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Best Freediving Computer - 2017 Update!

Jeremy Harris

Active Member
Oct 26, 2016
44
35
33
38
St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean
Hi Kodama and Berx,
To be honest I had similar questions when looking at the data. Let me tackle the questions one at a time:
"...why your heart rate dropped so suddenly only to continue around the same rate shortly after"
I put this down to equipment/user error. I imagine the strap slipped and lost the heart beat or something similar. I was diving without a suit or a top with just the strap so it is possible it became momentarily dislodged.
"it seems like your DR never really kicked in..."
This has been bothering me too. I'm working on three theories at the moment: 1. The HR monitor is a load of BS and pretty crap at measuring HR. I'm going to wear both the OMER one and my Polar dry land one for a workout this afternoon and see if there is a massive discrepancy. I'll look a bit stupid with two watches on but I can live with that :). 2. There is something wrong/different with me. I've always had a pretty unusual heart. My resting HR is around 57 even though I'm not that fit (and I'm 35 and slightly overweight), but I can keep it up at 180 for 20 - 30 minutes without dying (or puking) and it'll go as high as 210 on occasion. In my youth (late teens early 20s) I was a serious athlete but I was not good to myself between 25 and 30! Maybe I broke my DR..? 3. I'm new to proper free diving and haven't had any proper instruction yet. Maybe I'm doing something wrong! I suppose I feel this is the most likely explanation... On land, my breath hold is good for 2:30 so it was disappointing to see I'm only managing just over 1 minute in the water. Again, inexperience..? Probably.
"Is there any way you could let me have a copy of your actual log file" - Sure, but you may need to let me have your e-mail address since the site won't let me upload it... not sure how best to do that without exposing us to spammers..?
"if it's possible to zoom in on the profile curve" - It is possible to zoom in and you can set the sample rate on the watch. I had mine set at 2 seconds but you can have 1,2,5 or 10. The more samples the fewer dives the watch can store (it can reportedly store 250 dives at the 10 second rate).
"...HR dropped drastically on your descent" - As I say above, i think this might be due to the strap becoming momentarily dislodged on my duck dive.
"I noticed: your HR before the decent was rather high, 100 plus, was that intentional?" - In short, no, it wasn't intentional. I was swimming fairly hard between dives and didn't spend a great deal of time on relaxation before diving so it's possible that is what is going on. I'm also just building back up my cardio having been pretty inactive over the Christmas break. A combination of that I'm guessing. I'll let you know if the comparison with my Polar HR monitor works out this afternoon.
 
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Berx

Member
Dec 12, 2016
13
3
18
55
Germany
Hi Jeremy,

thanks for your detailed description and I look forward to your comparison.

Perhaps you should do longer breathups to get the heart rate down before you decend - that should improve your performance and be a bit more relaxing for you - giving you more enjoyment, me thinks.

Since I was contemplating on getting the Sporasub SP2 (which is basically similar to your copmuter) this coming Summer, I (and perhaps others too) really do appreciate your reports your experiences. If you would send me your logfile to my secondary email Address I would be very thankful: [email protected]

Thanks.
Regards,
Berx
 
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Kodama

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2016
347
142
58
Belgium - California
www.eastwind.be
Hi Kodama and Berx,
To be honest I had similar questions when looking at the data. Let me tackle the questions one at a time:
"...why your heart rate dropped so suddenly only to continue around the same rate shortly after"
I put this down to equipment/user error. I imagine the strap slipped and lost the heart beat or something similar. I was diving without a suit or a top with just the strap so it is possible it became momentarily dislodged.
"it seems like your DR never really kicked in..."
This has been bothering me too. I'm working on three theories at the moment: 1. The HR monitor is a load of BS and pretty crap at measuring HR. I'm going to wear both the OMER one and my Polar dry land one for a workout this afternoon and see if there is a massive discrepancy.
After looking at the HR profile again I can only conclude that it is not properly registering your HR. Cross referencing with your Polar seems a good idea although I personally had problems with Polar Hr monitors in the past myself. If they work they seem to be pretty accurate but to keep them working continuously has proven impossible to me. I look forward to read about your conclusions.

On land, my breath hold is good for 2:30 so it was disappointing to see I'm only managing just over 1 minute in the water. Again, inexperience..?
It is quite normal for your dynamic dive time to be about 50% of your static time. This percentage might change over time with additional training. I suggest you find more experienced divers to train with or take a course, the importance of proper training can not be overestimated. I believe that to learn how to freedive safely one should take a course. Learning everything on your own true experience might have been the rule in the past especially in romantic tales of the old-timers but with the availability of proper training opportunities there is no reason why you should waste your time or put yourself in danger by trying to figure things out yourself.

I have been very interested in the topic of HR-monitoring-freediving-computers lately since I used to consider buying one myself. However I never found a review of any HR freediving computer that seems to work accurately and reliably. So far it seems to be a gadget and not a serious training tool. That is very unfortunate, after spending that much money you would expect a watch like that to simply work properly.
After considering your explanation and looking at your dive and HR profile I can not conclude that your watch is doing what it supposed to do. Nonetheless I hope it will prove useful to you.
For an HR monitor to be useful it should accurately register the HR and you should be able to zoom in on your dive profile so you can analyze where and when exactly your DR is kicking in or your HR is slowing down etc.
Ideally we would have a way to even measure our CO2 blood (and O2) saturation but since this is even challenging in a hospital environment I don't think we will find the feature on a freediving watch in the near future.
I would love to be proven wrong and look forward to hear from anyone with a different experience!

So far I am trying to train my sensitivity and hope to get a better understanding of how my body reacts while diving in a holistic way. Computers/monitors could be helpful but they need to work consistently and reliably.
Freedive computer manufacturers, consider the gauntlet thrown down!
 
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Jeremy Harris

Active Member
Oct 26, 2016
44
35
33
38
St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean
Thanks both for your replies - unfortunately I haven't been able to get in the water over the weekend so can't yet offer another report. I did try the polar and the up-x1r on together at the same time but the signals interfere with each other so it's no good doing a side by side. I also can't figure out how to get the up-x1r to register a dry-land work out session (even though the blurb says that it will). Perhaps I just use the stopwatch... It does seem to me from a quick test that the up-x1r registers change in HR much slower than the polar and also tends to show a higher HR.

In terms of finding a more experienced diver to train with - there aren't that many of us on this little island. A guy I have been out with on occasion has just gone away and done the PureApnea course to train people to 'Adventure 1 & 2' level. I'm not totally sure what that means but will find out how much he charges and get out with him if possible. Until then I shall keep doing my tables and hopefully building up my time - I'm really working on my sensitivity too and trying to understand the various physiological responses through the dive. If I can tie these together with stuff the watch picks up then all to the good.

Berx - did you get the file I sent? Was it any use?
 
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Berx

Member
Dec 12, 2016
13
3
18
55
Germany
Hi Jeremy,

thank you very much for sending me the file - I really appreciate it.

I will take a closer look at the curves tomorrow and let you know what I think.

The Freediving courses are mostly divided into three or four levels of skill & theoretical knowledge - there are quite a number of different agencies offering these courses but they are not much different from one another. Examples of these freeding associations are: AIDA, SSI, PADI, CMAS; IAC etc. You should find all of these on the web and you can compare the level requiremts and costs.
Key factors are static and dynamic breathhold times and the different minimum depths for the individual levels. Then there are other saftey and rescue skills involved as well. Not a bad step-by-step concept, certainly better and far safer than learing on your own - the key is also the buddy system, incase something goes wrong.

Cheers for now.
Berx
 
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Berx

Member
Dec 12, 2016
13
3
18
55
Germany
Hi again Jeremy,

you are sure to have the very best apnoe diving and spearfishing waters right at your doorstep, I truly envy you for that. I lived in South Africa for 26 years, so I can relate a litlle bit to your ocean waters and currents, I now live in Germany so I always have to travel...

Next, I can truly recommend you get yourself the "Kernmed OLED Finger Pulsoximeter A310" or a similar device like this. It only costs around 20 UKP and works really well when practicing static apnea tables etc. Furthermore, it won't interfere with your apnoe dive computer when comparing the HR's. Above and beyond that, you get a SPo2 value, (delyed by about 20 seconds because the sensor is on your finger), very interesting to see while you are on breathhold and also on recovery. I use it daily, esp. in the mornings, to get my SPo2 value and resting pulse, on static tables and after workouts.

Next up to follow will be my thoughts on the software and what I can make out regarding you sample file you sent me.

Cheers for now.
Berx
 
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Jeremy Harris

Active Member
Oct 26, 2016
44
35
33
38
St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean
Hi again Jeremy,

Next, I can truly recommend you get yourself the "Kernmed OLED Finger Pulsoximeter A310" or a similar device like this. It only costs around 20 UKP and works really well when practicing static apnea tables etc. Furthermore, it won't interfere with your apnoe dive computer when comparing the HR's. Above and beyond that, you get a SPo2 value, (delyed by about 20 seconds because the sensor is on your finger), very interesting to see while you are on breathhold and also on recovery. I use it daily, esp. in the mornings, to get my SPo2 value and resting pulse, on static tables and after workouts.


Berx
Thanks Berx,

I've ordered one off Amazon so that should get here in three months or so :) The water and fishing are great but ordering things not so much! I just wish I had more time to get in the water honestly - work and toddlers keep me too busy!!
 
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Berx

Member
Dec 12, 2016
13
3
18
55
Germany
Hi Jeremy,

from what I can determine (thanks to your sample file), the software is not bad at all!
Here is what I like:
1. Only from the time of the actual descent of the dives, the profiles are graphed - the pause durations are listed in the table - that makes perfect sense.
2. The totals, like the session duration time, the total dive time, number of dives, Kilocalories used, min and max HR and temperature values, min and max depths - very useful!
3. The average dive times and depths, an excellent feature, esp. for when comparing to other dive sessions.
4. The session is marked on a calander and in a structured tree format and can be selected accordingly
5. The depth samples (the computer seems to be configured to every 2 seconds) include temperature and HR
6. Individual dive profiles together with water temp and HR values can be scrutinized (zoomed in on) in a very detailed graphical representation

Jeremy, to qualify for some levels of Apnoe Diving courses with certain associations, they often even request a log book from their students so that they may have some insight of their sessions and detailes thereof and I cant think of a better logbook for a serious apnoe diver or spearfishing enthusiast than this great tool - I am quite impressed! I will most likely get the Sporasub SP2 this coming summer.

So, there you have it, that's my 2 cents worth.

By the way, please keep me posted with further news and experiences with your great dive computer and your diving sessions. Your HR values have me a bit confused, perhaps in your next session they will make more sense and you relax more on the surface before descending.

So, in theory, this is what I would expect my personal data to look like on an apnoe dive (but not for spearfishing - too much excitement etc.):
Before descending - a normal rested HR - I guess mine would be around 50 to 55 (my morning bed rest pulse is 40)
The HR should decrease very slightly during the descent and even more so if I stoped and rested at the bottom of my descent, lets say at 20 meters to about 45 heart beats per min. Upon ascending (breaking the surface), I assume my HR would initially be over 90 - or way more, depending on how much I pushed the hold time. My breathup time before the next dive would allow me to recover with at least double to tripple time of my last dive to a HR of around 50 to 55 or so again. I would keep my eye on this value during my rest and use it to figure out if I was ready for the next dive or not - possibly this is even more important than the actual breatheup time itself, but a combination of both factors would increase saftey even more so. Some may argue the can feel when they are ready - possibly so, but I like to compare and be more percise - which is why I believe the apnoe dive computer with HR monitoring is justified for its cause and worth the extra money.

Any comments?

Cheers,
Berx.
 

Jeremy Harris

Active Member
Oct 26, 2016
44
35
33
38
St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean
Hi Berx,

Thank you very much for this insight - it is encouraging to hear you think I have made a good choice on the OMER UP-X1R. Honestly, I didn't seek out a computer with a HR monitor - as I was researching this was the one that appeared to me to be the best value irrespective of the HR feature. That said, like you, I do like to monitor HR and feel it to be a good indicator of physical performance. I like my stats and metrics. Be aware, from what I can see the SP2 doesn't come with the HR chest strap as standard...

This computer (which I picked up for £269 all included from PlanetMultistore in Italy -- who were great by the way) was a better price than the F10 which appears to be the go-to recommendation for free divers at the moment. It looks like Amazon has the F 10 V3 on in the UK for £330 and the cable will set you back another £145. That's a lot more than this watch! The Cressi Drake is competitive for the watch alone (£254) but you pay an additional £75 for the cable. I nearly went for the Drake because I like Cressi stuff but am happy with my choice now.

The deal clincher for me was the rechargeable battery. Living where I do, it is a massive hassle to have to send anything away or even source specialist batteries - being able to charge the watch rather than replace the battery is a big deal for me. A single charge on this watch seems like it will last me a good month of gentle use - battery life may go down if I actually get to dive more with it - and also with age I suppose but so far so good.

I'll gladly send you more dive files for you to look at as I gather them. Have a good evening!
 
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Berx

Member
Dec 12, 2016
13
3
18
55
Germany
Hi Jeremy,

thanks for your info. In your case, the battery replacement issue is a key factor, so that was a good decision. And yes, you are correct, the Sporasub SP2 (costs shipped under 260 Euro) but does not include the chest strap HR Transmitter - it does, however, include the interface cable adapter. The chest strap HR Transmitter costs an extra 116 Euro. See this link a SP2 on offer:

http://www.ebay.de/itm/Sporasub-Sp2-Tauchcomputer-/131998356338?hash=item1ebbb71372:g:8WIAAOSwTglYmXSa

Not sure what the differences are between the Sporasub SP1 and SP2 and also not sure what the diffs are between the Omer UP-X1 and UP-X1R (other than the prices). Do you know? I do believe they have the same insides as the Sporasubs as they also use the same "Diver Master" software.

Please do send me a copy of your next dive logs - I am keen to see if they will show different HR data pattern when comparing to your first session.

Thanks again and have a great day!

Best regards,
Berx
 

Jeremy Harris

Active Member
Oct 26, 2016
44
35
33
38
St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean
Hi Berx,

I'm not certain of the difference between the SP1 and the SP2 - but a friend here has just bought the SP1 so I'll ask her how she finds it. A quick look here gives a fairly decent write up of the three (four if you split the UP-X1 and the UP-X1R). Basically:

SP1: 200 records, no HR function, smaller and simpler interface, no rechargeable battery, no interface (Euro 168) (updated in 2016 to the OMR-1 which seems to be basically the same but comes with three straps and the interface for Euro 239)
SP2: 250 records, HR function but chest strap at additional cost, no interface cable included, no rechargeable battery (Euro 229.99)
UP-X1: 250 records, HR function and chest band included, no rechargeable battery, fancy carbon fiber ring (??) (Euro 289.99)
UP-X1R: 250 records, HR function and chest band included, rechargeable battery, even fancier carbon fiber ring (??) (Euro 319.99)

I've taken all the prices from where I bought my watch from - Planet Multistore - I've become a fan of theirs because they were great to deal with. Basically, to sum up, since you can't get the interface cable and the chest strap for less than the 60 Euro difference in price between the SP2 and the UP-X1 to my mind the UP-X1 is the obvious choice. For 30 Euro more you can get the rechargeable battery. The only other consideration is the look of the thing and actually, I quite like wearing my UP-X1R every day.

I hope that helps! I'm desperate to get in the water today so should have another log for you provided I can contain any dramas at work.
 
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Berx

Member
Dec 12, 2016
13
3
18
55
Germany
Hi Jeremy,
thanks for all your infos - now I fully understand the differences. Unfortunatley we have winter here in Germany and have to wait for the summer before it makes sense for me to get my computer - until then my old Oceanic Atom2 will have to do for my training sessions.
Enjoy your diving!

Cheers,
Berx
 

dessu

New Member
Oct 22, 2019
2
0
1
32
Lappeenranta, Finland
Any news on this front? I'm looking to buy a freediving computer possibly with HRM. Did a fair bit of research and it seems that the situation is still the same on this market: basically there's only Omer and Scubapro under 500€. Then the jump is to 1000€ computers =O. First I started to look for a computer with HRM but know thinking about if it actually is necessary or essential or not...
My background is snorkeling and swimming from age of 5, now going on 32 yrs of age. Started freediving in February this year so just in the beginning =) Static around 2mins, deepest dive 15m so far, haven't actually tried any records on depth. Coming from Finland so the indoor season has just started. Local pool is 4m deep.
 
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