Final’s first-ever True Wireless IEMs deliver exceptional sound but lack key lifestyle features.
- Great build, unique design
- Very comfortable to wear for longer periods
- Good battery life with the case
- Smooth, analogue-ish tuning that’s never fatiguing
- Exceptional technicalities given the TWS landscape
- Somewhat bulky shells that do not have the most secure fit
- No ANC
- No app support
- Touch controls are unreliable
- The microphones pick up too much noise in crowded areas
- Slight treble emphasis might be a problem for those who abhor brightness
Where To Buy
Final is a company that rarely, if ever, follows current trends. They took their sweet time before unveiling the ZE3000, their first pair of mainstream TWS IEMs. In the past, they did some collaboration IEMs in the form of the EVA series, but the ZE3000 truly kickstart their wireless lineup.
Unfortunately, the market is teeming with competition, and newcomers are often met with familiar failings. Do Final manage to avoid the pitfalls and stand out amidst a sea of also-rans? Or are the ZE3000 bound to be overshadowed?
Let’s find out.
- Battery Life: 28
- Connector: USB Type-C
- Wireless Charging: No
- Battery Capacity: 300 mAh
- Can be opened easily with one hand: Yes
- Pass the shake test: Yes
- Light Indicators: Shows estimated battery life left and charging indicator
The case can be opened using one hand. The LED bar on the front shows the battery level and doubles as a charging indicator.
- Shape of the case: Rectangular
- Material: ABS and resin mixed polymer
- Build Quality: Premium
The carry case design is my favorite after the diminutive Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro case. It has a DSLR-body-like texture on top that Final refers to as “Shibo” finish.
The case has the perfect shape to hold on your palm, and the magnetic clasp is satisfyingly crisp when operating. It’s also very pocketable and can barely be felt while in a trouser pocket.
The type-C port is on the bottom of the case.
- Weight: 32g (case only), 41g (with earbuds)
- Volume: 3.5 cm x 7 cm x 2.5 cm = 61.25 cm cu
- Portability: Outstanding
- Battery Life: 7 hrs
- Charge Time (15mins): 80 mins playback time
The case holds an additional 28 hours of charge, coupled with the 7 hours of battery life in the IEMs. I need to charge them about once a week during regular use using the AptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec. Your mileage may vary.
The Final ZE3000 take about 1.5 hours to charge fully. There is no quick charge function, sadly.
- Control Mechanism: Touch
- Touch Accuracy: Substandard
- Control Symmetry on both earbuds: No, individual setup for each earbud
- Mono Use: Yes, both sides
The triangular region beside the final logo on the faceplate acts as a touch-sensitive panel. Unfortunately, this panel is too “trigger-happy” and gets activated while trying to adjust the IEMs.
Touch accuracy is atrocious, with accidental activations being common.
This poor control scheme is the most annoying part of the ZE3000, and Final should go back to the drawing board for a better mechanism.
Here’s a short rundown of the available controls:
- Tapping the left or right earpiece once pauses or plays the music.
- A long press results in the earpieces shutting down.
- Tapping on the left or right earpiece twice turns the volume down or up; respectively.
- Triple tapping results in the activation of the voice assistant on your phone.
- Pressing and holding the right/left earpiece until a beep sound skips to the next/previous song, respectively.
- Profile: High
- Material: ABS and resin mixed polymer
- Comfort: Outstanding
- Fit: Good
The ZE3000 stand out in terms of design and build with a distinct shape accentuated by the sharp angles and a bulging profile. The large shell is surprisingly comfortable to wear thanks to the flattened inner faceplate and the excellent E-type TWS ear tips.
The interfaces for charging are on the inner side of the IEM, alongside the channel markings. The entire surface has the same “Shibo” finish as the shells. Fingerprints and smudges are not visible at all. The added texture also helps to add grip.
My one nitpick is the need sometimes to adjust the IEMs.
Using the right-sized ear tips and pushing the IEMs deep into the canal is crucial for obtaining an ideal fit and sound. As a result, you may need to fiddle with the IEMs while running or working out since they sometimes lose their seal.
Final utilizes their self-developed 6mm F-core DU drivers in the ZE3000. An ingenious damping scheme consists of a front and back acoustic cavity to equalize pressure within the driver housing. This design allowed Final to eliminate any vents while avoiding driver flex.
- Noise Cancellation: Average
- Voice Pick-up: Good
The mic has good voice pickup in quiet places but falls apart the moment noise creeps in. Wind noise is especially destructive and, at times, renders the mics useless.
- Driver: 6mm single dynamic driver
- Sound Signature: Warm, V-shaped
- Bass: Outstanding
- Mids: Outstanding
- Treble: Good
- Sound Detail: Outstanding
Final ZE3000 have a V-shaped tuning with some added warmth in the mids.
Before going further with the sound impressions, I’d like to note that the Final ZE3000 are quite sensitive to ear tip changes. I use the stock ear tips, and while they are perfect for me, some have reported benefitting from trying out other tips.
The bass response here is mostly sub-bass focused, though the mid-bass punch is not overshadowed. The bass emphasis somewhat clouds the lower-midrange while adding heft to male vocals. Bass has good rumble, but the texture lags behind certain wired IEMs in this range.
Transients are uncannily sharp for a pair of TWS IEMs, with the leading edge of acoustic and electric guitars having a certain crispness. This allows the ZE3000 to handle even complex tracks with multiple instruments playing in unison.
There is no shoutiness in the mids, and the vocals sound correct for the most part. Male vocals are slightly pulled back, while female vocals are more up-front. The treble has a noticeable peak around 7kHz (and might shift upward in case of deeper insertion). It rolls off rather quickly after that, with a final peak around 14kHz.
The mid-treble peak can give rise to sibilance in very rare cases (e.g., David Bowie’s Under Pressure) and adds a sense of “zing” to hi-hats and cymbals. I did not find the treble too offensive for the most part, but it’s something to take note of.
In terms of dynamics and speed, the driver is one of the fastest in the TWS space. Staging is exceptionally wide but not as deep as certain higher-tier wired IEMs. Imaging is very good for instrument cardinal and ordinal placement, though center-imaging suffers.
The macrodynamic punch is good, with sudden bass drops having an impressive impact, even though Bluetooth’s compression rears its ugly head. Microdynamics (subtle shifts in volume level) are better represented.
General resolving prowess is reaching wired IEMs territory here, as you can pick up any pair of wired IEMs in the USD$100-$200 range, and the ZE3000 will be competitive. Apart from the recession in the lower mids and the somewhat zingy treble at times, I have no complaints.
- Audio Codec: SBC, AAC, AptX Adaptive
- Bluetooth Version: 5.2
- Bluetooth Chip: Not specified
- Auto-connect when: Taken out of the case
- Average drop-outs in an hour: 0 – 3 times
- Multi-point connection: No
The lack of multi-point support might be a deal-breaker for some, but I use this feature sparingly, so it was not a big deal to me.
- IP Rating: IPX4
The IPX4 rating means that the ZE3000 are secure from minor splashes and water sprays, but there is no dust protection.
The Final ZE3000 has no software support, so you cannot change the controls or EQ the sound.
No app is a huge omission.
vs Sony WF-1000XM4
The Sony WF-1000XM4 are the flagship TWS IEMs from Sony and demand a significantly higher price tag than the Final ZE3000.
With the extra bucks, you get app support, ANC, wear detection, and other smart features exclusive to the Sony IEMs. If you need ANC and such, you can skip this section entirely and pick the WF-1000XM4. If you can compromise, read on.
The Final ZE3000 have been outpaced so far, but they gain back momentum with their sound quality alone.
The ZE3000 are more resolving than the WF-1000XM4, and the bass is tighter and faster with better texture.
The mids have outstanding clarity, and the treble has noticeably more sparkle. Staging is very wide, even when compared to wired IEMs. Imaging is also touch more precise. Stage depth and overall smoothness of the sound are the only areas where the Sony IEMs have the upper hand.
In short: if you only need good sound, save the extra bucks and get the ZE3000 – they simply sound better. If you need all the smart features, the WF-1000XM4 are hard to beat.
Final gave up a lot in pursuing raw sound quality without DSP wizardry or forceful equalization.
They’ve succeeded in that effort, as the ZE3000 sound like a wired pair of IEMs in the same price bracket. The rendition of wired fidelity in a wireless setup is reason enough to applaud.
However, you will be disappointed if you want all the bells and whistles. Final’s singular focus on sound quality comes at the expense of smart lifestyle features that consumers have come to expect. The finicky touch controls further compound that issue.
Despite all their shortcomings, I highly recommend the ZE3000, as they sound delightful. They perform their most important task admirably; sometimes, that’s all one needs.