Japanese headphones specialist Final has announced its flagship true wireless earbuds, the Final ZE8000.
Costing £299 / $349, the premium pricing puts the new earbuds up against the class-leaders 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 its sound technology.
First up 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 possible sound quality in the ZE8000. Final says: "Instead of focusing only on [the] fine-tuning of particular frequencies, the time element of every single bit of sound is also carefully calibrated with digital signal processing". This is also aided by using a new ‘f-CORE for 8K Sound’ ultra-low distortion driver with a large 13mm diaphragm, which is powered by Class AB amplification in each bud. Final says the "impressively low total harmonic distortion (THD) from this driver is unique" and delivers the "highest precision in digital signal processing results and allowing the fullest possible portrayal of sound texture and detail."
Bold claims indeed.
Next on the specs list is wireless technology support. Bluetooth 5.2 is onboard, as is support for the higher-quality 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 package of audio technologies aims to enhance the Bluetooth experience with, for example, more robust connectivity, lower latency and wideband voice call quality. But while the Snapdragon Sound platform also supports aptX Lossless for lossless Bluetooth transmission of 16-bit/44.1kHz (CD-quality) – an unprecedented feat for Bluetooth technology – the Final earbuds do not have the very latest chip to support that particular audio feature, or indeed spatial audio with dynamic head tracking. Still, they are hardly lacking in the features department...
In terms of active noise cancelling, 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's certainly music to our ears.
The ZE8000 has four listening modes: noise cancelling (full ANC), wind-cut (eliminates wind noise captured by the microphones), ambient (lets you be aware of surroundings) and voice through (lets 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 lets you fine-tune the volume at a higher precision than a smartphone's standard control will allow.
The earbuds each hold four hours of charge, going up to a total of 15 hours with the charging case. It's decent, but not the class-leading numbers we're used to seeing, with rivals Apple and Sony respectively offering six and eight hours in the buds, and totals of 30 and 24 hours with their cases.
The buds themselves sport an unusual "division" design, which Final says is "shaped in a way to suit all ear shapes and sizes" for comfort and stability. The earbuds are available in black or white finishes and, from the press images, it seems they have the same speckly texture we found in the UX3000 over-ear headphones.
The Final ZE8000 wireless earbuds will be available from today, priced at £299 / €329 / $349 from selected retailers, including Amazon, Selfridges, Harrods, and Audio46.
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