The Suunto D4f Black is a specialized version of the popular Suunto D4i dive computer, that strictly focuses on essential features for freediving. As a fan and owner of two D4i’s myself, I was eager to take the new pared down D4f for a whirl in the water, facilitating trials both indoors and outdoors in the open ocean, to see how Suunto’s newest dive computer would fare and compare in overall user experience.

First Impressions

As luck would have it, I was already on my way to immerse myself in the warm waters off the Big Island of Hawaii when I received the D4f computer to test. Simultaneously, across the pond, I had a troop of apnea enthusiasts embarking on a visit to the NEMO, where they would try out the D4f in one of the world’s deepest pools. At first glance, I found the stainless steel bezel and black strap to be an aesthetically handsome combo; and since the function & setting buttons live and work in the familiar fashion of other Suunto computers, set-up was a breeze — and the implementation of my own personal preferences (for alarms & notifications) a snap. In a quick test of one of the fun features that Suunto Diving has, (you can program how long your backlight stays on, anywhere from 5 seconds to 60), we found on the new D4f, that it works very well!

Suunto D4f ascending (photo © Daan Verhoeven)
Suunto D4f ascending (photo © Daan Verhoeven)

As I performed some warm-ups on a dive line, and pulled down to acclimate, it became clear that the D4f display would provide the consistently sharp and legible contrast of data in the water I have grown accustom to from Suunto products. Operating depth, time and temperature all prominent and easy to read. Upon surfacing, the D4f showed me my max depth and my surface interval for proper training breath-up intervals, like a dependable old friend.

The testing continued with my confirmations of a resonant & audible single signal for depth notifications, and consecutive beeping signals for the depth alarm & time at depth alarm; key features especially for beginners trying out target dives and for spearfishermen who need to remain vigilant about bottom times. While I cannot guarantee the next set of outcomes for anyone else, I did take it as a wonderful omen that during our Suunto field-test battery we were joined by playful spinner dolphins, and singing humpback whales – coincidence? Who knows! But we were grateful for the company of those marine mammals. Maybe they liked the sounds of the D4i alarms too…

Getting ready to dive with the D4f (photo © Sofia Gomez Uribe)

The adjustable, striated elastomer strap of the D4f sits comfortably on the wrist, with ample room for fitting over any wetsuit or for anyone with bigger bones. Additionally, the computer felt very lightweight to me and non-noticeable in terms of extra drag. In my opinion, the Suunto D4f is born out of the trustworthy Suunto legacy of building stylish, reliable sports gear. It is a very affordable addition to their family of expert dive products.

In Summary

At nearly less than half the cost of the D4i (and even less than half the cost of a D6i), Suunto’s new freediving-friendly D4f is a fantastic option for spearos on a budget or beginning freedivers who won’t be needing scuba functions but do want the accuracy & expertise of industry leading technology. There is a reason that all of the top athletes in competitive freediving around the world rely on and wear Suunto computers — it’s because they work well and have unparalleled standards. Streamlined, scientific and successful the D4f gets five stars from me for value, appearance, and functionality. If you are in the market for a new freediving computer, I would recommend the D4f as the perfect solution.

Check out a video of some of our D4f trials at the NEMO pool here below:

Features

  • Based on Suunto D4i model, including only freedive mode
  • Light-weight case with stainless steel bezel and mineral crystal glass
  • Apnea timer
  • Programmable backlight
  • Maximum depth 100m
  • Five depth notification settings
  • Master ‘alarm’ settings for depth and time
  • Configurable sample rate
  • Ideal for freediving, snorkeling, and spearfishing

Price

  • €329 or US$450
D4f descent (photo © Daan Verhoeven)

Technical Specs

Bezel material:Stainless steel
Glass material:Mineral crystal
Case material:Composite
Strap material:Elastomer
Weight86 g / 3.03 oz
Water resistance100 m (ISO 6425, EN 13319)
Battery life in time mode2 years
Battery life 100 dives/year1.5 years
Battery typeCR 2450
Time, dateYes
Alarm clock1 daily alarm
Dual timeYes
Stopwatch timerYes
LanguagesEN
Backlightelectro-luminescent
Configurable backlightduration: off, 5, 10, 20, 30, 60 s
Display typematrix
Display resolution49 x 22
Battery indicatorlow battery indicator
Metric and imperial unitsYes

 

photos & video © Sofia Gomez Uribe + Daan Verhoeven

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Performance
Features
Graphics / Interface
Value For Money
An active ocean advocate, VP of U.S. Freediving, a multi-agency scuba instructor and AIDA judge, Francesca also serves as the Editor-At-Large here at DeeperBlue.com. You can usually find Francesca diving in the kelp, hanging out at the Farallones with sharky friends, or trying to improve upon her own PB's.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hello there, I would like to know whether D4F can be connected to PC for extracting data and consequently obtaining further dive analysis ?

  2. Unfortunately I still miss some freedive specific functions. Maybe for the first update of this ‘stripped D4i’ (freedive functions and specifications are exactly the same as the D4i I bought 5 years ago):
    – extra loud depth/time alarms or even better: a vibrating alert. When I do a deep dive, I won’t hear my alarms when I wear the computer at my wrist. So I wear it at my neck weight or in my cap to hear the alerts.
    – higher sample rate. We dive fast, generally 1m/second. A sample rate of 1s can really make a difference, not only for the depth accuracy, also for analysing your dive afterwards.
    – 16 mm thickness is not really hydrodynamic, it’s still a block on your wrist.

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