Aqua Lung LEGEND 3 Elite Regulator: The Test

It was a novelty of the beginning of 2020 announced and presented at the January Paris’s Dive Show: the modernization of the range of the famous LEGEND. I was so happy in June when I received the Aqua Lung’s LEGEND 3 Elite regulator.

It is announced as top of the notch, but to be honest, I liked my APEKS very much and I didn’t really see what other regulator would be able to take it out of my mouth.

And yet…

Aqua Lung’s LEGEND 3 Elite Regulator

Wrapped in a stylized packaging without plastic (that’s important), Aqua Lung’s LEGEND 3 Elite regulator is there, ready for use.

You immediately feel its weight. With its 747 grams in DIN version, it’s not light. It emanates from this regulator an impression of robustness.

The first stage is special because it consists of different chrome “disks” that are supposed to maximize thermal exchanges and prevent icing. In fact, the contact surface is greatly increased. This added to its built-in dry room and molded cap, makes it, according to the manufacturer, a regulator offering exceptional performance in cold waters. It’s good for me who performs most of my dives in (very) cold waters.

The second stage with its chromed case cover looks great. Its streamlined design allows the area to be removed from the chin. Overall, it’s pretty.

But what intrigues me are the two adjustment buttons.

Le détendeur Legend 3 Elite.
Legend 3 Elite | © Different Dive

Two settings of respiratory flow

Aqua Lung’s LEGEND 3 Elite regulator offers two settings to adapt the flow and thus the comfort of breathing.

The first is a Venturi-type button found on many other models. The second is a “fine” sensitivity adjustment button that promises greater breathing comfort.

First test: in cold water

As we are not allowed to move to beautiful destinations, I will try it in a very cold quarry in Belgium. Of course, I take care to read the manual to understand its features.

I decide to harden it as much as possible at the beginning and open both flow settings as the dive progresses.

The dive takes place without noticeable difference between my usual regulator and this one in terms of respiratory comfort. It’s however easy to breath.

At the end of the dive at the safety stop. I then change and use my APEKS. And then what a surprise, I have to suck hard to breathe! That’s an unpleasant feeling.

I start a few breathing cycles again and think that my APEKS must have a problem. This is strange because it is maintained by a professional very regularly and showed no signs of malfunction during the previous dive. I turn to my buddy and ask him to exchange our regulators. Again the same feeling of having to “suck” to breathe on his regulator too.

I then go back on the LEGEND and … the air arrives in my mouth effortlessly as if I were on the surface. Dreaming, yes I’m dreaming. I repeat the experience a few times going from my APEKS to my LEGEND 3. It’s a no-brainer.

Hélène Adam en plongée dans les carrières froides de Belgique.
Premier test | © Different Dive

Explanation

I had first hardened and opened the regulator gradually ranging from maximum hardness to minimum at the end of the dive. From then on, I probably didn’t feel the sudden change in the way I breathe. But here… very clearly it has nothing to do with my old regulator.

At this moment, I understand that for all these years I had to make a breathing effort when diving. I had become accustomed to it but now I will be able to breathe freely and without constraints. I’m so happy.

It’s amazing. Those like me who have experienced it will certainly say, this regulator gives you a breathing comfort that is really impressive.

I then took it with me for my Marseilles dives last summer for my greatest pleasure.

Hélène Adam plonge avec un équipement Aqua Lung dans les eaux de Marseille.
Marseille Mode | © Different Dive

Second test: the warm tropical water test

Fore sure, Aqua Lung’s LEGEND 3 Elite regulator performs very well in the warm sea. The water was at 30°C (86°F) in Bonaire, the divers’ paradise in September 2020. 

As I don’t back down from anything, I obviously had to explore other spots to make sure the regulator was great.

What do you mean ? All the excuses are good to go to Bonaire?  

What can I say?

In this clear sea of the Dutch West Indies with no wet suit as the water is so warm, I just feel part of the whole, effortlessly, without border between me and the rest of the ocean. The fluidity of my breathing is associated with the happiness of diving in Bonaire.

Indescribable respiratory comfort

So of course, I could talk about the technical features already published everywhere. But to be honest, what’s amazing about this LEGEND 3 Elite regulator is the feeling that you don’t have to put in any effort anymore. As if your breathing was no longer under pressure. And that’s probably the best thing I sincerely remember from this test.

Therefore, we can also think of safety in diving: if this regulator gives such comfort, does it reduce the risk of shortness of breath? Does it allow for easier exchange with optimal decompression during the ascent ? Good question ?

Before trying the LEGEND, I thought my old regulator was very fluid and worked beautifully well. I had already put it in competition with more modern ones without having wanted to change.

However, now I am certain that I can no longer do without LEGEND.

Une housse de protection de détendeur Aqua Lung posée devant la mer à Bonaire.

Why breathing is so fluid with Aqua Lung’s LEGEND 3 Elite regulator

While the flow adjustment possibilities are undeniably comfortable, the fact that Aqua Lung’s LEGEND 3 Elite regulator is overcompensated should certainly be no stranger to this unique feeling of breathing in diving.

This regulator is designed to maintain optimal breathing effort throughout the dive. I love it!

In a nutshell

I like

  • The LEGEND regulator comes in three versions, all of which have the same first stage with its resistance to the cold. It is mainly the settings of breathing comfort and look that will change depending on the model.
  • The ACD mechanism (a flap that closes as soon as it is removed from the valve) prevents water and any dust from entering the interior of the first stage. It’s nice on the one hand for diving in humid spots (tropical countries for example). But also for the pressure sensors connected to the first stage that do not like humidity at all.
  • A dust cap is also attached to the regulator’s body. Practical not to loose it.
  • Aqua Lung’s LEGEND 3 Elite regulator comes with a more comfortable ergonomic mouthpiece than conventional mouthpieces. However, if I have observed it, I have only used it for one dive. This is because I have been using a thermoformable mouthpiece for a very long time for the reasons explained in this article.
  • The output of the deflector is high and therefore the bubbles will tend to go to the side rather than come in front of your mask. A detail that should appeal to fans of underwater photography.

I like less

  • Price: Aqua Lung’s LEGEND 3 Elite regulator is advertised at a public price of €749 on top of this, you need to add an octopus and a gauge if necessary. The entry-level (LEGEND 3) and mid-range (LEGEND 3 MBS) versions are priced at 599 and 699 euros respectively.
  • The weight for travel. LEGEND 3 Elite is relatively heavy which can be important when travelling by plane. Even if on an overall weight of luggage, this should not penalize you too much. The first stage weighs 747 grams in the DIN version and 957 in the yoke version… weight to which you must add the second stage, the octopus, the pressure sensor or the mechanical gauge.
  • Scratches are more strongly seen on the chrome coating. Indeed, unfortunately, during a trip on a zodiac, my regulator was scratched … and you can clearly see theses scratches.
Un détendeur monté sur un bloc en attendant de plonger.
Prêt à plonger | © Different Dive

Aqua Lung’s LEGEND 3 Elite regulator test conclusions

During all my years of diving, I inevitably had the opportunity to dive with different regulators. I had since a long time decided to use an APEX which is relegated today to the role of backup regulator in a somewhat thankless way, I admit.

Of course, to be totally sure that Aqua Lung’s LEGEND 3 Elite regulator is the best regulator, I would have had to test all the others. If you think a regulator could be even more comfortable than this one, don’t hesitate to suggest to the manufacturer to contact me. I’ll try it out with great pleasure.

In the meantime… let’s go diving!

Hélène Adam en plongée dans les eaux chaudes de Bonaire
Test à Bonaire | © Different Dive

Is Aqua Lung’s LEGEND 3 Elite regulator tempting you? Do you know it or do you use it?

Tell me this in comment of this post and share your opinion with the whole community.

And above all… remember to be happy 🤗

Hélène

READ ALSO ➡️  Material Test: Discover a Resolutely Different Diving Jacket

Note: I do not have a special partnership with Aqua Lung but it has graciously provided me with the necessary regulator for this material test by taking the risk of sincere and constructive criticism. I test in all honesty and impartiality the material that is offered to me. Please send me the products you would like me to test.