Final ZE8000 MK2 Review: A Worthy Heir To The Throne?

Final ZE8000 MK2 Flagship TWS

$399.00
Final ZE8000 MK2 Flagship TWS
7.8

Build

8.0/10

Features

7.0/10

Sound

8.5/10

What We Dig

  • Great Build Quality
  • Remarkable Sound
  • Comfortable Fit

What To Think About

  • Touch Controls Aren't Intuitive
  • Not The Most Stable During Active Use
  • Battery Life Could Be Longer

Discover the Final ZE8000 MK2 review and find out if it truly lives up to being a worthy successor to its predecessor. Explore its features, performance, and overall value.

Introduction

The Final ZE8000 MK2 True Wireless Earbuds ($399.99) is offered as an upgrade to the original ZE8000 (check out our review) with better audio quality, comfort, and added features. Final also promises improved comfort and passive sound isolation with their new ‘Shield Fin’ ear tips.

Furthermore, the company states that the signal-to-noise ratio is enhanced for greater detail retrieval and improved ‘8K Sound’, something we were introduced to on the ZE8000. There’s also a max volume increase of 5dB for those who complained about low volume on the first model.

On the flip side, upon their release, the Final ZE8000 was considered by many to be the undisputed sonic champion of true wireless earbuds. Now, their successor, the ZE8000 MK2, arrives with the mantle of expectation firmly strapped on. Can it uphold the legacy and elevate the wireless listening experience even further? We plunge into a detailed evaluation to find out.

Final ZE8000 MK2 Review: Design and Build Quality

Final ZE8000 MK2

The ZE8000 MK2 inherits the distinct long-stemmed design of its predecessor, albeit slightly refined. At a glance, the only way to tell the two apart is the two diagonal lines stamped on the MK2’s earbuds and case. This means the buds are still sleek and compact, crafted from a textured hard plastic that exudes a luxurious feel. The ZE8000 MK2’s distinct shape comes from isolating the larger portion with the battery and PCB board from the smaller portion worn in the ear. This aids in comfort and fit as all the heavier parts are kept outside the ear canal.

As previously stated, Final includes new ‘shield fin’ ear tips with the ZE8000 MK2, providing better passive isolation and a more secure fit. These ear tips come in five sizes (SS/S/M/L/LL), which should accommodate most ear shapes and sizes. The new tips have an extra ridge that rests against the inside of your ear, which makes the fit slightly more stable than the original, which fits pretty well in its own right.

That said, I found they tended to shift a bit with vigorous movement, so that’s something to keep in mind, especially if you plan to run with them. All things considered, comfort is decent, as the tips cushion the area that contacts the ear well.

On the other hand, you don’t get quite the “weightless” feeling you get from an Airpods-style earbud, which just kinda hangs in place instead of twisting into the ear. Even so, I could wear them for hours with minimal discomfort; I just had to readjust them periodically when moving around a lot.

Overall, the MK2’s build quality is impeccable, just like the first model, with robust materials that feel solid while remaining lightweight. I would feel comfortable storing them in my pocket or a book bag without worrying about excessive damage.

Final ZE8000 MK2 Review: Features and Functionality

Final ZE8000 MK2

The ZE8000 MK2 still offers a generous feature set, building upon the foundation laid by its predecessor. For one, the MK2 is said to provide a 32% improvement in sound isolation with ANC active compared to the initial model. Final achieves this through internal structure enhancements, the newly designed ‘Shield Fin’ earpieces, and a refined algorithm for active noise cancellation.

I heard a slight improvement in noise impression in the new model vs. the old, but to me, it sounded like it came more from the improved seal of the tips as opposed to the ANC. That being said, ANC works well for background environmental noise but not as well for voices and loud engine sounds. If you’re looking to block those types of sounds, you’ll be served better by some of the top-of-the-line buds from companies like Apple, Bose, or Sony.

Like the original ZE8000, you get four types of ANC, including two different transparency modes (Ambient Sound & Voice Through) that let you stay aware of your surroundings. “Ambient Sound” allows you to hear outside noise while still allowing you to adjust the volume of the music, while “Voice Through” mode lowers the volume to a pre-defined level. It maximizes your ability to hear someone attempting to speak to you. Additionally, you have standard ANC mode, which tunes out all outside noise, and then there is the “Wind-Cut” mode, which concentrates on limiting wind noise in a windy environment.

While all the modes worked as advertised, this time, I wish they integrated an auto-adaptive setup as you get on some of the other top-of-the-line earbuds. That way, the earphones could automatically select the proper mode based on your environment. This seems to be how the market is going and is much more convenient. However, this isn’t a deal breaker, as I used only the standard ANC and the Voice Through modes most of the time, as they worked the best and covered 90% of use cases.

Final ZE8000 MK2

Additionally, Bluetooth 5.2 ensures a stable connection and supports high-quality codecs like aptX Adaptive for CD-quality audio. In addition, the Final Connect companion app is still available, and just like with the original ZE8000, it offers several functions, which include switching between noise cancellation modes, adjusting sound quality with the “Pro Equalizer,” checking volume/battery life, optimizing volume steps, changing voice guidance languages, enabling “8K SOUND+ Mode,” disabling touch operation, and configuring Multi-Point settings. With the MK2, you can also turn the ANC function off, which you couldn’t do on the original.

Speaking of battery life, the ZE8000 MK2 maxes out at about 5 hours of playback time. While decent, it doesn’t quite reach the heights of some competitors, ranging from 6-8 hours. In addition, you get 15 hours of playback time when recharging from the case, which is also a bit lower than the competition. Most provide an average of 24 hours total. That may be an issue if you want to take these on long trips.

Final ZE8000 MK2 Review: Ease of Use and Setup

Due to the speed and efficiency of Bluetooth 5.2, pairing the MK2 is a breeze, and the touch controls on both earbuds allow you to control most functions without touching your phone or tablet. Volume, Playback, ANC, and Call controls are all present, and you can even call up Siri or Google Assistant. The only drawback is that the control layout isn’t very intuitive, so it will take a little time to get used to it. On the other hand, the controls are pretty responsive, so that’s a plus.

Overall, the user experience is satisfactory but not quite as smooth as some of the market leaders from Sony and Apple. Additionally, the earbuds don’t auto-pause music when removed from the ear, which I think is a miss at this price. I find this to be a helpful feature when out and about.

Final ZE8000 MK2 Review: Performance and Sound Quality

Final ZE8000 MK2

Final’s ZE8000 MK2 earbuds promise an unparalleled “8K sound” experience. But what does that mean for your ears? Buckle up, audiophiles, because we’re about to dissect the sonic landscape of these powerful buds.

First Impressions: The MK2s boast a balanced sound signature, shying away from the bass-heavy trend. This creates a clean and natural soundscape, letting each instrument shine through without muddying the mix.

Bass: Don’t be fooled by the balanced tag, though. The bass here is present, powerful, and controlled. It rumbles with authority in lower frequencies, adding punch to kick drums and basslines without bleeding into the mids. Think of it as a firm handshake, not a bone-crushing hug.

Midrange: The true star of the show is the midrange. Vocals are clear and nuanced, with every breath and inflection captured with precision. Guitars, pianos, and other midrange instruments sing with clarity and detail, allowing you to appreciate the artist’s intent truly.

Treble: The treble is crisp and airy, adding sparkle and definition without fatigue. Cymbals shimmer and high hats sizzle, adding an extra layer of realism to the sonic picture. However, some might find the treble a tad too prominent on certain tracks, especially at higher volumes.

Soundstage: The soundstage on the MK2s is impressive for true wireless earbuds. Instruments have space to breathe, creating a sense of separation and depth. It’s not the mind-blowing width of some high-end open-back headphones, but it’s a step up from the congested soundstage of many earbuds.

Dynamics: The MK2s handle dynamics with aplomb. From the delicate whisper of a vocal to the thunderous roar of a drum solo, these earbuds faithfully reproduce the ebb and flow of the music. You’ll feel the impact of a heavy kick drum and the subtle decay of a cymbal crash, adding to the overall immersive experience.

The Verdict: Final’s “8K sound” might be a marketing term, but the ZE8000 MK2s deliver impressive audio quality nonetheless. With a balanced signature, powerful bass, and clear mids and highs, these earbuds cater to a wide range of musical tastes. While the treble might be a bit too much for some, the overall detail and dynamics make the MK2s a compelling choice for discerning listeners. Just remember, “8K sound” or not, the actual test is whether the music moves you, and on that front, the ZE8000 MK2s definitely deliver.

Value and Verdict

Final ZE8000 MK2

The Final ZE8000 MK2 carries a premium price tag but delivers a sonic experience that justifies it. The refined soundstage, impactful bass, and nuanced detail elevate it above most true wireless offerings. But it’s not without its shortcomings. The unconventional design and slightly underwhelming battery life hold it back from being a clear victor. However, for discerning audiophiles seeking a true wireless experience that comes close to wired hi-fi performance, the MK2 remains a compelling choice.

Conclusion

The Final ZE8000 MK2 doesn’t entirely rewrite the true wireless rulebook, but it certainly refines and expands upon the legacy of its predecessor. Its impressive sound quality makes it a powerful contender in the premium arena. While some design choices and software quirks might deter some, its sonic prowess and commitment to high fidelity remain undeniable. If you crave audiophile-grade sound on the go and are willing to pay for it, the MK2 deserves a serious audition.


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