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Smart watch for scuba diving – Garmin Descent MK1, MK2 and MK2i

There are many folks who would happily wear an ATM 10 for scuba diving. An ATM 10 watch means that the watch can work at up to 100 m water pressure. But, is an ATM 10 watch appropriate for scuba divers? No, not really. An ATM 10 watch is suitable for diving, but not scuba diving. Scuba divers should seek to buy watches that go beyond the ATM 10 rating on the smart watch.

Garmin Descent MK1 – image source – Garmin.com

Scuba divers do not have any options with Fitbit or Apple. The best bet is Garmin, one of the more established companies for fitness smart watches and activity tracking watches. The Descent MK1 smart watch of Garmin comes with the Dive 100 meters rating. It is certified by Garmin for diving and the scuba divers would do well wearing one. The Dive 100 meters rating goes a step above the ATM 10 watch, as it certifies the watch for diving experience.

Some enthusiasts believe that a scuba diver should settle for no less than a watch that is certified to withstand a depth pressure of 300m. With that sort of a depth pressure rating, your options are limited to the Omega Sea Master and the Rolex smart watches. These are beyond the budget of most sporting enthusiasts. Which brings us to the experience of divers with the Garmin Descent MK1. Most scuba divers do not seem to have any complaints with the Descent MK1. The Descent MK1 watch comes with Sapphire glass, thus making the watch screen stronger than the normal Gorilla glass watches.

Descent MK1 costs $999 as of August 2021. It has a stainless steel or titanium bezel and comes with an option of a silicon or steel wrist band of the watch. A decent memory of 16 Gb on the watch should be sufficient for mask users. The battery provides back up of up to 40 hours on the diving mode. The battery will last for 19 days on the watch mode and 10 days on the smart watch mode.

The Descent MK1 smart watch comes has compatibility with iPhone and Android phones. The watch would work well with the Garmin Connect app through the phone and the Garmin Express app that is installed on your computer. The MK1 smart watch is based on the Fenix 5 smart watch system.

An upgraded model of MK1 is the Descent MK2. It costs $1299 as of August 2021. The MK2i model costs $1499 and differs from MK2 in terms of the The MK2 and MK2i smart watches are based on the Fenix 6 smart watch platform.

What is the difference between Garmin MK1 Vs MK2 Vs MK2i?


Most features on the MK1, MK2 and MK2i are similar. Let us review the differences between these watches below.

  • The Garmin MK1 Descent watch is based on the Fenix 5 watch platform. The MK2 and MK2i are based on the Fenix 6 watch platform.
  • The MK1 comes with stainless steel or titanium coating on the bezel. The MK2 and MK2i series have a DLC (Diamond-like carbon coating) titanium coating.
  • MK1 has a screen size of 1.2 inch, while the MK2 and MK2i are 1.4 inch wide.
  • MK2i is the only model that has air integration technology with the Subwave support.
  • in terms of storage, MK2 and MK2i come with 32 Gb internal storage while the MK1 has a 16 Gb storage.
  • the MK2 series smart watches also are NFC compatible. These watches are shipped with the NFC compatible Garmin Pay app.
  • MK2 and MK2i series have augmented battery backup time in comparison with the MK1 series smart watches.
Battery BackupDescent MK1Descent MK2Decent MK2i
Smartwatch Mode10 Days16 Days16 Days
Dive Mode40 Hours80 Hours80 Hours
Watch Mode19 Days50 Days50 Days
GPS Mode20 Hours48 Hours48 Hours
Battery Backup difference between MK1 vs MK2 Vs MK2i Garmin Descent watches for scuba divers

All in all, the MK1, MK2 and the MK2i series watches from Garmin have been developed to cater to the needs of the scuba divers. There are alternatives that may cost less. But, the software on the Garmin watches would beat the cheaper competitors any time of the day.