Dekunu One Review - After 3 Years!
Usually, the first question anyone asks about the device is, “how’s the battery life?” and I’ve got to be honest – meh. You can jump it for a full day, but if you’re crashing at the DZ for the weekend, you’ll need to charge it overnight. I have never had it die on me during the day if I charged it the night before, but you really need to make sure it is charged before you head out.
I noticed that I could put it on the car charger for my hour and a half commute to the DZ, and that gave me enough juice for my jumps that day. Lately, I usually work at the DZ, so plug it in on Friday night to make sure it’s ready to go on Saturday.
This is something you don’t think you need until you have it. The plane display is so helpful in many ways. I’ll touch on my favorites.
- Flight Direction: This can be helpful when you’re not in the door to look down and see which way the pilot is flying. Jump run can change from time to time and if for some reason you didn’t hear, this little feature will keep you in the know. Obviously, this is really crucial for movement groups.
- Distance from Dropzone: This seems pretty useless until you get it on your wrist! When that green light comes on and you second guess the spot, you can quickly check how far out you are on your Dekunu. Especially when you’re one of the last groups out, being aware of your distance from the DZ can be the difference between making it back and landing off.
- Ground Speed: Some pilots will yell this out and let you know on jump run, but it’s really nice not to have to depend on that. I’ve sat in the front seat and checked the Dekunu against the plane’s instruments, and it is pretty accurate! In my experience it is within 5 knots of actual ground speed.
There are a few more metrics, like: take off direction, climb speed, time in flight, time to altitude, and all of those can be nice to compare over time, but I rarely look at them.
Also noteworthy is the ability to classify your jump discipline & gear while you’re in the plane. This is one of my favorite new features from Dekunu (released in the summer of 2020). I am really bad at keeping an up-to-date logbook, so being able to go back and look at these entries makes my logging much easier and more thorough.
One thing that annoys me is some automatic in-flight alerts. They have one to remind you at 1,000’ to remove your restraint and another to check someone’s gear etc. I dislike these(very much) because they aren’t customizable, and they are just a little bit annoying. At most DZ’s in my area we take off seatbelts at 1,500’, but I have to look at this reminder at 1,000’ every single jump.
The freefall display is pretty plain and simple. It has big bold numbers and some color bars for different heights. When you see red on your altimeter, you know it’s
time to pull..
The Dekunu one will automatically swap into freefall mode when you exit the plane. My only gripe about it is, sometimes it will switch to freefall mode on jump run when the pilot is losing a lot of altitude. I don’t think it affects the metrics after the fact, but I’m not certain.
This is pretty neat! When you deploy your main canopy, the Dekunu switches automatically to canopy mode. This shows your altitude, flight direction, and groundspeed.
These extra metrics are less useful for me. However, I can imagine on a long spot/high pull that they could be quite useful. But, in my day to day jumping I don’t pay them too much attention. Occasionally, I’ll notice my ground speed when it is quite high. The fastest I’ve over noticed was over 50 knots! Needless to say, we went on a wind hold after that…
It’s tough to know exactly how accurate the device is, since I don’t have anything to compare it to. But I do believe it is painting a pretty good picture of what happens on my jumps.
One jump in 2018, I dropped my GoPro on exit and had to use my GPS data from the Dekunu to track it down. I thought this would be a real test of its accuracy, and it passed the test! I found my go pro just downwind of my exit point, according to my Dekunu data. You could say my Dekunu paid for itself with this save.
On swoops, I’m a bit skeptical of the speed data it is feeding me when combined with the altitude. It seems like they may not be 100% right. Honestly, it says I’m going faster than I think at certain times, so thats where my skepticism comes from.
The Dekunu cloud is a wonderful electronic logbook that has all the data from every jump in one place for you to pour over and learn from each jump individually or compare data from multiple jumps.
Here you can go look at your jumps (called “actions” in the cloud) and inspect your:
- GPS data
- Jump run
- time in plane
- jump run speed
- jump altitude
- deployment altitudes
- freefall drift
- time under canopy
- distance under canopy
- and more
You can even take your data and compare it to other jumpers with Dekunus!
Just recently, the cloud was down for a few days as the team at headquarters updated the algorithms to achieve greater accuracy on metrics like free-fall time, etc. As a note, I have ALWAYS been quite skeptical of freefall speeds shown by the cloud and I’ve just noticed it no longer seems to be available. Curious, because the vertical speed and horizontal speed graphs are still available.
Good luck finding better customer support! These people are the best in the industry in my opinion. I have broken my device not once, but twice and they have fixed it or replaced it for me both times free of charge.
Tracy, at Dekunu, runs the community forum and helps everyone get their questions answered by her or another member of the team. The community is quite vibrant and full of good customer feedback. I enjoy just perusing the forums every couple of weeks to see what’s up lately.
Are there still software/firmware glitches?
You may be aware that at launch, there were quite a few issues and bugs to sort out. There were blue screen freezes and green screen problems galore! But I am happy to report that those problems have since been fixed. I haven’t had any issue with my Dekunu's software since 2018.
I do have to commend the Dekunu team for their efforts during that time. I remember a jumper complaining about an issue he had (on the forum) in the morning, and a new update being available in the evening! They really busted it to make sure they had happy customers and they have never lost sight of that goal.
These days the software is solid and performs 100% of the time.
In summary, would I recommend it? YES. I love my Dekunu and have really come to depend on it. In fact, when I smashed the screen and it was off for repair for a few days, I REALLY missed it. Other jumpers had become accustomed to asking me about how far out we were and if we were on jump run, and I was sad not to know the answers. It sort-of felt like I lost my cell phone, haha. Which is a pretty good comparison now that I think of it.
"Do you really need the latest smart phone with all those fancy capabilities? No, you could live your life just fine with an old flip phone, if you prefer."
Nevertheless, for people like me that enjoy studying the data to learn as much as possible from each jump, the Dekunu One an amazing tool. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
Do you have a Dekunu or want one? If so, leave me a comment below with your thoughts and opinions!
NOTE: When I began writing this, I was not affiliated with Dekunu. However, we were given dealer status with Dekunu just as I hit publish (11/19/20). Feel free to reach out if you'd like to inquire about purchasing a Dekunu One! Corbin@TheFishMounts.com
Corbin is a D-License Skydiver, Coach, Videographer