True wireless stereo (TWS) earphones — your AirPods, or Galaxy Buds — are always a balance of convenience, and audio quality. Most times, convenience trumps audio quality, but with the Final ZE3000 earbuds, we get close to the best of both worlds.
- Playback time: Max 7 hours, 35 hours with case
- Charging time: Earbuds 1.5 hours, case 2 hours
- IPX4 water resistant
- Bluetooth 5.2, supports SBC, AAC, Qualcomm aptX, aptX Adaptive
The Final ZE3000 works like most other Bluetooth-enabled earphones. Opening the case starts the pairing process, and they turn off the moment you put them back in the case to charge. These earbuds look, and feel exceptional, especially up close. Final has given them a Shibo coating (Shibo is the Japanese word for a wrinkle in paper or leather.) It's a unique touch that gives the ZE3000 a premium feel. And like paper, they are lightweight, and are comfortable to wear for long periods, even if they are not shaped like most earbuds.
However, the true achievement of the Final ZE3000 is that it's one of the first TWS earphones that I would call “audiophile quality”. There's a warm, smooth, and lush quality to the sound, and detail in the treble is fantastic without any sibilance. Soundstage is wide, with good clarity and definition in the audio. Bass is strong with a good kick, and never sounds muddy. While not for bassheads, the sound is natural, balanced, and doesn't shy away from being fun no matter what genre I try. Of course, the ZE3000 won't beat expensive, audiophile-grade wired earphones, but it's still very good. Additionally, these earbuds have a “single ear mode” that converts the audio to mono when you're listening with just one earpiece. In terms of calls, there's no issue with voice quality, even outdoors.
Where the ZE300 falls short is that it lacks some features typically found in other true wireless earbuds. For starters, music doesn't automatically pause when you remove an earbud, and there's no pass-through audio (aka AirPods' Transparency mode). Another possible deal-breaker is the lack of active noise cancellation, but I personally didn't need it as the seal was good enough. Also puzzling is the choice of lights for the case's charging levels: 100% is green, 10% to 99% is yellow, and below 10% is red. And finally, the earbuds' touch controls are just a tad too sensitive, so I often ended up pausing music accidentally.
I recently got my hands on the Angry Miao Cyberblades, which look extremely geeky, and quickly became my everyday carry. But when I switched back to the ZE3000, it hit me — they sound really good. Sure, you don't get some of the techy bells and whistles, or even RGB. But sometimes all you need is for your earphones to sound great. You can get the Final ZE3000 at S$229 in black or white on Shopee, and Lazada. There's also a special Ultraman colourway.
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