Last weekend I had the opportunity to take the D4F for a test dive in sunny Cornwall with George and Daan from Aquacity Freediving and see what it’s all about.
The Suunto D4F is essentially a D4 but with all the scuba technology taken out making it perfect for Freedivers or spearos like me who never scuba dive.
At first glance the watch sure looks the part. It’s good looking, not too big, a common design a lot of Freedivers are used to due to the popularity of its big brothers the D4 and D4i.
The feeling of it in the hand is a little light and ‘plasticky’ but checking the weight against the D4i it is actually 1g heavier at 86g so the feel must be something to do with the materials used. It’s still rated to 100m and I'm confident given Suunto’s reputation that there is nothing to worry about there!
A small downside is that it doesn't have the reassuring feel of something expensive. The strap feels fragile and more plastic than rubber but on the wrist is secure and won’t go anywhere, and I guess you could always change it.
Switch Freedive mode on and you are met with the standard Suunto display showing everything you need. After surfacing from a dive the only data I really want to see is depth reached, dive time, and surface time, the watch displays them clearly without the need to scroll to another menu.
The backlight can be set to stay on for a maximum of 1 min, which might be a useful feature for some. The strap easily fitted over a 5mm suit and gloves with some to spare.
Another feature important to me in my training is alarms. With five depth alerts, and one final-depth alarm, there are more than enough to keep you checked-in during your dive. But since no gauge manufacturer seems to have developed a loud enough underwater speaker, with a 5mm hood on, you can forget about hearing it!
If you want something with the reliability and accuracy of a Suunto but without the massive price tag, the D4F fits the bill. With a price of around £275.00 ($432.00 USD / €320EU) I will be picking one up as soon as I can.
Note: this is a totally independent review, I wasn’t asked to write it and borrowed a friend’s D4F to play about with.
Cheers, and thanks for reading!
Gary, Freedive Ibiza