To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Final ZE3000 review: An impressive balancing act

Our Rating :
£119.00 from
Price when reviewed : £119
inc VAT

Though light on features, the Final ZE3000 get enough right to compete with some of the best earbuds in their price range


  • Balanced sound signature
  • Comfortable fit
  • Distinctive design


  • No noise cancellation
  • Lack a pass-through mode
  • Finicky touch controls

The Final ZE3000 are the first pair of true wireless earbuds from a manufacturer best known for producing high-end wired audio solutions.

First established in Japan in 1974, Final has made a name for itself with premium options such as the £5,000 D8000. The ZE3000 are available at a far more accessible price point, but face stiff competition from a veritable kaleidoscope of other audio brands.

Sporting angular good looks and a storied name while promising a premium listening experience, they certainly stand out from the crowd – but do they do enough to earn a place in your pocket? Read on to find out.

Buy now from Amazon

Final ZE3000 review: What do you get for the money?

The Final ZE3000 are priced at £119, putting them a bracket above the budget competition without provoking comparisons with high-end options available from the likes of Sennheiser and Sony.

Audiophile-grade performance is not to be expected for that kind of money, but such a price tag does demand a general set of features taken as a ‘quality of life’ minimum. These include some level of waterproofing, active noise cancellation, a pass-through or transparency mode, a comfortable design, a relatively balanced acoustic profile and maybe even a dedicated app.

From that list, the ZE3000 offer IPX4 water resistance, Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, AAC, SBC and AptX Adaptive codec support and a stated maximum battery life of seven hours (up to 35 hours with the case). There is no active noise cancellation or pass-through listening mode, however. When it comes to a companion app, one exists, but it is currently Japanese-only and being localised for a western audience.

Final ZE3000 review: What do we like about them?

As might be expected from a brand that sells some wired headphones for more than £2,000, Final has prioritised a high-quality listening experience over active noise-cancellation and a few other niceties.

Thankfully, this focus pays off, with the Final ZE3000 delivering performance on par with some significantly more expensive earbuds. The first thing that’s noticeable is the exceptionally wide soundstage and the generally balanced profile – bass has a reasonably weight but never threatens to overshadow the treble or mid-range frequencies.

The detail on offer makes listening to more complex orchestral tracks a highly pleasant experience. Bass-heads may crave a little extra punch on their favourite tracks, but for most people these buds will be a great fit for their favourite genres: house, grime and punk aside.

From a design perspective the ZE3000s are also a win, boasting an angular appearance that allows them to stand apart from the more prosaic competition. Though they might look a little large, they are very light and offer a very comfortable fit. Wearing them for hours on end caused no discomfort, which isn’t always a given.

When used for voice calls the ZE3000 also performed well, with the microphone quality exceeding that of some of the competition at the same price point. Though they won’t challenge the quality of a dedicated communications headset, they are certainly adequate for general working-at-home requirements.

READ NEXT: The best Bluetooth headphones money can buy

Final ZE3000 review: What could be improved?

For all of the focus on acoustic performance, the lack of active noise cancellation in many situations proves to be something of a hindrance. Where the competition generally offers this feature in headphones costing above £50, the absence here limits the situations where the ZE3000 can be used.

If the primary use case is a quiet room at home, there is no issue, but the picture changes quickly when commuters are taken into account. If you are looking for something to keep the world out while you listen, then it might be best to look elsewhere.

The lack of a pass-through feature also reduces the Final ZE3000’s appeal somewhat – having the ability to tune into what’s going on around you without interrupting your music is useful in all manner of situations, particularly if you live in an urban area.

Though it is promised to arrive relatively soon, the lack of a companion app means you currently have no way to customise the ZE3000. On rival devices this allows for selecting specific EQs, creating your own, reassigning touch commands and more. Without the ability to do any of these things, the Final ZE3000 user experience feels rather restrictive. We also found that the touch controls themselves were a little finicky to activate and rarely worked on the first try.

Buy now from Amazon

Final ZE3000 review: Should you buy them?

The ZE3000 are the debut true wireless earbuds from Final, and for a first try they are great performers. Thanks to their balanced sound signature they’re able to do justice to most genres and deliver a particularly impressive performance when handling more complex classical numbers. They are also very comfortable, which is essential in a day and age where earbuds remain wedged in our ears for hours on end.

But for the lack of active noise cancellation or an audio pass-through option they would have been an easy recommendation. If you commute on public transport regularly, or are looking for something to wear while out on general errands, the absence of both of these features means you’ll find better options available elsewhere.

However, if you need a pair of premium-sounding buds for a less than hefty outlay, there are few better alternatives available for the price.

Read more