Shearwater Tern TX Review

The Shearwater Tern TX dive computer marries lightweight design with high-tech features for the sport-diving enthusiast

It offers a reliable air integration option when paired with a Swift Transmitter, a digital compass for precise underwater navigation, and Shearwater’s renowned AMOLED display for clear, vibrant visuals. 

Building on the success of the Shearwater Peregrine, the Tern TX offers a sleek, round form factor on the wrist, presenting a thinner profile than the Teric technical dive computer. 

I'm Katy - author and owner of, KJD has my name and reputation attached which is super-important to me.

When the wonderful team at Shearwater heard about my trip to the Galapagos Islands, they offered to send me the Tern TX to test and review.

However, this does not impact my review, which is an honest account of my experience with this new dive computer.

Shearwater Tern TX Dive Computer
  • Easy to read display
  • Everything a recreational diver needs in a dive computer
  • Air integration
  • Digital compass
  • Alkali-aluminosilicate toughened glass
  • Robust
  • Not suitable for technical diving
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Having already been blown away by the Shearwater Teric, I was eagerly awaiting their latest model.

The Shearwater Tern TX arrived just in time for my dream trip to the Galapagos Islands, and let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. It took my diving adventure to a whole new level.

I was more than happy to include the Tern TX in my Best Dive Computer Review for 2024. Head on over and give it a read to see how it compares to other popular computers.

collage of shearwater tern tx with scuba equipment and sunset
The familiar display from Shearwater ensures that your dive data can be viewed clearly and quickly above and underwater

The Shearwater Tern dive computer display, featuring a full-color AMOLED screen and Aluminosilicate Glass, provides exceptional clarity and durability for divers. 

Its 360 x 360 resolution ensures vivid and sharp visuals, crucial for underwater readability. The AMOLED technology enhances contrast and color, making it easier to read in varying light conditions, while the chemically strengthened glass offers excellent scratch resistance. The computer also comes fitted with a factory-installed screen protector, offering additional protection.

This combination not only improves user experience by making crucial data easily accessible but also adds to the device’s longevity by protecting against the harsh environment underwater and above the surface.

Unboxing the Shearwater Tern TX Dive Computer

collage of photos of tern tx in case with straps and screen
It's a compact computer which comes with a useful carry case containing everything you need

Upon unboxing the Shearwater Tern TX dive computer and Swift transmitter, I was impressed by the compact yet functional design that greeted me. 

The vibrant full-colour AMOLED display immediately caught my eye, and provided me with that Shearwater familiarity, promising clear visuals that would undoubtedly enhance my situational awareness during dives. As I explored further, the inclusion of a digital compass stood out as a reassuring feature, offering reliable navigation for underwater exploration.

The ability to connect up to four Swift transmitters seamlessly added another layer of convenience, allowing me to monitor tank pressure with ease. I appreciated the customisable Remora™ quick connect band, which ensured a secure and comfortable fit tailored to my preferences, particularly when diving in my dry suit. 

The Tern charging station was a game-changer, with a reduction in size compared to the one supplied with the Teric, simplifying the recharging process even further.

With its impressive depth rating and generous dive log capacity, the Tern TX seemed well-equipped to accompany me on various diving adventures. Overall, unboxing these devices revealed a sophisticated dive computer system that promised to elevate my diving experience through its convenience, reliability, and advanced features.

Inside the box you can find:

  • Tern TX dive computer

  • Instructions for use booklet

  • Charging port

  • Cable for charging port

  • Strap extension

  • Screwdrivers to change the strap

The durable carry case accompanying the Shearwater Tern TX and Swift transmitter offers practicality and peace of mind for travelling scuba divers like myself. 

It’s a relief knowing my equipment is securely protected during journeys to dive destinations, allowing me to focus on the excitement of the adventure ahead.

Specs/Technical Info


Now that we’ve shifted our focus from admiring the visual aesthetics of this dive computer, let’s delve into the essential details that pique our curiosity.

Safety Note: Before you use any dive computer, make sure you read it’s dive manual thoroughly.


Diving with the Tern TX gave me a strong sense of security

The Shearwater Tern TX employs the Bühlmann ZHL-16C algorithm model with gradient factors and CNS tracking, enhancing its safety features.

Designed to accommodate complex decompression dives, the Tern TX offers support without imposing lockouts in situations where no-decompression limits are exceeded or decompression stops are violated. This flexibility empowers divers to make informed decisions based on their experience and training level.

The adaptability of the Tern TX to adjust its user customised gradient factors ensures its longevity and relevance over time. As our understanding of decompression evolves, the ability to modify gradient factors enables users to stay abreast of the latest safety protocols and recommendations.

When selecting a dive computer, thorough research and consideration are paramount, as it serves as a crucial tool for dive safety. Personally, I found the pre-set recreational open circuit gradient factors of the Tern TX to be suitable for my needs. You can set this to conservatism levels of low, medium or high.

During dives to a depth of 30 meters, I obtained a No-Decompression Limit (NDL) of 14 minutes, which felt adequate for my current diving habits. While adjustments may be considered in the future, I’m content with the conservatism of these settings.

The computer implements Gradient Factors
creating varied levels of conservatism. 

For a more detailed explanation of their meaning,
please refer to Erik Baker’s articles:
“Clearing Up The Confusion About Deep Stops” and
“Understanding M-values”

Dive Mode

The computer seamlessly blended in with my gear on the boat.

The Shearwater Tern TX Dive Computer comes with all the recreational dive modes you could wish for. It has:

  • Air – Simple air mode for everyday diving

  • Nitrox – Single gas Nitrox up to 40%

  • 3 gas nitrox – 3 Gas switchable underwater with full decompression support. Up to 100% O2.

  • Gauge – Bottom timer with stop watch and dive logging

  • Freedive – Configurable sampling rates and alarms

katy jane dives in scuba gear on a boat with ocean and island in background
The Tern TX provides the recreational diver, like myself, all the features they could wish for

While it may disappoint some, the decision to exclude OC mixed gas technical and CCR modes from these models is a deliberate one, reflecting Shearwater’s commitment to serving the sport diver market. 

Despite this, there’s a sense of understanding and appreciation for the affordability of these dive computers, which cater to the needs of recreational Air and Nitrox divers. 

It’s a reminder that sometimes, simplicity is key, especially when it comes to providing accessible and reliable equipment for enthusiasts of underwater exploration.

Air Integration

photo of shearwater swift transmitter on table with case and book
The Swift transmitter is available for purchase independently or as part of a combo package with the Tern TX

Experiencing air integration (AI) through the SWIFT transmitter with the Shearwater Tern TX was a game-changer for me. 

It marked the first time I had relied on AI for several consecutive dives, and I was impressed by its convenience and reliability.

Setting up the transmitter and linking it to the Tern TX was incredibly easy, requiring minimal effort on my part. Once connected, the transmitter maintained a stable connection throughout over 20 dives, demonstrating its robust performance even in challenging underwater conditions.

While I still kept my gauge as a backup, having the ability to check my remaining air with just a glance at the computer was super helpful. It provided me with an added layer of confidence and convenience, allowing me to focus more on enjoying my dives in the Galapagos without worrying about constantly checking my pressure gauge.

Overall, the air integration through the SWIFT transmitter enhanced my diving experience with the Shearwater Tern TX, offering seamless functionality and peace of mind underwater.


The Tern TX’s 3-axis, tilt-compensated digital compass isn’t just a tool; it transforms underwater navigation into a thrilling adventure.

Navigating underwater feels like second nature with the Tern TX. Marking bearings and accessing vital information is effortless, thanks to its user-friendly interface. The responsive 3-axis compass adds to the excitement, ensuring every dive is an unforgettable experience filled with wonder and discovery.

Combined with the AMOLED screen, the underwater world comes alive in vibrant detail. The compass readings pop off the screen, making navigation a visual feast even in the darkest depths. I couldn’t resist playing around with the compass during our dives in the Galapagos, despite having dive guides leading the way. Its ease of use and clarity were simply irresistible.

Its cutting-edge technology ensures precise readings, regardless of your diving position, providing an unwavering guide through the depths.


shearwater tern on divers wrist
Other divers frequently complimented the impressive screen and reliability of the Shearwater, offering many positive remarks

Let’s talk about the Shearwater Tern and Tern TX’s vibration alert system, which I found to be incredibly powerful and customisable

Setting it up according to my preferences was a breeze, allowing me to tailor it to my specific needs underwater.

I have to admit, I was a little bit disappointed when I realised the audible alarm feature from the Teric wasn’t included in the Tern TX. I’ve always been a fan of audible alerts, finding them reassuring during dives. However, I quickly considered that the absence of a speaker likely contributed to the Tern TX’s lower cost, making it a more accessible option for many divers.

To clarify this, I spoke to Shearwater who in fact told me:

“The absence of an audible alarm in the Tern TX was really about making alerts easier for people to quickly interpret…particularly when diving in a group and trying to work out whose alarm is going off.  The vibration actually can avoid that situation because it’s so personal to the user. We had really great feedback on the peregrine and wanted to continue it with the Tern”

So it was an accessibility reason, rather than cost, which does make a lot of sense. But let me tell you, the vibration alarms on the Tern TX make up for the lack of audible alerts. They’re powerful enough to grab your attention even in the midst of a bustling underwater environment. Feeling that vibration is like a gentle tap on the shoulder, reminding you to stay vigilant and aware throughout your dive.


shearwater tern tx on divers arm underwater with rocks
The Tern TX proves to be a robust dive computer, thoughtfully crafted to endure the challenging conditions frequently faced during dives

Let’s dive into the rugged resilience of the Shearwater Tern TX, a feature that truly impressed me during my underwater escapades. 

Crafted with a lightweight yet robust build and fortified with Auminosilicate Glass, this dive computer is a true survivor in the depths.

What struck me most was the incredible toughness of the glass. Although not quite of the level of Sapphire Glass as seen in the Teric, the Tern easily shrugged off potential scratches, even in the face of abrasive underwater environments. 

We spoke to the engineers at Shearwater who told us where this chemically strengthed glass sits on the Mohs hardness scale:

  • Normal glass: 6.5
  • Aluminosilicate glass: up to 7
  • Sapphire: 9
  • Diamond: 10

The durability of the Shearwater Tern comes from the strength of its glass, with the added factory installed screen protector, sure to last you years of scuba diving 

Beyond the impressive glass, the Tern TX’s overall construction speaks volumes about its durability. 

It is more lightweight than the Shearwater Teric but despite this, it felt reassuringly sturdy in my hands, ready to tackle whatever challenges the underwater world threw its way. This reliability was crucial as I navigated through rocky and volcanic terrain of the Galapagos knowing that my dive computer could handle the rough and tumble of the environment.

In essence, the Shearwater Tern TX isn’t just a piece of equipment – it’s a reliable companion that empowers divers to explore with confidence, knowing that their gear can keep up with their adventurous spirit.

Shearwater Cloud for Tern TX

graph showing data for a divers dive profile
The Shearwater Cloud platform enables the logging and viewing of your dives, offering space to include any extra details you wish to record

The wireless Bluetooth technology integrated into the Shearwater Tern TX offers great convenience when it comes to uploading dive data to the Shearwater Cloud app. 

With just a few simple taps, divers can effortlessly transfer their dive logs from the Tern TX to the app, whether they’re using a desktop or mobile device. The Shearwater Cloud app serves as more than just a storage space for dive logs; it’s a hub of valuable resources and information for you as a diver. 

Not only can users store their comprehensive dive logs here, but they also receive notifications about free firmware updates for their dive computer. It’s crucial not to overlook these updates, as they often contain essential bug fixes and introduce new features or improvements. Keeping the firmware up to date ensures the dive computer operates at its optimal performance level, enhancing safety and functionality during dives.

I’ve found the Shearwater Cloud app to be straightforward and user-friendly, offering a clear and concise platform for reflecting on my dives. While it may not boast fancy features or flashy visuals, it gets the job done efficiently. Being able to easily access and review my dive logs allows me to track my dive journey and learn from each underwater adventure, making the Shearwater Cloud app an invaluable tool for any diver.

Shearwater Tern TX vs Tern

The Shearwater Tern and Tern TX are both sleek, compact dive computers that echo the design aesthetics of the Teric but align more with the recreational features of the Shearwater Peregrine. 

The Tern serves as a streamlined version of the Teric, offering a straightforward approach for divers who prioritise ease of use and essential functionalities. 

On the other hand, the Tern TX elevates the experience by incorporating gas consumption monitoring through a transmitter, a feature that allows divers to track their air usage with precision. Additionally, it is equipped with a digital compass, further enhancing its navigation capabilities underwater.

While both models lack the more advanced technical and closed-circuit rebreather (CCR) modes found in high-end computers, their offerings are perfectly tailored for recreational divers. The majority of air and nitrox users will find the Tern and Tern TX’s functionalities well-suited to their diving activities without the need for more complex modes.

Crafted in Canada with a depth rating of 120 meters and adherence to EN engineering standards for dive computer compliance, both models are robust and reliable for diverse diving conditions. They support a range of modes including Air, Nitrox, 3 Gas Nitrox, Gauge, and Freedive. Furthermore, they boast a considerable log capacity of 500 diving hours and a battery life of 20 hours in dive mode, making them both practical and efficient choices for recreational diving.

Shearwater Tern TX vs Teric

shearwater Tern TX and Teric on table side by side showing screens
While both the Teric and the Tern TX boast aesthetically pleasing designs, there's a significant distinction between them

When comparing the Shearwater Tern TX to the Shearwater Teric, it’s essential to consider their differences in features and capabilities, especially for divers planning to venture into technical diving.

Having dived with both, the significant distinction between the two models is the presence of OC mixed gas technical and CCR modes in theTeric, which are notably absent in the Tern TX. For divers exploring advanced technical dives or utilising closed-circuit rebreathers, these additional modes offered by the Teric will be invaluable. The OC mixed gas technical mode provides support for divers using various gas mixtures beyond the standard air and nitrox, while the CCR mode caters specifically to those using closed-circuit rebreathers.

If budget constraints are not a concern and you foresee transitioning into technical diving in the future, opting for the Shearwater Teric may be the preferable choice. Its advanced features and capabilities make it well-suited for divers seeking to explore more complex diving scenarios.

Ultimately, the decision between the Shearwater Tern TX and Shearwater Teric will depend on individual diving needs, preferences, and future aspirations. While the Tern TX offers exceptional functionality for recreational divers at a more affordable price point, the Teric’s advanced features make it the ideal choice for divers looking to push the boundaries of their underwater exploration.

For more information on the Shearwater Teric, head over to read my Teric Review.

Shearwater Tern Battery Life

tern tx on charging port on brown table
The Tern TX, with its outstanding battery life and effortless charging setup, proved to be an ideal companion for my dive trip

When it comes to battery life, the Shearwater Tern and Tern TX put common concerns to rest with their rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries, offering up to an impressive 20 hours of dive time and six months on standby

During my recent liveaboard adventure in the Galapagos, I was amazed that I only had to charge my Tern TX once over the course of 20 dives, highlighting its exceptional battery performance.

One notable feature is the ease of adjusting brightness levels, ensuring the battery remains reliable even when using the dive computer as a regular watch. Additionally, the inclusion of wireless charging capability adds further convenience to the mix. The charging dock is clutter-free and much smaller than the Teric’s wireless charging station, so recharging becomes effortless and efficient, especially when juggling multiple gadgets for overnight charging.

A thoughtful design aspect worth mentioning is the USB to USB-C connection for the wireless charger. This compatibility ensures that even if the Shearwater cable is misplaced, users can easily substitute it with a commonly available Android or Mac laptop charger.  I found this really useful as it reduced the amount of cables I needed to take away with me.

Moreover, the wireless charging design enhances the overall durability of the Tern and Tern TX. By reducing the number of physical charging ports, the dive computers maintain their sturdy build, minimising potential points of water ingress or wear and tear. 

Shearwater Tern TX Dive Computer
  • Easy to read display
  • Everything a recreational diver needs in a dive computer
  • Air integration
  • Digital compass
  • Alkali-aluminosilicate toughened glass
  • Robust
  • Not suitable for technical diving
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We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Final Thoughts

dive computer on arm underwater with blue background
In my opinion, the Tern TX stands out as a masterpiece for recreational divers, thanks to its customizable displays, sleek design, and air integration features.

As I reflect on my diving experiences with the Shearwater Tern TX, I’m filled with a sense of awe and gratitude for the journey it has facilitated. From exploring the vibrant reefs of the Galapagos Islands to spending time at depth whilst observing the schools of majestic hammerheads, this dive computer has been an invaluable companion every step of the way.

Its compact yet durable design, coupled with advanced features like the full-colour AMOLED display and customisable vibration alerts, has elevated my diving adventures to new heights. I’ll never forget the feeling of awe as I navigated through underwater landscapes with the Tern TX’s reliable digital compass guiding the way.

The seamless integration of wireless Bluetooth technology makes uploading dive data to the Shearwater Cloud app a breeze, allowing me to relive and learn from each underwater excursion with ease. And let’s not forget the exceptional battery life, which kept up with my dive-heavy schedule in the Galapagos, only needing a single charge over 20 dives.

While the Tern TX may lack some of the advanced technical features found in its counterpart, the Shearwater Teric, its affordability and reliability make it an ideal choice for recreational divers like myself. However, for those with aspirations of delving into technical diving, the Teric’s OC mixed gas technical and CCR modes offer unparalleled capabilities.

In conclusion, the Shearwater Tern TX is more than just a dive computer; it’s a gateway to unforgettable underwater adventures. With its robust design, advanced features, and intuitive functionality, it has become an indispensable tool for enhancing safety, confidence, and enjoyment in the underwater world. As I look forward to my next dive, I do so with the reassurance that the Shearwater Tern TX will be by my side, ready to guide me through whatever wonders await beneath the waves.

Once again, Shearwater have excelled and introduced a top of the range computer to the world of recreational diving – incredible work guys!!!

Quick Look of The Top Dive Computers

Written by Katy

Thank you for reading. I started to share my passion for diving. I am an environmental educator, scientist and now an MSDT diver.

This platform has been made to create, connect and share my knowledge in the world of diving.

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