I haven’t gone diving in a while — like, a really long while. My last dive trip before Covid hit the world like a hurricane was in August 2019. It’s been a very (very) dry almost two years for me — can that be right?! — but there’s a dive trip on the horizon, finally. In anticipation, I’ve got a lot of new gear to check out — and break in — starting with the Cressi Donatello dive computer.
First things first — looks. The Donatello resembles most of Cressi’s other computers, including the Goa and Giotto, which I’ve used on and off for years. It’s got a black strap and features five different color choices for the ring around the display; I chose red. For the first time I’ve also gotten the interactive Bluetooth interface, designed to work with the Michelangelo and Donatello computers, which I’ve never done before.
But back to the computer. The Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo all feature Cressi’s “one-button” navigation system, which makes this a great computer for those of us who want no muss and no fuss. The Donatello is the newest of the three, launched in 2020 with the tagline that it’s for people who “just want to dive.” There’s also an edge-to-edge, high-definition screen that features large numbers, which is helpful for those of us who are starting to have trouble seeing close-up (ahem). A back-lit display, clearly visible battery-life indicator, and user-changeable battery all make it even easier to use.
Finally, the Donatello comes with a printed quick guide to getting the computer set up, with a full downloadable manual available as well. I’ve never been one for reading directions, though, so I dive right in.
Setting up the Cressi Donatello
After trying on the computer and pressing the button a bunch of times, I decide I might peek at the manual after all. The computer features Air, Nitrox, Gage, and Freediving modes, but I’ll only use the first two. I’ll likely want to set a few alarms and a deep stop too.
The first page of the quick guide looks like the easiest Ikea instructions I’ve ever seen and basically describes how long to hit the button for each change you want to make. I decide to first try to set the time. You can choose between the 12-hour day or 24-hour day — since I’ve never quite gotten the hang of military time, I choose 12-hour day. I thumb through the book to the page that describes the process, but, just as with other Cressi one-button computers, I find my instincts to just mess around with the button rather than try to decipher the quick guide work best for me.
With one button, there’s not much you can mess up with this computer, and it’s easy to fix if you choose — or don’t choose — an option you wanted. One long push sends you back to the beginning menu, and a combination of short and long-ish pushes allows you to choose your settings.
I’ve successfully set the time and date; now it’s time to set the nitrox. I typically set it for 32% on any new computer and go from there once I’ve tested my mix at a dive site. Just as with the time setting, the Donatello makes it quite intuitive to set your mode. I scroll through the different screens with one short push, find the one I’m looking for, and successfully set my nitrox. Now to test it out in the water.
Who it’s best for
Overall, the Donatello is extremely easy to set and very intuitive when it comes to doing so. It would be a great computer for a new diver, or one who didn’t want a complicated computer, like me. Functionality on the Donatello is great, but it’s probably not the computer for someone who’s planning lots of complicated dives.
- Very easy functionality
- Comes in several bright color choices
- User can change battery
- Bluetooth interface available (sold separately)
- Cycling through all the options with the 1-button can be tricky at first
- Probably not the best for advanced divers/those who want to plan complicated dives