In this final UX3000 review, I’m looking at the brand’s first foray into wireless full-size headphones. The final UX3000 is a wireless headphone with hybrid active noise cancelling (ANC), up to 35 hours of battery life and aptX Low Latency. The price is $149.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by KS Distribution for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
final UX3000 Review
Class-leading audio quality, solid ANC and an affordable price tag make this one a no-brainer.
The UX3000 comes in a large white box with a colour image of the headphones on the front. On the back of the box, there’s a list of specifications. Inside the box, you’ll find the headphones, a carrying pouch, a USB Type-C charging cable and an analogue audio cable with a 3.5mm plug.
The physical design of the UX3000 is pretty typical for Bluetooth headphones. It has an all-plastic body with a generously padded headband. Interestingly, these headphones have the same SHIBO finish as the final ZE3000 TWS earphones; this is great because it means they’re resistant to fingerprints and it adds an element of interest to an otherwise spartan design. Furthermore, the plastic used for these headphones appears to be the same one that the ZE3000 is made from.
I will admit I thought these headphones felt kinda cheap when I took them out of the box. The plastic on the earcups is thin and the headphones don’t have much heft to them. However, on closer inspection, it’s clear that the build quality is good – but it’s not exactly a premium feel. The headphones are foldable and the earcups rotate 90 degrees so they have good portability and don’t take up much space in a bag.
I have fairly large ears so I was a bit concerned about comfort but the ZE3000 feels pretty cosy. They’re lightweight and the clamping force isn’t too brutal plus the earpads are soft and plush. However, I do get some wearing fatigue after an hour or so, especially if I’m wearing glasses. But overall, I’d say the comfort is pretty good.
There’s a single button on the left earcup to turn the ANC (Active Noise Canceling) on and off. The USB-C charging port is placed here as well. On the right earcup is where the playback controls are. It’s a standard 3-button system that’s easy to use. The buttons have a solid tactile click. There’s also a 3.5mm aux port that you can use for a wired connection.
ANC and Bluetooth
The ANC functions well. It’s especially good for cutting out droning low-frequency sounds such as air conditioners and engine noise. Other noises like people talking or the keys on my mechanical keyboard still come through. Nonetheless, it’s about as effective as any ANC I’ve heard in this price range. You’d need to spend considerably more to get better ANC (Bose or Sony etc.)
The Bluetooth 5.0 has worked flawlessly during my testing. I didn’t have any connection issues and I found the working range to be about average.
You can expect around 25 hours of battery life with the ANC On and 35 hours with ANC Off. That’s fairly typical for headphones in this price range. A full charge takes around 2.5 hours.
Call Quality, Video and Games
Making calls on the final UX3000 is fully viable. Voices come through loud and clear and the headphones do a pretty good job of blocking out external noise.
Watching videos with the UX3000 is a good experience. The synchronization is immaculate on both iPhone and Android. Gaming is doable too, with barely any latency noticeable, especially with Android (because of aptX Low Latency).
Considering final’s headphone pedigree, I had high expectations coming into this review. Not only were my expectation met, but they were also surpassed. The UX3000 is all about neutrality and fidelity – much like the final ZE3000 TWS earphones.
One thing that stands out is the UX3000’s evenness across the frequency spectrum. By that, I don’t mean a linear response but one without any distracting peaks or dips. By doing that, the sound is dynamic and lively but consistent in presentation and won’t give you any nasty surprises.
The bass is punchy but clean, delivered with natural size and weight. It’s lightly boosted for engagement but remains nimble with precise attacks and fast decay. Sub-bass notes have a satisfying tight rumble. It doesn’t give you bone-shaking growls but there’s enough gusto to bring satisfaction with every bass drop or 808 kick.
Vocals are articulate with just the right note weight, neither thin nor saturated – merely natural. Instruments sound great too, from the deep, rich notes of a cello to the bite of an electric guitar. There’s no shoutiness in the upper mids, thanks to the evenness I mentioned previously. If I were to nitpick, I wouldn’t mind just a touch more vibrance from the upper mids to add some zing.
One area where Bluetooth headphones often struggle is in the treble. For some reason, it’s the treble that seems to be the most vulnerable to compression and artificial timbre. Not so with the UX3000. True, the treble has a laidback presentation – it’s tuned for musicality more than precision. But it’s mercifully smooth and doesn’t produce any jarring sharpness.
The final UX3000 creates a fairly wide stage with good spacing and ample room to breathe. It has adequate instrument separation and a firm centre image. That gives it good stereo imaging and makes it easy to pinpoint the position of each sound with confidence.
Edifier W820NB ($56)
The Edifier W820NB (review here) is clearly similar in shape to the final and both provide a comfortable fit.
At a third of the price of the UX3000, the W820NB has to make some concessions. Most notably, there’s no aptX here, only SBC.
As you’d expect, the audio quality doesn’t match that of the final. But let me tell you, it’s not far behind. The most obvious differences are in the quality of the bass and treble; bass notes aren’t as firm or decisive and the treble timbre isn’t as good as the UX3000. Apart from that, the W820NB sounds great, especially considering the price.
The Edifier get an extra 4 hours of battery life with ANC on, getting up to 29 hours compared to the final’s 45. Speaking of ANC, I would say the W820NB’s noise-cancelling can go toe to toe with the final’s. Impressive!
If you’re looking for a wireless headphone with ANC and sound quality that’s a step up from the budget offerings the UX3000 should be your go-to. It might not have class-leading ANC the likes of Bose or Sony but it costs a good deal less and arguably sounds just as good. With its solid build quality, good battery life and refined, balanced sound, final’s first wireless headphone is a real hit. Recommended.