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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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June 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 44, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Phone For Your Deco Too?

from the June, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Who would have thought a couple of decades ago, that we'd one day have a device in our pockets that could access all the information about any subject in the world? What we now call a phone is far more than that -- and with phenomenal computing power.

The smartphones have killed the compact camera market because they can take great snapshots. So to a diver, it should be no surprise that an enterprising entrepreneur has coupled a smartphone with a depth-sensor, too, which, with the right app, can also replace the diving computer.

Now, you can put your smartphone in an underwater housing, and not only can you take photos on a dive, but you can also manage your decompression obligation. Like many diving computers, with the app provided, your phone can use the Bühlmann ZHL-16C algorithm just like the latest offerings from Aqualung and Oceanic.

"Wait a minute," I hear you say. "My phone has my whole life on it. I'm not going to risk flooding it."

Not to worry. While there are many underwater phone housings available, the Weefine Smart Pro housing has a built-in vacuum leak-test, just like a housing for an expensive DSLR or video camera. Before you get wet, you can test its watertight seal using non-destructive air. A green light is good -- a red light means it will leak, and so don't dive.

There is a limitation: it may need to be combined with good video-type lighting. So far, you see, it's not possible to harness the phone's in-built flash to fire an off-board strobe -- but surely that day will come.

We haven't tried one yet underwater, but it seems to tick all the other boxes, including the option to fit additional fish-eye or macro lenses. With ever-more-demanding restrictions on what you can carry on a plane, not only weight, this might also be the answer for the world-traveling diver.

Marketed under the Kraken Sports brand in North America, the Chinese-made Weefine houses iPhones and most Android phones. Be aware that the third-party diving computer software is downloaded by scanning a key provided by Weefine and may not yet be available from Kraken. It is depth-rated to 260 feet (80m) and costs around $400. For reasons of safety (it's always possible you might lose your hand-held phone during a dive despite its wrist lanyard), we suggest that you carry a second diving computer that uses the same deco algorithm to back it up.

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