Final’s VR3000 are a bold venture into premium mobile gaming audio
- Manufacturer: final
- Model: VR3000
- Typel: In-ear, inline mic
- Release date: 10th December 2020
- Price: £69.99
- Supported Platforms: Compatible 3.5mm TRRS analogue devices
- Reviewed on: Mobile, Xbox X|S, PC
- Supplied by: final
Final has been in the premium audio business for 50 years. Before I reviewed the E500 earbuds I hadn’t had a chance to try out any of final’s products before, but after testing them out, I found the gaming performance they wrangled from a £20 pair of earbuds was hugely impressive. Final’s newest headphones, the VR3000, are the company’s first headphones that have been designed specifically for gaming and they are very impressive.
What’s in the box
Final’s packaging may not be very enticing, but they are well protected and contain everything you need. Inside the box are the VR3000 headphones, five pairs of tips ranging from XS to XL, a luxurious travel pouch, soft rubber hooks to go over your ears and the warranty card. The range of ear-tips is especially welcome. Even if the ready fitted medium ones are perfect for me, everyone’s ears are different. The VR3000 fit into your ear canal, so it’s important that they not only get a good seal for sound quality, but that they aren’t so small they slip loose, or so big they cause discomfort.
Design and build
The VR3000 have a chunky, angular design that despite appearances is very ergonomic. They are designed to be worn inverted, with the cables running over and behind your ears. This supports the headphones and stops them pulling loose if you accidentally catch the wire, and also keeps the cables off your cheeks and out of your face.
It’s a very clean design, with no visible branding anywhere to be seen on the exterior of the headphones. I’m happy that the L and R markings are more visible on the VR3000, however, once you’ve got used to the inverted design it’s already clear which earphone is which at a glance.
There are a pair of hooks included that attach to the cables and they make the wires much more comfortable over your ears. They are tricky to fit, though. The wires are slotted into a channel on the outer edge of the hooks, which is straightforward, but the securing clips at either end are soft rubber and take some effort to secure together. In the end, I used a pair of tweezers and haven’t had to adjust them since, but those with sausage fingers may be slightly frustrated for the minute or two you spend fitting them.
I’ve had mixed results with in-canal headphones in the past, usually stemming from the wires constantly dragging on the headphones and pulling them loose, which breaks the seal and ruins the bass response. I had none of these problems with the VR3000, in part thanks to the ear hooks, but also because the design nestles between the tragus and antihelix of your ear (thanks, Google!) Once they were in place, they stayed there, and I wasn’t constantly adjusting or repositioning them as I often have to do with regular earbuds.
Although these are very light headphones, weighing just 20g, the construction is solid. There are no visible gaps, and they feel durable. Although there is no official IP rating for water or dust resistance, I would imagine these will withstand sweat or a medium rain shower with no risk of water ingress (though to limit liability I still advise you not to get them wet, as I accept no responsibility for any water damage).
Partway down the right cable is an inline control, which has a built-in microphone for phone calls or in-game voice comms, two buttons for volume control and another for answering calls or playing/pausing music or videos. The buttons are responsive, with a subtle tactile click, but the volume down button is just a touch spongy on our review headphones. This squishiness doesn’t affect the use, but it doesn’t feel as well made as the rest of the VR3000.
Final has done a lot of research and development to create a bespoke audio driver for the VR3000. The 6mm drivers were designed specifically for gaming, with the goal of providing a balanced audio profile and increasing spatial positioning.
Beginning with the audio profile, it’s very well suited for gaming. Like the E500 we tested earlier this year, the treble and mid-range frequencies especially are very rich and warm, but the VR3000 have much better bass. It’s not as pronounced as a typical gaming headset, though, which I find tend to over-emphasise bass at the cost of overall balance. Instead, final has tuned the VR3000 to enhance clarity between all the sounds you hear, and they are adept at allowing the bass to have a solid punch and vibrant sustained notes, while still being able to pick out detail between individual sounds. Most impressive, though, is how wide the soundstage is.
I’ve been playing a lot of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla recently on the Series X, and the positional audio of the VR3000 works brilliantly well. It’s not as good as a set of open-back over-ear headphones, but for in-ear headphones, I was surprised at how good the spacing was. As an open-world game, you are constantly surrounded by sounds. Out in the countryside, I could accurately pinpoint wildlife around me and accurately place things like distant waterfalls. They came into their own in busy towns, and especially during combat, as you are enclosed in the clashing of steel and the shouts and cries of your enemies, significantly adding to the immersion.
Watching movies while wearing them is equally engrossing. The clarity and separation of frequencies are ideal for picking out vocals amongst hectic action scenes, and movies recorded with surround sound shine with the VR3000. In comparison, listening to music sounds decent, but I favour massive bass and although it comes through crisp and clear, it doesn’t have enough punch for me to make these my dedicated music on the go headphones.
Frequency test results
In our sound frequency test, the results were excellent. Bass was audible right down to 20 Hz, and although it began to diminish past 30 Hz, that’s a great result. Listening to a sweeping bass tone, there was no rattle or buzz that can manifest in poorly manufactured drivers. Treble was also clear without being piercing, and delivery was smooth right up to 15,000 Hz, which is the limit of my ageing eardrums.
Throughout the driver balance test, which plays a full-range tone sweep that highlights any mismatch between the left and right drivers, there was no perceptible deviation throughout the whole range.
In the binaural headphone test, which is great for testing both individual sound separation and positional audio, the results were very impressive. Each individual voice in the harmony was clearly identified, and you can almost visualise the relative positioning of each singer. The same is true of the instruments, with the multiple acoustic guitars and percussion all occupying a separate place within the soundstage.
Finally, the secure fit of the headphones gives very good passive noise cancellation, blocking out external distractions well. I was listening to music in my local town centre and barely picked out anything but the most muffled of background noises above my music.
Who is the VR3000 best suited for?
While I wouldn’t normally consider using in-ear headphones for console gaming, I was thoroughly impressed with the VR3000, especially when it came to positional audio. They remained comfortable over a four-hour gaming session and didn’t become uncomfortable at any point.
A far more suitable use, though, and the reason most people will be looking for in-ear headphones, is mobile gaming and VR. As the name suggests, the VR3000 are very well suited to VR gaming because of the excellent positional audio. They are lightweight and the 1.2m cable and the behind-the-ear wire positioning helps keep them neat, tidy and out of the way of your motion controllers.
In the past, mobile gaming never really called for anything but the most basic of headphones, but with devices like the Nintendo Switch and the growth of cloud gaming services like Xbox Game Pass, we’ve got access to games with incredible sound and music that deserves to be done justice. It’s not practical to carry a large over-ear gaming headset everywhere with you, which makes the VR3000 ideal for gaming on the go.
While over-ear headsets are available from loads of brands in hundreds of variants, in-ear gaming headsets designed specifically for VR and mobile gaming are few and far between. Final’s VR3000 are perfectly suited for mobile gaming, with a remarkably wide soundstage and great balance between frequencies. They aren’t as suitable for music, but for movies and games, they are a very capable pair of headphones.
final’s VR3000 gaming headphones release on the 10th December 2020, priced at £69.99 / $79.99 / €74.99, and will be available for purchase from Amazon UK/US/EU, Hifiheadphones, and Scan.