2018 Suunto Zoop Novo – Is this the Best Entry Level Dive Computer?
If you’re looking for a good quality dive computer for beginners, then it’s hard to go past the Suunto Zoop and the Zoop Novo. This dive computer is designed to be strong and long lasting.
It's an excellent start up dive computer for both features and price. It has all the basic functions to keep you safe when diving.
Suunto discontinued the Zoop in January 2017 leaving the Zoop Novo as their sole entry-level dive computer.
With its full decompression capability and nitrox function, you won’t be growing out of the Zoop Novo anytime soon. If you extend on your training or decide to buy a more advanced computer later on, the Zoop Novo makes a great backup dive computer.
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Which is the best Dive Computer for Beginners?
These are all high-quality diving computers with only slight differences between them. That was until Suunto stopped making the Zoop. Now that Suunto has discontinued the Zoop, the one that clearly stands out is the Zoop Novo. The Zoop Novo is slightly more expensive than the Zoop but not by much given the extras.
Below is a comparison of the features and differences of the Zoop, the Mares Puck Pro, the Cressi Leonardo and the Zoop Novo.
Entry Level Dive Computer Comparison Table
Although similar in name there are some big differences between the Zoop and the Zoop Novo. The Comparison Table below also shows the differences between the Zoop and the Zoop Novo, and also the Mares Puck Pro and the Cressi Leonardo.
- Air, Nitrox
- 50 Hours
- 5 Minutes
- Multi Button
- Air, Nitrox, Bottom Timer
- 35 Hours
- 3 Minutes
- Single Button
- Air, Nitrox, Gauge
- 70 Hours
- 2 Minutes
- Single Button
- Air, Nitrox, Free, Gauge
- 140 Hours
- 5 Minutes
- Multi Button
Work out what features you really want from your dive computer, then just go for it!
What’s the difference between the Zoop vs Zoop NOVO?
The Zoop and the Zoop NOVO are made of the same materials, but the Zoop Novo is almost double the weight of the Zoop. The Novo weighs 4.23 oz / 120 grams, compared to the Zoop which weighs 2.4 oz / 68 grams.
The Zoop Novo comes with 2 more diving modes than the Zoop. As well as Air and Nitrox, it includes a Free diving and Gauge mode.
There is also a Deep stop alarm on the Zoop Novo, a stop watch timer, and it’s able to run dual time zones. The Zoop doesn’t have these extras.
The Zoop has 3 menu buttons, whereas the Zoop Novo has 4 menu buttons. This makes the Zoop Novo menu easier to navigate.
Zoop Novo has a backlight which can be adjusted or turned OFF completely. The Zoop doesn’t have a backlight. Zoop Novo also has a slightly better screen display compared to the Zoop.
There’s a big difference in the log book memory hours between the two models. Based on a 20s sampling rate, the Zoop Novo has 140 hours. The Zoop has 50 hours based on the same sampling rate. Sampling rates are adjustable on both models, but there’s more choice with the Novo. The Logbook on Zoop Novo also allows for bookmarks.
The Suunto Zoop Novo has greater temperature range display for cold water diving. This is from -20C to +50C / -9F to 122F on the Zoop Novo, compared to -9C to 50C / 16F to 122F on the Zoop.
The USB download is not included with either the Zoop or the Zoop Novo. The only reason I bring this up when pointing out the differences is that if you decide on the Zoop Novo with the cable at the same time, make sure you check the package deal prices against buying these separately. Sometimes it works out more cost effective to not buy these as a package.
Wrist Mounted or Console Based Dive Computer?
The Zoop Novo comes as either wrist mounted or console based. Most new divers are heading down the path of wrist mounted dive computers.
The great advantage of wrist mounted is having the vital information on your arm where it’s easy to read, rather than tucked away on a console. If you’re going for wrist mounted, then the black rubber strap is long enough to go over your wetsuit or drysuit.
How big is the Zoop Novo?
There’s nothing small about the Zoop Novo. It's been designed with both functionality and durability in mind.
The screen is hard-wearing acrylic which will take the odd knock. Its display size is a good 1 ⅓ inches across (or 40 mm) making it easy to read at a glance.
The bezel diameter is 2.4 inches (61 mm) with a thickness of just over an inch, (28 mm). It weighs 4.23 oz (120 grams).
Although the Suunto Zoop Novo is wrist mounted, it is not a regular watch-sized dive computer. It's far too big to be worn as an everyday watch.
What Functions and Features does the Zoop Novo have?
You can’t overstate the peace of mind that comes with having an interface that’s easy to operate.
The Zoop Novo has some well thought out functionality. The Zoop Novo has a 4-button menu. The buttons are nice and big, making them easy to press. Menus are easy to navigate and the display is clear to read.
The ZOOP Novo is water-activated. It activates as soon as it goes deeper than 1½ feet (0.5 meters). You should to turn it on to Dive Mode before diving to do your pre-dive checks. The Zoop remains in Surface Mode at depths less than 4 feet (1.2 meters) and switches into Diving Mode at depths greater than this.
The standard dive alarms are all adjustable. A default setting will remind you to make a safety stop. Alarms can be set for maximum depth and dive time.
If you exceed the no-decompression limit on a dive, the Zoop Novo will provide the decompression information you need to make a safe ascent. After this, surface interval and repetition dive information will be displayed.
When switched on to dive mode, the battery indicator will show the current battery level. To conserve battery, the Zoop switches to its idle mode after about 3 minutes. During the idle mode it displays the current time, the day of the week, and the date.
It’s easy to set to either imperial or metric units (feet or meters, ºF or ºC) depending on your personal preference.
Diving at Altitude - No Fly Time
As with most dive computers, the Zoop Novo comes with an Altitude setting. When you adjust the Altitude, the Zoop Novo adjusts its mathematical model according to which altitude mode is selected. Traveling to a higher elevation will temporarily change the equilibrium of dissolved nitrogen in your body. The Zoop Novo calculates shorter no-decompression times at higher altitudes. It's generally recommended that you wait at least 3 hours before making a dive at a new altitude.
The no-fly time is shown in the center of the display next to an airplane icon. Flying or traveling to a higher altitude should be avoided at any time the Zoop Novo displays the no-flying time.
How long does the Zoop Novo battery last?
Life expectancy for the battery depends on the number of dives you have per year.
As a general rule, if you’re diving around 300 times a year, the battery will last between 8-12 months. If you dive around 100 dives per year, you can expect to get about 12-18 months of battery life. Less than 100 dives per year, you should expect 18-24 months of life from the battery.
Can I change the Zoop Novo battery myself?
The Zoop’s battery is a standard 3 volt CR2450. There is the option to change this without having to send it away to an authorized dealer or take it to a dive shop.
If you decide to change the battery yourself, the Battery Replacement Kit can be purchased online. As well as a battery, the kit includes an O-ring and costs under $20.
The video below shows how to change the battery on the Suunto Zoop Novo and the Vyper Novo.
It starts with a warning that changing the battery yourself or using an unauthorized dealer may void the warranty. If you can get past this, it then demonstrates how EASY it is to change the battery. The screwdriver size used is a T-6 torx.
If you don’t feel confident enough to change the battery yourself, then a new battery replacement can be included as part of the regular 2 yearly service by an authorized dealer.
Which Algorithm does Suunto use?
The Suunto RGBM (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model) is a modern algorithm. The algorithm model monitors continuous multi-day diving and closely spaced repetitive diving. It also takes into account dives that are deeper than your previous dive.
Some diving practices increase the risk of decompression sickness/illness. These include dives with short surface intervals, repetitive dives that are deeper than previous ones, multiple ascents, or substantial multi-day diving.
The Zoop Novo will adapt the decompression algorithm when any of these practices are detected, and in some circumstances will advise that your Surface Interval time needs to be extended. The ability to adapt to different situations and dive profiles provides added safety. It also changes these calculations according to any personal adjustment you select.
What about the Dive Planner and Logbook, Bookmarks and Memory?
- Dive Planner
- log book
The Zoop Novo has a Dive Planner which is accessible by pressing the PLAN button on the front face of the computer anytime during Surface mode.
Here’s where you’ll find the calculator for a no-decompression stop. Using the two buttons on the bottom of the face, you can increase or decrease your Maximum Depth. Once you’ve made the adjustment, the Zoop will calculate your no-decompression time.
Higher altitudes and conservative personal adjustments will shorten the no-deco time limits. The Planning mode also takes into account the following information from previous dives:
The no-decompression times given for different depths will then be shorter than before your first ‘fresh’ dive.
Bookmarks can be made in the dive profile memory during a dive. These are shown as a blinking dive log symbol when scrolling the profile memory on the display.
It’s easy to insert a Bookmark into a dive profile by pressing the PLAN button during a dive.
The Log Book setting stores around 140 hours worth of dive time. The History setting stores the data from your last dive. You’ll need to transfer this to a logbook if you want to keep the information.
Do I need to buy the USB Cable to download my Dive Log?
The USB cable is an optional accessory and is not included in the price of the Zoop Novo. Buying the USB cable allows you to download your dive profile information to either a PC or MAC.
The Suunto DM5 software is free to download from Suunto’s website.
What dive information is downloaded?
Once downloaded, reviewing the data is great for planning future dives, keeping records of your dive history, and for demonstration or educational purposes.
Complete logbook data can also be downloaded. Paper copies are then easy to print. The following data is recorded and downloaded:
- dive number
- dive entry time (in year, month, day and time)
- altitude and personal adjustment settings
- depth profile of the dive
- dive time
- oxygen percent setting and maximum OLF (in Nitrox mode)
- tissue calculation data
- the temperature at the maximum depth, beginning of the dive, and the end of the dive,
- surface interval time
- identity number of the dive computer
- additional dive information including personal information, and any SLOW and mandatory Safety Stop violations, Dive Attention Marks, Bookmarks, Surfaced Marks, Decompression Marks, and Ceiling Error Marks).
An alternative to this is Diveboard: Your Online Scuba Logbook. The crew at Diveboard have created a free program called Diveboard Agent. After downloading, this connects with many dive computers including the Suunto Zoop.
Sunnto and Diveboard have worked together to provide integration between Movescount to Diveboard. Another open-source option that’s worth looking at is Subsurface.
What functions is the Zoop Novo missing?
Suunto’s Zoop Novo is an entry level dive computer and has all the functions beginner divers need. In comparison to other dive computers, the Zoop Novo has a longer Surface Interval time.
A minimum of 5 minutes is needed between each dive. If the Surface Interval is shorter than 5 minutes, the Zoop Novo treats the next dive as a continuation of the previous dive.
The Zoop Novo does not display the no-fly icon when on standby. You need to activate it to check the airplane icon is not displayed before jumping on a plane.
The Zoop Novo doesn’t have a digital compass, tri-mix capability or air-integration.
Unlike the Mares Puck Pro PLUS which has Bluetooth connectivity, you need to buy the USB cable to download your dive logs and update your firmware.
If you think you’ll expand on your training later on or are headed towards recreational or technical diving, then take a look at the Shearwater Perdix.
What About Price, Warranty and Maintenance?
The Suunto Zoop Dive Computer is exceptionally well priced. You should be able to find it for between $280-$350 online. The USB cable needed to download the dive data to your laptop is around $70.
The software is free to download. When the time comes to change the battery, the Battery Kit costs less than $20.
These come with a 2 year Manufacturer’s Warranty.
As it’s always better to be safe and avoid problems before a dive trip, plan to have the computer serviced every couple of years, or after 200 dives.
Its calibration will need to be checked, as well as a test of the functions and the waterproof seal.
To keep your Zoop Novo working well for years, always thoroughly rinse in fresh water after each dive. Make sure all salt crystals and sand grit are removed.
It’s important that the water contacts/connector are kept clean. Clean with fresh water and a soft brush. Dry off and store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place away from the damp.
Protect the Zoop Novo from extreme heat, direct sunlight, and chemicals. Although well built, it won’t withstand the impact of heavy objects such as scuba cylinders.
Regularly check the condition of the band, clasp and metal components. Over time these can become affected by a build up of sunscreen, perspiration and sea-salt.
What about the Zoop?
If you already have a Zoop or are looking at a second hand Zoop, there’s no doubt these will last for years as long as it's serviced every 2 years.
One of the downsides of the Zoop has been that there’s no backlight. It does have a super bright phosphorescent LCD display. A quick flash of your torch will light up the display when night diving, wreck diving or cave diving. Being phosphorescent, the display will fade out within minutes.
The Zoop doesn’t have a Deep Stop function. Whether or not Deep Stops need to be included in a dive plan remains a controversial issue. Deep Stops don’t even need to be considered until you’re diving deeper than 65.6 feet (20 meters).
Find out more about Deep Stops here.
The Suunto Zoop Novo has the functionality entry level divers need. It’s easy to use and an excellent entry point computer for recreational divers.
It has good features at an excellent price. The Suunto Zoop Novo is a great choice for your first dive computer.
It’s even made our Best Dive Computer for 2018 list.
The 4 menu buttons make navigating and setting up the Zoop Novo very easy. See how easy it is to set up for Nitrox in the video below.