When we received the Final ZE3000, we were a bit confused as to why anyone would pay so much for it. I mean we all know Final as the audio company that makes audiophile gear, like IEMS and especially eartips. But at this price – and no bells and whistles? Turns out they had to nail just 3 things to make great wireless earbuds.
The first of those things is design. Earbuds are like hats – everyone’s gonna see them, so having an eye-catching design can be a risk. And it’s not especially easy as we’ve seen in the past with some disasters. Cough Bose QuietComfortBuds cough. But the ZE3000 have that amazing Japanese origami papier mache aesthetic – ok I’m not very well-versed with the rich Japanese culture except for the fact that they know their design and minimalism. This design doesn’t make you choose between form and function either. One of the planes on the buds surface serves as a touch control surface that can do volume, media and call control. Pretty reliable too.
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🎧 Buy the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: https://geni.us/BoseQCEarbuds
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The case is deceptively light – and has that cool texture feeling plasticky. There’s a single LED indicator that changes color – red if your battery level is below 10%, yellow upto 99 and it only turns green, when it’s 100. There’s that Japanese six-sigma thought again. You either get 100% or nothing. Ok, maybe we do know a bit about Japan.
The battery life is average – 7 hours on the buds and 28 more from the case. Each bud can be used on its own for calls and music. These buds are also water resistant with an IPX4 rating, so coupled with that comfort and weight, they might be a good alternative for light workouts.
And that brings us to the second point – comfort. Since we know Final makes some of the best tips in the business, it comes as no surprise that these silicone tips are comfortable, secure and extremely good at a passive seal. As soon as I took these out of the box, I tried the default tips that were on the buds and never looked back. The comfort also comes from the fact that the buds themselves are super light. It might not come through in the videos here, but the sizes belies how comfortable and lightweight these buds really are. Very comfortable for longer periods of time.
And you know a lot of people ask us which earbuds are the most comfortable, and you know what man – these might be it. You certainly can’t sleep in them because of the design, but Final’s expertise in making great tips is clearly visible in these buds. You know what – forget hats, earbuds are like underwear. No matter how technically brilliant they are and how stylish they look – it’s no use if they ain’t comfortable.
The third reason why you would consider these buds is sound. Now before we start on sound, we thought we’d download the ‘My Final app’ that was mentioned on the back of the box. Helaas pindakaas this was only available in Japanese and even when I braved myself to download the app just to test it for you guys – unfortunately that version wasn’t available to us. So we don’t really know what the app does.
So the sound we tested was the default tuning out of the box. And you know what – it sounds pretty damn good. The volume is solid, but isn’t the loudest out there, we measured it at about 95DB. Loud enough for us, but we’re talking in like in tier 3 out of 5 when it comes to the volume scale.
Talking about the sound profile, it isn’t flat flat, there’s a noticeable little bass bump and maybe a little treble tip, but any genre we threw from Billie Eilish to Daft Punk, it handled with aplomb. You must know that you in very few cases, the bass can border on boomy, but even house music was bearable, so I guess the bass wasn’t that bad? I feel the House fans attacking the comments section. Rock and metalheads, help us out down there. So – it isn’t neutral, but it sounds good and that QCC3040 from Qualcomm that’s in so many earbuds these days delivers great resolution over APTX Adaptive. Final’s tuning on top of that is pretty good for consumer earbuds. Very articulate representation of distorted guitars, which I’m noticing is especially hard to do for many earbuds, so these are a very good pick for you rock and metal lovers out there – from Megadeth’s Holy Wars to Polyphia’s Loud, guitars were clear and distortion was well represented. The treble is airy enough but also there’s a little bit of a boost, which is ok in most cases but not for brighter records. The instrument separation is above average and classical and jazz recordings work well. Bill Evans Trio’s autumn leaves had excellent imaging and a wide soundstage, impressive for IEMS. Timbre and resolution are pretty much top notch. And Finally, playing audio or taking calls with either the left or right earbud works perfectly – again thanks to Qualcomm’s chip. So that was the sound. An absolute recommend from us. Even without an app. Finally – let’s talk about phone calls.
It’s pretty clear guys. The AirPods Pro are the clear winner, period. In quiet conditions, either are usable, and the Final even sound louder. But when you put them side by side to the AirPods Pro, you realise that the AirPods are much more refined and there’s less reverb in the voice. In noisy conditions you can hear the speaker’s voice on the Final but all the background noise is also piped in. This makes it incredibly uncomfortable for the other person on the phone to have a conversation with you. The AirPods suppress more of the background noise but the voice is slightly softer. But overall they’re our pick if we’re at the other end of that phone call. And FINALly, in windy conditions, there’s no contest because you hear all the wind on the Final whereas you barely hear it on the AirPods.
MAKING THE DECISION
So calls are just about ok – but why else wouldn’t you buy the Final ZE 3000? Well I guess you probably saw it coming from the intro – that price. At the time of making this video, these cost 150 dollars US or 140 Euros and you know what we’re gonna say. As a channel that reviews like literally one set of earbuds every week – to be pricing a set at 150, you need to have something special. Especially if you’re not going to offer noise cancelling or a working app. Final absolutely nails most of the basics – excellent build quality and design, incredible comfort and a very nice sound signature.
But at this price, it’s a pretty hard sell – in addition to the absence of noise cancelling – there’s no app support yet, no wireless charging, the case and buds are big, there’s no connection to two devices simultaneously, no in-ear sensor to pause music automatically, sub-par microphone quality – there are many many reasons not to get it. If you want alternatives, the Galaxy Buds Pro or the Jabra Elite 7 Pro are great picks we’d recommend. You get ANC, transparency, solid apps, wireless charging, dual device connection – a lot more!
But those buds also aren’t without their problems – and you know what as I pick it up here – and hold it in my hands – you know this has potential to be my new favorite set for music. Because wireless earbuds are like underwear. And there’s nothing better than underwear that not only feels good, but also looks good. And sounds good?
You’ve been seeing metaphors break down and we’ve been DHRME. Namaste!