When it comes to buying a new pair of earbuds it can be important to look beyond the AirPods and AirPods Pro because there's a big wide world of offerings out there. The same goes for those looking to pick up a new pair of headphones, with the AirPods Max far from the end of the conversation on that front, too. And Final Audio is here to remind us of that fact.
Final's two latest offerings come in the form of a pair of $399.99 earbuds that promise "8K Sound" and a pair of ANC headphones that are built on the previous UX3000 release but with a more approachable price of just $119. While the earbuds somehow make the costly AirPods Pro seem cheap, those headphones more than make up for it by making Apple's AirPods Max seem positively insane at their $549 price.
But price is only part of the buying decision — you need context to make a proper choice, and that's where some of the details come in.
Final Audio ZE8000 MK2 Earbuds
Starting with the earbuds, Final's new offering is an updated version of the ZE8000 that have only been around for less than a year at this point. This new model features 'Shield Fin' eartips that promise "improved comfort and increased passive sound isolation" while the "enhanced signal-to-noise ratio for greater detail retrieval and improved ‘8K Sound’" make for interesting reading. The ability to deactivate the ANC and other noise control settings will be welcome, as will an increase in the maximum volume setting by 5dB.
The real star of the show is that 8K Sound, though. And Final is keen to drive that point home. "Development of the ZE8000 MK2 has enabled the evolution of Final’s ‘8K Sound’ feature," the company's press release reads. "Improving the signal-to-noise ratio through hardware and software interventions provides a clearer perception of ‘8K Sound’, extracting more detail and musical nuance from recordings."
Whether any of that pans out remains to be seen, but Final says that the new earbuds achieve a 32% improvement in sound isolation with the ANC active when compared to the older model, which is impressive. And of course, the Final Connect app offers a number of configuration options including "Pro Equalizer" settings. Connectivity comes with Bluetooth 5.2 support with support for SBC, AAC, Qualcomm® aptX, and aptX Adaptive. In terms of battery life, expect up to 15 hours when you use the charging case.
And yes, these things cost a cent shy of $400.
Final Audio UX2000 Headphones
At the other end of the price range, we have the UX2000 headphones. Based on the previous UX3000 release, these new headphones come in black and cream colorways and have a price of just $119. That's low, especially when you consider some of the specs.
The first spec that jumped out from the press release was the 45-hour battery life, shortly followed by the promise of a "low-latency gaming mode, making it an ideal companion for gamers who demand synchronized, high-quality audio."
Other features include Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation, a multi-fit layout that ensures a proper fit, and a rather lovely fingerprint-proof matte finish. The headphones also support Bluetooth 5.3 and can be folded for easy carrying around.
We haven't tested these things for ourselves, but the spec sheet and the price make these sound like a compelling option for those looking to spend around $100 on a pair of solid headphones. But the proof, as ever, will be in the pudding.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.