Final ZE8000 review: Serious sound

Final has been a longstanding favourite in the audiophile world, it’s a Japanese brand with a reputation for quality audio and outstanding design.

While it’s well-established in hi-fi circles, it’s a newcomer to the Bluetooth scene, only having launched its first TWS buds and wireless ANC headphones in 2022.

The brand’s debut Bluetooth products were both on the affordable end of the spectrum, with the price sitting around the $149 mark. And they were both very impressive for the price point. This year, however, Final is kicking things up a notch.

The ZE8000 are Final’s first attempt at a flagship true wireless earphone, and they come in at a price of $349 / £299 / €329. The question is, can these new buds live up to the premium price tag? We’ve been trying them out.

Final ZE8000


Final ZE8000



The Final ZE8000 produce truly exceptional sound, possibly the best we’ve ever heard from a wireless earphone. They lack some basic features, but with sound this good, we’re happy to work around the shortcomings.


  • Incredible sound
  • Unique look and feel
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Loads of ear tips included


  • No multipoint connectivity or wear sensors
  • Very large charging case


  • Weight: 6.8g per earbud, 63.4g total with charging case
  • Case dimensions: Approx. 78 x 62 x 32 mm
  • Available in Black or White with Shibo textured finish
  • In the box: 5 pairs of ear tips, USB-C cable, spare dust filters, dust filter tool

The ZE8000 come in either black or white, and both options feature Final’s signature Shibo finish. This is the same finish that we saw on the UX3000 headphones, and we’re quite fond of it. It reminds us of the finish on a high-end mirrorless camera, and, more practically, it’s very fingerprint resistant and grippy.

Final ZE8000 (2)

When we first got the ZE8000 out of the box, we were immediately struck by the size of the charging case, it’s easily the largest that we’ve come across. Thankfully, its curved edges make it easy to slip in and out of a pocket, but you can expect a significant bulge when doing so.

The unique design extends beyond the textured finish, with the case lid sliding to open, rather than flipping up like your average case. The earbuds themselves have a very interesting shape, too.

They kind of look like two different earbuds mashed together, with your standard in-ear shape at the forefront, and a stem-style earbud piggybacking on the rear.

Final ZE8000 (12)

The stems are quite interesting, too, extending above the main housing as well as below. The shape reminds us of a tonfa baton (an ancient martial arts weapon), which might be an intentional nod to the Japanese heritage, but could also just be a coincidence. In any case, we were worried that they’d look quite outlandish, but, in use, they don’t stand out too much at all.

This bizarre design isn’t just about doing things differently, though, it’s actually extremely comfortable. The ear tips don’t extend too deep into your ear canal, much less so than the NuraTrue Pro buds that we use daily, and the weight is well distributed. This means that you can wear them for longer without feeling the same fatigue.

Final ZE8000 (16)

In the box, you get an abundance of silicon ear tip sizes to choose from, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble creating a solid seal. It’s worth noting, though, that this unusual design requires special tips, so you won’t be able to chuck on a different set of tips if you prefer foam, for example.

Features and battery life

  • Active noise cancellation with Ambient Mode, Voice Through and Wind-Cut
  • Companion app with EQ and 8K Sound+
  • Continuous Music Playback: 5 hours, Up to 15 hours with charging case
  • Charging Time: 1.5 hours for earbuds / 2 hours for charging case

The ZE8000 feature active noise cancellation, which Final says it has developed in a way that won’t impede sound quality whatsoever. It’s a good job, too, as there’s no real way to disable the ANC. You can select between ANC on, ambient mode, wind-cut mode and voice passthrough, but there’s no mode where the mics aren’t involved in some way.

Final ZE8000 (5)

The noise cancellation is decent, but slightly less impressive than the UX3000 over-ears. It does the job of filtering out repetitive background sounds, like the hum of an aeroplane engine, but is less effective at isolating sudden sounds like a bird chirping. What’s nice, though, is that it doesn’t cause that pressurised feeling that some ANC earbuds do.

We were pleased to see an ambient mode included. This was something missing from the UX3000, and ultimately prevented us from using them as a daily driver. We wear headphones for the majority of the workday, and we need to hear the doorbell, so a good ambient mode is a must.

Ambient mode is quite effective on the ZE8000, everything sounds quite natural, including your own voice and there’s a good amount of positional accuracy. Unfortunately, there’s a persistent static sound whenever we use it, which means it’s only the kind of thing you’d toggle on when you need to hear something, rather than a mode you could live with for hours. We’ve got our fingers crossed that this could be improved in future firmware.

Final ZE8000 (4)

The Voice Through mode is essentially the same thing, but it lowers your music level to be whisper quiet, and the music level can’t be adjusted when this mode is active. We didn’t find it particularly useful, and tended to just activate the ambient mode and manually lower the volume when we needed to hear something.

The Wind-Cut mode is quite effective, and you’ll want to activate this anytime you go outside. In ANC and ambient modes, the mics are very susceptible to wind noise, but Wind-Cut does a great job of filtering this out.

The ZE8000 are compatible with the Final Connect app for iOS and Android. It’s a pretty basic app, but it has some useful features, including a four-band equaliser and a way to adjust the volume range to suit your tastes.

Final Connect App

In the app, you can activate a mode called 8K Sound+, which unlocks the full computational power of the earbuds to deliver higher sound fidelity, at the expense of battery life. The effect is subtle, and to our ears, essentially imperceptible, so we left it off for the majority of our testing. Though if you have a highly trained ear, it might be something you enjoy.

On the subject of battery life, the ZE8000 offer 5 hours of playback standalone and up to 15 hours with the case. It’s serviceable, for our needs, but far from impressive. These might not be the weapon of choice for frequent long-haul travellers.

Sound quality

  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 44 kHz
  • “F-Core for 8K Sound” ultra-low distortion driver with a large 13mm diaphragm
  • Codecs: SBC, AAC, Qualcomm aptX, aptX Adaptive, Snapdragon Sound
  • Class-AB amplifier and dedicated digital signal processing

When testing earphones, we tend to stick on our headphone-testing playlist and skip around a bit, listening to how different genres and recording styles sound on them. With the Final ZE8000, we were so immersed that before we knew it, 20 minutes or so had passed. That’s never happened with wireless buds before, and that’s about the highest praise we can give this product.

Final ZE8000 In Ear

So, what are these earbuds doing that works so well? Well, the first thing that hit us was the impactful low end. The ZX8000 kick out some serious sub-bass rumble, and it goes so deep that you’re almost convinced you can feel it in your chest. They somehow do this without muddying the mid-range, it’s an exceptionally well-controlled earthquake.

The vocals are realistic and intimate while the higher notes are sharp and precise, without sounding piercing. We were particularly impressed with the sound of acoustic guitars, which sound incredibly detailed and lifelike, perhaps more so than on any other product that we’ve tried.

The soundstage is very localised, with it feeling like the music is in and around your head, rather than extending to the room around you. But, with that said, it’s not two-dimensional, there’s great positioning here, it’s just that the position is very close.

Final ZE8000 (17)

The only real criticism we have relating to sound quality is that these earbuds seem to be a little hard to drive, so won’t get particularly loud if – as many will – you’re using a phone as a source. They’re loud enough, but when things sound this good, it makes you want to crank it up. We spent a good amount of our listening time in the top 10 per cent of the range, and we were very comfortable at max volume – if you’ve got a more powerful source, you should be able to eke out a little bit more.


The Final ZE8000 provide an exceptional audio experience, possibly the best sound we’ve experienced with a pair of wireless bud so far.

However, there are some shortcomings that you should be aware of. The ZE8000 lack some basic creature comforts and this can be a pain if you’re trying to use them on a daily basis.

We really missed multipoint connectivity, and switching between our phone and PC always proved to be a pain. The earbuds could really benefit from wear sensors, too, removing an earbud doesn’t pause your playback, as it does on most products, and that’s hard to get used to.

Add to this a very middling battery life, and the high price tag starts to look quite unappealing. That is, until you listen to them. With sound this good, we’re more than willing to live with these niggles, and if you’ve got the itch for high-fidelity wireless sound, you might just feel the same way.