicated series of button selections and combinations, one button on the Galileo gives you immediate access to a more familiar and intuitive scroll and select menu list. Couldn’t be easier!
The buttons on the computer are big and easy to manipulate, even with thick gloves and at depth which is a real plus in colder water and your fingers start to lose some of their dexterity and feeling.
Uwatec for many years resisted the trend towards user replaceable batteries in their computers. The justification was that, when you sent the computer back to Uwatec for battery replacement, they also serviced the computers and updated the software. The Aladdin Prime and Tech saw Uwatec listening to market demands and incorporating user replaceable batteries for the first time.
So, while a user could replace their own batteries, the software doesn’t get updated. However, Galileo Sol has a programmable processor which will allow users to update the software as new versions are released so now we have the best of both worlds!
It is going to be a while before I am using all the features on this computer. However, one of the great things about the Galileo Sol is that all you really need to do to get started is pair it with a transmitter (about two minutes) and you can just jump into the water with it as is and the default settings will take care of the basics for you. So, you can expand your use of the capabilities over time and you don’t need a PhD to start.
All in all, this is a fantastic dive computer and I recommend it to anyone who is serious about their diving and the equipment they use.