Review by: fonz, 2002-06-07
I recently started jumping a Digitude and I absolutely love it!
It's so much easier to read than an analog altimeter; just glance at it and
you know exactly where you are. The display is very legible from a wide
range of angles - and reading deviations caused by parallax are a thing of the past. And no, it's not fragile. I'm still an inexperienced jumper who frequently screws up landings. My Digitude survived all frontloops without even sustaining a single scratch... It's very easy to use - almost foolproof. There's a power switch, a light switch and a zero button. That's all. Once zero has been set (of course it's possible to compensate for elevation differences between take-off and landing sites) you can turn your Digitude on or off whenever you want. Yes, even in the plane or during freefall. Readings will still be correct. Service ceiling is 20,000 feet, which is 2,000 ft. higher than an Altimaster-III. And if you pay attention to the low battery warning, there's no need to fear that it might quit halfway during a skydive. As long as the indicator isn't on, there's still enough power left for an entire jump, including plane and canopy rides. Unless perhaps when you're using the light, but you really don't need that under normal circumstances. Even when wearing tinted goggles on a sunset dive, you don't need the light yet. It's really for night jumps only. The Digitude works on a "normal" AA ("penlite") battery, so no hassles with hard to find flat cells.
I noticed that I react much faster to my Digitude than I do to an analog altimeter. Back when I used to jump an analog, I had to search for the needle, see which numbers are there and then interpret that information in order to make a decision. The Digitude is just so much easier. I glance at it, immediately see exactly how high I am and instantaneously act upon that. And afterwards, there's no "I pulled at about 3,000 or something". You can say "I pulled at 3,100." Period.
The only disadvantage I've been able to find is that you have to remember to shut it off after landing. Otherwise you'll be kicking yourself for having to make a rush trip into town because of course you forgot to bring a spare battery, didn't you... Maybe some sort of auto-shutoff feature would be a nice thing to add.
Other than that, the Digitude is an excellent altimeter. I can definately recommend it. You ought to at least give it a try. And once you've done that, you won't look back and will never want to jump an analog altimeter again. Ever.