2017 Mares Puck Pro vs Puck Pro Plus+ now with Bluetooth!
The Puck Pro dive computer is Mares entry level dive computer. It's aimed at both recreational divers as well as beginners. With 3 diving modes, the Puck Pro comes in a variety of colors and is a great dive computer for both functionality and price.
UPDATE: Mares released the Mares Puck Pro Plus in June 2017 with Bluetooth capability. This lets you download diving logs without needing to buy an additional USB download cable.
Mares Puck Pro PLUS
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Which is the Best Entry Level Dive Computer for Beginners in 2017?
Up until 2017, the three best entry-level dive computers based on price and functionality were the Cressi Leonardo, the Suunto Zoop and the Mares Puck Pro. These are all high-quality entry-level dive computers with only slight differences between them.
The Suunto Zoop was discontinued in January 2017, leaving the higher priced Zoop Novo as Suunto's only competitor in the entry-level dive computer market. The Zoop Novo costs more than the Zoop, but given the extra features it's well worth considering.
Mares has released the Mares Puck Pro Plus with Bluetooth capability. The Puck Pro Plus+ has all the functionality of the Mares Puck Pro. Mares will probably fade out the Puck Pro model over the next 12 months, as it's replaced it with the Puck Pro+.
New Release Mares Puck Pro Plus + with Bluetooth Capability
In June 2017 Mares released the Puck Pro Plus. This dive computer has all the same features as the Puck Pro, but with the bonus of Bluetooth connectivity.
It’s great to see the entry level dive computers moving towards modern wireless connectivity. With the Bluetooth interface, you can transfer your diving data directly to your smartphone.
With the Mares Puck Pro, you need to buy the download cable to be able to download your logs and update your firmware. This alone justifies buying the Mares Puck Pro Plus model over the Puck Pro.
What's Different between the Mares Puck Pro and the Puck Pro Plus?
Aside from the wireless Bluetooth capability, there are only cosmetic differences between these two models.
The Mares Puck Pro comes in a range of colors available. The Mares Puck Pro + is currently available to buy online in Black or White. There is a Grey option but this is yet to become available to purchase online.
All of the functions of the two models are exactly the same.
If you already have a Puck Pro and want to purchase the USB cable download your logs, the software is free to download from the Mares website. Another open-source option worth looking at is Subsurface. The cable also allows for firmware updates to the Puck Pro that Mares release from time to time.
How does the Mares Puck Pro compare with similar Dive Computers?
This is because these are very similar when it comes to both functionality, price, and reliability. All three dive computers are high quality with only slight differences between them.
- Multi Button
- 50 Hours
- Air, Nitrox
- 5 Minutes
- Optional Extra
- Single Button
- 35 Hours
- Air, Nitrox, Bottom Timer
- 3 Minutes
- Optional Extra
Puck Pro PLUS
- Single Button
- 35 Hours
- Air, Nitrox, Bottom Timer
- 3 Minutes
- Single Button
- 70 Hours
- Air, Nitrox, Gauge
- 2 Minutes
- Optional Extra
Most entry-level diving computers in this price range do NOT include the USB cable needed to download the dive information. This is an optional accessory and is not included in the purchase price of the Leonardo, the Zoop or the Puck Pro dive computers.
Mares Puck Pro Plus versus Suunto Zoop Novo
In January 2017, Suunto quietly discontinued manufacturing the Zoop. These are currently still available for sale so you might find some bargains. The Suunto Zoop Novo is more expensive than the Zoop, (as well as the Puck Pro and Leonardo), but it has more features as well. If you have a little more to spend then take a look at the Zoop Novo Comparison and review.
The Zoop NOVO comes complete with the USB cable, but with Mares introducing the Puck Pro Plus with Bluetooth, this becomes a game-changer for many divers.
You really need to work out what features you want, and just go for it. Entry-level dive computers are always in demand and generally hold their resale value well. They'll also serve you well as a backup dive computer if you decide to extend your training later on.
Is the Mares Puck Pro Plus really the size of a hockey puck?
The Mares Puck Pro Plus is a big dive computer. The case is 2 ⅓ inches (or 60 mm) in diameter by 1 inch thick (25 mm). You won’t get away with wearing this as an everyday watch as it really is almost the size of a hockey puck.
Its overall size makes it very easy to read underwater. It has a segment display which has a backlight and the display is mineral glass crystal.
It's a good-looking and durable design. The Puck Pro Plus looks a little more stylish than its predecessor. Both have a black rubber watch-style strap that is long enough to go over your wetsuit or dry-suit.
How easy is it to navigate with One Button?
The Puck Pro Plus has a one-button style menu operation. The menus are easy to navigate. Press the button to scroll through the menus, then hold the button to make adjustments to the menu you're in.
This single button menu operation is a nice touch, which is easy to press even with gloves on.
Mares Puck Pro and Puck Pro Plus - Functions and Features
When in Surface mode you can change settings, use the dive planner, see remaining saturation after a dive, review your logbook and download to a PC or Mac. The dive settings can't be changed once you're underwater.
During the Dive mode, the Puck Pro Plus monitors the depth, time, temperature and performs the decompression calculations. Although it monitors your depth, the Puck Pro does not have a Depth alarm. This may be important to know for anyone who has restrictions on their diving depth due to medical or other reasons.
The backlight can be adjusted to display between 1 to 10 seconds before fading, to help conserve battery life. It can also be set to ON so it remains on until you press and hold the button again.
After surfacing both the Puck Pro and Puck Pro Plus dive calculations are paused. This resumes if you re-submerge within 3 minutes and it logs the time on the surface as part of the dive. Once past 3 minutes on the surface, the Puck Pro closes the Logbook for that dive.
The display then shows desaturation time, no-fly time and the surface interval. It will continue to show the desaturation and no-fly time until both are reduced to zero. If you're diving in lakes above sea level, the Puck Pro comes with an adjustable Altitude setting to 3,700 feet.
The Puck Pro and Puck Pro Plus has a Rapid Ascent alarm (based on 30 feet per minute), and it alerts you if you miss a decompression stop.
The Puck Pro and Plus always switches on in pre-dive mode. This mode puts the dive computer in a ready-to-dive mode. It checks the ambient pressure during pre-dive.
It won't begin to calculate a dive until submerged below 4 feet (1.2 meters). Once submerged, pressing the menu button will activate the backlight and light up the display.
Does it come with Imperial or Metric settings?
The Puck Pro Plus lets you switch between imperial or metric depending on your personal preference (meters and Cº, or feet and Fº). It can be set in either show either 12 hour or 24 hour format.
What about the Dive Planner and Logbook Memory?
The Puck Pro PLus has a great Dive Planner. When entering your intended dive depth, it calculates how long you can stay at that depth. This is based on your last dive, surface interval and desaturation time.
The algorithm adjusts the no-decompression time by assuming you've spent the entire time of previous dives at the AVERAGE depth.
The Log holds around 35 hours worth of dive time, sampling at a rate of 5 seconds. You can't delete old dive data, you have to wait until it deletes itself out. You'll need to transfer this to a Dive Log to keep the information.
What's the expected Battery life and is it User-Changeable?
On their website, Mares state that the battery of the Puck Pro and Puck Pro Plus is user-changeable.
On both dive computers, the battery compartment is sealed off from the other part of the computer. This means it won't flood the rest of the computer if this isn't sealed correctly.
The battery is a standard 3 volt CR2450 on both models.
The battery life is estimated to be somewhere between 300 to 500 dives. This varies depending on how you use it. Diving in cold water, use of the backlight and the beeper will increase the battery consumption.
The battery icon doesn't show while it has plenty of charge. The icon will appear as a steady symbol as the battery starts to run low. There will still be enough charge for a few more dives, but you'll need to consider changing the battery shortly after the symbol appears. The backlight function will stop working once a low battery warning is activated.
The battery icon blinks when there's not enough battery for diving. Once the icon starts blinking, the Puck Pro doesn't function very well and won't turn on underwater when the battery symbol is blinking.
The Battery Kit comes with a new battery door, a new o-ring seal, and a CR-2450 3v battery.
Below is a video showing how easy it is to change the battery on the Mares Puck Pro.
Which Algorithm does the Mares Puck Pro use?
The Mares Puck Pro and Puck Pro Plus use the RGBM (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model) algorithm.
This algorithm is considered a more conservative algorithm that's great for beginner and recreational divers.
The Puck Pro Plus has a Precautionary Program setting which allows for adjustment to more conservative profile settings. This is great if diving at different depths over multiple days.
Which functions is the Mares Puck Pro Plus missing?
The Mares Puck Pro Plus is marketed as an entry-level dive computer, so has all the functions beginner divers or recreational divers need. It doesn't have a Depth alarm which you may need be aware of for medical reasons.
The Puck Pro Plus doesn't have wireless Air Integration. Have a look at some of our other reviews on mid-level diving computers if you're after wireless air integration. Don't forget though, more advanced features will add to the cost of a dive computer, and the Puck Pro and Puck Pro Plus is an entry level, affordable dive computer.
The Puck Pro Plus doesn’t have a digital compass, tri-mix or a Depth alarm. If you’re after these features, then have a look at the Suunto Vyper Novo, Suunto D4i Novo or D6i Novo, or the Shearwater Perdix AI.
If the Puck Pro Plus remains in a pre-dive mode for longer than 10 minutes without the button being pressed, the computer switches itself off.
You need to make sure the Puck Pro Plus is switched into pre-dive mode before submerging. If you start a dive without doing this, the Puck Pro Plus will still start to monitor the dive automatically, but with a delay of up to 20 seconds after submerging.
What about the Warranty and Puck Pro accessory prices?
The Mares Puck Pro is very nicely priced for an entry-level dive computer. This comes with a 2 year Manufacturer’s warranty.
The USB cable accessory needed to download the dive data from the Mares Puck Pro to your laptop is an optional extra which will is rapidly dropping in price thanks to the release of the Puck Pro Plus. It currently costs around $50. The software is free to download directly from the Mares website. (This cable is not needed by the Mares Puck Pro Plus to download logs to your smartphone).
The Mares Battery Kit will cost around $15 and includes the battery, o-ring, and a fresh battery case.
What about Maintenance and Care?
When it comes to getting the best performance and longevity out of your equipment, always thoroughly rinse the computer in fresh water after each dive. Dry off and store in a cool, well-ventilated place away from the damp.
The condition of the band, clasp and metal components need to be regularly checked. Over time these can become affected by a build-up of sunscreen, perspiration, and sea-salt.
For peace of mind and to avoid problems or disappointment before a dive trip, have the dive computer serviced every 2 years. The computer functions, waterproof seal, and calibration should all be checked.
The Mares Puck Pro Plus has the functionality beginners and recreational divers need. The one-press menu button and menu navigation make it a great entry level dive computer.
Work out which features you really want from your dive computer, then go for it!
If you've been looking for a new scuba computer and have your eye on the Puck Pro then go for the Puck Pro Plus instead.