Looking at DivePlanner Pro

dppro imageWhen Cold Water Diver last reviewed some apps, they were the handy and intuitive DiveMax Air and NitrOx apps by Codespace. This time around we’re looking at the Dive Planner Pro, the pay version of Dive Planner by APPSCORE. The Pro version is $1.60 USD in the Google Play Store, and features more capabilities than the free version. The app was rested on an Acer Iconia A200 tablet, and on a Samsung Galaxy Ace II x smartphone. Both devices are running the latest versions of Ice Cream Sandwich.

Lets start with the UI (user interface). It’s a very utilitarian set up, with little in the way of graphics. Each dive consists of three lines; maximum depth/maximum bottom time, actual bottom time/pressure group, and surface interval/pressure group. Interacting with these is relatively easy, you tap on the first part of each line then double tap your number. Where it falls down a bit is in intuitiveness for activating nitrox settings or adjusting PPO. To do that you have to go to a separate menu through the ‘additional stuff’ button on the bottom of your phone or beside the active app viewing button on a tablet. The app can plan a total of five dives, and lists your total bottom time for those dives at the top of the screen.

There are other problems too, aside from a lack of intuitive use that has come to be expected from apps. The tables used aren’t listed, but appear to be either PADI or NAUI; there is a ‘view tables’ option in the features area, but *you* have to scan and load your tables of preference, which may or may not match the ones being used by the app. The ‘instructions’ and ‘about’ amounted to boiler plate diving legalese about risks and being certified and so on, with the only instructions for better using the app being a how-to to load your dive table images. The app has no support online from the creators, and is their only diving app. Another problem came in planning nitrox dives. There was no way to compare different breathing gas mixtures. On top of that, the ‘ideal’ mix is generated by depth, so its only useful for rough planning, as (depending on the mix system your dive shop has) nitrox blends can change between readings (always check your tanks twice!).

Over all, I wasn’t too impressed this time out. Dive Planner Pro offers a lot of great features, but gets let down by its poorly done UI and lack of support from its maker. If you don’t mind the clunky interface, it’s okay. If you like something that’s easy to grasp and intuitive to use, you’re going to want to look elsewhere.

Pros:

  • Metric and Imperial measurements (Metric is the default)
  • Plans for five dives
  • NitrOx to 50%
  • Gives pressure groups

Cons:

  • Clunky, unintuitive UI
  • predominantly text based and slide bar UI
  • Doesn’t retain gas mixtures when you’re trying to compare bottom times
  • Unknown tables used (PADI? NAUI?)
  • No effective support from creator
  • Poor/no usage instructions
  • No multilevel profile planning, all square dives

 

2 for 5

Final Rating: 2/5 The app has a strong foundation, let down by terrible UI and what appear to be a lot of poor development choices. If they corrected these issues, this would be an amazing app.

About the author

Graeme Barber is a professional diver, qualified as a PADI and SDI Divemaster, DCBC 40m Unrestricted Commercial Scuba Diver, 30m Restricted Surface Supply diver, and CAUS Scientific Diver Lv.2. In addition to being the head of Cold Water Diver, he's a full time student working on a degree in Archaeology.