Summer Worsley, Dive Instructor

PRODUCT REVIEW

The Cressi Leonardo

The Cressi Leonardo is a recreational dive computer with a simple design. Designed, developed, and produced 100% in Italy, the Leonardo is one of the leading entry-level computers on the market today.

This user-friendly computer contains all the features a recreational diver needs with a focus on safety, efficiency, and reliability. Its single-button interface makes it very easy to navigate and is perfect for the beginner diver and for those who just want to get in the water without worrying about extra bells and whistles.

Where to Buy:

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The Leonardo is available as a compact wrist-watch or as a console computer. The latter is a good choice if you prefer having all your info in one console. It’s also available in tons of colors which adds to the fun of buying your first computer.

Think the Cressi Leonardo is for you? If so, click on the link above for the latest prices or read on for the full review.

Read the complete list of 2019 best Dive Computers here!

Cressi Leonardo with a wide UFDS display!

Photograph from Cressi.com

Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer: Key Specifications

  • Three dive modes: air, Nitrox, and gauge
  • Cressi RGBM algorithm
  • Nitrox compatible, up to 50%
  • One button to access all the menus
  • Available as a wristwatch or console computer
  • Audible alarms
  • Depth display up to 120m/393ft
  • Altitude Adjustable up to 3,700m/12,139ft
  • Backlight
  • Logbook memory around 60 dives (70 hours)
  • Time, date, temperature displays
  • Imperial/metric display
  • 3-Volt Cr2430 user replaceable battery
  • An option to download dive data to PC or Mac via USB cable (not included)

Which is Better, the Cressi Leonardo or the Mares Puck Pro?

Both Cressi and Mares are well-established brands and are known for providing safe and reliable diving equipment. As Cressi are winners for their wetsuits and Mares are fab for their fins, how do they measure up with their computers?

The Leonardo and Puck Pro are both hardy computers with similar price tags, making them popular options for dive center rentals. They both feature a single button navigation system and a large display; beginner divers will find these computers very easy and simple to use.

The Leonardo’s logbook memory is 70 hours compared to the Puck Pro’s 36 hours. The latter’s memory isn’t generous and this could be annoying if a diver relies on their computer instead of a pen and paper logbook.

Both computers have the same three modes: air, Nitrox, and gauge — marked as “bottom timer” on the Puck Pro. The user-replaceable battery on both models is also handy in terms of maintenance.

Overall, there are a lot of similarities between the two computers. In terms of functionality, the Puck Pro has the edge, for example, it allows gas switching. But we wonder whether a gas-switch option is really necessary on an entry-level computer. Another noticeable difference is that the Leonardo is a lot sleeker than the Puck Pro, which takes up a whole lot of space on your wrist.

For those looking for simplicity, both computers are great options for beginner to advanced level recreational divers. We should note here that the Leonardo’s very attractive price point beats the Puck Pro hand down. If you’re anything like us, the money saved can be invested in cold beers after a long day of diving!

Cressi Leonardo in different color

Photograph from Cressi.com

What You Need to Know About the Cressi Leonardo

Below is a round up of the Cressi Leonardo’s best features.

Display

A clear advantage of the Leonardo is its high-definition, edge-to-edge LCD screen. Cressi has created an intuitive design here in terms of screen contrast, proportions, and digit size. The information is clearly divided by clear lines, too. This can really help if a diver finds themselves in a stressful situation; the oversized digits make it much easier to monitor critical information on the screen.

We also like the battery indicator display on the main screen, which also shows depth, time, and temperature. The secondary display contains information about the gas mix (air or Nitrox), the ppO2 setting, and the conservatism setting (if any).

The backlight is activated by holding down the button for five seconds. It’s also automatically switched on when an alarm goes off.

One-Button Menu Navigation

All of the Leonardo’s menus are accessed and scrolled through via one single big button. We think this is a great feature for beginner divers and anyone who can relate to the frustration of trying to find certain menus and stumbling across them by chance — not a good look when you should know what you’re doing!

The only con with this is accidentally going past what you’re looking for and having to go around again because there’s no back button.

Three Modes

The Leonardo is EANx compatible and includes dedicated Nitrox, air (DIVE AIR), and gauge diving modes. Divers can set the maximum ppO2 (partial pressure of oxygen) to between 1.4 and 1.6, with 1.6 being a contingency limit. The Leonardo is suitable only for Nitrox mixes up to 50%.

The air diving mode is water activated as soon you go below 1.2m/4ft and the surface interval countdown timer will start as soon as you ascend above that depth. The computer’s minimum surface interval is only two minutes, so if you go over this and then dive back down it will be counted as a second dive.

Gauge mode acts as a bottom timer and displays dive time in minutes and seconds. This function can be used as a basic freediving mode. Note that the Leonardo doesn’t have a dedicated apnea timer like other entry-level computers do. If you’re also a keen freediver, you might want to look into the Suunto Vyper Novo.

Adjustable Alarms

The alarms on the Leonardo are both audible and distinct, making it easy to hear the critical information. The alarms are adjustable, allowing you to set them according to your needs.

There’s an ascent rate alarm (max rate is 10m/32ft per minute), a depth alarm, and a notification if you approach a no-decompression limit (NDL). There’s also a safety stop alarm plus a STOP icon appears with the time and depth for any dive carried out beneath 32ft.

These audible alarms are backed up by on-screen warnings for depth and an ascent-rate indicator, in this case, the computer displays a SLOW icon. Hopefully, this should get the point across!

Divers who do not like to be beeped at continuously will be pleased to note that many of the Leonardo’s alarms can be turned off. For new divers though, these alarms are useful.

Conservatism Settings

The Cressi Leonardo is one of the most conservative recreational computers on the market. In addition, it allows you to choose between three conservatism settings. For a beginner diver who plans to stay well within their NDL limit, this is no problem.

However, as you start to become more advanced you may see yourself approaching deco way before your buddy. In this case, make sure you keep the conservative level set to SF0 (Safety Factor 0).

Battery

Something to note about the Leonardo is that it contains a CR2430 battery that is replaceable by the user without tools. Some other brands force you to take your computer to a dedicated service center for a battery replacement. This can be costly, not to mention a bit of a hassle when you’ve just set sail on a liveaboard only to find your computer is dead.

The battery life is also three years (based on 50 dives per year), so it will last the distance if you’re a holiday diver.

Cressi Leonardo with ergonomic design

Photograph from Cressi.com

The Cressi Leonardo’s Decompression Model

The Leonardo runs Cressi’s RGBM (reduced gradient bubble model) algorithm. This model was created in conjunction with Dr. Bruce Wienke and is based on the Haldane model with integrated RGBM factors. This algorithm is an adapted version of the RGBM model used by Suunto, who have worked alongside the eminent bubble specialist since the late 90s to produce this modern, pioneering algorithm.

The adapted Cressi version is based on a nine tissue compartment model with saturation half times between 2.5 and 480 minutes. The algorithm accounts for silent micro-bubbles and is conservative when it comes to repetitive dives and multi-day diving.

What Does This Mean for the Diver?

Feeling confused? Let’s take a look at what the above actually means for you when you’re diving.

The algorithm built into your dive computer uses a depth sensor and timer to work out how much gas is theoretically being absorbed by and then expelled in your body. This information is what determines your no decompression limit (NDL).

The Cressi Leonardo dive computer is one of the most conservative on the market, meaning that you may find yourself hitting your NDL quicker than your dive buddies using other brands. It does, however, allow you to adjust the level of conservatism based on your personal preference. This is labeled as ‘Safety Factor’ (SF) on the computer and you can set it on three values: SF0, SF1, and SF2 with 1 and 2 indicating ascending conservatism values. The factory setting is SF0.

This function enables you to make dives safer based on the existence of personal risk factors, which increase the risk of decompression sickness. These factors include your level of fitness and any other aspects affecting your body’s circulatory system.

The Leonardo is based on safe decompression calculations which enable you to do multiple dives spread out over multiple days. For more information on decompression sickness and safety margins, this article on the DAN site is interesting and informative.

Cressi’s After Sales and Servicing Support

Cressi is a long established company with an excellent reputation for quality products and ongoing support. For its computers, Cressi offers a two-year warranty from the date of purchase.

Visit Cressi’s website for more information and help including online warranty forms and a location finder for their worldwide dealer network and service centers.

There are also readily available online resources, such as product manuals, videos, and tutorials. You can find the Leonardo’s manual here.

Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer Overview

Any Ongoing Maintenance?

Although the Leonardo has been designed to operate in rough conditions with extensive underwater use, it’s still a precision instrument and should be handled with care. Avoid any violent shocks, protect it from extreme heat sources, wash it in fresh water after use, dry it carefully, and avoid contact with heavy equipment (remember to lay your cylinder down!).

If there’s a problem with your computer, you should not attempt to fix it yourself. Always take it to a Cressi service center. Make sure that you carefully read the manual for instructions on how to use it and how to change the battery.

Summary

Still not sure if the Cressi Leonardo is for you or looking for the key takeaways from our review? Below is a recap of this dive computer’s main features.

Manufacturer’s Specs and Features:

  • Three modes: air, Nitrox, and gauge
  • Modified nine-tissue Haldane algorithm with three conservatism settings
  • One-button menu navigation
  • Available as a wristwatch or console (the latter is more expensive but comes with an air pressure gauge or air pressure and compass)
  • Audible alarms
  • Depth display up to 120m/393ft
  • Altitude adjustments up to 3,700m/12,139ft
  • Logbook memory 60 dives (around 70 hours)
  • Time, date & temperature.
  • Imperial or metric display.
  • Three-Volt Cr2430 user-replaceable battery. Approximate three-year battery life based on 50 dives per year.
  • Back-lit screen (one press for five seconds)
  • A reset option accessible through the menu, this eliminates residual nitrogen memory and is useful for rental or instructional use in dive centers so each diver starts afresh.
  • Accessible stopwatch

What We Like:

  • It’s the perfect first dive computer
  • Very clear easy-to-read display
  • The giant menu button is easy to press, even if you have gloves on
  • Color options
  • The uber attractive price point
  • The included strap is good quality

What We Don’t Like:

  • The alarms are almost disturbingly loud
  • Even though this computer isn’t Puck Pro level huge, it’s still not really suitable for use as a daily watch
  • The strap is far too long and will need to be trimmed

Buy This Computer If:

Overall we found that the Leonardo a solid and robust dive computer which does what it says on the tin. It’s easy to use which makes this computer perfect if you’re a newbie diver and don’t want any added stress.

With that in mind, once you start venturing further in your diving, you may want something with a few more bells and whistles on it, however, this computer does do the job.

At the lower end of the price range, purchasing this computer will not break the bank which is great, especially if you’re paying loads on gear for your new hobby. This also works well for dive center rentals and it’s a simple computer when it comes to training dive students.

Our verdict is the Cressi Leonardo dive computer is a reliable, hardy, and well-priced piece of kit.

Unboxing Cressi Leonardo, photo from Goodworlddeals.com

Where to Buy:

We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Cressi Leonardo:

Our recommendations:

Do you dive with a Cressi computer? How do you find it? Let us know in the comments below.


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