The original Zulu headset sparked a wave of innovation in aviation headsets when it was introduced a decade ago, and established Lightspeed as a major player in the premium headset market. Active noise reduction (ANR) headsets were not new at the time, but never before had they been available with so many features at such an attractive price. A lot has changed since then, but Lightspeed is not one to rest on their laurels. In 2017, they released the latest generation, Zulu 3, and as always we went flying to see how it performed.
We've been big fans of Zulu.2 since it came out in 2011, flying with it regularly in everything from trainers to jets to helicopters, so we were anxious to test out the newest edition. We took it flying in a Cessna 172 for some side-by-side comparisons with other headsets.
Overall, we were really impressed with the Zulu 3. If you've seen the Zulu.2, this headset won't look like a major change, but there are enough tweaks to make it a nice upgrade.
New comfort features
The most noticeable change is the new ear seals. While this seems boring, we've learned over the years that headset manufacturers spend years refining their ear seals, and for good reason. Gel or foam? Soft or rigid? Thick or thin? The options are almost limitless, but attention to detail pays off. Almost nothing impacts the comfort and noise reduction more than a good ear seal.
The new Zulu 3 ear seals are contoured so there is simultaneously more surface area on your ear (a better seal and less pressure) but more space for your ear (better comfort). In our unscientific testing, we thought they felt great. We wore the Zulu 3 with and without sunglasses and found the ear seals to be comfortable and quiet.
Our favorite feature on Lightspeed's PFX headset was the Kevlar cables. Sure, they look great, but they're also nearly indestructible and much less likely to tangle - what someone here called "renter friendly." The more durable cables are a good match for the Zulu 3's stainless steel headband and magnesium ear cups, two features that have defined Lightspeed headsets in recent years.
It's a tough headset, and the company is not afraid to stand behind it, adding a 7-year warranty to Zulu 3. That's about the longest warranty we've ever seen on an aviation headset, and Lightspeed's famous customer service means you can count on them for a fast response if needed.
Plenty of Lightspeed favorites
Zulu 3 still has all the features that made Zulu.2 such a popular headset, including excellent ANR, Bluetooth for phone and music, auto shutoff, and a high quality carrying case. It also has user adjustable mic gain to get the audio and side tone just right.
Product PIREP video
The Lightspeed Zulu 3 is available in three cable configurations: standard twin plugs, panel-powered LEMO plug, and single helicopter plug. It is in stock and available for $850, with free same day shipping. For more information, visit our Zulu 3 page.
OUR TEST FLIGHT GUARANTEE
Remember, buying a headset from Sporty's is easy. Take your new headset flying and make sure it's the right choice for you. If you're not thrilled, return the headset to us within 60 days and in the same condition in which you received it - we'll exchange it for another headset or refund your money. There's no paperwork and no hassle.