Japanese headphone specialist Final has announced its flagship true wireless earbuds, the Final ZE8000.
The premium pricing, which costs £299 / $349, puts the new earbuds against the leading Apple AirPods Pro 2, Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II and Sony WF-1000XM4 in this highly competitive market, but Final has made some bold claims when it comes to for its sound technology.
The first is “8K Sound”. What is that, you ask? It’s what Final calls the innovative technology used in the driver, DSP and amplification to deliver the best sound quality possible in the ZE8000. Final says, “Instead of just focusing on [the] fine-tuning certain frequencies, the time element of each individual piece of sound is also carefully calibrated using digital signal processing”. by Class AB amplification in every knob Final says the “impressively low total harmonic distortion (THD) of this driver is unique” and delivers the “highest precision in digital signal processing results and enables the fullest possible reproduction of sound texture and detail. ”
Bold claims indeed.
Next on the list of specifications is wireless technology support. Bluetooth 5.2 is on board, as is support for the high-end aptX and aptX Adaptive codecs in addition to standard SBC and AAC.
Final also says the ZE8000 is “fully compatible” with phones and devices that support Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon Sound technology, such as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. This suite of audio technologies aims to improve the Bluetooth experience with, for example, more robust connectivity, lower latency and wideband voice quality. But while the Snapdragon Sound platform also supports aptX Lossless for lossless 16-bit/44.1 kHz (CD quality) Bluetooth transmission – an unprecedented achievement for Bluetooth technology – the Final earbuds don’t have the very latest chip to support that particular audio function, or even spatial audio with dynamic headband tracking. Still, they’re hardly lacking in the features department…
In terms of active noise cancellation, Final has promised that sound quality “will always be the focus of the ZE8000” and that ANC “does not degrade the audio in any way”. That certainly sounds like music to our ears.
The ZE8000 has four listening modes: noise canceling (full ANC), wind cut (eliminates wind noise picked up by the microphones), ambient (allows you to be aware of your surroundings) and voice through (let you have conversations without removing the earbuds ).
You can cycle through these modes using the Final Connect app, which also has a Volume Step Optimizer – this allows you to tune the volume with greater precision than standard smartphone controls allow.
The earbuds can be charged for four hours each, for a total of 15 hours with the charging case. It’s decent, but not the class-leading numbers we’re used to, with rivals Apple and Sony offering six and eight hours in the buds respectively, and a total of 30 and 24 hours with their cases.
The earbuds themselves have an unusual “division” design, which Final says is “shaped to fit all ear shapes and sizes” for comfort and stability. The earbuds come in black or white finishes, and press images reveal they have the same speckled texture we found in the UX3000 over-ear headphones.
The Final ZE8000 wireless earbuds are available from today for £299 / €329 / $349 from select retailers including Amazon, Selfridges, Harrods and Audio46.
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