2017 Suunto D6i NOVO and Zulu – 5 Dive Modes including Freediving

Suunto D6i Novo Stealth Zulu - Spearfishing

Suunto discontinued the D6i in January 2017. This leaves the D6i Novo as their leading classic watch sized dive computers. The D6i Novo has the extra features advanced recreational, technical and professional divers are looking for.

Not long before discontinuing the D6i, Suunto released the D6i Novo Zulu. This has become a very popular choice for free divers and spear fishers.

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Suunto D6i Novo and D6i Novo Zulu at a Glance

  • Integrated tilt-compensated 3D Compass
  •  5 Dive Modes - Air, Nitrox, Gauge, Free and Off
  • Gas Switching - up to 3 gases
  • Option for wireless Air Integration
  • Steel Casing and Sapphire Crystal Display
Suunto D6i Novo Zulu Collection

Suunto D6i Novo with NATO Zulu Band

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Click on the item below to find the answer to your most pressing question or keep scrolling to read the entire review. ​

Suunto D6i Novo – What’re the Specs?

All Suunto D6i Novo watches feature a tough steel case and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass, with a protective coating that shields against dirt and grease. It also has an anti-reflective coating.

The D6i Novo is water resistant to 492 feet (150 meters), although it’s maximum operating depth is 393 feet (120 meters).

The USB cable is included. This allows you to update the firmware each time Suunto release an update, and to download your dive logs onto either a PC or Mac.

The Suunto D6i Novo measures 1.91 inches (48.5 mm) across the face and is just over half an inch thick (.63 inches / 15.9 mm). It weighs just under 3.98 oz (113 grams).

The D6i Novo dive computers are easy to sync with Suunto DM5 software and Suunto Movescount so you can share your dive logs, images, and videos.

The D6i Steel and D6i All Black Steel have a steel case and steel strap, with a stainless steel bezel.

The NEW Suunto D6i Novo Range and Prices

The Suunto D6i Novo is available in Steel, Black, White, Stone and Stealth. These are currently retailing between $1000 to $1200. Be careful when buying these as a package with the wireless air transmitter. The transmitter retails for around $450. Make sure the 'package' is a real deal, otherwise buy these items separately.

Late in 2016, Suunto released the D6i Novo Zulu. The Zulu strap transforms the D6i Novo into a great looking watch sized dive computer. These military style straps are extremely durable and come in black, stealth (brown) and blue. These are priced slightly above the standard D6i Novo, but you'll be able to buy the D6i Novo Zulu online for under $1300.

Suunto D6i Novo White Watch Sized Dive Computer

Suunto D6i Novo White displaying Time settings

Personalize the Functions and Settings - Make it your own!

There are settings that can be personalized on the Suunto D6i Novo. The Calendar Clock displays the date, day of the week, hours, minutes and seconds. There is 1 daily alarm clock. This can be set as a one off, or set to activate once on weekdays, or once per day. The time format can be set to show as either 12-hour or 24 hour.

It's easy to set the units to be shown in either metric or imperial units. This will be either meters and celcius, or feet and fahrenheit. You can't mix the two. For example, you can't have it display in meters and fahrenheit.

The Suunto D6i Novo includes a Stopwatch, and has a Dual Time function. This helps you keep track of the time in a second time zone.​

The brightness of the display can be adjusted to your own personal preference, and also to suit different diving conditions. 

Note though, if the backlight has been switched off, it won't illuminate when an alarm sounds.

What's the expected Battery Life and replacement?

The battery on the Suunto D6i is not user replaceable. This needs to be done by an authorized service agent. This avoids possible leakage of water into the battery compartment or the computer. The warranty becomes void if this is not done by an authorized agent.

All history and logbook data, altitude, personal and alarm settings will remain in the memory after the battery replacement, but other settings will revert to factory defaults.

Professional Divers love the Dive Modes and Gas Switching

The Suunto D6i Novo has 5 dive modes: Air, Nitrox, Gauge, Free and Off. It has the capacity to switch between up to three gases during a dive. Decompression calculations are based on the gas that's been tagged as your Primary gas.

When using the dive computer in Gauge Mode, it won't calculate your dive profile. It's a depth gauge and bottom timer only. After using it in Gauge mode, you will be locked out of DIVE mode until the No Fly time is over. The No Fly time after diving in Gauge mode is 48 hours.

Suunto D6i Novo Stealth Zulu - Spearfishing

Suunto D6i Novo Stealth Zulu

Suunto D6i Novo - Free Diving and Spear Fishing

The Suunto D6i Novo is very popular with free divers and spear fishermen.

It can be used for free diving with its FREE mode. The dive time is shown in the center of the display in minutes and seconds. It starts at 4 feet (1.2 meters) and finishes when your depth is less than 3 feet (0.9 meters). The maximum operating depth is 393 feet (120 meters).

Up to 5 depth notifications can be set for free diving. Each notification can be turned off and has a defined depth. The low priority audible alarm sounds, and the backlight blinks when the notification depth is reached.

Surface Countdown Timer

The surface countdown timer is there to help to prepare you for your next dive. The countdown activates automatically at 4 feet (1.2 meters).

Apnea Timer

The apnea timer can be used for interval training when free diving.

Adjustable settings include the Ventilation time, the Increment time (the time added to the ventilation time for each interval) and the number of interval repeats. Depending on the ventilation times and increment times, the apnea timer supports up to 20 intervals.

Suunto D6i Novo Black Zulu

Digital Compass and Compass Calibration

The Suunto D6i Novo has an integrated digital compass with a tilt-tolerance of up to 45⁰ to help with navigating underwater. This will give accurate readings even when the compass isn't fully horizontal. The compass is activated from either the TIME or DIVE mode and displays your current bearing and depth.

The Compass Timeout lets you adjust the length of time the compass shows for after being activated.

There’s a Bearing Lock setting to help you keep you headed towards your intended direction. If your bearing starts to shift outside of your intended direction, left or right arrows are displayed that will direct you back to the correct bearing.

You need to calibrate the compass the first time you use it. This is done by slowly rotating the dive computer in your hand using large figure-8 movements. The compass adjusts itself to the surrounding magnetic field and will need to be re-calibrated when traveling overseas.

Below is a video showing how easy it is to calibrate the compass and set your bearing on Suunto's D6i.

Thinking of diving at different Altitudes?

The Suunto D6i has an Altitude setting for diving at different altitudes. The dive computer is adjustable to up to 9800 feet (3000 metres).

Travelling to different altitudes can temporarily cause changes to the equilibrium of your body. The pressure in the atmosphere is different at higher and lower altitudes. It doesn't matter if you're travelling higher or lower - if you're switching your altitude by 1000 feet (300 meters) or more, you'll need to give your body time to adjust.

It's generally recommended you wait at least 3 hours when travelling to a different altitude before diving.

It's critical that Altitude settings are adjusted whenever you dive at altitudes greater than 1000 feet (300 metres). This needs to be included in dive planning calculations. No-decompression limits are considerably reduced due to the altitude.

Green Lake


What about the wireless Air Transmitter (AI)?

Air Integration (AI) technology has become more reliable in recent years. Especially when compared to the early days of wireless air transmitters.

Can you dive without it? Yes. Will it make your dives easier, more accurate, safer, and more enjoyable? Yes. When you're penetrating a long and narrow passage in a wreck, you'll appreciate that your computer has AI. With the flick of the wrist, you'll see all the vital info you need with minimal movement.

The Suunto D6i Novo has the option for adding a wireless Air Transmitter. The AI transmitter attaches to the first stage of your regulator. Suunto strongly recommends this is done by a technician as it needs to undergo a pressure test after being installed.

  • How to Pair  
  • DISPLAY INFO
  • Warnings

When the tank pressure reaches 50 bar (700 psi), the Suunto D6i will give 2 audible double beep warnings with a blinking pressure display. This is a default setting and can't be changed.

When the tank pressure reaches the second user-defined alarm pressure and when the remaining time reaches zero, two more double beeps will sound.
As there is a small safety reserve built into the air time calculations, when the air time shows zero there is still a small reserve of 35 bar (500 psi).

Suunto Wireless Air Transmitter

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Suunto Wireless Air Transmitter

What about diving with No Decompression stops?

The Suunto D6i Novo makes it very easy to plan for dives without deco stops. If you want to dive without a decompression stop, use the PLAN NoDeco function. After entering the dive depth of the dive, the D6i makes the calculations needed to avoid the extra stop.

All dive history from the previous 4 days, and calculated residual nitrogen are taken into account.

What Safety Stops, Depth Alarms and other features are there?

A critical part of most diving plans is the Safety Stops. These are widely considered good diving practice.

The Suunto D6i has all recommended and mandatory safety stops.

Whenever you dive below 30 feet (10 meters), a 3 minute countdown for the recommended safety stop is shown. This stop is taken in the 10 ft to 20 ft (3 to 6 meter) range.

Deep Stop is On by default. As long as it's not turned off, this alarm will automatically activate when diving deeper than 65.6 feet (20 meters). If the Dive timer is displayed on the dive computer when Deep Stop is activated, the timer is replaced with Deep Stop. Once the Deep Stop is over, you're able to change between Deep Stop and the Timer.

What's the Logbook and Dive History capacity?

In MEMORY mode, you’ll find a detailed logbook and dive history. The logbook records the dive profile for each dive. The frequency of data saved in the log is based on the sample rate selected.

When the battery is replaced according to the instructions (by an authorized dealer), the contents of the memory will not be lost.

  • logbook capacity
  • logbook pages
  • dive profile  

The dive profile displays the point-by-point dive information such as compass heading, decompression information, ceiling and ascent time, and depth.

Pressing the Select button at any time during a dive will add a Bookmark to the dive log. ​These are viewed in the logbook when scrolling the dive profile. Present depth, water temperature, time, tank pressure (if available), and heading (if the compass is enabled) will be recorded. 


How many hours does the Dive History hold?

There’s two separate areas for Scuba History and Free Diving History.
Scuba History records the Maximum Depth, the dive hours, and the total number of dives. A maximum of 999 dives and 999 diving hours is recorded in Scuba History. After this time, the counters reset to zero.
Free dive history records the total number of dives, the deepest and longest dives of all free dives, and the cumulative dive time in hours and minutes. A maximum number of 999 dives and 99.59 diving hours are recorded. The counters reset to zero after this.

Buy Suunto D6i Novo Zulu or retrofit to other D6i Novo models?

The popular Zulu strap is NATO compliant. Zulu straps were originally designed for military use and built to last in tough conditions. The addition of a Zulu band makes this comfortable and stylish for every day use.

Zulu bands are a favorite of divers all over the world due to the double-sling closing system. It has adapters and thick, rounded stainless steel rings, to easily adjust it when wearing over a wetsuit. This ensures it stays on your wrist even if something unexpected happens during a dive.

Suunto D6i Novo NATO Zulu Band

Suunto D6i Novo NATO Zulu Band

What about Suunto D6i Novo Warranty?

Dive computers are designed to withstand the rigors of diving, but need to be treated with the proper care as any other precision instrument. It should go without saying, but don't go out of your way to knock it or drop it. Protect it from extreme heat and chemicals.

The Suunto D6i Novo comes with a 2 year manufacturers warranty.

A 1 year warranty applies to accessories such as the wireless sensors and transmitter, cables, and straps. The warranty doesn't cover the normal wear and tear including scratches, or exposure to chemicals such as sunscreens and mosquito repellents. Full warranty information can be found on Suunto's website.

How to Care for your Dive Computer

After each dive in salt water, rinse the computer in fresh water with a mild soap. Clean the housing with a soft cloth or chamois.

The water contact sensors and depth sensors are located on the side of the computer. These can be cleaned using fresh water and a soft brush or soft toothbrush.

If you detect moisture inside the case or battery compartment, take it immediately to an Suunto authorized service agent.

Suunto D6i Novo Dive Computer Zulu Strap

Suunto Dive Computer D6i Zulu Strap

The Verdict?

The Suunto D6i Novo is a compact, well equipped watch-sized dive computer. This has made my list of best dive computers for 2017.

With its ability to switch between up to 3 gases, integrated 3D compass and optional wireless air transmitter, the Suunto D6i is for serious recreational, technical and professional divers. The FREE dive mode makes it a great choice for competitive free divers.

This dive computer comes complete with the USB cable.

The wireless air transmitter is not included in the price. This is around $450 and can always be added on later. Look for bundle deals that include transmitter that will save you money.

This is classic Suunto design, functionality and reliability all in a compact, great looking package. The D6i Novo dive computer is very robust watch sized dive computer, and looks great for everyday use.

Suunto D6i Novo and Zulu Current Price

Click the button below to see the current price and any discounts available for the Suunto D6i Novo and D6i Novo Zulu at your local Amazon store. 

Looking for Bargains on the Suunto D6i?

Early in 2017, Suunto discontinued the D6i range of dive computers.

The Suunto D6i All Black and Suunto D6i Chrome dive computers are still available to buy brand new, so this is the time to catch a bargain on these diving computers.

Both the D6i Steel and D6i All Black Steel have a steel case and steel strap, with a stainless steel bezel.​

These D6i models are currently selling on Amazon complete with air transmitters for around $450 less than the current retail price of the D6i Novo with transmitter.

Suunto D6i Steel

Suunto D6i Steel

Suunto D6i Diving Computer - Still available - Great Savings

Click the button below to see the current price and any discounts available on the Suunto D6i Steel and D6i All Black at your local Amazon store. 

 
 



Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Bec - August 22, 2016 Reply

It’s amazing that something so small can have all these capabilities … technology is amazing!
When you do change the battery, is it expensive due to the waterproofing? Or is it the regular cost?
They look quite sophisticated too! Thank you!

    Sharon Swanson - August 26, 2016 Reply

    Hi Bec,

    I agree, I think they’re amazing too!

    The manufacturer recommends you have the battery changed by an authorized dealer, but there are kits available for you to do it yourself if you have the confidence. You need to remember that these are precision instruments, and personally I wouldn’t want to take the risk of voiding the warranty.

    I’d suggest you get the battery changed at the same time as you have the computer serviced, as this really won’t add much to the price overall.

    BTW, it’s a good idea to plan on a service about every 2 years. I think the little bit extra you many have to pay to have the battery changed at the same time would be worth the peace of mind.

Quinn - August 22, 2016 Reply

Thanks for the detailed review. What exactly is the Deepstop function? Does it give you adequate decompression stop information once you go into decompression mode? Or does it lock you out? How conservative is this computer compared to its competitors?

    Sharon Swanson - August 26, 2016 Reply

    Hi Quinn,

    Great questions! I have an article that helps explain the Deep Stop function with the Suunto D4i and D6i, as well as some of the history of the Deep Stop function. The link is here.

    The Suunto D6i will display an error message if you miss a decompression stop. If this happens, you need to descend back to below the ceiling level and continue with the planned deco stop. This is a safety feature in order to reduce your risk of DCI. If you fail to descend within 3 minutes, then you will be locked you out of decompression information for 48 hours.

    The Suunto RGBM model is considered conservative by some. The level of conservatism can be adjusted to suit your personal preference. Just as an aside, Oceanic were considered to have a less conservative RGBM model than Suunto, but they’re now introducing a dual algorithm model into their dive computers that’s bringing them closer to the Suunto in conservatism.

David - August 22, 2016 Reply

Maybe I missed it in the article, but is this dive computer compatible with mobile devices? And if so does it work with Android?

    Sharon Swanson - August 25, 2016 Reply

    Hi David, yes it is. Start by installing the free download of Suunto DM5. This lets you to transfer dive logs from the dive computer and upload dive plans. Once the dive data is on your PC or Mac, you can go to http://www.movescount.com and share everything with your friends, or access online from anywhere. Movescount have an App for both an Android or iPhone that can be downloaded through Google Play or the Apple App Store.

    I hope this helps.

Tim - August 23, 2016 Reply

This watch is simply amazing with all of the things it can do. One of the best features, IMO, is that the memory is not lost when you change the battery. Real nice!

Maria - August 29, 2016 Reply

This is a great review. Appreciate the extra detail. I’m moving to tech diving but prefer a watch-size DC. I like Suunto’s and the D6i is good. I’ve been renting these and I like them, so I’ll be buying one so I can personalize it to suit me.

DAVID - September 14, 2016 Reply

This would have to my favorite dive computer.

Bec - October 27, 2016 Reply

What a good looking dive watch – I like the steel with stainless steel band – I think it’s a great option for your dive watch! Great review! thanks!

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