Scuba Cave Diving with Dive Computers

In 2018, Shearwater Research Perdix Air Integrated Dive Computer remains the best!

There's no doubt that the Shearwater Research Perdix AI dive computer is on many scuba diver's wish list. Buying a Perdix AI is a real investment in a great piece of equipment that is going to last you many, many years.

This is a bulletproof dive computer that will grow with your diving. It will serve you well in shallow reefs, deep wrecks, and cave dives.


The Perdix AI has a Recreational mode as well as its Technical mode. If you can stretch to the extra few dollars, then go for this dive computer - you won't be disappointed! This has all the functionality you'd expect from a high-end device.

Shearwater Perdix AI Dive Computer with Transmitter

If you already know the Shearwater Perdix AI is for you, click the button below to see the latest price and any dis​counts that may apply at Amazon.

​Click on the link below to find the answer to your most pressing question, or continue scrolling to read the entire review.

Shearwater Perdix AI - At a glance

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    AI Capability
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    User Changeable Batteries
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    Bluetooth Connectivity
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    3 axis, tilt compensated Compass
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    Technical and Recreational Dive Modes
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    High resolution, easy-to-read Display
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    Calculates Gas Time Remaining (GTR)
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    Two button Menu Interface
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    Customizable Display
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    Multiple Languages

Bluetooth Ready - Connect your Perdix AI to your Desktop Computer

Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference.

This dive computer is one of the few equipped with Bluetooth. This allows you to download your dive logs from the dive computer and view them on your desktop (both Windows and Mac) with lower power consumption. Bluetooth Smart Ready will also download to iOS devices such as an iPad and iPhone. 

Being Bluetooth capable also makes regular firmware updates and upgrades very easy to install. The computer does all the work.

I bought a Shearwater Perdix once I realized I could read the screen of a Petrel on a student's arm 6 feet away, better than I could read the screen of my own dive computer.

What's the Price of the Shearwater Perdix vs Perdix AI Dive Computer?

You can buy the Shearwater Research Perdix AI for under $1200 including the Air Transmitter. If you go with the Perdix AI without the transmitter, these are currently selling for less than $950.

The price of the Perdix pre-air integration has dropped to below $850. If you don't want to go down the path of air integration, then this is the time to really pick up a bargain.

What’s the difference between the Perdix and the Perdix AI?

A little over 12 months ago, Shearwater released their first air integrated dive computer, the Perdix AI. There are only a few small differences between the previous Perdix model and the Perdix AI.

The Perdix AI has wireless AI connection capability. This can connect with up to 2 transmitters making it ideal for sidemount diving.

There are also additional reporting features in ‘Shearwater Desktop’ specifically for the Perdix AI. This includes displaying the tank pressure throughout the dive, your SAC rate, as well as Gas Time Remaining (GTR) information.

The Perdix is still available to buy. The Perdix does not have the firmware for air integration and it's not something that can be retro-fitted later on. If you'd like a Perdix without AI, then there are savings to be had as there are plenty of these still available for sale.

Shearwater Perdix AI infographic of dive computer

Why are Shearwater Research Dive Computers held in such high regard?

Shearwater as a company, stand behind their products like very few others ever do.

Shearwater dive computers are designed and built for divers, by a group of enthusiast divers who also happen to be engineers and technologists. They are committed to providing the best sales and customer service experience they can.

Their Customer Service is excellent. Their service is backed up with video tutorials to help you get comfortable quickly with your dive computer. Having said that, there's no steep learning curve with the Perdix. They are easy to use and customize.

Shearwater Perdix AI dive computer profile

Shearwater Perdix - Optional Wireless Air Integration (AI)

At DEMA last year, Shearwater surprised many in the diving community by releasing the Perdix AI (with Air Integration). 

If you're not a fan of air integration, then this is still the dive computer for you. The transmitter is an optional accessory. If you don't want wireless air integration, then there's no need to invest in the transmitter.

Each Shearwater transmitter has a unique serial number. This needs to be entered into the Perdix AI the first time you use it. The transmitter is screwed into the first stage of your regulator.

The Perdix AI is able to connect to either one or two transmitters giving you the option for monitoring two tanks and allowing for side mount diving. It's capable of displaying tank pressure in all modes. 

The video below shows how easy it is to set up the Shearwater Perdix AI for wireless air integration.

Perdix AI Dive Computer - All the Bells and Whistles

The focus for Shearwater is on innovative and simple displays that keep the most important information easy to read at a glance. The Perdix only has two menu buttons so there's no excessive scrolling and guessing.

The display is 2.2 inches across with vivid color range and saturation. This big display can easily be read in any depth. The display automatically adjusts its intensity based on the light available. It will be easy to read whether on the surface in sunlight, in open water or in a cave.

The Perdix will automatically turn itself on once submerged. It doesn't have wet contacts so this is based on the increase in pressure, and not in the presence of water. Although you should always turn on the computer before each dive to check the battery level and its setup, this feature is a backup in case you forget to turn it on.

The Perdix comes with a 3 axis, tilt compensated digital compass.

Its case is rated to a depth of 260 meters / 850 feet, however, the guaranteed depth accurate range is to 130 meters / 435 feet. The depth sensor does continue to function to this depth, but with reduced accuracy.

This is the easiest dive computer to use and customize to show what's important to you. The dive number can be changed - It doesn't have to start at Dive #1. It can be changed to match the actual number of dives you have done.

The Shearwater Perdix AI will NOT lock you out when things don't go as perfectly as the computer thinks they should. If you foul up and realize you have the wrong gas mix selected you can change to the correct one (or even add a mix) as soon as you realize.  ​

Shearwater Perdix AI Dive Computer

Perdix AI Diving Modes - Open Circuit and Closed Circuit

The Perdix AI is a technical dive computer will take you from your first open water dives (in recreational OC mode) all the way to trimix diving with the option of 5 CC gasses (in CC INT mode).

  • Air / Nitrox / Trimix capable
  • 5 open-circuit gas switch presets

The Perdix AI will not "lockout" after a missed stop or ascent rate violation.​

Diving Modes

OC Rec3 gas nitrox recreational computer
OC TecMulti-gas, trimix decompression computer
CC INTClosed circuit fixed PPO2
GaugeBottom timer with stopwatch and dive logging
Perdix Dive Computer Diving Modes OC Recreational Dive Mode
Perdix Dive Computer Diving Modes OC Technical Dive Mode
Perdix Dive Computer Diving Modes CC Int
Shearwater Perdix Gauge Display

Which Decompression Model does Shearwater Research use?

Shearwater Research design and manufacture their trimix dive computers with the most demanding technical divers in mind. The standard decompression model is Bühlmann ZHL-16C with Gradient Factors.

The VPM-B decompression model is available by purchasing an unlock code. These are the most common decompression models used by Technical divers.

What about battery changes and rechargeable batteries?

The Perdix AI uses AA batteries or long life lithium batteries. The battery compartment has a double o-ring to ensure a great seal.

The Perdix AI also takes rechargeable batteries but you can’t use rechargeable alkaline batteries which are your standard AA type batteries.

It takes rechargeable Li-ion 3.7V batteries although these are sometimes hard to source. These cost around $12 per 2x pack and will provide around 34 hours of charge.

The other rechargeable batteries it works with are NiMH 1.2V batteries. These are much easier to source and cost around $9 for a 8x pack. These will give around 30 hours of charge.

All dive logs and settings are saved in permanent memory so these are restored after a battery change.

Shearwater Perdix AI Battery Compartment

Shearwater Perdix AI Battery Compartment

What about Water Salinity adjustments and Language Choices?

The Perdix doesn't measure water depth directly. It measures the water pressure then converts this to depth based on the assumed density of water.

The Salinity setting on the Perdix can be set to Fresh, EN13319, or Salt. EN13319 is the European CE standard for dive computers. The density value used for each setting is:

  • Freshwater = 1000 kg/m³
  • EN13319 = 1020 kg/m³
  • Salt Water = 1030 kg/m³

The Shearwater Perdix AI can be displayed in a range of languages. These are English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Korean or Japanese.

What Maintenance is required for the Perdix AI?

Wash your dive computer with fresh water at the end of each dive in salt water to remove salt and other contaminants. Never allow salt deposits to build up. Detergents or other cleaning agents will damage the Perdix, so only use fresh water when rising.

Never wash with high-pressure water as it may damage the depth sensor. Allow the dive computer to dry naturally before storing. Keep the Perdix upright when storing, and out of direct sunlight in a cool, clean, dry and dust-free environment.

Avoid over exposure to direct ultraviolet radiation (the sun). It also doesn't like radiant heat.

As batteries can and do leak, always remove batteries from the dive computer when storing for long periods (several months). Dead batteries pose a higher risk of leaking and damaging the dive computer.​

Warranty and Servicing for Shearwater Dive Computers

Shearwater Research provides after-sales customer service that is unparalleled.

Shearwater has a 2 year warranty on all of their products. Each dive computer is tracked with a unique serial number so it doesn't need to be registered after purchasing. This is transferable to the next owner if sold. Once the warranty period has passed, the computer should be serviced on an annual basis at your nearest service center.

The Verdict?

Don't be swayed against buying the Shearwater because it would be 'too much computer' for you.

These are reliable and are easy to read in all diving conditions. Owners of the Shearwater dive computers claim these are the best dive computers they've ever owned. Comments such as this are repeated time and again across Scuba forums such as Scubaboard.

This dive computer also has 5 out of 5 Stars and 100% positive feedback on Amazon.

In regards to long term return-on-investment, Shearwater dive computers retain a very good resale value. If you had to sell one (although it's unlikely that you'd want to), it holds its value very well compared to its competitors.

This dive computer does exactly what it's supposed to do. As far as dive computers go, it provides the best bang for buck, and will simply last and last.

Shearwater Perdix AI Dive Computer with Transmitter

Buy a Perdix AI - Wireless Air Transmitter

Click the button below to see the current price and any discounts that may apply for the Shearwater Research Perdix AI Dive Computer at Amazon.


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
DiverS Reply

This is a great review with lots of technical details and I really appreciate it. I like knowing the decompression model used, as this helps me understand how conservative the results will be. I particularly like a couple of the features of the Perdix, like the large readout. Like the commenter in the article, I like to be able to see my read-out quickly and get the information without a lot of hassle. I also appreciate that this model will turn itself on if you fail to do so before the dive. My current computer does not do this and it is always a sore point with me, though I usually do my pre-dive checklist and make sure mine is on. This would be a nice failsafe though. Thanks for the detailed review.

Kate Reply

Thanks so much for this thorough review. I like that the Perdix model is less bulky than the Petrel, especially for my female sized wrist. Love that the readout is easy to see, even from a distance. About time someone made changing batteries on a dive computer really easy! Thanks for including the videos, they really help give perspective to its size.

Bob Reply

Glad to see that you covered resale value of the unit. I always get a little concerned when I’m spending so much money for something that, with technology, can get upgraded fairly quickly.

Do you know if the units can use rechargeable batteries?

    Sharon Swanson Reply

    Hi Bob,

    You can’t use rechargeable alkaline batteries which are your standard AA type batteries.

    The Perdix AI will take rechargeable Li-ion 3.7V batteries although these are sometimes hard to source. These cost around $12 per battery and will provide around 34 hours of charge.

    The other rechargeables it does work with are NiMH 1.2V batteries. These are much easier to source, cost around $5 each and will give around 30 hours of charge.


Martin Reply

I’ve only recently been Advanced OW certified but plan to keep on with my training. I’d like to get my own dive computer rather than continue hiring them. This looks good but I think I’d prefer something that’s more like a wristwatch that I could wear. What would you recommend?

    Sharon Swanson Reply

    Hi Martin,

    If you’re after a wrist watch style dive computer for around the same price as the Perdix, your best bet is the Suunto’s D6i. This has also has an integrated compass, gas switching for up to 3 gases and the option for wireless air integration. I hope this helps.


Bec Reply

Your review is great – I love the use of the images to show the screens.These pictures easily explain a point. It’s great to see so many details in advance of purchasing. Thank you.

Nick Reply

The Perdix looks like a clear winner after all my research so far! Thanks so much for making this decision easier for me to make, I’ve spent a long time trying to come to decision on this, as I’m not a fan of buying cheap imitations wherever I can help it…

carl Reply

Hi, this is a very informative article, you have covered a lot of aspects here, and one of my favorites is the onboard compass. This is what I need to keep my bearings when I’m on a research dive. This dive computer is now firmly on my list of “must haves”. Thank you.

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