final ZE3000 Review

final ZE3000 review featured

final is a Japanese high-end audio brand that is well known among the enthusiast audio crowd. In this review, I’m looking at the brand’s first TWS earphones the final ZE3000. The ZE3000 has a single 6mm dynamic driver, aptX Adaptive support and an IPX4 water-resistance rating. 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 ZE3000 Review
Verdict
Stellar build quality and unmatched audio quality in its price range make up for the lack of features that you would normally expect.
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Pros
Onboard volume controls
Clarity and tonality
Wide soundstage
Tight bass
aptX Adaptive support
Cons
Pricey
No app support/extra functions
4.6
Our Score
WHERE TO BUY

final ZE3000

Specifications

– Latest Bluetooth Ver 5.2

– 6mm “f-Core for Wireless” Dynamic Driver

– AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX Adaptive Codec Support

– 7 Hours of Playback per Earbuds Full Charge, Maximum 35 hours with Charging Case

– IPX4 Water-Resistant

-Price: $149

Package and Accessories

The final ZE3000 comes in a small stylish white box with a magnetic flap. On the front of the box, there’s an image of the earphones and charging case. On the back of the box is a list of specifications. Here’s what you get inside the box:

  • final ZE3000 TWS earphones
  • Charging case
  • USB type-C charging cable
  • 5x pairs of silicone Type E for TWS eartips
  • Documentation
What's in the box
final ZE3000 design

Design

Products from final tend to have distinguished recognizable designs and the ZE3000 is no different. Taking inspiration from its own A, B and MAKE series, the ZE3000 has a distinctive style that looks modern and unique in the TWS space.

The shells look angular and futuristic and have a textured but smooth SHIBO finish. They are unmarked except for a subtle final logo on the faceplate positioned just under the small LED indicator. An IPX4 rating means the earphones are sweat and rain resistant.

ZE3000 is available in white or black and I think both look fantastic. If you think the shells look a bit awkward or as though they might be uncomfortable then fear not; ZE3000 is very comfortable and fits naturally in my ears. Getting a good fit should be easy thanks to the generous amount of TYPE E for Wireless eartips included in the box.

The charging case appears to be made from the same material as the earphones. It’s small in size and fits easily in a pants pocket. On the front of the case is a small multicolour LED indicator that displays the current battery level. A USB C port for charging resides on the bottom of the case.

ZE3000 has a 7-hour battery life for the earbuds plus a further 5 charges from the case for a total of around 42 hours. Charging time is 1.5 hours for the earphones and 2 hours for the case.

final ZE3000 earphones in case
Internals

Internally, ZE3000 has a 6mm “f-Core for Wireless” dynamic driver with final’s newly developed adhesive-less injection molded diaphragm. The new driver makes it easier to achieve an even weight distribution and keep the driver lightweight.

Furthermore, the new driver enables using different materials for the centre and surround to achieve the ideal hard centre & soft surround for the diaphragm. Using this final can achieve even greater clarity and accuracy.

final also developed the f-LINK damping system to regulate the air pressure within the shells without introducing a vent. They did this to produce a high-fidelity sound while maintaining the IPX4 water-resistance rating.

Controls and Bluetooth Connection

The Bluetooth 5.2 connection is rock-solid and I haven’t experienced any signal loss or dropouts. The ZE3000 pairing is very fast and I can barely get the earphones in my ears before hearing the “connected” voice prompt.

Left side

  • Single click: Play /pause /receive call
  • Double click: Lower volume /refust call
  • Triple click: Voice assistant (only when music playback is stopped)
  • Long press: Previous track /end call

Right side

  • Single click: Play /pause /receive call
  • Double click: Next track /refuse call
  • Triple click: Voice assistant (only when music playback is stopped)
  • Long press: Next track /end call

Calls, Video and Gaming Performance

The ZE3000’s built-in microphone sounds great. My voice comes through very clearly and with adequate volume and it does a decent job of filtering outside noise too. You can easily make phone calls or have video conferencing with these earphones.

Video and gaming performance is excellent as well. The Bluetooth 5.2 has very little latency meaning there are no sync issues when watching videos or YouTube and almost imperceptible delay when playing fast-paced games.

Close up of the inner shell

Sound

Considering final’s reputation for audio quality (and the price) I had big expectations for the ZE3000. I was not disappointed. The final ZE3000 sounds fantastic. It has a clean, pristine and spacious sound that’s among the best I’ve heard in this price range.

The sound is high-fidelity and detailed but somewhat lean; if you’re looking for a warm or bass-dominant sound you’ll need to look elsewhere. Alternatively, if you’re looking for clarity and crispness then you’ve come to the right place. ZE3000 delivers neutral audio that’s transparent and uncoloured.

The bass is tight and trim. Attacks on bass notes are fast and well-defined but still rounded enough to hit with impact. There’s sufficient warmth and the tone of the bass is natural, just not exaggerated.

The sub-bass extension is good but the ultra-low notes are heard more than felt. The sub-bass and mid-bass have a good distinction between them and create various layers so you can clearly hear each separate element.

The midrange is clean and open with good separation and resolution. Vocals and instruments sound natural, articulate and engaging. Note weight is just a touch on the thin side and as a result, the ZE3000’s mids are airy and spacious.

There’s such good clarity in the midrange that when switching over to different TWS earphones almost everything sounds veiled in comparison. Pianos and horns sound fresh and polished but surprisingly they never sound shouty or jarring. There’s excellent spacing in the mids, lending to an airy sensation and large soundstage.

Treble notes are forward but extremely smooth. I keep looking for sharpness in the zesty treble but all I find is airiness and extension. Naturally, this means that the final ZE3000 has great macro and micro-detail retrieval.

The ZE3000 creates a wide soundstage that never sounds in the least bit cluttered even when listening to complex music. Despite the good separation and airiness, the layering and imaging are fairly average when it comes to placement. That’s not to say it’s bad – just that the size and width take precedence over positioning.

Comparisons

Tanchjim Echo ($99)
Tanchjim Echo review featured

The Tanchjim Echo (review here) is probably the closest TWS earphone I have to the ZE3000 in terms of sound signature. Both of these earphones concentrate on audio quality over features with neither having ANC nor app support.

Compared to the Echo, the ZE3000 has a brighter tonality due to its bass neutrality and more forward treble. The final has a tighter bass compared to the Echo which has more density and impact in the lows.

The final’s midrange sounds more open and spacious while at the same time, sounding a touch drier. It has a lighter note weight whereas the Echo sounds slightly thicker and rounder. ZE3000’s soundstage is wider and larger in dimensions while the Echo is more upfront and intimate. This is largely due to the treble tuning on the final which is crisper and more prominent.

Moondrop Sparks ($90)
Moondrop Sparks review featured

The Moondrop Sparks (review here) is much larger physically than the ZE3000. Both earphones have basic playback functionality with no extra bells and whistles in terms of features.

The ZE3000 has a leaner, faster bass compared to the Sparks which is meatier and more full-bodied. Sparks carries more of that fullness into the midrange, making it warmer and thicker (one could say also more natural) than the final. However, the ZE3000 has better spacing and separation in the mids giving it a cleaner sound.

While the ZE3000 has a prominent treble the Sparks upper treble is rolled-off. Sparks focuses more on the lower treble and upper midrange which can make female vocals and certain instruments more present. ZE3000 has a wider, airier soundstage while the Moondrop is more intimate and denser. The Sparks has slightly better imaging but it’s within a smaller space.

final ZE3000 earphones and charging case

Verdict

The final ZE3000 has a wonderful pristine sound, good call quality and an exquisite design. It lacks extra features like ANC and app support which you’d normally expect at this price point. However, if you’re only concerned about audio quality, the ZE3000 is one TWS earphone that should be very high on your list of candidates.


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