New premium Garmin watches dive much deeper than the Apple Watch Ultra 2

Garmin Descent Mk3, Descent G1, and Descent T2 transceiver next to a photo of a scuba diver
(Image credit: Garmin)

What you need to know

  • The new Garmin Descent Mk3i can dive down to 200 meters, comes with an AMOLED display and built-in flashlight, and tracks your Dive Readiness.
  • The new Garmin G1 Solar Ocean Edition lasts 124 days and is the first Garmin watch made from 100% recycled ocean-bound plastics.
  • The Descent T2 transceiver lets you directly message with other divers underwater via sonar, plus check their air tank levels and breathing rates (or your own). 

After a few weeks of leaks dripping in about a mysterious Garmin watch for divers, Garmin finally announced three new products: a premium Garmin Descent Mk3 dive computer, a more affordable (for Garmin) G1 Solar watch, and a transceiver that'll let you send out sonar-based SOS signals to fellow divers in an emergency.

Despite most watches having a "5ATM" water resistance rating, most watches aren't actually designed to withstand a 50-meter dive. Only a few "casual" watches, like the Apple Watch Ultra 2 (40 meters) and Amazfit T-Rex Ultra (30 meters), come close. 

With the titanium Garmin Descent Mk3i, you can dive as deep as 200 meters without losing functionality and have a built-in flashlight on your wrist to keep an eye out for marine critters and megalodons. The only problem is that it costs twice as much as an Ultra 2, even before you add the T2 transceiver that uses SubWave sonar to transmit air tank usage and message your fellow divers during a dive.

For serious divers, you're trading off the smarts of a traditional watch for specialized tools like Dive Readiness (similar to a Forerunner 265's Training Readiness), diveview maps, tide data, an underwater compass, a variometer to track your descent/ascent rate, different dive modes based on the type of gases used, and so on. 

Although more specialized dive computer brands like Shearwater might still win over Garmin, it's clear that enthusiasts have a lot to appreciate with the Descent Mk3. Otherwise, the Descent G1 Ocean Edition gives you most of the same core diving features, only with an MIP display and a design made entirely of recycled ocean plastic.

Garmin typically uses "fiber-reinforced polymer" in its watches to prioritize durability, but it would be an exciting change if more Garmin watches could switch to recycled plastics with the same ruggedness. A lot of major smartwatch brands like Apple and Samsung emphasize sustainability for their packaging or watch bands, and it'd be nice to see Garmin join their number. 

Even if you're only able to go diving a few times a year, the Garmin Descent series does pack in traditional workout tools and metrics like daily suggested workouts, recovery time, Garmin Coach, animated workouts, topographical maps, and Endurance/ Hill scores. If you're considering buying a Garmin Epix or Forerunner 965 anyway, the Descent Mk3 will future-proof it for diving without missing out on many other Garmin tricks.

The smaller, non-flashlight version of the Descent Mk3 starts at $1,200 and is available now, as is the $650 Descent G1 Ocean Edition. 

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.

  • fuzzylumpkin
    To be honest, if I'm even 5 m underwater it means that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.