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Final UX3000 review: Affordable ANC bliss

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When we think of the Final brand, we immediately think of its high-end audiophile gear. With the UX3000, though, we’re seeing something completely different.

While the company’s extravagant (and painfully expensive) Sonorous series of headphones are the kind of cans that have their own dedicated listening room and wires that have to be handled with satin gloves, the UX3000 are ones you would happily rock on your morning commute.

These are ANC Bluetooth headphones at a very affordable price point.

The question is, will the audiophile magic synonymous with Final trickle down to the humble UX3000, or are they just another set of Bluetooth headphones doomed to get lost in a sea of similarly-priced options?

We’ve been testing them in order to find out.

Design and build

  • Black Shibo textured finish
  • 35 hours of playback per charge
  • Included: Drawstring carry pouch, USB-C cable, 3.5mm cable

The UX3000 headphones feature a unique textured finish that reminds us of a high-end camera body, albeit without the cold feeling on the hand, as it’s made from plastic. Final calls it Shibo, a Japanese word that relates to wrinkling on the surface of paper or leather.

Practically speaking, it means that the headphones are very resistant to fingerprints and smears, which is a big plus point in our book. We happen to think it looks pretty good, too, and it adds a unique touch to an otherwise understated pair of all-black headphones.

On the same note, though, we can also imagine others being less keen on the styling. As ever, it’s all about personal preference.

The headphones are lightweight, at about 260 grams, and have lovely soft earcups wrapped in a leatherette fabric. The headband has some light padding and is fairly adjustable, but favours the larger sizes. So, if you have a particularly small head, you may run into issues.

The UX3000 fit comfortably during our testing, feeling very secure and sealed but without excessive clamping force. When we first put them on, we were immediately struck by the passive noise cancellation. Even without the ANC activated, you’ll struggle to hear the doorbell with these on. The earcups are on the smaller side and did comfortably fit around our ears, but this may vary for those with larger ears, we think.

Charging is done via a USB Type-C port on the left earcup, meanwhile. There’s no fancy fast-charging tech to speak of, but flat-to-full will set you back a reasonable two and a half hours. Juiced up, they’ll give you 35 hours of music playback with ANC turned off, or 25 hours with it turned on.

These aren’t staggering numbers, but it’s still more than enough to see you through a few days.

Interestingly, the ANC is activated separately from the rest of the headphones, so you can keep the headphones turned off but the ANC turned on by long-pressing the ANC button on the left earcup. This is a great feature if you just need some peace and quiet on a flight, for example, but you do have to remember to turn it off when you’re done – otherwise, they’ll sit there draining the battery all day.

Music control is all handled with physical buttons, rather than touch controls, which we tend to prefer – especially on cheaper headphones.

The layout is simple: there’s a power button, volume up and down and the aforementioned ANC button. It’s a small niggle, but the ANC button is level with the volume down on the right earcup, and it feels like it would make more sense to be in line with the power button. You tend to turn both on and off at the same time, and we found ourselves hitting the wrong button from time to time.

In the box, meanwhile, you’ll find a 3.5mm cable for wired listening, a USB-C cable for charging and a soft drawstring pouch for transport. The pouch is on the basic side, but it’ll get the job done for keeping the headphones safe from scratches.

Sound quality

  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX Low Latency Codec Support
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling

As you may have gathered, the UX3000 are a fairly basic set of headphones when it comes to features – there are no party tricks, apps or flashy styling.

Instead, Final has focused on the single most important thing: how they sound.

We’re pleased to report that the UX3000 sound fantastic, especially when you consider what the asking price is.

There’s no overbearing EQ that you’ll find from similarly priced Bluetooth headphones, and, instead, the UX3000 feel precise and well-tuned.

It must be said, we found that sound preferable when the ANC was turned on, with a noticeable difference with it turned off. That’s not always the case with premium-sounding headphones.

With ANC turned on, the low end is more pronounced and the lower mids get a boost, too, creating a warmer and more engaging sound. They do still sound good with ANC turned off, but it’s just not as lively.

The imaging is impressive and feels accurate, with good separation and a sense of depth to the sound. And while it can’t compete with open-back headphones, it’s a wider soundstage than you’ll find on most Bluetooth headphones.

The bass is punchy without being boisterous, and it extends very deep when it should but doesn’t exaggerate on tracks where it’s not present. Bass fiends may not get what they are looking for here, but, if you crave accuracy, the low end has more than enough rumble and extends smoothly into the mid-range without muddying things.

The biggest impact is created by the high end, which manages to sound sharp and accurate without being too bright and piercing. The vocals, too, have a much more impactful presence than on similar headphones, but we noticed that they can sound a little compressed on occasion.

Last but not least, the ANC performance is truly excellent. It may not quite match the likes of the Bose Noise Cancelling 700 or Sony WH-1000XM4, but it’s one of the better ANC systems that we’ve tried in this price range, and that’s no small feat considering its Final’s first venture into the space.

Unfortunately, there’s no ‘ambient’ or ‘stay aware’ mode on these headphones, and, with such a good passive seal, it makes it hard to keep track of what’s going on around you when listening casually. This is something we’d love to see added if Final decides to release a follow-up.

Original Article